Compassionate Birth Injury Lawyers Serving Families Affected by Cerebral Palsy
The birth of a child should be a thrilling, momentous occasion for parents and family members. Unfortunately, if any aspect of prenatal treatment, labor, or delivery is met with negligence by a medical professional and causes injury to the child, the results can be devastating.
Cerebral palsy is one of the most common birth injuries, with over 10,000 cases reported each year. If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy due to a doctor, nurse, or midwife's negligence, the team of attorneys at Leav & Steinberg LLP is here to help you navigate the process of making a birth injury claim. We will build a case to help you and your family receive compensation for the additional medical expenses and emotional damages.
What Are the Causes of Cerebral Palsy?
Unfortunately, cerebral palsy is a disorder that can't be cured. It is caused by negligence or improper care by a medical professional during prenatal care, labor, or delivery. There are many possible causes of cerebral palsy birth injuries, such as inadequate fetal monitoring throughout pregnancy, excessive force during delivery, improper use of an epidural, a C-section birth not performed early enough to prevent brain damage, and failure to recognize warning vital signs in mother or baby. These and any other careless medical mistakes made by a medical professional can cause brain damage and lead to a cerebral palsy diagnosis.
What Are the Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy?
Most children are diagnosed with cerebral palsy as infants. There are many signs of cerebral palsy, but not all symptoms may be present. Common symptoms include irregular reflexes, difficulty with speech, coordination issues, weak or reduced muscle tone, and developmental delays. Children may not show symptoms immediately after birth but most are prevalent by the time they turn three.
What Types of Cerebral Palsy Are There?
There are three main forms of cerebral palsy: spastic, ataxic, and athetoid.
- Spastic Cerebral Palsy: This most common form affects 70-80% of those diagnosed. Symptoms include jerky muscle movements, muscles that are tight and stiff, limited mobility, and an irregular gait.
- Ataxic Cerebral Palsy: Affecting only 5-10% of those with cerebral palsy, this is the least common form. Sufferers have poor depth perception and lack a strong sense of balance, resulting in poor coordination and motor skills, an unstable gait, and tremors.
- Athetoid (Dyskinetic) Cerebral Palsy: This form is caused by injury to one or two specific sections of the brain—the basal ganglia and cerebellum—and is indicated by involuntary movement of the hands, arms, legs, and feet.
- Mixed Cerebral Palsy: Combining two or more types of cerebral palsy, but most commonly this form is a combination of spastic and athetoid.
How Is Medical Malpractice Determined, and Who Is Liable?
We cannot overstate the hardships for children who have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and their parents, which is why we want to help those who have been affected by this preventable disorder. To hold the medical professional(s) liable for treatment or birth injury that resulted in a cerebral palsy diagnosis, medical malpractice must be determined. There must be proof that the medical provider violated the standard of care, directly resulting in the patient's injury.
In the case of proving a birth injury that resulted in your child's cerebral palsy diagnosis, you would work closely with a personal injury lawyer to determine that negligence had occurred. They will consult expert medical witnesses, typically an obstetrician, to gather the necessary evidence to prove that the standard of care was breached in the prenatal care, labor, or delivery process.
Compensation for a Cerebral Palsy Birth Injury
In New York State, the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice claim is normally two and a half years from when it occurred; however, when children are involved, the statute of limitations is extended to ten years. As mentioned above, a medical expert will be consulted when filing a medical malpractice claim. Your attorney will submit a certificate of merit proving your case was reviewed by a medical professional when filing your claim. Once medical malpractice is legally determined and the settlement amount is approved, compensation can be awarded.
Why Choose Leav & Steinberg for Your Case?
While we know no amount of compensation can truly restore the pain and suffering experienced by a cerebral palsy diagnosis, we are here to help families receive the justice they deserve. We have years of experience in medical malpractice cases with favorable results for many of our clients throughout New York. If you believe your child's cerebral palsy diagnosis was caused by the negligence of a medical professional, contact Leav & Steinberg for a free consultation today.