Mistakes to Avoid: Cerebral Palsy from a Birth Injury
Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders affecting movement, posture, and muscle tone. It is caused by damage to the developing brain, Most often before, during, or shortly after birth. If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy due to a birth injury, it is understandable to feel overwhelmed. However, it is important to avoid common mistakes and take the right steps to get your child the support and compensation they deserve.
Stalwart Law Group is a full-service plaintiff law firm with a track record of success. We provide our clients with legal guidance, knowledge, and the advanced skillset needed to win complex cases. Call our team today at 310-954-2000 for more information.
Not Seeking Legal Counsel
One of the biggest mistakes parents can make is not seeking legal counsel from a qualified birth injury lawyer after a cerebral palsy diagnosis. The reasons to consult a lawyer include:
To understand your legal rights and options if negligence occurred during labor and delivery. You may be entitled to compensation to cover your child's treatment and care costs.
To have an expert review your medical records for potential errors and violations from healthcare providers.
To negotiate with insurance companies. Birth injury lawyers have experience dealing with insurers.
To prove your case in court if a fair settlement cannot be reached. An attorney can build a strong case to demonstrate negligence.
Consulting an experienced birth injury attorney during this difficult time can help protect your child's rights.
Not Gathering Evidence Promptly
It is crucial to gather evidence promptly if you suspect negligence. Important records include:
Prenatal and labor/delivery medical records. These can reveal issues during pregnancy or birth.
Imaging scans taken of the baby's brain around birth. These can demonstrate damage/abnormalities.
Pediatric records following the birth. Early signs of cerebral palsy may be noted.
Statements from medical staff or witnesses to alleged errors.
The sooner this evidence is collected, the stronger your case. An attorney can obtain these confidential records and assemble a timeline of what went wrong. Don't delay in looking into potential errors.
Waiting Too Long to File a Claim
Another common mistake is waiting too long to pursue legal action. And then have the claim expire. Time limits called "statutes of limitations" restrict how long parents have to sue for birth injuries. These limits often range.
Working with a birth injury lawyer quickly ensures you take action in time to preserve your rights. If the window expires, you lose the ability to recover damages - regardless of how legitimate the case is.
Failing to Understand All Your Child's Needs
While you may be focused on immediate medical interventions, your child will have a lifetime of evolving needs. Be proactive in understanding your child's:
Ongoing medical needs like medications, therapy, surgeries, equipment, etc.
Educational needs including special instruction, therapies, and accommodations.
Daily living assistance for self-care, mobility, communication, and more.
Psychological needs such as counseling for emotional health.
Financial needs for medical costs, specialized equipment, home/vehicle modifications, and loss of future income.
Consult medical, therapy, legal, and financial experts to map out a comprehensive care plan. This will improve your child's quality of life.
Not Exploring All Available Resources
After a diagnosis, learn about every public resource and private support available, such as:
Government assistance like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security benefits.
Nonprofit organizations that help families with disabilities.
Community support groups for parents.
Respite care services to take breaks from caregiving.
Special education services through your school district.
Financial assistance programs for equipment, therapy costs, medications, etc.
Don't assume you won't qualify for help. Seek out every potential resource you can find. Your child needs a strong support network.
Being Intimidated by Insurance Companies
Insurance companies have teams of adjusters and attorneys working to limit payouts for birth injury claims. They may use tactics to pressure families into quick settlements that undervalue cases. With legal representation, parents can stand up to insurers and demand maximum compensation. Never take an insurer's first offer without your lawyer's review. Be prepared for negotiations.
Not Focusing on Your Family's Emotional Needs
A birth injury diagnosis causes enormous stress for parents and siblings. Make time for self-care, counseling, couple's therapy, family support groups, or other resources to help your family cope emotionally. Your child also needs encouragement and a nurturing environment. Don't neglect the psychological impact on everyone. Addressing mental health needs will improve your family's wellbeing.
Avoiding these common mistakes will help put your child on the strongest path forward after a cerebral palsy diagnosis. Work closely with medical, therapy, legal, financial, and community experts to build a comprehensive support plan. While each day brings new challenges, remember that many resources can help your child live a fulfilling life. With proper care and support, your child's potential is limitless.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do I know if my child's cerebral palsy was caused by medical negligence?
Consult an experienced birth injury lawyer, who can review your medical records for errors like delayed C-section, oxygen deprivation, improper use of forceps, failure to treat infections, and other mistakes. Negligence is more likely if problems occurred during delivery.
2. What types of compensation might my child be entitled to?
Compensation can include coverage of past and future medical costs, rehabilitation services, educational support, in-home care, mobility equipment, home/vehicle modifications, and more. Non-economic damages like pain and suffering may also be awarded. An attorney can seek fair compensation.
3. What should I do if the statute of limitations is close to expiring?
Contact a qualified birth injury lawyer immediately. Even if time is short, an attorney can file a claim to pause the limitations deadline and allow more time to build your case. Don't wait until it's too late.
4. How can a lawyer help my child after the case settles?
Your lawyer can help create special needs trusts and structures to manage settlement funds to provide for your child into adulthood while protecting eligibility for government benefits. Attorneys also have relationships with resources, experts, and support groups.
5. What are signs of a birth injury I should watch for?
Signs include seizures, weak muscles, feeding difficulties, delayed development, irregular posture/motions, hyper/hypotonia, breathing issues, and more. Note concerns and consult a doctor immediately. Prompt evaluation and early intervention are essential.
Getting the Support You Need
Coping with a birth injury diagnosis like cerebral palsy can feel overwhelming for parents. Avoid common mistakes like failing to consult a lawyer promptly or not understanding your child's lifetime care needs. Work with a team of professionals, utilize available resources, and focus on your family's emotional health. Though cerebral palsy presents profound challenges, many children go on to live happy and successful lives with the proper medical treatment, education, assistance, and encouragement. Stay positive and take it one day at a time. With proper care and support, your child can continue reaching milestones and new potential.
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.