Cerebral palsy is a type of serious birth injury that results from damage to a baby’s brain during or immediately after birth. However, the condition isn’t necessarily noticeable at birth. Even a trained doctor can overlook such a diagnosis. Rather, cerebral palsy is typically not diagnosed until a child starts moving and begins to attempt communication, typically around six months old.
A child with cerebral palsy may suffer throughout their entire life. People affected by cerebral palsy can suffer from stiff muscles, body movements they can’t control, poor coordination, and a lack of balance.
What Is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is the most common childhood disability, affecting about 1 in 323 children It’s a lifelong condition, and it’s incurable. Depending on how severe the condition is, an affected individual may need extensive medical care for their entire life.
This care can include physical therapy, speech therapy, special education, surgery or other medical treatments, and even some form of personal assistance.
As a type of birth injury, cerebral palsy typically happens as the result of medical errors or negligence that takes place when a baby is born. Most commonly, cerebral palsy is caused by:
- a lack of oxygen flowing to the brain
- trauma to the head before, during or shortly after birth
Such injuries can happen if the delivering doctor fails to order a cesarean section (C-section) if the baby is too large for a safe delivery, or if a medical professional uses forceps improperly or doesn’t adequately monitor the baby’s fetal heart rate. Even an untreated serious case of jaundice can result in brain damage that leads to cerebral palsy.
Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy
Because cerebral palsy isn’t a condition that is immediately recognizable at birth, if you had troubles during labor or delivery, it’s important to be on the lookout for any developmental abnormalities. Depending on which part of the brain has been affected, there are numerous indicators that a child may be suffering from cerebral palsy. Here are some symptoms to watch for:
- Delayed developmental milestones, including rolling over, sitting up, crawling, and walking
- Problems with muscle tone, either too tight or too loose
- Problems with balance and coordination, including poor hand-eye coordination
- Limited range of motion
- Spasms, seizures, tremors, or other involuntary movements
- Challenges with fine motor skills like picking up or holding objects
- Problems walking or walking with an abnormal gait
- Impaired or slow reflexes
- Difficulties with speech, vision, or hearing
- Difficulty with swallowing or eating food
- Excessive drooling
- Inability to control the bladder or bowels.
If you notice any of the above symptoms in your child and you had trouble during delivery (or you suspect your child suffered a brain injury during birth), you should consult with both a medical professional and a lawyer specializing in cerebral palsy litigation.
Types of Cerebral Palsy
Not all incidences of cerebral palsy are the same. Injuries to different parts of the brain have different effects upon a person’s body.
- Spastic cerebral palsy. This involves muscle performance and control issues. Affected individuals often undergo erratic, jerky movements and may not be able to relax their muscles. This variant affects between 75% and 85% of those with cerebral palsy.
- Athetoid cerebral palsy. Also known as dyskinetic cerebral palsy. This form of the condition results from damage to the part of the brain responsible for reflexes, involuntary movement, and coordination. Someone affected by this variant often finds it challenging to walk or pick up objects and their muscles frequently switch between being too tense or too loose.
- Ataxic cerebral palsy. A form of cerebral palsy that occurs with damage to the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls balance and coordination. It typically results in a reduction in the individual’s muscle tone. Speech problems and shakiness and tremors are common in this condition.
- Mixed cerebral palsy. Someone who’s affected by mixed cerebral palsy suffers from multiple brain injuries and is severely impaired.
Making A Cerebral Palsy Claim
A victim of cerebral palsy will likely need specialized care throughout their life. This includes the use of medical devices to aid with walking and motor skills as well as therapy and special education programs. The possibility of higher education and job opportunities could also be quite limited.
As a result, when making a cerebral palsy claim, you can claim economic damages for medical expenses (both past and future), lost services and earnings due to inability to work, and any caregiving costs you may have accrued or will accrue in the future. Additionally, you can also claim certain non-economic damages, disability, loss of normal life, pain and suffering (both mental and physical), and shortened life expectancy.
When it comes to liability, as with any physical birth injury, it depends on what happened to cause the injury. The delivering doctor, attending nurses, and even the hospital itself, can be held liable for a brain injury that resulted in cerebral palsy.
Statute of Limitations
Every cerebral palsy case has a statute of limitations, requiring the claim to be filed by a certain date. This regulation varies by state, but most often it’s required that a cerebral palsy claim be made by the time the child reaches the age of two.
So if you suspect your child is suffering from this condition, it’s important to contact an attorney specializing in cerebral palsy law as soon as possible.
Contact Trusted Lawyers for Cerebral Palsy Concerns
Cerebral palsy is a lifelong disability that causes great hardship and trauma nor only for the affected individual, but their entire family as well. It’s a condition that will result in financial difficulties and will often require some form of expensive, long-term medical care.
Pursuing a cerebral palsy case can be very complicated. That’s where we come in.
At Law Leaders, we have the resources that can help you build a claim for your injury and get the compensation you deserve. Their team of expert lawyers and committed to helping you and any other injured American get the settlement they need to live comfortably with their injury.
Contact Law Leaders today to find out how they can help!