Discovering that your child has cerebral palsy (CP) can feel overwhelming, especially if the birth injury occurred due to someone else’s negligence. While disabled children can lead happy and fulfilling lives, children with CP have medical needs and challenges that can require lengthy and expensive treatment. This can make it difficult to get your child the care they deserve.
While some CP disorders occur naturally, such as from bacterial meningitis, others result from medical negligence during labor and delivery, which may entitle you to financial compensation. Seeking monetary compensation may alleviate your family’s financial burden and provide your child with a better quality of life.
Experienced birth injury lawyers can determine whether you have a case during a complimentary consultation. They can provide the legal guidance necessary to get the tools and resources you need to support your child.
Explore the role of a cerebral palsy attorney with Nessler & Associates.
Can Birth Injuries Cause Cerebral Palsy?
Many attorneys claim that CP results from birth injuries or medical negligence. While some forms of brain damage can result in CP, most cases are unrelated to birth injuries.
While it is commonly claimed that children can develop CP due to a lack of oxygen during birth, a 2021 study found that birth asphyxia plays a role between 10% and 20% of the time.
Another study published in 2015 reported that up to 31% of children with CP had genetic variations that caused or contributed to the condition.
Certain complications during pregnancy or birth can lead to oxygen deprivation, which can potentially cause brain damage. However, brain damage at birth does not always lead to CP, and these complications cannot always be prevented.
For instance, your doctor cannot prevent the placenta from detaching too early during the birth, though they can perform emergency procedures like a C-section to reduce the risk of harm to your child.
However, some situations can cause CP when your child is born. For instance, improper use of forceps can lead to head trauma, potentially causing hemorrhaging and brain damage that results in CP. In these cases, you may have a valid claim against the medical facility where you delivered your child.
What Are the Risk Factors for Cerebral Palsy?
While the precise cause of CP is unclear, some risk factors have been identified. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, premature delivery and low birth weight are some of the leading risk factors for CP, as premature or underweight babies may have underdeveloped brains.
Other risk factors include the mother’s preexisting medical conditions, like thyroid problems or intellectual disabilities.
Pregnancies with multiple births, such as twins or triplets, have been linked to a higher chance of CP. However, the increased risk is not entirely due to simply having multiples. Premature delivery and subsequent low birth weight are much more common in multi-birth pregnancies, raising the risk of CP.
Can Cerebral Palsy Be Prevented?
CP cannot be prevented when it’s genetic. However, there are some cases where CP may be avoidable with adequate prenatal care. For example, if the mother contracts an infection, the body’s immune system releases cytokines, which lead to inflammation.
This inflammation can cause fetal brain damage and subsequent CP. This makes it critical for prenatal care providers to reduce their patients’ risk of illness and infection and treat infections promptly.
Similarly, pregnancy complications that lead to oxygen deprivation (like the placenta detaching too early or umbilical cord prolapse) can cause CP if not handled quickly. If you notice signs of a problem during your pregnancy or experience complications during labor and the doctors or nurses don’t administer immediate treatment, your child may experience brain damage and potentially develop CP.
If you believe that inadequate medical care caused or contributed to your child’s CP, consider consulting with a cerebral palsy or medical malpractice lawyer. They can offer you relevant legal advice that will help you decide whether to pursue a medical malpractice case.
Is Cerebral Palsy Curable?
It isn’t possible to cure CP, as the condition is directly related to brain damage. However, many infants show signs of the condition within the first year of life. Since the brains of infants and young children can easily be rewired to learn new skills, an early diagnosis of CP can help your child access early intervention services, which can help them reach developmental milestones.
However, many early intervention services are not free to access. The state of Illinois requires most families to pay a Family Participation Fee for these services unless they fall below the poverty level. Additionally, most children with CP continue to need services once they age out of Early Intervention at three years old. However, services for older children may have different requirements for reduced or low-cost care.
Accessing services is significantly more difficult for families on tight budgets. The CDC suggests that medical costs for children with CP in the United States were ten times higher than for children without it. A skilled attorney can help you earn the compensation you need to pay for your child’s medical needs.
What Can a Cerebral Palsy Attorney Do?
Proving that CP resulted from medical negligence is challenging. Complications during labor and delivery do not guarantee you will win the case, and CP cannot yet be detected in utero, which makes it difficult to prove that the condition resulted from negligence or birth injuries.
However, if inadequate medical care or a medical error contributed to your pregnancy complications, an attorney may be able to file a successful medical malpractice claim to help you recover compensation.
An attorney can help you gather evidence of medical malpractice, consult with medical professionals to determine the likely outcome of your cerebral palsy case, and build a strong argument against the medical professionals and healthcare facility that delivered your child.
It’s important to start looking for an attorney as soon as possible. Illinois has a two-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice, meaning that you can only file a claim within two years of your child’s CP diagnosis. The sooner you consult with an attorney, the less likely you are to pass the statute of limitations.
Arrange Your Free Consultation with Nessler & Associates Today
If your child was born with CP or suffered the effects of a birth injury, consulting a cerebral palsy lawyer in Illinois can help you recover damages that will pay for your child’s medical needs.
When you hire the law firm of Nessler & Associates to represent you and your child, you can rest assured that your claim is in good hands. We respect our attorney-client relationship and ensure we communicate with you every step of your case.
Our Chicago cerebral palsy attorneys are ready to review your case and fight for you and your child to get the compensation you deserve.
We serve the city of Chicago, IL, and the surrounding areas. Call us at (800) 727-8010 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.