What You Should Know About Cerebral Palsy Malpractice Lawsuits

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Medical Malpractice Published on July 13, 2023 and updated on July 20, 2023.

empty wheelchair in room with cp patient

Cerebral palsy is a permanent medical condition that severely impairs mobility. Victims may also have significant intellectual disabilities.

While there are various causes of this illness, sometimes doctors are the ones who are at fault. They may have committed medical malpractice during your child’s birth, such as by failing to take proper action when something caused your child to be deprived of oxygen in the womb.

Proving that a child developed cerebral palsy because of medical malpractice is a complex task that should be left to an experienced Maryland medical malpractice lawyer. If you think your child is a victim of cerebral palsy malpractice, call The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl for a free consultation. We have secured millions for medical malpractice victims.

Contact us to learn more: 410-297-0271. No upfront fees.

What is Cerebral Palsy Malpractice?

Cerebral palsy malpractice refers to various forms of medical malpractice resulting in a child being born with or suffering from cerebral palsy shortly after birth.

Medical malpractice refers to the failure to provide health care that meets accepted medical standards. Moreover, there was a failure to provide care like what would be provided by another doctor/medical professional in the same medical community who has reasonable competence, skill and a similar background.

If doctors failed to do what other similarly situated doctors were likely to do, and your child suffered cerebral palsy because of it, you may be able to file a Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit.

Types of Medical Malpractice That Can Cause Cerebral Palsy

These are some common examples of actions that could be considered medical malpractice:

  • Failure to monitor the fetus for signs of oxygen deprivation
  • Failure to respond to fetal distress in a timely fashion
  • Failure to perform a C-section
  • Failure to discover a prolapsed umbilical cord
  • Failure to identify risk factors that made oxygen deprivation more likely
  • Failure to use tools like forceps or vacuum extractors in the correct way
  • Failure to identify and treat infections in the mother
  • Failure to provide treatment for jaundice in the fetus, which can trigger brain damage

Who May Have the Right to File a Cerebral Palsy Malpractice Lawsuit?

Parents of children who have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy may be able to file lawsuits on behalf of their children. These lawsuits can include compensation for all your child’s medical expenses, along with compensation for home and vehicle modifications.

If you have questions about when you can sue for cerebral palsy malpractice, you should contact an experienced lawyer, as there are many factors to consider.

Is Cerebral Palsy the Hospital’s Fault?

It may be possible to hold the hospital liable for your child’s diagnosis, as they may be vicariously liable for the doctor’s action or inaction. However, the doctor might need to be an employee of the hospital for this legal theory to apply to your case. Many doctors are independent contractors, which means they are not employees.

That said, your child may have developed cerebral palsy because doctors were using faulty equipment to monitor your child for signs of distress. The equipment was most likely provided by the hospital, which means the hospital may bear liability for your child’s diagnosis.

If medical staff members who assisted doctors were negligent, and they are employees of the hospital, the hospital may be held liable for damages. Sometimes hospitals may be liable for hiring people who did not have the proper qualifications.

Compensation For Cerebral Palsy Victims

Treatment for cerebral palsy can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of a child’s life. While there is no cure for cerebral palsy, treatment can help your child manage symptoms. For example, treatment could potentially improve mobility or lead to cognitive improvements.

In a cerebral palsy malpractice case, you may be able to recover compensation for various damages, including:

  • Hospital visits
  • Doctor’s visits
  • Physical therapy
  • Cost of hiring a caregiver
  • Prescription medication
  • Speech therapy
  • Medical equipment (crutches, wheelchair, braces, power wheelchair, etc.)
  • Surgery
  • Occupational therapy
  • And more

What Are the Steps in a Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit?

Even though each case is unique, there are certain basic steps that are usually involved in a medical malpractice case:

Determining If You Have a Case

One of the first steps is contacting an experienced law firm to discuss what happened and determine if you may have a viable case. This is something that can be discussed with one of our lawyers in a free legal consultation.

Investigating the Situation

Once you hire a lawyer to represent you, he or she will need to conduct a comprehensive investigation to determine what happened during the delivery of your child and when malpractice occurred. He or she will need to collect records of your child’s delivery and records of your child’s diagnosis.

Your lawyer will also need to bring in a medical expert to write a certificate of merit explaining how medical malpractice occurred.

Filing a Lawsuit

The investigation may take significant time, as your lawyer not only needs to gather evidence but also prepare a lawsuit. Once the lawsuit is filed, there are many steps that precede a trial, such as discovery.

Settling The Case Vs. The Jury Reaching a Verdict

Sometimes the defendant will reach out to try to settle before the case goes to the jury. Other times the case goes to the jury, which decides whether to hold the defendant liable and award compensation or to rule in the defendant’s favor.

Is Cerebral Palsy a Permanent Disability?

Cerebral palsy is a permanent condition, as there is no cure. Many medical conditions that involve brain damage are permanent, as there is no way for the brain to recover. This is particularly true when the brain is deprived of oxygen for too long.

However, it may be possible for people with cerebral palsy to improve their symptoms, such as by gaining better mobility or overcoming some intellectual struggles. However, this requires continuous treatment.

Complications Associated With Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy affects a child’s movement and coordination. The child’s muscles are stiff, and reflexes become exaggerated, which is called spasticity. The child’s muscle tone can be either too floppy and loose or too stiff, which makes balance and coordination much more difficult.

Walking can be quite difficult, and children often need mobility aids to do so. They may also struggle to use fine motor skills, which can make it hard to pick up things or get dressed.

Cerebral palsy can also affect speech, swallowing and chewing. Children may deal with excessive drooling. Some victims struggle with hearing, vision and epilepsy.

Children with cerebral palsy often experience delays in developmental milestones, like crawling or sitting up.

Call Us to Discuss a Potential Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Cerebral palsy is a lifelong medical condition that is extremely expensive to treat. If it was caused by medical malpractice, you should seek legal help so you can pursue full compensation for medical costs and other damages.

Our firm has the resources and legal background to thoroughly investigate these cases, gather evidence, bring in the appropriate medical experts, and take the other steps needed to pursue maximum compensation.

You do not need to go through this alone. The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl are here to help at no upfront cost to you.

Contact our firm to discuss your legal options: 410-297-0271.