As a parent, you want to give your child everything you can. You want their life to be the very best it can be. When your child suffers a birth injury like cerebral palsy, you may have to create a new version of your life and re-imagine what their life will look like. Pursuing a cerebral palsy lawsuit may be the smartest step you can take.
Cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition. It can require frequent medical visits, special equipment, and therapy. Of course, each case of cerebral palsy can vary in severity. While one patient may learn to walk, another may be constrained to a wheelchair. It’s also difficult to determine the severity of the condition when your child is still an infant.
This can make cerebral palsy lawsuits complicated, but very important to pursue. The goal of a cerebral palsy lawsuit is to receive the money your child will need to treat the condition throughout the course of their life. The compensation from winning the lawsuit will improve your child’s quality of life and will take some pressure off of you.
In this post we’ll discuss how and why to pursue a cerebral palsy lawsuit. Keep reading for more important information!
What Leads To A Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit?
Even the best doctors and hospitals make mistakes. Cerebral palsy is sometimes the result of malpractice or negligence during the delivery of a baby. Of course an attorney can help you determine who’s responsible in your situation.
Now, when a nurse is at fault it’s generally the hospital that you’ll sue. If it’s a doctor’s error, you’ll likely be suing the doctor themselves. The reason for this is that doctors are often independent contractors. They may work at a hospital but aren’t employees in the same manner. They generally have their own insurance as well.
It’s also possible that the lawsuit may be against the makers of medical equipment. Defective equipment can result in injury too.
These are many reasons cerebral palsy can occur. Here are a few examples:
- Delay in performing a C-section or not ordering one at all.
- Not monitoring vitals or failing to act when there’s distress.
- The child going without oxygen during or after birth.
- Failing to diagnose or treat an infection.
- Inadequate care for the baby during delivery.
- A surgical error made during a C-section.
- Anesthesia mistakes.
Every case is unique and the facts surrounding each injury will be different. An attorney can look into what went wrong. They can also help determine whether it was because of negligence or not. But keep in mind – you don’t need to have it all figured out before talking to an attorney!
Nathan’s Cerebral Palsy Story
In Nathan’s situation, his heartbeat wasn’t monitored during delivery. He went 23 minutes after birth without oxygen. At three months old, he wasn’t meeting developmental milestones.
The jury found the hospital negligent. They concluded that doctors waited too long to perform a C-section. Then they made a mistake with the incision. The C-section took 20 minutes rather than 3 to 6 minutes. All this on top of not monitoring Nathan’s heartbeat! The jury found that medical malpractice was the cause of Nathan’s cerebral palsy.
With the compensation that was won from the case, his mother Deborah was able to afford a caregiver for Nathan. As well as the equipment he needs to live. Before the lawsuit, his mother had to battle hard to get Nathan everything he deserved. After their cerebral palsy lawsuit, she finally feels like she can provide for Nathan everything he needs to thrive. (The average settlement is about $5 million by the way.)
Can I Afford To Talk To An Attorney?
Many people make the mistake of thinking you have to have a lot of money to talk to an attorney. This isn’t true. Most attorneys will talk to you about your case for free. Some will even consult over the phone. (Here are some helpful tips for preparing for your first meeting.)
Many firms operate under the agreement that if you don’t win the case, then you don’t pay the firm. In this case, you don’t have to worry about how confident you are in your case. Instead, you can turn the case over to a trusted attorney. If they decide to take on the case then you know they’re confident they can win. If they weren’t confident it wouldn’t be worth the risk of going unpaid.
There’s certainly no harm in talking to an attorney. It’s the first step to take charge of your child’s future and well-being. The first step to filing a cerebral palsy lawsuit is by dialing the telephone or filling out a simple form.
Factors That Determine The Amount Of Compensation For A Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit
The details around every case are different. An attorney will review the evidence to give you an idea of the compensation you may receive.
Here are some of the factors that will help determine how much compensation you may be due:
- Past and future medical expenses
- The price of treatments
- Cost of living with special accommodations
- Special education resources
- Assistive devices and technology
- Pain and suffering involved
- Cost of caregivers
Your attorney will review your case and have a better idea of what you may be eligible to receive. This is especially true if you choose an attorney with experience handling cerebral palsy lawsuits.
How Do I File A Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit?
First, if you think that your child’s cerebral palsy was due to medical negligence, find a good birth injury attorney. To help you file your claim, your attorney will:
- Help you determine whether or not you have a case.
- Determine whether or not you’re within the statute of limitations for your state.
- Keep you on track, ensuring you hit your state’s deadlines.
- Help you find witnesses and experts to testify.
- Help you gather evidence to prove negligence.
- Let you know what information and records you’ll need to gather.
- Negotiate a fair settlement in your cerebral palsy claim.
- Represent you in court if the case goes to trial.
So. You’ve found a good law firm and started working with them. Your attorney helped you file your lawsuit. What’s next?
After You File A Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit
After you file the lawsuit, you enter the discovery period. This is where both sides prepare to prove their side of the cerebral palsy lawsuit. Both legal sides can communicate information back and forth during this period.
You then enter the negotiation period. This is where negotiations are made back and forth to try to come to an agreement. If you agree on a settlement, the case won’t need to go to trial. Many cases settle. It’s often less expensive for the defendant and it’s also a much shorter process.
A trial is also public knowledge. Settling before you go to trial can help keep the matters private, which is a benefit to the defendant. Thus, giving them a reason to settle in the first place.
If The Case Goes To Trial
Your attorney will prepare you to address any questions in court. The attorney will present the gathered evidence to the jury. Choose an attorney that is familiar with birth injury lawsuits, specifically cerebral palsy. They will have access to the best medical experts who can provide witnesses on your behalf.
The jury makes the final decision. They will decide if the defendant is responsible for the injury and how much compensation the family will or will not receive.
When To File a Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit
It’s important to act quickly. Each state has different rules in regards to the statute of limitations. Waiting to file can affect the likelihood that the attorney will take the case. How much compensation you can receive may also be affected.
Many cerebral palsy cases aren’t diagnosed until several years after the birth. For this reason, you may not have an ample amount of time to wait. Some laws depend on when your child was diagnosed with the condition.
Your child needs therapy and treatment to ensure they have the best quality of life possible. It’s important to do everything you can to receive the compensation you deserve. Cerebral palsy lawsuits often end in a settlement, so if you have a strong case, that’s where you’ll likely end up. But that’s not always the case. In the section below, we’ll give you examples of recent settlements and verdicts.
Recent Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit Settlements & Verdicts
The average national estimate for cerebral palsy lawsuit settlements is about $5 million. Here are some recent settlements and verdicts worth looking into:
$183 Million Cerebral Palsy Verdict – 2023
In Pennsylvania, a newborn baby boy developed an infection, thanks to a delayed emergency C-section. Because of this infection, the baby had developmental delays and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Five years later, the family talked with a birth injury attorney.
They learned that their child’s injuries could’ve been prevented if the doctor had delivered him just an hour sooner. Needless to say, they filed a lawsuit, and the jury ended up awarding the family with $183 million for pain, suffering and medical expenses.
$1,525,000 Cerebral Palsy Settlement – 2021
A newborn baby had hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. This led to epilepsy. The baby also showed a number of other worrisome symptoms including speech delays and mental disabilities. Still only a toddler, he had to have strabismus surgery. The mother filed a cerebral palsy lawsuit against the hospital.
She claimed that the staff had negligently failed to administer the Pitocin needed. She also said they didn’t resolve fetal distress. Finally, she argued that the hospital failed to follow through on an emergency C-section. They settled, ultimately, for $1,525,000.
$5,891,304 Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit Settlement – 2020
As far as cerebral palsy lawsuit settlements go, this was one for the books. A baby born at 25 weeks suffered cerebral palsy. The baby boy developed intellectual disabilities, and had to attend special education classes. He had to undergo speech therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy.
He also had to use a wheelchair. The mother claimed the hospital was negligent. She said the hospital didn’t receive her informed consent. She also stated the hospital’s failure to provide brain cooling. The final outcome was a settlement that totalled $5,891,304.
$21,000,000 Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit Settlement – 2019
A newborn baby girl was born in Illinois with low Apgar Scores. The doctors delivered her via an emergency C-section. Sadly, she developed cerebral palsy and suffered from a seizure disorder. Her mother claimed the hospital’s negligence caused her baby’s permanent injuries.
She said the hospital failed to manage her preeclampsia. She also said that the hospital didn’t order an ultrasound and C-section on time. In the end, the lawsuit settled for a whopping $21,000,000. This was an exceptional case among cerebral palsy lawsuit settlements. But we saved the largest lawsuit for last.
$130,571,897 Cerebral Palsy Verdict – 2018
In Michigan, a newborn boy was born prematurely, and discharged less than two days later. He ended up developing cerebral palsy because of the hospital’s negligence. The boy’s mother claimed they failed to properly treat his cyanosis, and this caused him to develop cerebral palsy. The jury agreed, and awarded her $130,571,897 when the trial went the distance.
Contact An Experienced Attorney
If you think your child suffered an injury because of medical negligence and it led to cerebral palsy, reach out to us. Medical malpractice can lead to lifelong injuries. The financial burden should never be placed on the family. You deserve to hold the responsible person accountable.
You may also deserve compensation so you can help provide your child with the very best quality of life. Start the process of filing a cerebral palsy lawsuit today. If you’d like us to assist you, please fill out our contact form.