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Cerebral Palsy Claims
What is cerebral palsy?
Cerebral palsy is the medical term used to cover a range of neurological conditions, which affect a person’s coordination, muscle control, reflexes, posture and balance. It is caused by damage to a baby’s brain before, during or soon after birth.
If your child has cerebral palsy as the result of the negligent actions of medical practitioners you could be eligible to make a claim. Children with the condition often have complex medical needs, involving ongoing rehabilitation, treatment and sometimes the need for home adaptions and mobility aids. Compensation can be used to help pay for such treatment.
True Solicitors will handle your claim on a No Win, No Fee basis, offering a free no obligation, initial assessment of your case. If you have been affected by cerebral palsy as a result of medical negligence contact us today on 0344 854 7000 or submit your details below and we will call you back.
What causes cerebral palsy?
Causes of cerebral palsy before birth:
Cerebral palsy can develop whilst the baby is growing in the womb due to issues that affect the baby’s brain development, such as:
• An infection caught by the mother – such as rubella, chickenpox, CMV or toxoplasmosis.
• An injury to the unborn baby’s head which may have been caused due to the mother experiencing a fall.
• The baby experiences a stroke in the womb, due to bleeding on the brain or the blood supply to the brain being cut off.
• Periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) – which is damage to the white matter of the brain, caused due to a reduction in blood or oxygen supply.
Causes of cerebral palsy during or after birth:
The condition can also develop as a consequence of complications during or soon after birth. Common causes include:
• Complications during labour which mean that the baby is temporarily deprived of oxygen. This can happen as a result of delays in delivery.
• A premature birth
• A bleed on the baby’s brain.
• Gene defects affecting the development of the brain.
• An infection of the brain, such as meningitis.
• The mother having extremely low or high blood pressure.
• Failure of medical practitioner to effectively monitor the baby’s heartbeat.
• Failure of a medical practitioner to diagnose and treat low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia).
How could negligent medical treatment have caused cerebral palsy?
Negligent medical treatment may have been a contributing factor in a child developing cerebral palsy, if it can be proven that the medical practitioner made an avoidable error during labour, or failed to treat or diagnose an illness or infection such as jaundice or meningitis, which caused the cerebral palsy. The most common causes through medical negligence include:
- Delay in delivery causing the baby to be deprived of oxygen.
- Delay in the diagnosis and treatment of meningitis.
- Failure of the medical practitioner to effectively monitor the baby’s heartbeat.
- Failure of a medical practitioner to diagnose and treat low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia).
- Failure to diagnose and treat jaundice that can lead to brain damage which can cause cerebral palsy.
- Problems with the umbilical cord resulting in lack of oxygen to the baby.
- Damage caused to the baby’s head or skull during delivery.
Can cerebral palsy be caused due to an instrumental delivery?
Many baby’s are delivered with the assistance of instruments such as forceps or ventouse. Instruments are needed to aid delivery in instances when the baby is not progressing down the birth canal as it should. Or in cases where there are concerns about the baby’s or the mother’s wellbeing.
If instruments are used incorrectly this can lead to skull fractures or brain damage which can lead to cerebral palsy.
What are the different types of cerebral palsy?
There are 3 different types of cerebral palsy:
- Spastic cerebral palsy: This is where children suffer from muscle stiffness and weakness, affecting their range of movement. Limbs can be affected down just one side, or on both sides of the body.
- Dyskinetic cerebral palsy: This causes children to make involuntary movements as it is not possible for them to control their muscles. Muscles change from floppy to tense and speech and hearing can also be affected.
- Ataxic cerebral palsy: This causes difficulty with speech, balance and coordination. Hand movements might also be shaky.
People with cerebral palsy might have a combination of two or more types of the condition.
What are the effects of cerebral palsy?
The effects of the condition differ from person to person. Some people with cerebral palsy grow up to live largely independent lives, whilst others will require every day assistance for the rest of their lives. Conditions associated with cerebral palsy include:
• Issues with mobility, muscle control, motor control and coordination
• Difficulty with feeding, swallowing and speech
• Learning difficulties
• Behavioural problems
• Lack of bladder and bowel control
• Sensory impairment
• Lack of spatial awareness
Is there a time limit for making a claim?
You can make a claim on your child’s behalf at any point up until they reach the age of 18. After your child has turned 18 they have 3 years to make a claim themselves.
The exception to this rule is if your child doesn’t have the mental capacity to make the claim themselves once they reach adult age. In these circumstances there is no time limit to making a claim.
It is however recommended to start the claims process as soon as you are made aware that your child may have developed cerebral palsy due to negligent treatment.
How much will it cost to make a claim?
We will handle your claim on a No Win, No Fee basis. This simply means that should we not win your case, you will not need to pay us a penny to cover your legal fees. If your clinical negligence case is won, you will pay us what is known as a ‘success fee’ which is 25% of the compensation amount obtained.
We will assess the prospects of your case when you contact us and if we deem your case to be admissible we will not take it on.
In some instances Legal Aid can be used to cover the cost of legal advice if your child has been injured during pregnancy, birth or within the first 8 weeks of their life. In order to qualify for Legal Aid the following requirements must be met:
- Your child must have less than £2500 in savings.
- There must be strong reasoning for us to investigate your case.
During your initial consultation with us we will discuss the different funding options available and let you know if your circumstances make it possible for you to access Legal Aid. If you do qualify for Legal Aid this will be used to cover the full costs of your legal representation if you choose to instruct us as your solicitor.
Read our guide on how personal injury claims are funded for more information.
How will making a claim help my child?
The compensation that you may receive from making a medical negligence claim for cerebral palsy can help to cover the additional needs faced by your child over their lifetime. The money can be used to pay for things like:
• Speech and language therapy
• Occupational therapy
• Mobility aids and equipment
• Home and vehicle adaptations
• Future loss of earnings
• Transport to and from medical appointments
How much compensation will my child receive?
There is no cure for cerebral palsy so compensation settlements are typically quite high value, as they need to cover the cost of lifetime care and support for your child. As each case is individual it is not possible to give an exact compensation value, however settlement amounts can often by six figure sums.
Can I make a claim?
Speak to a member of our medical negligence team today to find out if you’re eligible to make a cerebral palsy negligence claim. True Solicitors will handle your claim with sensitivity and compassion, offering you solid legal advice at each step of the claims process. We offer a free, no obligation initial assessment and will handle your claim on a No Win, No Fee basis.