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Cerebral Palsy Claims
Giving birth to a baby with cerebral palsy will have a profound impact on your life and the life of your child, and nobody understands that better than the solicitors at Blackwater Law. Cerebral palsy can be caused by brain damage that can occur during or soon after birth as a result of negligent treatment by medical professionals such as consultants, doctors and midwives. If that is the case, our experienced team of medical negligence solicitors will do our utmost to ensure you get the compensation you and your child need to help you face any challenges during your child’s life.
We Can Help with Your Cerebral Palsy Compensation Claim
The severity of your child’s cerebral palsy will affect the amount of compensation you could be entitled to, but as cerebral palsy compensation claims need to take the sufferer’s lifetime needs into account, successful compensation claims often settle for millions of pounds. Cerebral palsy affects every child differently, depending on the extent and nature of the brain injury. In some children, cerebral palsy affects all four limbs; in others, it affects one side of the body. And depending on the severity of the condition, cerebral palsy may go unnoticed for some time following birth, for example until certain development milestones are not met, such as the baby being able to support their head or roll over by themselves.
However your child has been affected by cerebral palsy, Blackwater Law are here to help and advise you. Our clinical negligence team fully understand the complexities of handling compensation claims for cerebral palsy and other types of brain injury compensation. Our specialist clinical negligence solicitors have the necessary knowledge and expertise to help you secure the maximum compensation you deserve. We promise to handle your claim with skill, dedication and the utmost discretion, and you can trust us to advise you and act in your best interests at all times. So if your child or someone close to you has cerebral palsy as a result of brain damage inflicted through the negligence of a medical professional, call us on 0800 083 5500 for a free, no-obligation discussion about your potential compensation claim.
There Are Many Personal Injury Solicitors, so Why Choose Blackwater Law?
The clinical negligence solicitors at Blackwater Law understand the complex needs that a child with cerebral palsy will have. We appreciate that coping with the physical disability, hearing and speech problems and learning difficulties associated with the condition can present significant challenges that require professional support and care. Dealing with the consequences of a brain injury is difficult enough, so finding the right law firm to handle your case is an extremely important decision. There are many reasons why Blackwater Law are the best choice for handling a cerebral palsy compensation claim, such as:
- Our expertise in dealing with cerebral palsy and other severe brain injury cases;
- Our proven track record of securing maximum compensation by building the strongest possible case through specialist investigation and expert legal argument;
- Our unique national network of the country’s leading medical experts that we use to build strong evidence in support of the your case;
- Personal, confidential and empathetic support for all of our clients; and
- Our ability to provide support though a large and unique national network of health professionals.
How Do I Know if My Child Has Cerebral Palsy Due to Medical Negligence?
Where cerebral palsy is the result of clinical negligence, the actual cause can be the failure of a medical professional to deliver the baby even when it is exhibiting clear signs of distress. A delay in delivery can mean that the child is deprived of oxygen (cerebral hypoxia), which can cause permanent damage to the brain. Cerebral palsy can also be caused by errors after the birth of the baby, such as infection, jaundice, meningitis or a failure to adequately treat congenital disorders. The main causes of cerebral palsy arising from clinical negligence include:
- A delay in delivering the infant, causing oxygen deprivation (cerebral hypoxia);
- Late diagnosis or misdiagnosis of infections or other medical issues that lead to brain damage;
- Failure to correctly monitor the baby’s heartbeat;
- Failure to correctly use forceps or vacuum extraction during delivery;
- Failure to identify umbilical cord problems, such as a prolapsed cord; and
- Failure to properly monitor fetal and/or maternal distress.
How Will a Claim for Clinical Negligence Compensation Help My Child?
Caring for a child with cerebral palsy can be difficult at times – physically, emotionally and financially. Whilst medical support will be provided by the Department of Health and the local authority, budgeting restrictions may result in some of the child’s requirements not being catered for. Financial restrictions can also lead to delays in the provision of important equipment, assistance and services, which can make caring for a disabled child even more difficult.
Financial compensation – typically paid out as a lump sum and periodic payments – can help to alleviate some of these concerns and can help to remove the barriers that are preventing your child from getting access to vital equipment and care services. This can greatly enhance the quality of life of those with cerebral palsy, and can help to ensure that your child is afforded the opportunity to enjoy their life as much as possible.
Compensation packages for cases of cerebral palsy can run into the hundreds of thousands or even millions of pounds due to the level of professional care and equipment that is required over the course of a lifetime. In most cases, a successful claim for cerebral palsy compensation will include provision for:
- General care;
- Occupational therapy;
- Speech and language therapy;
- Assistive technology and equipment;
- Suitable accommodation for the child and their family;
- Special educational needs;
- Loss of earnings; and
- Professional costs associated with managing the award of compensation.
What should I do if I suspect my child’s cerebral palsy condition was caused by medical negligence?
If you believe your child’s condition was caused by a mistake which may amount to clinical negligence, you should contact Blackwater Law to discuss your case as soon as possible. We offer a free initial consultation. You will speak with a specialist solicitor who will establish the facts and determine whether or not you could be entitled to clinical negligence compensation.
The specialist team at Blackwater Law is made up of accredited clinical negligence solicitors, who are experts in their field. Our solicitors possess unrivalled experience of working on head and brain injury claims, and we have a deep understanding of the complexities and challenges of caring for a disabled child. This experience ensures the case put forward on your behalf is as strong as possible.
You can call us on 0800 083 5500 to talk to a medical negligence solicitor about your claim. We’ll investigate your claim with the aid of independent medical experts, working out what mistakes were made and whether or not they could have been reasonably avoided.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is the medical term for a number of neurological conditions that affect movement and co-ordination. The neurological conditions are the result of damage to the brain and central nervous system. More specifically, cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the parts of the brain responsible for controlling muscles and movement. Cerebral palsy can occur if the brain develops in an abnormal manner or if it is damaged due to a birthing injury that occurs before, during or shortly after birth.
The symptoms of cerebral palsy usually become apparent during the first three years of a child’s life. Although the majority of children who have cerebral palsy are born with the condition, depending on the severity of the condition it may not be diagnosed immediately. However, as the child develops, the symptoms of cerebral palsy become much more noticeable.
There are 3 main types of cerebral palsy:
- Spastic cerebral palsy: where children exhibit decreased muscle tone and weakness (hypotonia), which affects their range of movement. Limbs can be affected on both sides of the body or only one side;
- Dyskinetic cerebral palsy (sometimes referred to as dystonic, athetoid or choreoathetoid): where children make involuntary movements because they experience difficulty in controlling their muscles, which change from floppy to tense. With dyskinetic cerebral palsy, speech and hearing may also be affected; and
- Ataxic cerebral palsy: where children find balance difficult and their movements are uncoordinated. Speech may be irregular and hand movement may affected.
It is not uncommon for people with cerebral palsy to have a combination of 2 or more of these types. This is known as mixed cerebral palsy.
These symptoms can affect different parts of the body and vary in severity from person to person. Some people have trouble walking or sitting, while other people can have difficulty grasping and holding objects. The symptoms are not always consistent, in that they can improve or deteriorate over time.
Many people with cerebral palsy also have a number of associated problems, including:
- Repeated fits or seizures;
- Communication and learning difficulties (although intelligence is often unaffected);
- Drooling problems and swallowing difficulties (dysphagia); and
- Loss of vision.
Although there is no known cure for cerebral palsy, early diagnosis and the correct treatment can greatly improve quality of life. It is therefore essential that cerebral palsy is diagnosed and treated as soon as possible after birth.
Are There Any Time Limits on Making a Compensation Claim?
The primary limitation period for commencing legal action is to claim clinical negligence compensation is three years from the date of the negligence. However, this primary period is extended under the following circumstances:
- An exception to the three-year period occurs when the injured person is suffering from mental disability. In this instance, the primary limitation period does not commence until mental capacity has returned. In the case of an adult cerebral palsy suffer who is mentally disabled, it is unlikely that mental capacity will recover and, as such, legal action to claim for damages can be started even when the primary limitation period has long since expired; or
- For minors, the three-year period does not commence until the child is 18 years of age. If legal action for damages has not been commenced in the courts by the expiry of the three-year period (the age of 21), the opportunity to claim compensation will have passed, unless the minor suffers from mental incapacity.
The courts do have extensive powers to alter time limits, but the occasions on which this discretion is exercised are very rare.
Time limitation considerations are complex legal matters in and of themselves. It is therefore essential that expert legal advice is sought as early as possible. If you believe you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation but fear you are ‘out of time’, call Blackwater Law for a professional opinion from one of our expert solicitors.
How Much Compensation Will My Child Receive?
Successful claims for financial compensation relating to cerebral palsy can be significant. The financial package will need to cover all of the costs of lifetime care for the victim of cerebral palsy, as well as any other costs associated with their condition. There are therefore enormous costs associated with such cases and cases of this nature can result in settlements of several million pounds. The value of each claim is dependent on the individual circumstances of the case.
Will I Have to Pay Any Legal Fees When Making a Claim?
Legal aid is available to investigate compensation claims for children who have been severely injured during the delivery or neonatal period. This means that you will receive full funding for our investigation into your case, as well as any ongoing legal costs associated with your compensation claim. If legal aid is not available for whatever reason, we may be able to consider other forms of funding such as a “no win, no fee” Conditional Fee Agreement. As with the legal aid option, this would mean that there is no financial risk to you.
Who Can I Contact for Information and Advice on Caring for a Child with Cerebral Palsy?
The following organisations and websites will be able to provide you with help and advice on the many challenges of caring for a child with cerebral palsy:
Child Brain Injury Trust (CBIT): CBIT is a charity that aims to improve the quality of life of children with cerebral palsy by providing non-medical services to families across the UK who are affected by illness. Child Brain Injury Trust helpline: 0303 303 2248.
Children’s Trust: The Children’s Trust is a national charity working with children with brain injuries, multiple disabilities and complex health needs.
Scope: Scope supports disabled people and their families at every stage of their lives and offers advice and practical support – from education to everyday care. Scope support helpline: 0808 800 3333/ firstname.lastname@example.org.
CerebralPalsy.org.uk: CerebralPalsy.org.uk is an online resource dedicated to providing information and advice for those affected by cerebral palsy.
CerebralPalsyGuide.com: CerebralPalsyGuide.com aims to bring together the families of those who are affected by cerebral palsy.
How Do I Make a Cerebral Palsy Compensation Claim?
Call Blackwater Law today on 0800 083 5500 to speak to a specialist cerebral palsy compensation solicitor about your case. We will be able to quickly assess the strength of your claim and offer advice on the best way to proceed.
The friendly medical negligence experts at Blackwater Law will guide you through each stage of the legal process and keep you informed about the progress of your claim every step of the way. We will aim to build the strongest possible legal case on your behalf and aim to secure the maximum amount of compensation to help you and your family face the challenges associated with cerebral palsy.
What our clients say…
“Anna Woolf’s persistent nature when dealing with the defendant’s insurance company and encouragement when it came to pursuing the correct amount in compensation was excellent. Once again, a big thank you to Anna and all involved with my case.”Read More