Steps to Take if You Suspect Your Child Has Cerebral Palsy from Birth Injury
Cerebral palsy is a disorder that affects muscle tone, movement, and motor skills. It is caused by damage to the developing brain, most often before, during, or shortly after birth. If you suspect your child may have cerebral palsy from a birth injury, there are important steps you should take.
Stalwart Law Group has decades of experience guiding clients through birth injury cases. Our team of talented and dedicated attorneys are available to give you personalized and strategic attention. Call our offices today at 310-954-2000 for your free consultation.
1. Get a Diagnosis from a Medical Professional
The first step is to get an official diagnosis from a doctor. Usually a pediatrician or pediatric neurologist can make an initial diagnosis of cerebral palsy. They will evaluate your child’s symptoms, medical history, and order tests like an MRI or CT scan to look for signs of brain damage. It’s important to get an early diagnosis so you can start interventions and therapies as soon as possible to support your child’s development. Don’t delay in seeing a doctor if you have any concerns.
2. Understand the Types and Causes of Cerebral Palsy
There are three main types of cerebral palsy:
Spastic cerebral palsy - causes stiff, jerky movements
Dyskinetic cerebral palsy - leads to uncontrolled, slow movements
Ataxic cerebral palsy - affects balance and coordination
Understanding which type your child has can help guide treatments. In terms of causes, most cases of cerebral palsy are due to brain damage before, during or shortly after birth. Potential causes include:
Oxygen deprivation during labor and delivery
Infection in the mother or baby during pregnancy or birth
Premature birth and low birth weight
Bleeding in the brain of the fetus or newborn (stroke)
Errors during labor and delivery
Knowing the potential cause in your child’s case is helpful when exploring your legal options.
3. Document Your Child’s Medical History
Keep detailed records about your pregnancy, your child’s birth, and health history since birth. Important documents to collect include:
Prenatal and birth medical records - ultrasounds, fetal monitoring strips, lab results
Hospital notes and logs from labor and delivery
Pediatric records tracking developmental milestones
Notes from any specialty providers like therapists or specialists
Receipts for medical expenses, equipment, therapies
Thorough medical documentation will help build a strong case if you decide to pursue legal action.
4. Speak with a Birth Injury Lawyer
Consulting with an experienced birth injury lawyer is highly recommended if you suspect medical negligence. Birth injury cases are complex. An attorney can evaluate your case, pinpoint areas of malpractice, and advise you of your legal rights. They can also refer you to medical experts who can review records and provide opinions to support your claim. Key questions to discuss:
Do I have a strong case for medical negligence based on records?
What are my options for seeking compensation?
What is the process and timeline for a birth injury lawsuit?
How much support can I expect from a lawyer throughout the case?
A birth injury attorney can guide you through the legal process so you can focus on caring for your child.
5. Consider Joining a Cerebral Palsy Support Group
Caring for a child with cerebral palsy can be challenging. Seeking out support groups for parents can provide emotional support and practical guidance. Local groups let you connect with other families facing similar hurdles. Online groups also offer forums to ask questions and share advice. Joining a community that understands your experience can make a big difference.
Taking Legal Action for Your Child
If medical negligence during pregnancy or delivery caused your child’s cerebral palsy, you may be eligible for significant compensation. Money can help pay for your child’s extensive medical bills, therapy, equipment, education, and future care needs. An experienced birth injury attorney can help you build a strong case and fight for maximum compensation.
Key steps in the legal process may include:
Reviewing medical records to establish errors
Consulting medical experts to analyze negligence
Calculating past and future medical costs
Negotiating a settlement or taking the case to trial
Helping you find the right care and resources for your child
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the symptoms of cerebral palsy?
Symptoms include delayed milestones like rolling over, sitting up, crawling or walking, muscle tightness or spasms, abnormal gait, coordination issues, or swallowing and feeding difficulties.
2. What medical costs are covered in a birth injury settlement?
Compensation can include medical expenses, rehabilitation, therapies, special education, equipment, home accommodations, and lifelong care.
3. How can I find the right lawyer for my birth injury case?
Look for a birth injury attorney experienced in cerebral palsy and birth injury litigation. Ask about their case history, legal team, and resources to support your child long-term.
4. Who is liable in birth injury cases?
Depending on errors, liability may fall on doctors, nurses, the hospital, or other healthcare providers. A birth injury attorney can pinpoint accountable parties.
5. How long do I have to file a birth injury lawsuit?
Deadlines vary by state, but cases must generally be filed anywhere from 1-6 years after the injury occurred. Don’t delay in seeking legal counsel.
Choosing a Birth Injury Lawyer
Don’t hesitate to contact our talented and knowledgeable birth injury lawyers at Stalwart Law Group to protect your rights and your child’s future. Our attorneys have graduated from top law schools and are prepared to support you and your case. Justice may be a long process, but the outcome and results our attorneys achieve can make a tremendous difference for your family. Call us today for more information at 310-954-2000.