Frequently Asked Cerebral Palsy Legal Questions

When your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, your head is spinning. You want to place blame on yourself for not taking care of your baby better, and you have a ton of questions about cerebral palsy, about the law process, and about what to expect for the future. If you have questions regarding cerebral palsy, take a look at the following information.

What Causes Cerebral Palsy?

While you may want to place blame on yourself for not having taken better care of yourself and your baby, it’s important to recognize that you didn’t cause cerebral palsy. cerebral palsy is a birth injury that happens in the brain –effectively, a brain injury. This form of brain injury happens right before or right after delivery, and is usually attributed to two different causes: one cause is that the brain is compressed for too long in the birth canal, and the other cause is that the child had oxygen deprivation at delivery (usually from a kinked or prolapsed umbilical cord). cerebral palsy is a disability, not a disease, because the effects of cerebral palsy on the child are responses to the injury, not a biological response to a disease. While doctors don’t know all of the causes of cerebral palsy yet, doctors do know that it’s not the mother’s fault, and about 10% of the time, it’s due to medical malpractice.

Could Cerebral Palsy Have Been Prevented?

It is very likely that cerebral palsy is a preventable disability. Often children born with cerebral palsy would have otherwise been born as normal, healthy children because cerebral palsy is an injury and no child is genetically predisposed to get cerebral palsy. To that end, cerebral palsy could have been prevented. Sometimes it is a matter of what measures the medical staff took, and sometimes it’s other conditions or complications with pregnancy that should have been diagnosed and treated before delivery.

How Do I Know My Doctor is Responsible for My Child’s Cerebral Palsy?

Only an expert can decide if your doctor is responsible for your child’s cerebral palsy, and one form of an expert could be a cerebral palsy lawyer who has seen several different forms of cerebral palsy, and several cases all related to medical malpractice. One way of knowing if you’re the victim of medical malpractice, however, is if you have an expert witness, someone who saw something abnormal happen, or a qualified physician that can critique your doctor’s work and report whether he or she upheld the standards of accepted medical care.

How Long Should a Cerebral Palsy Case Take?

cerebral palsy cases are long episodes that involve gathering paperwork, gathering testimonies from experts and specialists, and various other waiting periods and requirements depending on what your state requires for such cases. Generally these cases take 18 months to two years to go to court from the filing date. Sometimes cases can go by faster if the defendant is willing to settle, preventing the process of going to court.

What Will the Settlement Be Like?

Your settlement should be established based on the lifetime needs of your child and how much those needs cost. This is established in a document called the Life Care Plan, a document that is compiled from a group of experts that take all of your child’s needs into consideration and create an estimated list of the kinds of therapies, medications, treatments, and aids your child is expected to need at various stages of his or her life. Your court settlement, then, aspires to not only meet that bottom line figure, but to get a little more in an effort to match cost inflation over the years, or other unforeseen circumstances.