Cerebral Palsy Lawyers
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Cerebral palsy (CP) is caused by a brain injury or malfunction that occurs before, during or immediately after birth. Although this type of injury can occur naturally, it is often the result of a medical professional’s negligence during the birthing process. For parents, finding out that their child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy can be devastating news. Children with cerebral palsy generally have physical and cognitive difficulties for the rest of their lives, and most will never be fully independent.
If a medical professional’s actions or inaction led to your child’s injury, you may have legal options. The cerebral palsy lawyers at Janet, Janet & Suggs have decades of experience helping families obtain the compensation they need for a secure future.
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What to Know About Cerebral Palsy Cases
In many CP cases, the child’s injuries were caused by medical negligence. By filing a cerebral palsy lawsuit, the child’s family can ensure that the responsible party is held liable and seek damages to help pay for their child’s care. Some of the most common acts of medical negligence in CP cases include:
- Anesthesia errors and mistakes
- Birth injuries due to malpractice
- Delayed C-section
- Delayed or mishandled delivery
- Failure to detect birth defects
- Failure to diagnose, treat or test for infection
- Failure to recognize or treat severe jaundice
- Failure to effectively resuscitate a newborn who needs help breathing
- Failure to perform C-section
- Failure to recognize signs of fetal distress
- Failure to prepare for and respond to hypoxia, when the child is not receiving enough oxygen
- Failure to respond to severe dehydration at birth
- Fetal monitoring negligence
- Hospital negligence, errors, medical malpractice
- Improper use of vacuums or forceps during delivery
- Medication errors and mismanagement
- Misdiagnosis of fetal position in the uterus
- Misinterpretation of test results
- Mismanaged labor and delivery / neonatal injuries
- Neglecting to conduct specialized tests during pregnancy
- Umbilical catheter misplacement
Read on for additional information about cerebral palsy cases, and know that you can always contact us at JJS if you have further questions.
What Causes Cerebral Palsy?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the brain or other abnormal brain development that affects a child’s intellectual functioning and/or ability to control body movement. Some of the most common causes of cerebral palsy include:
- Premature birth
- Infections during pregnancy
- Untreated jaundice and kernicterus
- Birth complications
- Lack of oxygen to the brain
- Lack of blood to the brain
- Injuries during birth
- Infections after birth
What are the Elements of a Cerebral Palsy Case?
In order to prove that your child’s cerebral palsy was caused by medical malpractice, our attorneys must be able to establish four things:
- The standard of care. Medical professionals have a legal duty to provide care that is equal to what other medical professionals with similar training would provide in a similar situation. Often, healthcare providers will make arguments about the applicable standard of care (i.e., what they needed to do in a given situation), but experts will say otherwise.
- A medical professional breached the standard of care. If a medical professional fails to act as others would in the same situation, they have breached their duty of care. In a cerebral palsy case, failing to meet the standard of care could include things like ignoring warning signs on a fetal heart monitor indicating that the baby is not tolerating labor well, or failing to perform necessary blood tests.
- The breach of duty of care caused your child’s injury. Your attorney must be able to show that the action or inaction of medical professionals during the birth of your child caused brain damage that led to your child being diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
- Your child’s cerebral palsy diagnosis resulted in damages. Claimants must show that their child’s diagnosis resulted in medical expenses, pain and suffering, a loss of earning capacity or other damages.
Which Medical Professionals Can Be Held Liable for Your Child's Cerebral Palsy?
Preventable cerebral palsy can be caused by the actions or inaction of any healthcare professional involoved in the pregnancy and birthing process including, but not limited to:
- Labor and delivery nurses
- Nurse anesthetists
- Nurse midwives
- Physician assistants
- Medical technicians
How Long Do I Have to File a Case?
If you suspect that your child’s cerebral palsy was caused by a medical professional’s negligence, it is vital that you contact an experienced cerebral palsy lawyer as soon as possible because there are strict deadlines on how long you have to file a cerebral palsy lawsuit.
Each state has a different statute of limitations. In addition to the deadline for filing a case, many states require claimants to complete initial steps within even shorter deadlines, especially if the treatment occurred at a public hospital. If you miss the deadlines in your state, you will lose your opportunity to file a case and recover compensation. If contacted quickly, a cerebral palsy attorney can help determine the deadlines and regulations of your state and ensure your case is filed in time.
How Much Compensation Am I Entitled To?
Our cerebral palsy lawyers will work with you and your child’s healthcare specialists to create a life care plan that will estimate the costs of your child’s care throughout their life. We will then work to obtain the maximum compensation we can to help ensure all of those costs are covered.
Depending on your unique circumstances, it may be possible to recover a variety of types of compensation, such as:
Medical expenses. The medical expenses associated with caring for a child with cerebral palsy can be overwhelming. For this reason, the law allows victims of negligence to recover compensation to help cover the costs associated with an injury. This can include:
- Doctors’ visits
- Medical tests and procedures
- Physical therapy
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Counseling or psychological therapy
- Assistive equipment, such as wheelchairs
- Home modifications
- Long-term care
- Special education costs
It is vital that you keep track of all of your child’s medical expenses. You should also maintain copies of all of your child’s medical records. If you do not have your child’s medical records, JJS can assist you in requesting and reviewing these. We can even often gain access to records that are under lock-and-key.
Lost earnings. If your child will not be able to work (as is the case with most severely injured children), it may be possible to obtain compensation for their lost earning capacity — in other words, the money they would have made over their lifetime if not for the injury. In addition, if you or a loved one has lost wages from having to reduce your hours at work or having to quit working altogether to take care of a child with cerebral palsy, it may be possible to obtain compensation for the wages and income you have lost.
Pain and suffering. Depending on the circumstances of your child’s injury, it may be possible to recover compensation for the physical pain or suffering the child experienced. This can also include the mental anguish and suffering they experienced.
Diminished quality of life. Due to the debilitating qualities of this type of birth injury, it is likely that your child will experience a reduced quality of life. Our cerebral palsy lawyers will fight tirelessly to help you obtain compensation that will attempt to make up for this great loss.
What Are the Different Types of Cerebral Palsy?
There are several types of cerebral palsy, and the compensation you may be able to recover will depend on the type of cerebral palsy your child has and the level of your child’s disability and impairment in relation to their condition.
Cerebral palsy can cause a child to struggle with a variety of fine motor skills and everyday activities, depending on which type of cerebral palsy diagnosis your child has.
The three main types of cerebral palsy include:
- Spastic cerebral palsy. As the most common type of cerebral palsy, spastic cerebral palsy affects about 80 percent of people with cerebral palsy. This condition causes an individual to have increased muscle tone, which makes muscles stiff and can make movement awkward. The most common types of spastic cerebral palsy include:
- Spastic diplegia/diparesis. This condition mostly affects the legs and may not affect the arms at all. Children with this condition have difficulty walking because of tight muscles in the legs.
- Spastic hemiplegia/hemiparesis. This type of CP affects only one side of the body and generally affects the arm more than the leg.
- Spastic quadriplegia/quadriparesis. This is the most severe form of cerebral palsy, as it affects the entire body. It can prevent an individual from being able to walk and may also come with additional health complications such as developmental disabilities, seizures, and hearing, vision or speech problems.
- Dyskinetic cerebral palsy. Dyskinetic cerebral palsy also includes athetoid, dystonic and choreoathetoid cerebral palsies, which can cause involuntary or uncontrolled muscle movements that are slow or quick and jerky. Additionally, the muscle tone can change daily or more often, varying from being too tight to too loose.
- Ataxic cerebral palsy. Children with ataxic cerebral palsy have poor balance and coordination, which can cause them to be unsteady when walking. They can also struggle with quick movements or those that require a lot of control.
Some additional symptoms of cerebral palsy that can accompany any cerebral palsy diagnosis include:
- Difficulty swallowing, sucking or eating
- Delays in speech development or difficulty speaking
- Difficulty picking up items and holding them
- Limited range of motion
- Neuromuscular issues
How a Cerebral Palsy Lawyer Can Help with Your Case
Helping your child manage all of these medical issues could cost you up to tens of millions of dollars over the course of their life. Having a reputable cerebral palsy lawyer on your side can help you recover the compensation you need for your child’s future.
At JJS, our cerebral palsy attorneys have decades of experience handling a variety of cases involving all of these types of cerebral palsy. Major settlements and verdicts from our cases have provided compensation that will take care of our clients and their children for the rest of their lives.
Locations We Serve
Because our cerebral palsy attorneys have court approval to practice in various states throughout the country, we are familiar with the many laws and regulations that vary between states. Our cerebral palsy lawyers have handled cases throughout the country.
We are licensed to practice in more than 10 states. We are proud to serve Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington, DC. We have also been granted permission to practice in many more states with court approval.
Why Choose Janet, Janet & Suggs to Help with Your Cerebral Palsy Case?
At JJS, we are committed to helping parents get the compensation they need to take care of their children. We have helped over 30,000 families nationwide.
The cerebral palsy lawyers at Janet, Janet & Suggs have decades of experience helping families obtain the compensation they need to take care of their children for life. Managing principal Howard Janet is recognized as one of the best cerebral palsy lawyers in the nation. Having served the cause for 40 years, he has gained the knowledge and legal skills needed to help our clients obtain justice.
Partners Kenneth Suggs and Dov Apfel are also nationally recognized for their legal expertise in cases of birth injuries. Apfel is nationally known as a child advocate and often consults with families and lawyers throughout the country about standard of care and causation issues arising from birth injury claims. Another one of our partners, Giles Manley, has more than 20 years of experience as a board-certified OBGYN. He joined the legal profession to help families whose babies suffered birth injuries.
Together, our medical malpractice, birth injury and cerebral palsy lawyers have a proven record of identifying cerebral palsy lawsuits caused by negligence and fighting to get maximum compensation for our clients.
In addition to being a fighting force in the courtroom and at the settlement table, our cerebral palsy attorneys are committed to defending the rights of cerebral palsy patients in all aspects of their lives. Our victories in court have effectively lengthened the time limits for filing claims for victims of fraudulent physicians and expanded the right for children to be compensated for their injuries. We also helped create the Cerebral Palsy Family Network to help all children with cerebral palsy by helping like-minded families connect and get all the information they need.
Some of our most notable case results include:
- $33.5 Million–Delayed C-section A jury awarded this record-breaking verdict after finding that delays in performing an urgently needed cesarean section resulted in a baby developing severe brain damage and cerebral palsy.
- $24.25 Million Failure to Diagnose A record-breaking medical malpractice jury verdict, obtained for a child who suffered brain damage and cerebral palsy because her doctors failed to properly diagnose and respond to an airway obstruction.
- $18.1 Million Mismanaged Labor and Delivery Verdict obtained on behalf of a child who developed spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy after the mother was taken off of continuous electronic fetal monitoring and placed on intermittent monitoring despite known risk factors.
- $18 Million Medication Error A settlement obtained in a case against a pharmacy that negligently dispensed incorrect medication to a pregnant mother, resulting in her child developing a neural tube defect, resulting in paraplegia and other significant injuries.
- $17.5 Million Mismanaged Delivery Settlement obtained on behalf of a child who suffered brain damage and developed cerebral palsy as a result of mismanagement of labor and delivery.
- $15.5 Million Delayed Delivery An OBGYN’s failure to come to the hospital to assess and deliver a baby caused brain damage and cerebral palsy, resulting in a record-breaking verdict.
- $14 Million Mismanaged Labor and Delivery A settlement obtained on behalf of a family whose child developed hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and cerebral palsy as a result of mismanaged labor and delivery.
- $13.5 Million Fetal Monitoring Errors This record jury verdict was obtained for a child’s cerebral palsy that resulted from the failure to properly interpret and respond to signs of distress that appeared on electronic fetal monitoring tracings.
- $13 Million Poor Postoperative Care A settlement received in a case against a U.S. government-employed healthcare provider whose poor postoperative care resulted in brain damage and cerebral palsy.
- $11.5 Million Delayed Resuscitation Settlement obtained on behalf of a family whose child suffered acute hypoxic ischemic brain injury as a result of delayed resuscitation at a U.S. Naval Hospital.
Janet, Janet & Suggs is committed to helping you get the compensation you need to take care of your child. We do not charge any upfront costs. You pay us nothing until we recover money for you. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about your rights and steps for filing a lawsuit.