How Do You Prove That a Birth Injury Caused Cerebral Palsy?
Proving that cerebral palsy resulted from a birth injury is difficult, but an experienced birth injury lawyer can help.
Cerebral palsy is a tragic, life-changing disorder that may have a devastating effect on a child and its family, and it is especially tragic when it could have been prevented. If your child’s cerebral palsy was caused by a birth injury due to medical negligence, a birth injury lawyer can help you get compensation for your resulting medical and rehabilitation expenses, as well as for the pain and suffering and other non-tangible costs your family is facing. A just financial settlement can help by alleviating your money worries and covering the costs of care your child may require now and into the future.
Proving medical malpractice for birth injuries can be difficult, as medical providers will try to show that the injury was unavoidable and not their fault. When you come to the cerebral palsy lawyers at Wapner Newman our experienced legal team will get to work immediately to find evidence needed to hold the responsible parties accountable. We know how to establish a strong case to get the settlement you and your child deserve.
We offer a free consultation to discuss the circumstances of your case and determine the best way to proceed. Let us handle the legal issues so you can concentrate on your child’s needs. Call us today at (215) 569-0900 to get started while evidence is still fresh and witnesses can be found.
How Do You Prove that a Birth Injury Caused Cerebral Palsy?
Our Attorneys Will Determine How the Injury Happened
The period before, during, and after birth is a critical time for the health of your child. As a result, both mother and child should be carefully monitored by the doctor and hospital staff. Modern medical technology can tell when heart rates and oxygen levels are abnormal and when the baby shows signs of distress. If problems occur, medical personnel must act quickly to ensure a healthy delivery and prevent problems like cerebral palsy from occurring.
Cerebral palsy can be caused by damage to white matter tissue in the brain, often due to a lack of oxygen or other damage to the brain during delivery. The term refers to many different disorders, all relating to a person’s inability to control certain muscles. According to Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy can vary greatly, and the disorder may cause paralysis, tremors, seizures, and impairments with vision, learning, hearing, and speech, as well as epilepsy and intellectual impairments.
While in some instances, damage leading to cerebral palsy may be unavoidable, often it is the result of another party’s negligence, wrongdoing, or fault. Our cerebral palsy attorneys would look for signs that the injury was due to the negligence of a doctor or other medical provider, such as:
- staff that failed to recognize fetal distress or problems
- improperly delayed caesarians
- failure to treat severe jaundice at birth
- improper use of pharmaceutical intervention and medical instruments
- breech or transverse presentations that were improperly handled
- equipment that malfunctioned
- failing to follow normal delivery procedures
- failing to recognize that a mother has an infection that she could pass to her infant.
To help prove that negligence resulted in the birth injury that caused your child’s cerebral palsy, our lawyers will:
- Meet with you to evaluate the details surrounding the pregnancy, delivery, and any complications that arose that may have led to your child’s cerebral palsy
- Investigate your case and gather evidence such as videos of the birth, medical records and reports, imaging and test results, and hospital documentation to determine how the birth was handled and whether there was negligence involved
- Interview eyewitnesses and staff
- Utilize medical expert witnesses to testify as to how another medical provider might have handled the case, what might have been done to prevent the damage, and how your provider was negligent and violated the standard of care. Experts would also be used to testify as to how your child’s cerebral palsy will affect their life and the continuing care that will be necessary.
- Evaluate the hospital’s insurance coverage, liability, and potential fault, and determine what your case should be worth.
Negligence Is a Violation of the Standard of Care
In medical malpractice cases, the law requires additional proof as a means of protecting healthcare providers from false claims. To show that a healthcare provider was negligent, our attorneys must show what the standard of care was in the case and that the defendant breached or violated that duty, causing harm to your child.
The standard of care is the watchfulness, attention, caution and prudence that a reasonable medical provider in the circumstances would exercise. Showing medical negligence involves proving:
- What the standard of care is by which the medical professional’s treatment should be measured
- The existence of a doctor-patient relationship
- That the provider had a duty to act in a way consistent with the standard of care
- Negligence and deviation from the standard of care caused the injury
- The injury resulted in damages, such as loss of income, additional medical expenses, or pain and suffering.
Can You Sue for Cerebral Palsy?
You can sue for medical malpractice if your child’s cerebral palsy was caused by a medical provider’s negligence or fault.
The losses that you are awarded payment for in a cerebral palsy birth injury lawsuit are called damages. In a successful Pennsylvania medical malpractice case, you may be awarded compensation for your damages that includes:
1. Compensatory Damages, for both economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic Damages — Economic damages cover your actual costs for medical care and other calculable expenses, including:
- Medical, nursing, prescription, and rehabilitation expenses and ongoing care for your child
- Lost wages from not being able to work due to needing to care for your child, as well as potential lost earnings of the child.
Non-economic Damages — Non-economic damages compensate you for losses that do not have a specific dollar value, including:
- Physical, mental, and emotional pain and suffering, anguish, anxiety, and stress
- Physical impairment and disfigurement
- Loss of quality and enjoyment of life.
Pennsylvania does not cap compensatory damages, so there are no limits to how much a court can award.
2. Punitive Damages. In rare situations, where the medical malpractice was caused by actions that were willful or wanton misconduct or reckless indifference to your rights, you may also be awarded punitive damages. These serve to punish the wrongdoer and serve as a deterrent for the behavior’s occurring again.
Pennsylvania law caps punitive damages at 200 percent of compensatory damages if there is no intentional misconduct on the part of the healthcare professional. In addition, 25 percent of punitive damages awarded must go into a special MCARE Fund. This fund provides payment to patients whose claims exceed the medical malpractice insurance coverage of the healthcare provider.
Amounts of Damages
There is a wide range of damage awards you can receive in a cerebral palsy lawsuit, from the thousands to millions, depending on the individual circumstances involved. While juries tend to be sympathetic to the needs of a young child who is facing a lifetime of disability and care, factors that will be taken into consideration and affect settlement amounts include:
- The type of cerebral palsy and the severity and extent of the resulting disability
- The costs for a child’s immediate and future medical treatment, rehabilitation, and care
- Expenses to cover a child’s special needs and education
- Modifications needed to a child’s home and special adaptive equipment necessary
- The projected amount of income lost over the course of a child’s entire lifetime
- The amounts of insurance and personal assets available from the defendants.
Our attorneys will work with you to determine the costs and suffering you will be facing so that we can pursue optimum compensation from healthcare providers and their insurers. We will negotiate for a fair settlement from insurance companies, who will try to get you to accept the lowest amount possible. If negotiations break down, we will build your case and take it to trial if necessary and argue on your behalf before a judge or jury. We will fight to ensure that the responsible parties are held accountable, and that your family receives the compensation they deserve.
Call us For Help Proving Your Child’s Birth Injury Caused Cerebral Palsy
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Cerebral Palsy Statistics, 8,000 children are diagnosed every year with cerebral palsy in the U.S. The birth injury attorneys in Pennsylvania at Wapner Newman understand how difficult it can be for your family to cope with the financial and emotional burden of cerebral palsy. We are dedicated to helping victims of medical malpractice obtain the justice they deserve and will work tirelessly to prove your child’s birth injury caused cerebral palsy and hold the responsible parties liable.
If your child was born with cerebral palsy anywhere in Pennsylvania or New Jersey and you believe medical negligence may have been responsible, contact Wapner Newman today to schedule a free initial consultation at (215) 569-0900.