Approximately, 1 of every 323 people have cerebral palsy. Although most cases of cerebral palsy are unavoidable, up to 20% of cases are caused by birth injuries. If you believe your child’s cerebral palsy is the result of a birth injury, you may be entitled to compensation. Keep reading for a look at what to expect if you bring forward a cerebral palsy lawsuit.
1. You Must Establish Negligence
Typically, when you bring a personal injury lawsuit against another party, you need to prove that the individual or entity acted negligently. During pregnancy, labor, and delivery, a variety of different actions may constitute negligence, including the following:
- Improper use of forceps, vacuums, or other birth-assistance tools
- Failing to check the mother for infections such as chicken pox or herpes and allowing the infection to pass to the baby
- Not ordering a C-section for a distressed mother or infant
- Forgetting to monitor the baby’s heartbeat or other vitals during labor and after birth
- Delaying delivery to wait for the OB-GYN
- Letting meconium get into the baby’s lungs
- Dropping the baby or bumping their head against something after delivery
- Allowing untrained medical personnel to treat the baby
- Harboring unsafe conditions in a birthing center or hospital
Those are just a few examples of situations that may be considered negligent. When you consult with a personal injury attorney, be prepared to talk about what happened during your pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Then, your attorney can help you identify what type of negligence may have occurred to support a cerebral palsy lawsuit.
2. Special Rules Apply to Medical Negligence
Medical malpractice claims may have slightly different rules related to negligence than other personal injury claims. As a general rule, medical malpractice occurs in situations where other medical professionals would have not acted the same way. In other words, the healthcare professional failed to follow the reasonable standard of care.
If the actions were usual for the situation, yet the outcomes were not ideal, the courts may rule that the incident was simply an accident or an expected risk based on the situation.
3. A Variety of Parties May Be Liable
In addition to establishing negligence, you also have to prove which party is liable for your child’s injuries. With cerebral palsy birth injuries, the attending physician or midwife may be liable.
However, in some cases, you can hold the hospital or birthing center liable. In particular, the medical facility may be liable for hiring someone without the right credentials. Similarly, if the administrative staff at the hospital allowed a doctor to work while intoxicated, the facility may be liable in this situation.
4. Your Lawyer Can Help You Explain Your Damages
If someone is civilly liable for your child’s injuries, they must pay you a settlement for your damages. When your child has cerebral palsy, your damages can include medical bills, the cost of medical devices such as wheelchairs, physical therapy treatments, and all the other costs you incur taking care of the medical needs of a child with cerebral palsy.
On top of that, you may also be entitled to compensation for paying for special care for your child, modifying your home for your child’s disability, or losing wages while taking care of your child. Some parents even qualify for settlements related to loss of consortium due to the effect the condition has on their relationship with their child.
5. Lawsuits for Cerebral Palsy Involve Several Different Steps
Like most personal injury and medical malpractice cases, cerebral palsy lawsuits typically start with a consultation with an attorney. During that meeting, you talk with the attorney about your case, and they help you decide whether you should move forward with a lawsuit.
If you decide to pursue a settlement, your lawyer files a complaint against the negligent party. Then, there is a discovery period during which both sides share information. For instance, your lawyer may request records from the hospital, and the lawyer on the other side may ask for medical records showing the extent of your child’s cerebral palsy.
Often, these cases are settled in negotiation or mediation, but sometimes, they do go to court. The amount of your settlement gets established during these processes.
If your child has suffered a birth injury, we may be able to help. To learn more about our personal injury services and if you can file a lawsuit for cerebral palsy, contact us today at the Cochran Firm.