Cerebral palsy claims

Where cerebral palsy is caused by medical negligence, you can make a cerebral palsy claim that will provide financial support and professional care for your child now and in the future.

When considering making a cerebral palsy claim, it is important you speak with a firm of specialist medical negligence solicitors with experience in dealing with complex birth injury claims. Cerebral palsy claims and other child related claims such as erb’s palsy claims are often complicated and can be high value with compensation settlements potentially in excess of £1million. Such claims require your medical negligence solicitor to have specialist knowledge  of both the medical aspects of the condition affecting your child and the significant legislation and case law that surrounds the legal arguments that will have to be made by your solicitor in order to be successful.

Claiming compensation for cerebral palsy

There are a number of causes of cerebral palsy, these include either baby or mother developing an infection during pregnancy, as well as brain injury or trauma caused to the baby during pregnancy or during a particularly traumatic childbirth.

You may be able to make a cerebral palsy claim for compensation where the actions or inactions of medical staff responsible for your care before, during or immediately post-birth have contributed towards or caused your child’s cerebral palsy.

The following are examples of actions and inactions of medical staff which may mean you are able to make a cerebral palsy claim:

Infections

During the course of pregnancy mothers can be particularly susceptible to developing infections, which can in turn have a severe impact on the health and development of your child. Where staff fail to diagnose infections in mother or baby during the course of pregnancy and/or fail to appropriately treat these infections, you may be entitled to make claim compensation for cerebral palsy if your child is diagnosed with the condition. An example of one such infection linked to an increase risk of cerebral palsy is meningitis.

Abnormal development of the brain

In some cases your baby’s brain may begin to show signs of abnormal development whilst in the womb. This may be treatable, or at least further deterioration preventable, and where medical staff fail to recognise, diagnose and take reasonable action in such cases and your baby develops cerebral palsy as a result, it may be possible for you to make a claim for compensation.

Birth asphyxia (hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy)

Adequate oxygen supply to the baby is crucial to its development. During a complex birth oxygen supply to the baby can be reduced or in the worst cases cut-off completely. Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy occurs where the baby’s brain is deprived of oxygenated blood causing the baby to suffer brain injury. Such brain injury can impact parts of the brain that cause cerebral palsy. The longer a baby is deprived of oxygen the exponentially greater the risk of brain injury.

Bleeding from the brain

During the pregnancy, your baby may have begun to experience bleeding from the brain whilst in the womb. Whilst the original causes for this bleeding may have nothing to do with medical staff, their failure to recognise, diagnose and appropriately treat such an affliction promptly may mean you are entitled to claim cerebral palsy compensation.

Placental abruption

Where placental abruption occurs (the placenta separates from the womb), affecting the supply of oxygen and nutrients to your baby, it is crucial that medical staff diagnose the condition and act promptly. Failure to act increases the risk of premature birth and still birth but can also lead to developmental problems such as brain injury leading to cerebral palsy. Where this is the case you may be entitled to make a cerebral palsy claim.

Traumatic or complicated birth

Where you experience a premature or particularly traumatic birthing process, careful handling and delivery of the baby is key.  Unduly forceful or inconsiderate handling by medical staff can cause brain injuries leading to cerebral palsy. Careful attention is critical particularly during assisted deliveries where the baby is in an awkward position of the mother is too weak to deliver their baby themselves. Where medical staff mismanage or are overly forceful with forceps and this injures the baby or causes a brain injury, parents may be able to make a forceps delivery claim for brain injury compensation.   Babies can also suffer asphyxiation (temporary deprivation of oxygen) during a difficult birth, which can lead to brain injury and cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy claims are complex and require specialist legal advice from a highly experienced medical negligence solicitor

Whilst the above mentioned situations represent some of the most common causes for cerebral palsy compensation claims, this is not an exhaustive list of all such potential scenarios.

If you are unsure whether medical negligence has played a role in your child’s cerebral palsy, contact Blackwater Law solicitors for expert and free initial advice.

Any instances where failures on the part of doctors, a midwife or nurse responsible for you and your baby’s care before, during or immediately after birth can be shown to have contributed to development of cerebral palsy may be considered.

Get expert legal advice

Get free initial legal advice from Jason Brady, specialist medical negligence solicitor. Find out if you can claim compensation.

CALL 0800 083 5500

Specialist cerebral palsy claim solicitors

It is important that the medical negligence solicitor that represents you in your cerebral palsy claim is fully aware of every aspect of the medical condition and its long-term impact on your child’s life and that of your family. This expert knowledge will enable them to secure the maximum amount of cerebral palsy compensation on your behalf, therefore helping you ensure your family has financial security and your child has access to specialist care throughout their life.

Blackwater Law operates all cerebral palsy claims on a no win, no fee basis, meaning there is no risk to you

Blackwater Law is independently recognised as having a leading team of medical negligence solicitors by The Legal 500 – an independent directory of the UK’s top law firms.

The team at Blackwater Law is experienced in dealing with a wide range of birth injury claims relating to injuries to both mother and baby. Such is their expertise that the team advise and represent clients across the country.

  • Expert medical negligence solicitors
  • Independently recognised as specialists
  • No win, no fee claims

No win, no fee cerebral palsy claims

Understandably, many of the families who contact us are concerned about the potential costs involved in proceeding with a claim for cerebral palsy. Blackwater Law undertake all accepted medical negligence compensation claims on a no win, no fee basis – including claims for cerebral palsy. Should we agree to represent you, that means you face no financial risk hen you decide to seek compensation.

 

Long term difficulties associated with cerebral palsy

Raising a child with cerebral palsy will involve dealing with a range of physical and emotional obstacles. Whilst therapy and medication can alleviate some of the symptoms the condition remains incurable.

Making a claim for cerebral palsy compensation can provide you with financial security and peace of mind that professional care can be afforded now and in the future

  • Different forms of cerebral palsy can cause significant difficulties in muscle movement and usage. Stiffness and / or weakness can occur on one or both sides of the body, and this can make movement difficult, forcing the patient to place unusual amounts of strain on other parts of the body in order compensate. In the long term this can cause arthritis or prolonged fatigue in the joints and bones.
  • Balance and coordination problems are also not uncommon, which can restrict your child’s ability to take part in physical activities / sport, or to perform complex tasks such as driving. Repeated, uncontrollable fits or seizures can further compound these difficulties.
  • There are a number of associated skeletal development conditions, such as scoliosis and issues relating to hip dislocation.
  • Day to day difficulties such as drooling or swallowing difficulties (dysphagia), along with gasto-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), difficulty controlling the bladder, constipation, speech impediments (dysarthria), visual difficulties, hearing loss and learning difficulties may also exist to different extents. These symtpoms occur even when intelligence is not affected by the condition.

What is cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy occurs when a brain injury is sustained to the part of the baby’s brain that governs muscle control. In addition to difficulty controlling movement, cerebral palsy can also affect a child’s vision, hearing, learning and ability to communicate. Cerebral palsy can manifest as a result of developmental problems with the brain in the womb (potentially due to infection), or as a result of harm sustained before, during or immediately after the birth process.

The condition can vary in terms of severity, and in some cases may only affect one side of the body, or even just the legs, leaving the upper body uninhibited. The presence of associated medical conditions and difficulties can also vary greatly.

Unfortunately, the condition as a whole remains incurable, which is why the diagnosis can be devastating for families, particularly when it is the result of medical negligence and therefore preventable. In such instances, an expert medical negligence solicitor can help you secure the compensation needed to meet the challenges the condition will likely present to you and your family.

Types of cerebral palsy

There are three different types of cerebral palsy however, even within each classification of the condition, no two cases will be exactly the same as the condition has a wide spectrum of severity, however, children will display similar characteristics.

Spastic cerebral palsy

This is the most common type of cerebral palsy, accounting for approximately 80% of cases. Spastic cerebral palsy results from damage to the pyramidal tract region of the brain. This is the area of the brain that is responsible for controlling muscles in the body.

There are two types of spastic cerebral palsy:

Hypertonia – where increased muscle tone causes muscles to appear stiff.

Hypotonia – Where increased muscle tone causes muscles to appear floppy.

In the most severe cases of spastic cerebral palsy the child will suffer from quadriplegia, also referred to as spastic quadriplegia. This is where the child will suffer complete or severe partial loss of both sensation and control of all four limbs.

Symptoms of spastic cerebral palsy:

  • The child’s muscles will be tight and may tighten further overtime.
  • The child will display an abnormal walk with legs crossing or making scissor movements and the child walking on their toes. It is also likely that the child’s arms will not swing by their side but be tucked in and or bent at the elbow.
  • The child’s joints will be restricted and be unlikely to operate fully.
  • The child’s muscles will be weak and is likely to lack the ability to control  and move groups of muscles.

As no two cases of spastic cerebral palsy will be exactly the same, children with the condition will display a combination of the above symptoms to varying degrees of severity.

Athetoid cerebral palsy

This  is the second most common form of the condition and again can be separated into two categories:

Athetoid – affecting the child’s limbs.

Dyskinetic – affecting the trunk of the child’s body.

Athetoid cerebral palsy is caused by brain injury to the Basil Ganglia or Cerebellum whilst the brain is still developing. Children with this form of cerebral palsy can display normal learning. Children with Athetoid cerebral palsy are likely to display symptoms consistent with those below, but are likely to display each to varying degrees:

  • Uncontrollable muscle movement.
  • Difficulty in making eye contact with others resulting from difficulty focusing.
  • Difficulty speaking due to being unable to control the tongue and vocal chord.
  • Drooling and difficult eating, again due to not being able to control muscles in and around the mouth, jaw and tongue.
  • Emotional stress and frustration are likely to be displayed by the child due to the physical symptoms of the condition.

Ataxic cerebral palsy

This is the rarest form of cerebral palsy and is caused by brain injury to the part of the brain that provides for body movement and co-ordination.

Child with Ataxic cerebral palsy may display learning not far short of the average child, although some children do display learning difficulties.

Symptoms associated specifically with ataxic cerebral palsy include:

  • Difficulty balancing, which can lead to the child displaying wide stance.
  • Weak muscles.
  • The child will often display frustration, brought about by being unable to undertake physical tasks.

Treatment of cerebral palsy

Despite the condition being incurable, certain treatments have been shown to help patients with the condition cope better with their difficulties and to alleviate some of the worst symptoms.

Physiotherapy can help to restore movement and body function in those affected by cerebral palsy, which can help them to lead a fuller, more active life.

Occupational therapy establishes means to help the patient meet day to day challenges – such as getting dressed – and to identify solutions to daily challenges such as changing their environment and incorporating new equipment into their daily routines.

Medication is available to help relieve muscle stiffness and reduce the suffering associated with the worst of the condition’s physical effects.

Get expert legal advice

Call today to get expert advice from Jason Brady, specialist medical negligence solicitor. Find out if you can claim compensation.

CALL 0800 083 5500


 

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