Determining if Your Child has a Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit
Birth injuries occur more commonly than most people would think. One of the most common birth injuries are to the head and brain, but nerve and spinal cord damage can also occur at or near childbirth. When damage to the brain occurs before, during, or after delivery, a child may be diagnosed with cerebral palsy. A child who receives a devastating cerebral palsy diagnosis must live with this serious disability for life. Although the cause is often a mystery at the start, the source of the brain damage leading to cerebral palsy may be medical malpractice.
Is Cerebral Palsy Always Considered a Birth Injury?
Two types of cerebral palsy are congenital and acquired, both due to neurological damage. Congenital cerebral palsy is from brain damage present before or at birth, while acquired cerebral palsy develops after a birth injury. While a child’s genetics may elevate the risk factors for brain damage, a medical professional’s lack of preparation and training for such risk factors may contribute to a child developing cerebral palsy. In addition, insufficient prenatal care, inadequate newborn care, or negligence occurring during labor and delivery may be the culprit. Birth injury and a doctor’s, hospital’s, or other medical professional’s negligence may cause the condition affecting your baby or child with cerebral palsy.
My Child was Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, Do I Have a Malpractice Case?
A parent may not know that malpractice caused their child’s CP condition. Since many causes of cerebral palsy exist, a parent seeking compensation for their child’s injury must establish medical malpractice. They must connect cerebral palsy to medical negligence. For that, they will need help. If your child has cerebral palsy, contacting a medical malpractice and birth injury attorney for a free case evaluation is the best way to determine if you have a medical malpractice claim. A medical and birth malpractice attorney experienced with cerebral palsy claims can review your case and investigate the potential sources of medical negligence that may have contributed to your child’s CP. They can further advise you about whether you have solid grounds to pursue a claim.
Some conduct that an experienced cerebral palsy lawyer may identify, validate, and prove as negligent includes:
- Delaying a cesarean section delivery
- Failing to monitor or manage fetal distress
- Inadequate jaundice diagnosis or treatment
- Incompetent use of birth assistance tools, including forceps and vacuum extraction-related injuries
- Failing to treat maternal infections
- Delayed delivery, particularly in prolonged and stressful labor
- Anesthesia mistakes in childbirth
- Surgical errors
Why Should I get a Legal Case Review as Soon as Possible?
When a knowledgeable cerebral palsy attorney assesses your case and finds evidence that medical negligence may have contributed to your child’s injury, they may advise you on how to pursue a claim for birth injury damages. A successful claim may cover your child’s medical and therapeutic needs, your economic losses, mental and physical suffering, and more. To establish medical malpractice, your attorney must review your child’s medical records intensively to reveal the poor treatment your medical team gave you and your baby in the time leading up to, during, or following childbirth.
Then, a medical expert is a must-have to strengthen the connection between medical professional malpractice and cerebral palsy. Your attorney connects with a medical expert for their opinion after an expansive records and test results review as part of the initial investigation and case evaluation.
What Evidence Helps to Support a Cerebral Palsy Claim?
When a knowledgeable attorney and medical expert examine your child’s records and the facts of what occurred, they may determine that medical malpractice caused your child’s cerebral palsy. Your child’s symptoms are some of the facts that may confirm cerebral palsy resulting from your medical provider’s actions or inaction. Some cerebral palsy symptoms may not appear right away. Your child could be two or three years old before movement and coordination problems become apparent. You may suspect a problem when your child does not reach milestones on time, with a host of developmental delays. Your child may not walk at two years old, and their muscles may seem weak, rigid, or floppy, especially in the arms and legs. They may have shaky hands, muscle spasms, or jerky movements. They may walk on their toes.
More disturbing symptoms may be difficulty swallowing, speaking, sleeping, hearing, seeing, and controlling their bladder. Your child may have seizures, gastroesophageal reflux disease, dislocated hips, and learning disabilities. Not every case of cerebral palsy has all these symptoms. However, even several may require medical attention and ongoing therapy to keep a child with cerebral palsy comfortable and as functional as possible. As a parent, you undoubtedly hope to support their highest quality of life. The financial compensation you receive from a successful claim can help cover the costs of possible surgeries, therapy, and other treatments and costs associated with caring for your child.
Starting the Process of a Malpractice Case for Cerebral Palsy in NJ
In New Jersey, you must file an affidavit of merit with the court for your medical malpractice lawsuit. The affidavit affirms that the injured victim filing suit (or on whose behalf the suit is filed) suffered injury that was likely due to medical negligence. In other words, a medical professional may have committed malpractice. The affidavit support comes from a medical expert’s sworn declaration that a medical provider failed to provide care up to the accepted standards in the medical community. You must file the affidavit within 60 days of the defendant’s response to the complaint.
The medical expert must be a licensed medical professional. Additionally, they must specialize in the relevant field of practice as a defendant in your lawsuit, for instance, obstetrics. The affidavit of merit is critical for procedural reasons, as the court can dismiss your lawsuit without it. It also supports what you must prove in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
What Do You Have to Prove for a Cerebral Palsy Claim?
To prove a cerebral palsy claim:
- You must establish a doctor and patient relationship to support that the doctor owed your child a duty of care.
- You must also prove the doctor breached the duty to provide medical care up to the standards accepted in the medical community and that such breach caused injury to your child
- You must demonstrate that your child’s injury resulted in damages
Contact an Accomplished Attorney Handling Cerebral Palsy Claims for Compensation
When you discover your child’s cerebral palsy, seek advice from an accomplished attorney and a legal review of your case soon afterward. Case evaluations and investigations take time, and New Jersey law requires you to file a lawsuit within a specific time frame. The statute of limitations for a medical malpractice lawsuit for a minor injured at birth is the child’s 13th birthday. You must file a lawsuit before then. As a parent with a child suffering from cerebral palsy, you know all too well that it is critical to get the financial help you need for your child as soon as you can. Since cerebral palsy medical malpractice actions can be complex and the preparation lengthy, contact the seasoned team of cerebral palsy lawyers at Fronzuto Law Group as quickly as possible. Call 973-435-4551 for a free case review and get help confirming if you have a claim today.
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