Cerebral palsy is the most common movement disorder among children in the United States. Today, approximately 1 in 323 children suffer from cerebral palsy. The disorder occurs when an infant’s brain becomes damages before, during, or after birth. Many times, cerebral palsy is the result of a birth injury.
If your child suffers from cerebral palsy because of medical negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the Los Angeles birth injury lawyers at Citywide Law Group for help. We understand the impact cerebral palsy can have on you and your family and will fight to get you the money you deserve. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.
Understanding Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that develops when the brain is damaged during development or birth. Damage to the brain in non-progressive. This means that the damage is contained and will not become worse over time. Individuals with cerebral palsy have difficulty controlling their movement, balance, and posture. There are actually four types of cerebral palsy: spastic, athetoid, ataxic, and mixed.
Spastic Cerebral Palsy: Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common type of the disorder, accounting for 80 percent of all cases. This type of the disorder is characterized by stiff muscles and jerky, spastic movement.
Athetoid Cerebral Palsy: Athetoid cerebral palsy is characterized by sudden involuntary movements, slow movement, and high muscle tone.
Ataxic Cerebral Palsy: Ataxic cerebral palsy is typically diagnosed in approximately 10 percent of all cases. This type of the disorder is characterized by balance issues, difficulty walking, and shaking.
Mixed Cerebral Palsy: Children are diagnosed with mixed cerebral palsy when they exhibit symptoms that fall into two or more categories.
Cerebral Palsy Signs and Symptoms
While some children will exhibit early symptoms of cerebral palsy, the onset of the disorder can be delayed. In fact, some children may not exhibit symptoms until they reach pre-school.
Signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy in children include:
- Limited motor function or control
- Inability to roll over
- Inability to press both hands together
- Uses one hand dominantly while keeping the other in a fist
- Crawling is dominated by one side of the body, and
- Scooting around on the rear rather than crawling on all fours.
Symptoms of cerebral palsy will become more noticeable as the child ages. If you notice that your child has difficulty with motor function or balance it is important to seek medical help.
Causes of Cerebral Palsy in Los Angeles
Cerebral palsy is the result of abnormal development or damage to the brain. It is not uncommon for children to develop cerebral palsy because they did not receive proper prenatal care or suffered a birth injury. Commonly reported causes of cerebral palsy include:
- Breech birth
- Forceps delivery
- Vacuum delivery, or
- Deprivation of oxygen or blood during delivery.
Did you experience a difficult childbirth? Do you believe that your child may have suffered a brain injury? If so, they may be at risk of developing cerebral palsy. Our attorneys are here to help you understand your legal options. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.
Cerebral Palsy and Medical Negligence
You aren’t a specialist in obstetrics, but your doctor is. When you are pregnant you trust your team of doctors to protect your child. That trust begins when you schedule your first prenatal appointment to the moment the doctor helps to bring your child into this world. When your doctor or other medical professional violates your trust by acting negligently, your world can turn upside-down.
Medical negligence occurs when a medical professional has and breaches a duty of care. Since medical professionals are experts in what they do, they are held to a higher standard than most other people. In California, doctors must demonstrate the “level of skill, knowledge and care in diagnosis and treatment” that other doctors in the same field would use “in similar circumstances.”
If your doctor makes a mistake while you are under their care, they may be liable for damages you sustain. Mistakes that could contribute to or cause cerebral palsy include:
- Undiagnosed infections during pregnancy
- Failure to monitor the child during prenatal care
- Ignored or undiagnosed fetal distress during delivery
- Failing to use proper care and technique when using tools to assist a delivery
- Failing to perform a C-Section when medically necessary
- Delaying a C-Section when medically necessary
- Failing to identify that a newborn is not receiving the oxygen it needs, or
- Failing to properly identify the child’s position in the womb.
How do you know if your doctor has been negligent? At Citywide Law Group, our attorneys work with expert witnesses to identify the level of skill, care, and knowledge that should have been demonstrated in your particular situation. We will then gather evidence to show that your doctor’s actions or inactions did not rise to the level of care that was necessary to protect you and your child.
Statute of Limitations for Birth Injury Cases in California
Most personal injury claims in California must be filed within two years of an accident or injury. However, birth injury cases are different. This is great news since your child may not even begin to show signs of cerebral palsy until they are three or four years old. In order to make sure that parents are able to file a lawsuit against a negligent medical provider, the state of California allows claims to be filed until the child is eight.
It is important to make sure that you speak with an attorney as soon as you suspect that your child has suffered a birth injury. You do not want your claim to denied because of a legal technicality. At Citywide Law Group, a Los Angeles personal injury attorney will make sure that your claim is filed within the applicable statute of limitations.
Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit Damages
Having a child with cerebral palsy can make your life challenging. Your child may need special medical devices to help them walk and require frequent medical care. Rehabilitation is often necessary to help your child cope with their physical limitations. These (and other) costs can add up quickly.
According to the CDC, the medical costs for children with cerebral palsy can be excessive. When a child suffers from cerebral palsy, medical costs tend to be 10 times greater than for a child without cerebral palsy. When a child suffers from an intellectual disability and cerebral palsy, medical costs are 26 times higher.
Managing cerebral palsy can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of a child’s life. Most of us do not have that kind of money saved away. Even if your family is covered by health insurance, out-of-pocket costs can be crippling. Fortunately, California allows you to seek damages from the person responsible for the injury.
Our cerebral palsy attorneys will fight to recover damages on your behalf, including those for:
- Medical bills
- Medical devices
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Reduced earning capacity
- Loss of enjoyment of life, and more.
Call us today to schedule a free consultation with our compassionate legal team. We know that money won’t make your child better, but do understand how a financial award can make your life a little bit easier.
How Our Los Angeles Cerebral Palsy Attorneys Can Help You
When you are caring for a child with cerebral palsy, the last thing you need to do is handle a lawsuit, as well. Hiring an attorney will not only give you time to take care of your family, but also help you maximize the amount of money you get.
Here’s how our Los Angeles cerebral palsy attorneys will help you get the money you deserve. We will:
- Thoroughly investigate your case and determine what caused your child’s injury
- Identify any medical professional whose negligence may have contributed to the injury
- Work with experts to assess the monetary value of your personal injury case
- Prevent insurance companies from intimidating you into accepting a lowball offer, and
- Hold negligent parties accountable and demand a fair settlement.
Does your child suffer from cerebral palsy because of a birth injury? You have the right to hold a negligent doctor or medical professional responsible for damages. Our attorneys are here to help you maximize your financial settlement or award. Call us today to schedule a free case evaluation. We’ll review your case, explain the process of recovering compensation, and answer any questions you have.