What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of neurological disorders that affect movement, muscle tone, and posture. It’s caused in utero or during birth by damage to the brain. CP can lead to various problems in motor function and sometimes results in seizures and difficulties in communication, learning, understanding and hearing. The causes of cerebral palsy can vary and might not always be definitively determined. Some situations associated with cerebral palsy include brain damage due to infections during pregnancy, lack of oxygen to the brain during birth, genetic factors, traumatic head injuries, or other medical issues.
The symptoms of cerebral palsy can vary widely from person to person and range from mild to severe. Common symptoms include:
- Awkward or Unusual Movement: This often presents as stiff or floppy muscles, involuntary movements, or abnormal walking patterns.
- Balance and Coordination Issues: People with CP may have difficulty with balance, fine motor skills, and coordination.
- Muscle Tone: Muscles may be too tight or too loose, leading to movement challenges and posture control.
- Other Health Issues: Some people with cerebral palsy might experience related conditions such as epilepsy, intellectual disabilities, swallowing issues, or speech, vision and hearing impairments.
The symptoms and effects of cerebral palsy can change and evolve as a child grows.
Though cerebral palsy cannot be treated per se, a variety of therapies can improve the quality of life for people with this disorder. These include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, medications, assistive devices, surgery, and other interventions to address specific needs and challenges.
Is My Child’s Cerebral Palsy the Result of Medical Malpractice?
In some cases, medical malpractice or negligence during pregnancy, labor, or delivery can lead to conditions that increase the risk of cerebral palsy. For instance, errors during childbirth such as a delayed C-section, improper use of delivery tools, failure to monitor the baby’s distress, or inadequate response to fetal distress, could potentially lead to oxygen deprivation or brain injury, which in turn might contribute to cerebral palsy.
Filing a Lawsuit for Cerebral Palsy
If you believe that the circumstances of your loved one’s cerebral palsy are the result of medical malpractice or negligence, you may want to consider consulting a Fort Lauderdale malpractice attorney or Orlando medical malpractice lawyer at Haliczer Pettis & Schwamm to determine your legal options. It’s important to consult only with an attorney with specific knowledge of these kinds of cases to evaluate the facts of your case and determine if you should proceed forward. Medical malpractice is a specialty that requires specialized knowledge and expertise.
Two years is the standard statute of limitations for medical malpractice in Florida. Because of this relatively short window of opportunity to pursue a claim, it’s important to be in touch with a medical malpractice attorney as soon as you believe you may have a malpractice case.
Steps to Follow in Pursuing a Medical Malpractice Claim
In pursuing a medical malpractice claim, these are the steps that are typically followed:
Gather Evidence: Your attorney will help gather evidence to support your case. This may include your medical records, expert opinions, witness statements, and other relevant paperwork and documentation showing negligence or malpractice that caused or contributed to your child’s cerebral palsy.
Investigate the Claim: Once your attorney has gathered sufficient evidence and an expert supports your case, you are required to also give the heatlhcare provider a chance to investigate your claim.
Filing the Complaint: Once both sides have investigated, your case can move to court or arbitration against the responsible party/parties.
Discovery: Both sides exchange information, evidence, and documentation related to the case. This may involve depositions, interrogatories, and requests for documents. This is often a long stage of the litigation process.
Negotiation and Settlement: Often, parties attempt to reach a settlement before going to trial. Your attorney will negotiate with the other party to reach a fair agreement. If a settlement cannot be reached, the case proceeds to trial.
Trial or Arbitration: If the case goes to trial or arbitration, both sides present their case before a judge, jury or arbitrators. Witnesses may be called, evidence presented, and arguments made to support their positions.
Ruling: The judge, jury or arbitrators decide the case based on the evidence presented. The result can sometimes be appealed.
Contact HPS for Immediate Assistance
If you believe that one of your loved ones suffers from cerebral palsy due to medical malpractice, contact us online or call us at 1-800-693-4465 for a free and confidential legal consultation.