Cerebral palsy is a form of brain damage that affects coordination, movement, speech, and various bodily functions. It is often the result of some type of birth injury to the brain during the delivery of the baby. Many cerebral palsy cases are preventable and are the result of improper surgical procedures or care during the birthing process. When this occurs, it may entitle the child suffering from the condition to recover damages from the doctor or hospital responsible for the medical error in a medical malpractice lawsuit if it can be shown that a reasonable standard of care was not provided before, during, or after the delivery.
The Phoenix cerebral palsy attorneys at Knapp & Roberts law firm specialize in suchsituations and can help you recover these damages. At Knapp & Roberts, our experienced cerebral palsy attorneys can tackle your most complicated medical malpractice cases.
Our Cerebral Palsy Attorneys Have:
The expertise and knowledge to help you navigate Arizona’s malpractice laws and the lawsuit process;
The resources and relationships with medical professionals needed to fight sizeable medical malpractice insurance companies and their legal teams; and
A track record of success and determination to win for our clients and prevent similar incidents from happening to other innocent patients in the future.
Contact Knapp & Roberts at our Phoenix offices today to discuss your child’s injuries and the possibility of taking legal action against the doctor or other medical providers responsible. We will review your matter confidentially and advise you on the next best steps to take on behalf of you and your child.
How a Phoenix Cerebral Palsy Attorney Can Help
A cerebral palsy attorney from Knapp & Roberts is your advocate and guide when taking legal action against a medical professional or hospital to seek damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Children born with cerebral palsy require lifelong treatment and therapy. Your cerebral palsy attorney will assist you in filing your lawsuits, requesting compensation, and getting the benefits you need to take care of your child.
At Knapp & Roberts, your cerebral palsy attorney will also:
Determine the viability of your malpractice case;
Investigate and gather evidence of medical negligence;
Provide medical experts for testimony;
Answer your questions as to Arizona’s laws regarding birth injuries, minors, and medical malpractice; and
Give you the benefits of experience from handling similar cases;
Provide you with the best means of recovering from the expenses and losses associated with your child’s care and treatment.
Do not wait to speak with a cerebral palsy attorney at Knapp & Roberts. Arizona places a strict timeline for filing medical malpractice cases of two years from the time of the injury. While there are some exceptions to this rule, medical malpractice cases are highly complex and can be lengthy to fight.
Proving Cerebral Palsy was the Result of Medical Malpractice
Birth injury attorneys, like those at Knapp & Roberts, have the experience and knowledge needed to seek justice on behalf of you and your child and obtain compensation to cover your current and future injury-related expenses. To recover compensation, your cerebral palsy attorney must first prove medical malpractice or negligence caused your child’s birth injury.
Cerebral palsy is often the result of brain damage or abnormal brain development. This can occur due to medical malpractice during fetal development, labor, delivery, or early post-natal care.
In Arizona, getting you compensation for your child’s injuries requires your cerebral palsy attorney to prove the following four elements:
An official doctor-patient relationship existed. The doctor agreed to treat you (and/or your child), and you agreed to receive the doctor’s treatment;
The doctor or health care professional was negligent. The doctor or other health care professional acted in a way that another reasonable, similarly skilled individual would not in the same situation;
The doctor or health care professional’s negligence caused your (and/or your child’s) injuries; and
You (and/or your child) suffered actual harm or measurable loss. You can only sue for medical bills, lost income, physical pain, and mental anguish that directly results from negligence.
Once these elements are established, the type and amount of damages will depend on the injury itself and its severity.
Compensation in a Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit
Most medical malpractice lawsuits end in a settlement. These are ultimately less expensive for medical providers and their malpractice insurers. Settlements are negotiated between your cerebral palsy attorney and the medical malpractice attorneys.
In rare cases, medical malpractice cases go before a judge and jury in a trial. This may happen if the other side’s insurers refuse to settle or will not settle for a reasonable amount. While jury verdicts are sometimes more significant than those in settlements, both parties run a high risk of an unfavorable verdict.
While no cerebral palsy attorney can predict the amount of money you will receive in a settlement or a jury verdict, typically, money is awarded for the following losses and expenses:
Past and future medical costs;
Home and vehicle accommodations;
Physical pain and emotional suffering;
Lost wages if a parent can no longer work due to childcare needs;
Special education costs;
Rehabilitation and therapy costs; and
Loss of independence for a disabled child.
If you would like to learn more about the kinds of compensation available for you and your child, contact the experienced cerebral palsy attorneys at Knapp & Roberts. We will gladly review your case and give you an honest opinion as to your chances of recovering compensation from any negligent medical providers.
Be Prepared for Your Consultation
At Knapp & Roberts, we want you to be prepared for your consultation with a cerebral palsy attorney. You and your attorney will be a team from start to finish of your birth injury case. Therefore it is imperative that you provide your attorney with as much information as possible about you, your child, and their injury.
Collect and keep any evidence about your life and your child’s condition this includes:
Journals of the incidents leading to your child’s diagnosis;
Any names and contact information of medical professionals and witnesses;
Yours and your child’s medical records and bills;
Other related expenses, like travel costs and lost wages;
Any treatments or therapies you or your child had after the diagnosis; and
Consider your child’s future needs.
Your cerebral palsy attorney will use this information along with expert opinion and other estimates to determine appropriate compensation packages and future care expenses for you and your child.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a group of neurological disorders that affect body movement, posture, and muscle coordination. Some children with cerebral palsy also have sensory, communicative, and developmental impairments that limit their ability to perform everyday self-care tasks.
Cerebral palsy is the result of brain damage. There are several potential causes of cerebral palsy, from gene mutations that affect fetal brain development to medical errors during gestation or birth.
The different types of cerebral palsy have varying symptoms and are characterized by where the brain injury is located.
Cerebral palsy can be any of the following:
Ataxic cerebral palsy. Caused by cerebellum damage and resulting in problems with motor control and movement;
Athetoid/dyskinetic cerebral palsy. Resulting from basal ganglia and/or cerebellum damage with symptoms like fluctuating muscle tone and involuntary movements;
Hypotonic cerebral palsy. The rarest. Due to cerebellum damage and characterized by floppy muscles, excess flexibility, and poor mobility;
Spastic cerebral palsy. The most common form. Caused by damage to the motor cortex or pyramidal tracts, it is identified by tight muscles and jerking movements; and
Mixed cerebral palsy. Resulting from multiple areas of brain damage leaves patients with more than one type of cerebral palsy.
The condition can worsen over time, depending on its management and severity.
Medical Errors that Result in Birth Injuries and Cerebral Palsy
There are some medical errors that can cause or contributes to cerebral palsy or another birth injury during a baby’s gestation or birth.
These mistakes can include but are not limited to the following:
Failure to detect or treat a dangerous health condition or infection occurring during gestation, such as meningitis or a sexually transmitted disease in the mother or baby;
Failure to order diagnostic tests or misreading test results;
Improper use of the drug Pitocin to stimulate labor;
Administering too much Pitocin to induce or stimulate labor
Failure to monitor mother and/or baby properly
Failure to deliver a distressed baby by C- section
Failure to identify insufficient oxygen to a baby
Improper forceps or vacuum extraction
Failure to treat severe jaundice
How Will Cerebral Palsy Affect a Child’s Life?
While most children with cerebral palsy can live long, productive lives with supportive, ongoing medical care, coping with cerebral palsy can limit a child’s ability to function and enjoy life in various ways.
Depending upon the degree of brain damage, symptoms of cerebral palsy range from mild to severe. A child may need assistance performing daily life activities such as eating and dressing.
In addition to abnormal muscle tone and movement, symptoms and disabilities may include:
Skeletal deformities, such as shortened limbs;
Seizures (these affect about one-third of cerebral palsy cases);
Swallowing problems, making eating and drinking without choking difficult;
Vision problems, such as an eye turn (strabismus), are seen in three-quarters of cerebral palsy patients;
Lack of bowel or bladder control;
Dental and oral health issues, like drooling;
Poor coordination and limited motor skills;
Inability to walk normally; and
Children with cerebral palsy regularly require supportive care such as special education services and developmental assistance as well as comprehensive medical care.
How Often Does Cerebral Palsy Occur?
Approximately 70% of cerebral palsy cases are the result of birth injury. Cerebral palsy is second only to autism as a cause of disability in children. Although the incidence of the condition varies by geographical region, it affects between 2.9 and 3.8 out of every 10000 children in the United States.
What Signs May Indicate that a Child Will Have Cerebral Palsy
If the delivery delayed more than 24 hours after membranes ruptured, the baby was transferred to intensive care, or an MRI was ordered, it may indicate concern that your child suffered brain damage at birth. Signs to be aware of in your baby include:
Seizures in the first week of life
Failure of the baby to breathe immediately after birth
Poor muscle tone
Difficulty maintaining body temperature
If your child demonstrates any of these conditions, or if your doctor orders tests, procedures, or treatment other than you would expect in a typical birth situation, you might have reason for concern that brain damage has occurred. If you suspect this is the case, you should consult a Phoenix medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible who will call upon medical specialists to review your and the child’s medical records. It might be necessary to have your child examined by a pediatric neurologist to determine if there is brain damage and if so, the extent of it.
Treatment of Cerebral Palsy
A child born with cerebral palsy will usually have a long and difficult battle to achieve anything approaching a normal life, and many victims will suffer a lifetime of often painful impairments. It is important to diagnose the condition early on and begin appropriate interventions as soon as possible. Depending on the severity and the manner in which the child is affected, treatments often include physical and occupational therapy, speech therapy, mental health counseling, special education in the Phoenix schooling system, and surgery. You may also need special medical equipment such as leg braces, crutches, or wheelchair.
The Legal Help You Need to Recover Compensation for Your Child
To give your child the best possible chance at a meaningful and productive life, you will need to have the financial resources to provide a lifetime of medical care, therapy, and special services. It is imperative that you and your child are compensated for present and future medical expenses, along with your child’s pain, suffering, disability, and diminished of quality of life. This will require the services of a skilled Phoenix injury attorney with extensive experience in birth injury cases to battle for your child’s future.
Why Choose our Firm?
If you have learned or suspect that your child has cerebral palsy and that it was caused by a medical error at birth, contact the Phoenix, Arizona, law firm of Knapp & Roberts for compassionate, skilled, and aggressive representation against the doctor, hospital, or other health care provider responsible for the injury, to ensure that your child will never lack the best care available. Call today, or fill out our free online form, and one of our skilled attorneys will speak with you. The earlier we get started, the sooner your child will have the resources available for the care he or she requires.
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The personal injury attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona, at Knapp & Roberts have the compassion and trial lawyer skills to tell your story to a jury. We will get to know you and your family so that we can help the jury understand what has happened to you and your family and how it has changed your lives. Obtain the compensation necessary for the injuries and losses you have suffered.