Cerebral Palsy & Medical Malpractice
The development of cerebral palsy in newborn babies is most-often linked to complications during labor resulting in damage to the child’s brain. If it can be determined that your child’s cerebral palsy was the result of medical malpractice, you may be owed compensation by the doctor and/or hospital.
Cerebral palsy is a term which covers a range of neurological disorders resulting from injury to an infant’s developing brain. These injuries may occur during pregnancy or shortly after the child is born, but most tend to occur during the labor process.
These birth injuries are sometimes caused by unavoidable circumstances that are unrelated to medical malpractice or negligence, but unfortunately, hospitals are not generally forthcoming when it comes to admitting liability.
Even the best doctors and healthcare facilities make mistakes that result in serious consequences, but if a medical professional’s negligence resulted in your child developing cerebral palsy, why should your family suffer the financial burden?
A Doctor’s Duty of Care
Whenever a doctor or medical professional takes someone under their care, they take on certain duties to that person—including providing competent care. When a doctor’s care falls below the accepted standard of practice in the medical community and someone is injured as a result, by the letter of the law, they have committed medical malpractice and you have every right to seek compensation for your child.
Negligence is not the same as competence. Even competent OB-GYNs can provide negligent medical care, and doctors carry insurance for this exact reason. Even a good physician can be negligent and cause mistakes that cost their patients dearly. Negligence is not an “expected risk” or excusable in any way, and do not let the hospital tell you otherwise.
Physicians can provide inappropriate/inadequate treatment, fail to identify potential risk factors and signs of distress, delay necessary treatment (like cesarean sections) or fail to mitigate known injuries.
Discovering What Went Wrong
One of the hardest things about dealing with any type of medical malpractice is quite simply the fact that most people don’t really have any medical expertise of their own. Most parents are forced to rely on the word of whoever conducted the investigation, and will have their hands full dealing with the consequences of their child’s injuries.
Parents have another avenue in which to have someone look into the facts of their case and determine what exactly caused your child’s development of cerebral palsy, and that’s through the help of an attorney.
A cerebral palsy lawyer can investigate at the facts of your case and make a determination regarding whether or not the injury occurred naturally or due to medical negligence, and they do this for no cost. In fact, almost every single medical malpractice attorney only charges a fee if they actually win your case, so there’s no harm in testing the waters.
Who’s Liable? The Hospital, Doctor, or Someone Else?
The hospital is responsible for providing clean facilities, proper equipment and all the other logistics that go into providing care for a mother giving birth. When they fail in this regard, they open themselves up to liability.
If someone who is an employee of the hospital is found to have been negligent in a way that caused the child to develop cerebral palsy, the hospital may be on the hook as well. Nurses and paramedics are generally employees of the hospital, and going after them in a lawsuit generally involves suing the hospital rather than suing them as individuals.
Doctors on the other hand are generally sued as individuals because they are typically contractors who work at the hospital and are responsible for carrying their own malpractice insurance.
In a recent case, a particular brand of alcohol swab was found to have been infected with a bacterium that ended up causing several serious injuries, including at least one potential case of cerebral palsy to an infant in Washington State. In this case, the family likely has a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the alcohol swabs.
Your attorney will have to determine where medical negligence occurred and who was responsible for it. Ultimately, however, the jury will be the ones who determine whether or not the claim is valid, and whether or not your family is awarded compensation.
There’s no way to know for sure how any case will turn out. Sometimes, the cause of the injury will so obviously be the result of incompetent medical care that the doctor’s insurance company or the hospital will want to settle out of court. In other cases, they may want to have the case heard in court.
Compensation and What It’s For
Compensation is handed out in the form of a jury award or a settlement to the family. The point is to provide the family and the child with monetary compensation that can help them deal with many of the issues they’ll face as a result of their child having this condition. Those issues include:
- Medical expenses
- Special educational resources
- Assistive devices
- Pain and suffering
- Professional care givers
There are plenty of other expenses that these families will have to deal with as well. They can be very high, and in some cases, there’s no way that the family could pay them on their own. Suing for compensation is sometimes the only way that the parents have to actually cover these expenses and to provide for their child.
State law requires that a medical malpractice lawsuit be filed within a certain amount time (statute of limitations). Additionally, as time passes, it can become more-difficult to uncover evidence important to your case. The sooner you have someone look into your legal options, the better chance you have at presenting your case.
A birth injury attorney is one who specializes in dealing with cases such as these. These specialist attorneys have access to medical experts, a great deal of knowledge about cerebral palsy in their own right, and are able to take a look at their client’s situations and determine whether or not it’s likely that they have a case that would win in court. To discuss your legal options today, call 1-855-833-3707.