• How to File a Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit
  • June 24, 2015 | Authors: Amanda Marie Payton; Jeffrey H. Rasansky
  • Law Firm: Rasansky Law Firm - Dallas Office
  • What should you do if you want to file a cerebral palsy lawsuit on behalf of your child?

    If your child has suffered a birth injury which caused cerebral palsy, you may have a valid medical malpractice claim against the doctor or hospital. It's important to note, however, that these type of claims are unique, complex and challenging.

    It is in your best interest to consult with a cerebral palsy lawyer in order to determine the options available to you. Search for a cerebral palsy lawyer in your area who offers free consultations, or feel free to contact Rasansky Law Firm at 1-877-405-4313.

    What causes cerebral palsy?

    Cerebral palsy is caused by the abnormal development of the parts of the brain that control movement, balance, and posture. These problems can sometimes develop during pregnancy as part of the natural course of events, but oftentimes the problems are caused by issues related to the birth of the child, such as a lack of oxygen.

    There is no cure for cerebral palsy, but there are treatments which include speech therapy and physical therapy. It is the most common movement disorder in children, affecting 2.1 babies per 1,000 live births. It is estimated that treatments for cerebral palsy can cost around $1 million over the course of a child's life.

    What should you do if your cerebral palsy was caused by medical malpractice?

    There are quite a few ways that a doctor can cause brain damage to a baby during delivery. Some examples include fetal distress caused by an emergency cesarean section after several hours of labor and repeated attempts to deliver the child vaginally, the use of vacuum suction extraction in inappropriate situations, premature birth, failure to detect or properly treat infections in the mother during pregnancy, failure to detect a prolapsed umbilical chord, and failure to appropriately monitor fetal heart rate before and during labor and birth. However, the facts to each case are unique and this is just a brief overview of possible situations which may lead to cerebral palsy.

    Cerebral palsy is usually not diagnosed at birth because it is hard to determine whether or not babies have motor issues when they are so young. Usually, concerns arise if a baby is unable to suck properly, unable to support its head, or cannot roll over and sit. Because of this, cerebral palsy is usually diagnosed around the age of two or three.

    If you feel that your or your child's cerebral palsy was caused by medical malpractice, you (or your lawyer) would have to prove negligence on the part of the doctor in performing the procedure that you believe caused the cerebral palsy.

    How do you prove negligence?

    Proving negligence in the medical context is complicated, which is why you should always consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can walk you through the legal process.

    Generally, if the doctor performing the procedure acted in a way that was contrary to how a similarly trained doctor would have acted, then that doctor may have committed medical malpractice. Courts rely on expert testimony from other doctors in order to determine whether or not the doctor in question acted appropriately. But these expert witnesses are expensive, which is why it is vital to contact an experienced attorney who will evaluate your claim and will fund the costs of a medical malpractice lawsuit under a contingency fee agreement (where the attorney only gets paid if they win your case).

    Is there a time limit on cerebral palsy lawsuits?

    There is a statute of limitations for lawsuits related to birth injuries. These time limits vary depending on which state you are in. In Texas, persons who were injured at the time of their birth have a period of two years after they turn 18 to file a cerebral palsy lawsuit. For parents of injured children who live in Texas, they have the normal 2-year statute of limitations which exist for all medical malpractice cases.

    Additionally, Texas has a 10-year statute of repose on all medical malpractice cases. That means, for all birth injury claims, parents of injured children in Texas have until the child turns 10 years of age to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.