When is a Child’s Cerebral Palsy a Malpractice Issue?


Cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition that varies in severity. In many cases, preventable medical errors that happen during or after birth are the cause of children’s cerebral palsy. If you believe that your child developed cerebral palsy because of the negligence of a doctor or another medical provider, you might be entitled to pursue compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit. A Philadelphia cerebral palsy and birth injury lawyer at Raynes & Lawn can review your case and explain whether you have a viable claim.

Understanding What Constitutes Medical Malpractice

A medical provider who causes injuries to a patient because of negligent acts or omissions might have engaged in medical malpractice. Doctors must provide care that meets or exceeds the expected standard of care that a reasonably competent doctor in the same practice field and geographic region would provide under similar conditions. When a medical provider’s care falls below the expected standard and causes a patient’s injuries, they might be liable for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Unfortunately, medical malpractice happens more frequently than most people realize. When a doctor’s negligence causes birth injuries that lead to neurological and developmental complications, the child’s life might be permanently affected by cerebral palsy. If you think your child developed cerebral palsy because of mistakes made by a doctor, medical facility, nurse, or another healthcare professional, you might have valid grounds to pursue a malpractice claim.

Birth Injury Symptoms

Birth injuries are injuries that happen before, during, or shortly following birth. When a child suffers a birth injury, they have a higher risk of developing permanent conditions, including cerebral palsy.

The following are some of the symptoms of birth injuries:

  • Muscular rigidity
  • High-pitched crying
  • Arching the back while crying
  • Seizures
  • Floppiness
  • Excessive drooling
  • Hands curled like claws
  • Light sensitivity
  • Poor reflexes

These symptoms might have birth injuries that could result in cerebral palsy or other preventable conditions. If your child suffered birth injuries and was subsequently diagnosed with cerebral palsy, you might have a viable malpractice claim and should speak with an experienced cerebral palsy attorney.

Types of Malpractice That Can Result in Cerebral Palsy

Medical negligence can cause injuries that cause a child to develop cerebral palsy. Medical mistakes and negligence before, during, or shortly following birth can cause brain damage and cerebral palsy.

The following are some of the types of medical malpractice that might lead to a cerebral palsy diagnosis:

  • Failing to identify and properly treat maternal infections during pregnancy
  • Failing to properly monitor the mother and baby for signs of fetal distress
  • Improperly using birth assistive devices, including forceps or vacuum extractors
  • Failing to perform an emergency Caesarian section when necessary
  • Failing to identify an umbilical cord prolapse

These and other types of medical negligence can cause preventable birth injuries and cerebral palsy. They might also amount to medical malpractice.

Hospital Negligence

Hospitals are vicariously liable for the negligence of their employees. However, most doctors are not employees of the hospitals where they work and instead are independent contractors. In some cases, however, hospitals can also be held liable for their own negligent actions, and they can also be vicariously liable for the actions of their nurses and other employees.

Hospitals must have policies and procedures to prevent patient injuries and neglect. They must also provide sterile, safe environments for their patients. A hospital can be held liable when a staff member doesn’t have the proper training, education, and licensing. If they don’t have enough staff on duty to maintain the quality of care, they can be liable when a birth injury results. They can also be liable when the facility is maintained in an unsanitary condition that causes infections to spread.

What Happens When You Meet With an Attorney?

Seeing an attorney for a case evaluation helps you to understand whether you have a viable cerebral palsy malpractice claim. The lawyer will analyze what happened and determine whether your claim has legal merits. Case evaluations at Raynes & Lawn are free, so you won’t have to pay to learn about your case. We also do not charge any attorney’s fees until and unless we recover compensation for you.

A consultation also lets you ask the attorney any questions you might have and evaluate them to see whether you trust them to handle your case. If the lawyer agrees that your claim has legal merits, and you agree to retain them, your attorney will then help you with the claims process.

In Pennsylvania, medical malpractice lawsuits can’t be filed unless they have been reviewed by a medical expert. Your attorney will work with a medical expert to evaluate the treatment provided by the medical provider and determine whether it violated the standard of care and caused your child’s cerebral palsy. Your lawyer will handle the paperwork involved with filing your claim and gather your prenatal records, your child’s medical records, lab test results, and other evidence to support your claim.

Filing a malpractice lawsuit against the healthcare professionals who negligently caused your child’s cerebral palsy can allow you to hold them accountable for their actions and recover compensation for your child’s and family’s losses. Children with cerebral palsy require lifelong care, and recovering compensation can help ensure that their care needs are met throughout your child’s life.

Talk to a Cerebral Palsy Lawyer Philadelphia PA

You can learn whether your child’s cerebral palsy was caused by the medical malpractice of a medical provider by scheduling a free consultation with a Philadelphia cerebral palsy and birth injury lawyer at Raynes & Lawn. We have helped many clients recover full compensation for their losses over our more than 50 years of practice and can help you understand your legal options. Call us today to schedule your complimentary, no-obligation consultation at 1-800-535-1797.


For the general public:  This Blog/Website is made available by the law firm publisher, Raynes & Lawn, for educational purposes. It provides general information and a general understanding of the law but does not provide specific legal advice. By using this site, commenting on posts, or sending inquiries through the site or contact email, you confirm that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Blog/Website publisher. The Blog/Website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.


For attorneys:  This Blog/Website is informational in nature and is not a substitute for legal research or a consultation on specific matters pertaining to your clients.  Due to the dynamic nature of legal doctrines, what might be accurate one day may be inaccurate the next. As such, the contents of this blog must not be relied upon as a basis for arguments to a court or for your advice to clients without, again, further research or a consultation with our professionals.