Cerebral Palsy: Common Questions & Answers

Cerebral palsy is a group of movement disorders that affects a person’s ability to control their muscles and their body. Because it is a disorder present at birth, and because it results from damage to the developing brain, it is often involved in birth injury lawsuits filed by families whose child was born with the condition. However, not every case of cerebral palsy involves negligence or medical malpractice, which is why it is important for families to understand the condition and how these cases work if they are evaluating their options and rights to bring legal action.

At Tom Rhodes Law Firm P.C., our trial lawyers have cultivated a national reputation for our work fighting for victims and families, particularly in the areas of medical malpractice and birth injuries. These cases are notorious for their complexity, as well as for their life-altering impact on families. Because we want to help everyone throughout New Mexico and the nation better understand their legal rights in relation to cerebral palsy and birth injury cases, we’ve answered some common questions below:

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy, abbreviated as CP, is a term used to describe a group of movement disorders that affect muscle tone and coordination, and one’s ability to control body movement. CP is a condition present at birth, and is caused by damage to the brain while the baby develops in the womb or during or shortly after birth. It is non-progressive, meaning it does not worsen with age. There are roughly 500,000 cases of CP each year in the U.S., and while there is no known cure, many treatment options are available to help patients.

In some cases, cerebral palsy can also involve other disabilities, including speech and feeding problems, learning disabilities, and difficulties with vision and hearing. Common forms of cerebral palsy include:

  • Spastic Cerebral Palsy
  • Athetoid Cerebral Palsy
  • Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy
  • Mixed Cerebral Palsy

How did my child get cerebral palsy?

How your child developed cerebral palsy is a difficult question to answer without reviewing the facts involved. Investigations and medical evaluations are critical to determining an underlying cause, especially when there is the potential that the condition was caused by medical malpractice. Though cerebral palsy may be caused by genetics and other “unknown” reasons, there are cases where it can develop directly as a result of mistakes medical professionals make during pregnancy, labor, or delivery, especially those that result in brain damage (i.e. hypoxic-anoxic brain injury, HIE, and birth asphyxia). Our legal team has extensive knowledge about what can cause cerebral palsy in terms of medical malpractice, and works closely with top medical experts to determine whether or not it could and should have been prevented if not for negligence.

Do I have a birth injury case for my child’s cerebral palsy?

Again, whether or not you may have grounds to pursue a case for cerebral palsy depends on the individual facts of your situation. Generally, medical providers (including nurses, doctors, and even hospitals) can be held liable for cerebral palsy when it is determined that some error or form of negligence more likely than not led to the child developing the condition. This may occur in many ways, such as:

  • Brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation during labor or delivery, including preventable cases of birth asphyxia that result from medical provider’s failing to recognize signs of fetal distress.
  • Failures to perform a C-section or timely C-section, resulting in brain damage to a newborn.
  • Failures to diagnose and treat known risk factors that lead to complications, including infections in mothers, preeclampsia, large fetuses, gestational diabetes, and more.

How does cerebral palsy affect children and families?

The impact cerebral palsy has on children and their families depends on the severity of the condition. In most cases, children can live full and productive lives, though they will often require specialized care, medical devices, and other needs as they grow and mature. Difficulties with controlling body movement also generally means they face some limitations as a result of their disability. In other cases, including severe cases of cerebral palsy, the impact can be tremendous, and families may face exorbitant costs for medical care, assistive treatment, therapy, and more. Cerebral palsy can also have a profound emotional impact on children and their families, especially early on as they watch their children miss important developmental milestones and come to terms with caring for a child who has a disability.

How does a birth injury lawsuit work for cerebral palsy?

Just as with other medical malpractice and birth injury lawsuits, cases involving cerebral palsy focus on proving that the injury could and should have been prevented if not for the negligence of medical professionals. This generally means a doctor, nurse, or some other health care provider committed errors other professionals in the same or similar situation wouldn’t have made, or were otherwise negligent when treating patients during pregnancy, labor, delivery, and shortly after birth.

Evaluating cases and building claims has a lost to do with understanding the medical science involved, which is why we work closely with relevant experts to illustrate how providers failed to meet their “duty of care,” or in other terms failed to provide treatment that met the accepted standards and guidelines of their profession. Cerebral palsy cases are difficult and highly complex, but they can be handled successfully by proven lawyers with experience and resources.

Get More of Your Questions Answered When You Request a FREE Consultation

Reaching out to proven attorneys to discuss the unique facts and circumstances of your case is the best way to get personalized answers to your question – and the best way to find out if you may have the right to pursue a birth injury lawsuit and financial compensation for your losses. Our team at Tom Rhodes Law Firm P.C. has the experience needed to answer your questions, as well as the passion to protect your rights when bringing a lawsuit against the at-fault parties.

Call (505) 544-4088 or contact our legal team at Tom Rhodes Law Firm P.C. online to request your free consultation! Our caring and compassionate attorneys are standing by to guide you through the legal journey ahead.