Medical malpractice doesn’t always cause cerebral palsy, but if you believe a doctor made a mistake that caused your child’s disability, it is important that you reach out to a cerebral palsy attorney.
Cerebral palsy is often caused when a child is deprived of oxygen or suffers a brain injury during labor and/or delivery. This can occur when a nurse or doctor fails to monitor the infant’s oxygen levels, fails to notice that the infant’s oxygen supply has been cut off, or does not take the proper steps to address a lack of oxygen.
When the Cleveland cerebral palsy lawyers at The Mellino Law Firm handle these cases, we have many goals. First, we want to make sure the family has the financial resources to maximize the child’s ability to function in the world. This includes access to specialists and any medical equipment that he or she may need.
At the same time, our goal is also to seek accountability from the negligent healthcare providers who caused a child’s injury. When handling medical malpractice claims, we strive to create institutional changes to ensure that other families don’t have to deal with the devastating consequences associated with cerebral palsy.
WHY YOU NEED A LAWYER TO HELP YOU WITH YOUR CASE
Most doctors are not going to come right out and explain the error that was made that affected your child’s health. Instead, they are going to offer up excuses as to why your child was born with cerebral palsy to avoid lawsuits. A legal team is necessary to help determine the cause of the condition and who is at fault. It takes a lot of resources and professional help to show why your child’s condition was caused by an error.
At The Mellino Law Firm LLC, we are experts in handling cases that deal with cerebral palsy. In 2014, we won over $28,000,000 for a family whose child was born with cerebral palsy. We have a network of resources that we have built to help with these types of cases to ensure that your family gets the full compensation you deserve for the negligent act that caused your child’s cerebral palsy. Contact us today to discuss your case.
COMMON CAUSES OF CEREBRAL PALSY
Generally speaking, cerebral palsy is caused by injuries to the brain, including a lack of oxygen. While these types of injuries can occur while the baby is still in the womb, they may also occur as a result of medical malpractice or negligence during the delivery.
Some of those injuries include:
- Hypoxia, or a lack of oxygen to the brain
- An infection such as meningitis or encephalitis
- Jaundice, caused by too much bilirubin in the blood
- A maternal infection such as rubella, or German measles
- Bleeding in the brain
- A head injury
If a healthcare provider caused a birth injury, such as head trauma, or failed to diagnose/misdiagnosed an infection that led to cerebral palsy, he or she may be held liable for medical malpractice.
Some people are uncomfortable with the idea of filing a lawsuit, but surgeries, physical therapy, medical expenses, and other long-term costs add up quickly. A verdict or settlement can help pay those bills and give peace of mind to those who worry about what will happen to their child if something happens to them.
TYPES OF DAMAGES THAT CAN BE WON IN A LAWSUIT
Any healthcare provider whose acts or omissions lead to an infant suffering brain damage can be legally held responsible. This means that if you can prove that a healthcare professional’s acts and errors lead to the oxygen deprivation or brain injuries that caused the cerebral palsy, you may be awarded damages in a lawsuit.
Compensation can include economic damages such as past and future medical bills, the lost wages you suffer caring for your child, and the cost of caretaking expenses. Non-economic damages may include the pain and suffering your child feels, compensation for the physical disabilities, and compensation for your child’s shortened life expectancy rate.
THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR CEREBRAL PALSY CASES
The statute of limitations for cerebral palsy cases varies from state to state. In Ohio, because the claim is being made on behalf of a minor child, the lawsuit does not have to be filed until the child’s 19th birthday. It is important that a claim is filed by the date the statute runs out, or you and your child may lose the right to recover the money you both may otherwise be entitled to. Call The Mellino Law Firm to learn more.
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF CEREBRAL PALSY?
According to Medical News Today, “The word cerebral refers to the area in the brain that is affected, while palsy means complete or partial muscle paralysis, frequently accompanied by loss of sensation and uncontrollable body movements or tremors.” Cerebral palsy is often classified by:
- Severity (mild, moderate, or severe)
- The body part that is affected and whether that body part is weakened or paralyzed
- Motor function (spastic v. non-spastic)
- Muscle tone (rigid limbs v. loose limbs)
- The Gross Motor Function Classification System
There are varying types of cerebral palsy, as well as different ways in which patients may be treated:
- Spastic – Stiff and jerky movements are inherent in the most common form of the disease. Tightness in the muscles makes it very hard for the sufferer to control movements. Treatment may include medication or rehabilitative therapies. Surgery may be recommended to help with the spasticity.
- Athetoid – Child’s movement may be shaky and unsteady. They may suffer from uncontrolled, unwanted, and involuntary movements. Children may have difficulty exercising his or her fine motor skills, swallowing, and speaking clearly. Additionally, torso control and posture may be hard to maintain. Treatment varies depending on symptoms. Physical therapy to strengthen daily range of motion and speech therapy to assist with communication is common.
- Ataxic – The individual may struggle with coordination and depth perception. Intention tremors may be present. As a child focuses on a specific movement, the arm, hand, leg or foot may shake with increasing intensity.
Diagnosis usually means life-long care. Outlining a life care plan is essential. It may help you to recognize which professionals you may need, and how much time and money may be required.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CEREBRAL PALSY?
Parents may begin to notice cerebral palsy symptoms while their child is still a baby; however, symptoms may not manifest for up to three years.
If a child has cerebral palsy, parents may notice that he or she:
- Has poor coordination or balance
- Slouches while sitting or lies in an awkward position
- Starts walking, talking, and crawling later than other children
- Favors one side of the body
- Finds it difficult to feed or swallow
- Appears to have trouble hearing or seeing
If a child suffers from athetoid cerebral palsy, his or her arms, legs, and hands may move involuntarily. Dyskinetic, or dystonic, cerebral palsy also causes uncontrollable muscle contractions but affects the entire body and can even cause breathing and vocal problems. Cerebral palsy can cause lifelong problems with motor and nervous system function, hearing, vision, speech, and intellectual development.
CONTACT THE MELLINO LAW FIRM TODAY
Our Cleveland cerebral palsy lawyers have extensive experience handling all types of medical malpractice and birth injury claims, including those involving cerebral palsy. We are committed to defending our clients’ rights and fighting to recover the full, fair compensation they are owed. Our team has a proven track record of success, having secured multiple million- and multi-million-dollar settlements and jury verdicts.