Costs & Expenses Related to Cerebral Palsy
While the cost of raising a child with cerebral palsy is not the first thing on a parent’s mind, it is something that families do need to fully grasp.
Raising a child with cerebral palsy can put a large financial burden on your family as a whole. Oftentimes families may be able to recover this needed compensation through a birth injury lawsuit, but if your child’s CP was not determined to be as the result of medical malpractice, much of the cost may fall to you and your family. While this burden may be significant, it is not necessarily insurmountable.
Finding sources of funding can sometimes be frustratingly difficult. When you consider the expenses of a disorder such as cerebral palsy, you’ll be looking at figures that most people will never have to deal with for their own healthcare.
Cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition that often requires constant monitoring as well as extensive physical therapy and adjustments. This can include ongoing physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, leg and arm braces, wheelchairs, additional assistive devices, accessibility renovations, medication, and even assistive care. This treatment is often expected to last well into adulthood, and can cost upwards of a million dollars. The CDC estimated the lifetime cost to be roughly $1M back in 2003. Adjusted for inflation, that comes to about $1.3M today. This amount also does not include such expenses as emergency room visits, lost wages of family member caretakers, pain and suffering, psychosocial effects, etc.
The costs are broken down as follows:
- Indirect costs – 80.6%
- Direct medical costs – 10.2%
- Direct non-medical costs – 9.2%
The Cost of Medication
Physical impairments can be very expensive to treat and accommodate. Different types of physical and drug therapy can help to relax the spasms that people with cerebral palsy suffer and can make children more comfortable overall. Some types of medication can help the child develop better control over their muscles, which will sometimes allow them to perform tasks that require fine motor skills.
Some medications can be taken orally, while others maybe administered as injections into the muscle tissue, which allows the muscular structure to improve in terms of tone. These injections may also help the child to deal with the tremors that come with some types of cerebral palsy as well.
The Cost of Professional Assistance
Individuals who have very severe mental and/or physical impairments may need care around the clock. This can be exceedingly expensive. Parents will have to find someone who is capable of providing a high level of care and figure out a way to keep them paid so that they stay on with their child.
Some parents would not be able to care for their child at all if it wasn’t for the assistance of professional caregivers. A good caregiver can make a huge difference in a child’s life, and can help parents to provide a level of care that prevents the child from having to be institutionalized. If your child has severe CP symptoms, this may be the best option for giving them the type of care that they will require.
The Costs of Special Education
Children with mental impairments aren’t always so affected that they cannot go to school. Some of them, in fact, end up working harder than most students do to overcome those impairments and to do brilliantly in school. Providing tutoring for a special needs child can be expensive, but if a child is motivated to learn, a parent always wants to accommodate that!
You may find that the school district your child is enrolled in will have enough resources to provide for their needs, or you might find that it’s sorely lacking. You may have to relocate to a better district or pay the costs of special education which, again, can be very high.
The Costs of Equipment
If your child is severely disabled, you’ll need to get them a wheelchair to get around in. This also means putting ramps on your house and putting hardware in your vehicle so that you can take your child in the car. This type of equipment can be very expensive. Hearing aids and other assistive devices are often considered a necessary expense.
Many parents will simply be unable to pay for the kind of medical professionals who are able to help mitigate the difficulties that cerebral palsy causes. Some of the more-obvious professionals include speech therapists, physical therapists, and doctors. Combined, they can become exceptionally expensive; certainly out of the financial wherewithal of the average working family.
When parents are trying to figure out how they are going to care for a child with cerebral palsy, they also have to figure out how the child is going to care for themselves after the parents have gone. This is a frightening prospect for most parents, and they want to make certain that their child has the best chances of living a rich and full life.
Your Right to File a Lawsuit
While not all cases of cerebral palsy are caused by medical malpractice, many of them most certainly are. If an obstetrician’s negligence was the root cause of your child’s CP, the parents may be able to file a lawsuit against the doctor or hospital that provided services during birth. The money you might receive from a jury award or a settlement could be enough to cover these treatments, but you’ll have to speak with a lawyer to discuss the merits of your case. Only an attorney can determine whether or not your case has a strong chance of a successful outcome.
Its important to understand the importance of acting quickly with regard to a cerebral palsy lawsuit. If you wait too long to file a lawsuit, your claim may be barred by something called a statute of limitations. This is basically a legal concept which requires you to file a medical malpractice case within a certain period of time of the injury (or when you are made aware of the injury). If you wait too long, you can lose your opportunity to sue.