Do I Have a Legal Case if my Child has Cerebral Palsy?
Posted on behalf of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Mar 13, 2018 in Medical Malpractice
Of all the potential birth injuries to a newborn child, cerebral palsy is one of the most devastating. Occurring in approximately 1.4 to four of every 1,000 births, cerebral palsy can occur as the result of medical malpractice, which means you may be entitled to receive legal compensation for your child's injuries.
Although there is a range of severity in cases, any diagnosis of cerebral palsy will have a profound and possibly lifelong impact on your child's well-being and development. If your child's cerebral palsy stems from medical mistakes, our New Haven medical malpractice lawyers may be able to help you pursue compensation for your medical expenses, pain, suffering and other damages. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Causes of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy occurs during pregnancy, during the birthing process or right after birth, usually as the result of a lack of oxygen to the brain or because of traumatic injuries caused by mistakes during delivery.
There are several mistakes a doctor, nurse or hospital staffer can make during the delivery process that could lead to cerebral palsy in an infant. They include:
- Inaccurately detecting and treating a mother's infection
- Failing to monitor fetal heart rate, leading to oxygen deprivation
- Improper technique during an emergency C-section
- Neglecting to identify and address umbilical cord issues
- Utilizing birth-assisting tools incorrectly
- Failing to perform safe surgical procedures
There may be options to repair the damage even after a diagnosis of cerebral palsy is made in an infant, but the time window for doing so is exceptionally narrow. A doctor's failure to act in these circumstances can also lead to a medical malpractice claim, but the success of the claim depends largely on whether the doctor attempted the procedure more than whether or not it was ultimately successful.
Because these injuries are almost always preventable if the doctor exercised due diligence and proper techniques, the likelihood of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is substantial. Many people do not understand just how costly it can be to deal with the myriad of expenses arising from a child with cerebral palsy. The costs can be, and usually are, overwhelming for most families. With these expenses often exceeding $1 million, a medical malpractice lawsuit becomes a practical necessity for the family of a child with cerebral palsy.
Do I Have a Case?
The issue of whether you have a case hinges on whether the requirements for a claim for medical malpractice have been met. The four elements of a medical malpractice claim include:
- The existence of a doctor-patient relationship
- Negligent conduct by the doctor or medical professional
- Evidence that the doctor’s negligence caused the injury
- The resulting injury caused specific damages that can be compensated monetarily
Your personal injury lawyer will need to prove the occurrence of each individual element in order to prevail in court. This process will require evidence in the form of documents, testimony, medical records and expert witnesses.
Compensation from a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
How much money you may receive in damages from a medical malpractice suit depends on a list of factors; no two cases are exactly alike. Compensation is normally divided into one of two categories, known as economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are costs arising from the actual expenses relating to the treatment of the child's cerebral palsy and loss of earning capacity later in your child’s life. These damages include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Any necessary rehab or physical therapy
- The cost of any medications
- Loss of earnings
- Essential accommodations made to your home
- Any specialized education or other personal services
Generally referred to as pain and suffering, non-economic damages can be characterized as compensation for damages that do not have a specific cost associated with them. Some specific examples of non-economic damages include:
- Physical pain
- Emotional distress
- Loss of joy of life
- Permanent impairment
- Loss of function
How Long You Have to File a Case
Each state has its own statute of limitations laws which limit the time you have to file a civil lawsuit. Connecticut law requires that cerebral palsy lawsuits must be filed within two years of the time of the injury that led to cerebral palsy, but in some rare circumstances, Connecticut allows for three years to file a lawsuit.
Get Help from a Lawyer
The skilled attorneys of D’Amico & Pettinicchi have years of experience pursuing negligent medical professionals and holding them accountable for the harm they have caused. We will help you discover if your child's cerebral palsy was preventable and determine if you have a case. If you do, we will work to recover maximum compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. We will take care of the legal battle, so your focus can be with your child, where it needs to be.
Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our legal team today and learn what options are available for pursuing compensation in your case. There are no upfront fees, and the only way we get paid is if we recover compensation for you.