Cerebral Palsy Caused by Medical Negligence
People with CP have challenges with posture and movement. Related conditions may include seizures, troubles with speech, hearing, or sight, and intellectual disabilities. Different areas of the brain are affected in various cases of CP, and this results in different types of movement difficulties. The three main types of problems with movement are: muscle stiffness, called spasticity; difficulty controlling movements, known as dyskinesia; or challenges with balance and coordination, called ataxia. Cerebral palsy has no cure, so the focus of caregivers is on treatment and therapy to handle the symptoms and to help the individual live well and be as independent as possible.
Eighty-five to 90 percent of people with CP develop it before birth or during birth. A few of the conditions that can cause a brain injury that then develops to cerebral palsy include:
- Lack of oxygen to the brain
- Bleeding on the brain
- High fever and illness due to infection
- Stroke or heart attack
CP Due to Medical Negligence
Among the causes of CP are injuries and complications that occur during childbirth. Every delivery has its own challenges and risks, and doctors or nurses can make mistakes even when they are skilled professionals with the best intentions for your medical care. Unfortunately, some of the causes of CP relate to medical negligence, which is also sometimes called “medical malpractice” in the law.
Some of the possible negligent causes of an injury that leads to CP can include problems in the medication the mother receives during the delivery process; misuse of accepted tools like forceps or vacuum extractors in the delivery; or a failure to diagnose an infection or other potential complication. Other errors might include a doctor’s delay or failure to order an emergency Cesarean Section, or a delay in detecting a hypoxic event in which the child’s brain does not receive enough oxygen. In any of these cases, the child may suffer a brain injury that cannot be cured or reversed, and which may not be diagnosed for some time.
Special Needs Associated with Cerebral Palsy
The family of a child with CP will have additional expenses and responsibilities beyond the typical costs and duties of raising a child. This includes:
- Ongoing medical bills for office visits and care, lab tests and medications
- Extra educational expenses
- Equipment and devices to assist and support the child in mobility and transport
- Costs for treatments and therapies
- Fees for professional care assistants
Some expenses may be covered by available health care coverage, but many other expenses will not be covered. The financial burden on families dealing with CP can be extreme and overburdening.
Legal Claim for Compensation
There are substantial lifelong costs and expenses for a child with cerebral palsy. A legal claim for financial compensation can reduce this burden on your family’s resources. A legal claim for compensation for your injuries and costs, called “damages” in the law, usually involves two different types of legal damages:
- Economic damages – costs relating to medical care and treatment; expenses for things like medical equipment you’ll need at home or in the car; lost wages, including loss of future earning capacity.
- Non-economic damages – financial compensation for things that don’t necessarily have a price tag or a receipt: the pain and suffering that you or your injured child suffers as a result of the cerebral palsy caused by medical negligence; the loss of enjoyment of life.
Under Ohio law, there is no limit on the economic damages that a jury may award for the costs and expenses that have been incurred and will continue to be incurred. There are limits on other types of damages, though, so it is important for your lawyer to prepare your case thoroughly to present the strongest claim for you.
Affidavit Of Merit for Medical Malpractice Claim
A requirement of filing a medical malpractice claim under Ohio law is to provide a statement from an expert with the lawsuit. This expert opinion is called an “Affidavit of Merit,” and it has to come from a doctor or health professional with training and experience in the specific area of specialty involved in the case (such as an anesthesiologist or obstetrician, for example). The Affidavit of Merit has to state that the expert has reviewed the case and is familiar with the medical records and details of the particular event at issue in the lawsuit. The expert is required to swear that the standard of care was not met by the doctor or other professional named in the lawsuit (in other words, that the doctor was negligent), and that the medical negligence was the cause of the injury described in the lawsuit.
Hiring An Attorney to Bring Your Medical Malpractice Case
A claim of negligence against the doctors or other medical professionals who were involved in your child’s delivery is a complicated legal procedure. Not only does the claim need to be filed within a certain limited time, but the requirements of filing the claim in court are extremely strict. Namely, your lawyer needs to work closely with medical experts who are trained in evaluating medical claims and who understand the legal standards involved in proving a claim of negligence against medical professionals. The law in Ohio mandates that for the legal process to take hold, the person bringing the medical malpractice claim, called the plaintiff, must file a statement from a medical expert who has evaluated the circumstances of the medical claim and has found that it is a justifiable claim of medical malpractice.
The Eisen Law Firm – Your Cerebral Palsy Medical Malpractice Attorneys
If a medical professional’s mistake has led you or a loved one to suffer from cerebral palsy, then you have the right to bring a lawsuit against that medical professional for compensation. Keep in mind, however, that there is a strict time limit for filing suit and that a significant amount of investigatory and preparatory work typically must be done before suit is filed.
Medical malpractice cases based on cerebral palsy are extremely complicated, so you will want a skilled medical malpractice attorney to help you understand your rights and guide you through the process smoothly. The Eisen Law Firm has spent more than four decades focusing exclusively on advocating for malpractice victims. We know how to hold careless doctors accountable and make them pay for the harm they have caused. We will work tirelessly to help get you the compensation and justice you and your family deserve. For a free consultation, reach out to The Eisen Law Firm by calling (216) 687-0900 or by contacting us online today.