Philadelphia Cerebral Palsy Lawyer

Serving Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & New Jersey

Cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition and is among the most common motor disabilities that children can suffer. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately one in 345 children born in the U.S. are identified with cerebral palsy. Some cases of cerebral palsy are caused by preventable birth injuries that happen because of the medical negligence of healthcare professionals during pregnancy, labor, delivery, or shortly after the baby’s birth. If your child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy that might have been caused by birth injuries, the Philadelphia cerebral palsy lawyers at Raynes & Lawn can assess your claim and help you determine your options. We have more than 50 years of experience helping malpractice victims and their families and have recovered billions of dollars for our clients.

Understanding Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy encompasses several disorders affecting the child’s ability to control their movements, balance, or posture. Doctors classify cases of cerebral palsy according to their associated movement characteristics and symptoms.

The most common type of cerebral palsy is spastic CP. People who have this condition have difficulty relaxing specific muscles and might become rigid or have trouble controlling their movements or moving. They might also struggle to speak or eat. The cause of spastic cerebral palsy is damage to the child’s brain pyramidal tracts or motor cortex area. The symptoms are more pronounced when children suffer severe injuries.

Athetoid cerebral palsy is the second-most common type of CP and affects between 10% and 20% of children who are diagnosed. People who have athetoid cerebral palsy have trouble controlling their movements and might have uncontrolled writhing or jerking movements. Athetoid cerebral palsy typically affects the face and arms more than it does the legs. This means that many children with athetoid CP will have trouble with speaking or eating. The most common cause of athetoid CP is a disruption in the baby’s oxygen flow to the brain during birth. Other causes include kernicterus and genetic disorders.

The rarest type of cerebral palsy is ataxic CP. In this type of cerebral palsy, children might have tremors when they try to perform voluntary movements. Children with ataxic cerebral palsy might have trouble with precise movements, maintaining balance while walking, and performing daily tasks. This type of cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the cerebellum.

Regardless of your child’s type of cerebral palsy, our Philadelphia cerebral palsy attorneys can evaluate the evidence and explain your legal rights, including whether you might be entitled to pursue compensation.

Cerebral Palsy Prognosis

Unfortunately, cerebral palsy does not have a cure. If your child has cerebral palsy, it will affect them for the rest of their life. However, cerebral palsy does not worsen over time. If your child receives early interventions and different types of therapy, they can manage their symptoms more effectively and lead a fulfilling life. By pursuing a cerebral palsy claim, you might recover compensation to pay for all of the treatment and assistance your child might need throughout their life.

Cerebral Palsy Causes

Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the brain during pregnancy, labor, delivery, or after birth. Some of the risk factors for cerebral palsy include the following:

  • Preterm birth
  • Birth complications
  • Maternal infections during pregnancy
  • Jaundice/kernicterus
  • Birth of multiples
  • Certain maternal health conditions
  • Certain infertility drugs
  • Meningitis following birth
  • Head trauma during labor and delivery
  • Improper use of forceps
  • Birth hypoxia or asphyxia

If you believe your child’s cerebral palsy was caused by a birth injury, you should contact our Philadephial cerebral palsy and birth injury lawyers today.

Birth Injuries Resulting in Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy can be congenital, resulting in brain damage to the baby’s brain occurring during pregnancy or labor and delivery, or acquired, which is damage to the baby’s brain that can occur after birth. Congenital cerebral palsy might be prevented by addressing the mother’s health risks and monitoring the fetus for signs of distress.

The following types of birth injuries can result in cerebral palsy:

  • Untreated jaundice leading to kernicterus and brain damage
  • Placental abruption causing an interruption in the oxygen supply to the fetus’s brain
  • Umbilical cord problems disrupting the flow of blood and oxygen to the baby’s brain
  • Breech presentation without an emergency C-section
  • Improper use of forceps or vacuum extractors
  • Maternal infections not properly identified and treated during pregnancy
  • Fetal infections not properly identified and treated
  • Meningitis after birth
  • Failure to identify fetal distress and to promptly intervene

Cerebral palsy typically won’t be diagnosed for months following a child’s birth. Since the condition involves motor functioning, parents might not recognize the signs that something is wrong until their babies reach between nine and 18 months old. It can be difficult to determine when and how the baby’s brain damage occurred. If you are having difficulty determining the cause of your child’s condition, a Philadelphia cerebral palsy birth injury lawyer can work with a medical expert to investigate for you.

Brain damage that occurs during labor, delivery, or shortly following birth might be the result of medical malpractice. These types of injuries can happen when a medical provider fails to adhere to proper treatment protocols, fails to take necessary precautions during delivery, or fails to promptly identify a potential diagnosis and intervene when a reasonably competent doctor would have done so.

Potentially Liable Parties

Since numerous professionals are involved in delivering prenatal care and assisting with the labor and delivery process, it can be difficult to determine liability when birth injuries resulted in cerebral palsy.

The following parties might be liable to pay damages in a cerebral palsy malpractice lawsuit:

  • Obstetricians
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Midwives
  • Medical staff members
  • Nurses
  • Birthing centers
  • Hospitals

Investigating what happened can help to identify all of the parties to name as defendants, which can help to maximize your recovery amount. If the doctor is employed by the hospital, both the hospital and the doctor might be liable. In many cases, however, doctors are independent contractors instead of employees. In that case, the hospital might still be vicariously liable for the negligence of the nurses and medical staff who are employees of the hospital. The hospital might also be directly liable if it negligently hired, supervised, trained, or retained a medically negligent staff member.

Proving Negligence

To have a viable malpractice claim in Pennsylvania, you must first have your case reviewed by a medical expert. The expert will examine the medical provider’s care to determine whether it fell below the expected standard for reasonably competent providers in the same practice field and geographic area under the circumstances. The expert and your attorney will also determine whether the provider’s substandard care caused your child’s injuries and resulting cerebral palsy.

To win a medical malpractice claim, you must be able to prove each of the following elements:

  • A provider-patient relationship existed.
  • The provider had an expected standard of care.
  • The provider’s treatment fell below the expected standard of care.
  • The substandard care caused your child’s birth injuries and cerebral palsy.
  • You and your child suffered actual damages.

Speak to a Cerebral Palsy Lawyer in Philadelphia PA

The cerebral palsy attorneys in Philadelphia at Raynes & Lawn have decades of experience helping families who have been harmed by the medical negligence of healthcare professionals and have recovered billions of dollars for our clients. We offer free consultations and can help you understand your rights and potential legal remedies. Call us today to schedule a free case evaluation at 1-800-535-1797.

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Philadelphia PA 19103
Phone: 1-215-568-6190
Toll-Free: 1-800-535-1797
Fax: 1-215-988-0618

New Jersey Office

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Marlton, NJ 08053-1536
Phone: 1-856-854-1556
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