Receiving the news of a birth injury or a birth defect can be a traumatic experience, and your mind will likely be flooded with questions. What caused my child’s condition? How bad is it and who was at fault for it? What can I do to treat it and how much do treatments cost? How will this diagnosis affect my family?
Unfortunately, the scenario depicted above is one that too many families undergo daily. Cerebral palsy is a serious disorder that affects one child roughly every hour. It affects over 800,000 people in the United States and millions more globally. It is a permanent disorder with no known cure and has serious health implications from the moment it develops throughout the life of the affected individual. If your child or that of a loved one has cerebral palsy, we can help. Contact the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529 for a free case evaluation.
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Types and Treatments
You must identify the type of cerebral palsy that your child has before starting the patient on a rehab or treatment regimen. This is because neurological disorders–illnesses that involve the nerves, brain, and muscles–affect different people in different ways, and these illnesses are generally categorized based on the effects and symptoms of the patient.
Three broad categories of cerebral palsy are as follows:
- Ataxic cerebral palsy, which causes poor muscle tone and spastic, shaky movements
- Athetoid cerebral palsy, which leads to involuntary movements and coordination issues
- Spastic cerebral palsy, the most common category of cerebral palsy, identifiable that causes coordination issues, shaky movements, and muscle and joint problems
Patients who have a combination of these issues may be diagnosed as having mixed cerebral palsy.
Treatments for cerebral palsy are expensive and they can include invasive procedures such as surgery or noninvasive treatments such as physical or occupational therapy, medications to keep shaking in control, and teaching and learning interventions to help the patient overcome learning, speech, or social disabilities. Some estimates place the lifetime care costs of patients with cerebral palsy as high as $1 million, in particular when the condition co-occurs with other illnesses such as epilepsy and slow mental growth.
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There are no known causes of cerebral palsy. All we know is that it shows a positive correlation with cases involving the following risk factors:
- Low birth weight: Anything below five pounds at birth
- Premature birth: Delivery before week 37 of gestation
- Maternal health issues such as high blood pressure, obesity, or mental health disorders
- Blood compatibility issues
- Bacterial or viral infections
- Internal bleeding in the brain
- Stroke or blood circulation issues in the brain
- Low oxygen levels in the brain
- Forceful extraction by the delivery team
- Abnormal cell migration during brain development
It is important to note that cerebral palsy can develop at any time. At any time the motor control centers of the brain are damaged or harmed in any way, cerebral palsy can develop.
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Identifying At-Fault Parties
Since the causes of cerebral palsy are not really known, it can be difficult to assign fault or determine liability and responsibility for the injury and place it on the shoulders of any one party. The way this issue is usually addressed is by determining whether or not the underlying events or factors that are linked to the condition occurred naturally and out of the hands of any particular group or if there were factors or events within the control of a party or group that could have been addressed to prevent an individual from developing cerebral palsy.
To illustrate how this might work in a real-life case, consider a patient who developed cerebral palsy because of maternal obesity or as a result of abnormal cell migration during gestation. The mother’s obesity and cell migration are beyond the control of anyone, even the doctor handling your case, so it can be difficult to blame the condition on a doctor or his or her team.
Now consider a case in which a blood test that could have identified a potential birth complication was not performed, and as a result, a birth complication occurred and a child suffered physical injuries during the procedure and developed cerebral palsy as a result. In this case, it is clear that there were things that the delivery team could have but failed to do to protect the mother and her child from injury, and as a result, the medical team may be held liable for all damages that result.
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Depending on the severity of your child’s case and when you identify the disorder, you may be able to seek compensation for the following:
- Medical care and treatment costs.
- Rehabilitation and therapy costs.
- Specialist training and therapist costs.
- Medication and surgery costs.
- Doctor’s visits and ambulance costs.
- Test and imaging costs.
- Lost income or lost wages.
- Pain and suffering damages.
- Assistive device costs.
Our Kansas City cerebral palsy lawyer can help you determine which of your expenses and outlays qualify for compensation, so contact us today for legal assistance.
Statutes of Limitation
There are specific statutes of limitation or deadlines by when you are required to file a grievance or civil liability claim against the at-fault parties you deem responsible for your child’s birth injury or other costs related to those injuries. If you miss your filing window, you may forfeit your right to seek compensation. Your lawyer can help you identify the relevant filing deadlines that apply to your case.
With medical malpractice cases, it can be tricky to find the right statute of limitations because illnesses are not always identified or diagnosed as soon as they occur. For instance, with cerebral palsy, you may only notice health abnormalities in your child a few months after he or she is born. Because of this, you must file as soon as you suspect a health issue and our birth injury lawyer team can help you throughout the process.
Contact Us for Help
Our experienced birth injury attorneys are here to help you with your case. Please call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at (800) 222-9529 for free case consultation and to learn more about your rights and responsibilities when it comes to seeking compensation and damages for your child’s injuries.