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Cerebral Palsy Lawsuits, Settlements, & More

No parent wants to find out their child will never live a normal life because of cerebral palsy. It’s even worse finding out that a doctor you trusted caused your child’s condition. The pain is great…and the hospital bills are greater. So what’s the only recourse for families of CP patients? Cerebral palsy lawsuits.

Cerebral palsy is a congenital disorder that leaves most victims needing round-the-clock care. Instead of soccer practice and band, a CP victim’s childhood is filled with endless doctors appointments and surgeries. 

If you’re interested in cerebral palsy lawsuit results, chances are you’re hoping to give your childhood a better life. You’re wondering what kind of payouts are possible, and if your case will hold up in court. 

Below, we’ll provide basic information about cerebral palsy lawsuits and settlements. Prefer to discuss your case with a medical malpractice lawyer? Schedule a free consultation here

Little girl with cerebral palsy sits in wheelchair.

Cerebral Palsy Lawsuits – Should You File One?

According to the National Library of Medicine, 2-3 babies for every 1000 born have cerebral palsy. CP mainly affects muscle tone, posture and movement. Children with this condition can have a hard time walking and completing daily activities.  They may have behavioral and communication issues. Sometimes they suffer from epilepsy. 

Parents may want to file cerebral palsy lawsuits if their child’s diagnosis was the result of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice is when a hospital or doctor fails to follow the “standard of care” when treating a patient. 

But malpractice isn’t always the cause of cerebral palsy. Other factors can be to blame, like:

  • Premature birth 
  • Low birth weight
  • Maternal infections (i.e. rubella, herpes simplex 1 or 2, toxoplasmosis)
  • Multiple gestation
  • Placental insufficiency (the placenta didn’t form properly before birth)
  • Mutated genes (A very rare cause.)
  • Injury to a fetus’s brain while growing in the womb. 

Sometimes, doctors can’t prevent cerebral palsy. But when they can, you may be able to sue for malpractice. For example, let’s say your baby was healthy during your pregnancy. There were no signs of any issues. No cerebral palsy from genetics or placental insufficiency. 

But giving birth is a struggle. Your baby shows signs of distress, but doctors ignore them. Your baby spends too much time in the birth canal, and goes without oxygen. Instead of ordering an emergency C-section, the doctors delay. The baby’s brain suffers permanent injury. This would be grounds to file a cerebral palsy lawsuit. 

Markers Of A Successful Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit

If you can prove that a doctor’s negligence caused your child’s CP, you will likely be successful with your cerebral palsy lawsuit. But proving negligence is a tall order. 

What’s the first step toward getting the cerebral palsy lawsuit results you hope for? Contacting a lawyer. When you file a lawsuit, the burden is on you to provide supporting evidence to prove your case. But that burden will be much lighter with an attorney’s support. Medical malpractice attorneys have access to medical research and experts. 

In fact, hiring a lawyer with experience is a main factor for success in a cerebral palsy lawsuit. What are some other factors? We’ll list a few of them below:

  • The cause of cerebral palsy is very clear. 
  • You can pinpoint the exact point in which someone was negligent. 
  • You have filed your cerebral palsy lawsuit within the statute of limitations. (This is the time limit that each state puts on filing medical malpractice lawsuits). 

Can you determine what caused your child’s cerebral palsy? Was it a hospital mishap or a doctor’s blatant oversight? If so, you may be able to win damages that can help you pay for your child’s care. Next, we’ll discuss some of the ways that negligence can lead to CP.

How Negligence May Lead To Cerebral Palsy

Most cases of negligence leading to CP happen during or right after a baby’s birth. In most successful cerebral palsy lawsuits, the mothers had normal pregnancies. Their babies would have had perfect health. But mistakes like the following turned their lives upside down:

A Traumatic Head Injury

Sometimes doctors use forceps or a vacuum to help the birth process along. But these devices can cause head injuries, leading to cerebral palsy. 

Oxygen Deprivation

During a difficult birth, a baby’s brain might be deprived of oxygen. This can cause permanent brain damage and CP, unless doctors act fast. Hospital staff must monitor fetal heart rate and watch for signs of oxygen deprivation to prevent this.  

Infections From The Mother

If a mother has an infection while giving birth, she may pass it on to her child. The baby could also get the infection after birth. Infections that can cause CP include bacterial meningitis, rubella, cytomegalovirus, and toxoplasmosis.

Stethoscope and courtroom gavel.

Typical Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit Results

Cerebral palsy settlement amounts can vary because very case is unique. Even similar cases often don’t have the same settlement amounts. Also, the dollar amount may not correlate with your child’s level of injury.

So what determines how much money you might receive? Two things. The first is your chance of winning a trial. The second is the probable average or median verdicts. So if the expected average verdict of a case like yours is $10 million, and your chance of winning is 50%, you might expect a $5 million settlement. You may win more at trial. But some parents don’t wish to risk losing a trial. So they accept a settlement that may be less than the average verdict amount. 

Here are some past cerebral palsy lawsuit results:

  • 2022, Kansas City: $25.4 Million Verdict. A newborn baby sustained permanent brain damage because of a lack of oxygen during birth. A student doctor administered an overdose of Pitocin. (Pitocin is a drug that can speed up labor). The physician in charge didn’t supervise the student. Nor did she check for signs of overdose. The overdose went on for six hours. As a result, the baby’s brain lacked oxygen, leading to cerebral palsy. A jury handed down a $25.4 million verdict against the doctor. 
  • 2021, Baltimore: $34.7 Million Verdict. Two twins were born about a month early. One boy had trouble breathing. At first, his condition was improving. But then his oxygen levels took a sudden nosedive. Staff delayed contacting the on-call pediatrician. The child was alone for several minutes while he couldn’t breathe. By the time doctors intubated him and put him on a ventilator, he suffered permanent damage to his brain. He now has cerebral palsy and requires 24-hour care. A jury awarded his family $1.2 million for past medical expenses. They also allotted $32.2 million for future medical expenses, plus $1.4 million in future loss earnings.
  • 2022, Iowa City: $98 Million Verdict. The parents of a baby boy filed a cerebral palsy lawsuit after doctors “crushed his head” during delivery. They injured the baby while using forceps and a vacuum. He was also under fetal distress and lacked oxygen. As a result, he has permanent brain damage and cerebral palsy. He has a learning disability and may never be able to walk on his own or work. The jury awarded the family $98 million.   

If you suspect your child’s cerebral palsy is due to a doctor’s error, don’t wait. Contact Hampton & King to discuss cerebral palsy lawsuits and potentially filing one yourself. Take the first step toward getting justice for your child now.