Cerebral Palsy and Medical Negligence

The birth of a child should bring joy to couples and their family. However, medical complications like cerebral palsy can arise when healthcare providers including delivery room doctors, nurses, and anesthesiologists make serious mistakes. These complications may require additional medical treatment and cause the baby to suffer severe physical and mental impairments for the rest of their life.

If your child may have suffered a birth injury, such as cerebral palsy, resulting from medical negligence, seek medical help from a qualified medical provider right away. You must also speak to an experienced birth injury lawyer in your area immediately.

Your attorney can first investigate your child’s circumstances and determine if you can pursue a medical negligence claim against a delivery doctor or other healthcare provider.

If you can pursue a case, your lawyer can file a medical malpractice claim with the healthcare provider’s insurance company and pursue a fair settlement offer. If the insurance company does not make you a fair and reasonable offer, you have the option of litigating your case in the court system and taking it to a civil jury trial or binding arbitration hearing.

Every step of the way, your attorney will keep you informed, answer all of your legal questions, and aggressively advocate on your behalf for all of your legal interests. If your case must go to court or some other legal proceeding, your attorney can represent you, introduce medical evidence and testimony, and work to secure the best possible result in your case.

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How Does Cerebral Palsy Result from Medical Malpractice?

Unfortunately, a child can suffer from cerebral palsy and other serious birth injuries when medical providers make mistakes. Cerebral palsy may occur when an infant does not receive a steady, sufficient supply of oxygen to their brain during delivery.

Medical providers, including delivery room doctors, have a duty to take the necessary steps and follow the proper delivery room protocols to safely deliver a child. When a medical professional falls short of their legal duty of care and a medical complication results, the provider may ultimately be responsible for the resulting complications to the child.

Since there is no cure for cerebral palsy, medical providers must follow all of the necessary protocols and do everything possible to avoid birth injuries and complications in the delivery room.

In particular, cerebral palsy may occur when a medical provider fails to fully diagnose a woman’s health problems during pregnancy. Possible medical issues may include serious infections or illnesses, such as diabetes or hypertension, which may later cause their unborn child to develop cerebral palsy.

When an obstetrician fails to diagnose a woman’s illness or medical condition in time, and a birth injury results, the obstetrician can be liable for medical negligence or malpractice.

In addition, cerebral palsy can occur when a child does not receive the proper medical care and treatment shortly after birth.

In most situations, a newborn child is born with jaundice. As a result, their eyes and skin may turn yellow. If the delivery room doctor fails to provide the child with the proper medical treatment, the infant can develop kernicterus, which may result in cerebral palsy or other types of brain damage.

Finally, an infant may contract cerebral palsy if they suffer an injury during the birthing process itself.

A doctor who acts negligently may fail to ensure that the child receives sufficient oxygen at every stage of the process. Specifically, the delivery room doctor might fail to treat a birth canal delay or complication with the child’s umbilical cord in a prompt manner, cutting off the oxygen supply to the child’s brain. Alternatively, the provider may wait too long to perform a C-section, resulting in oxygen deprivation and ultimately leading to cerebral palsy.

If your child suffered cerebral palsy or some other medical complication because of a healthcare provider’s negligence, you have legal options that you can consider. In addition to getting your child prompt treatment, you should speak with an experienced birth injury lawyer near you right away.

After undertaking a thorough investigation, your attorney can advise you on all of your potential legal options and help you chart a successful course of action for your case. Your lawyer can help you file a medical negligence claim with the responsible healthcare provider’s insurance company.

Ways That Doctors Can Prevent Cerebral Palsy from Occurring in Infants?

There are specific steps that delivery room doctors and other medical providers can take to prevent cerebral palsy. When providers fail to take these precautions, and the child suffers a birth injury, the provider may be responsible for any resulting medical complications and damages.

Some necessary steps that medical providers should take include:

  • Checking the woman’s vital signs at every stage of the birthing process
  • Checking the fetal heart rate at constant intervals and taking the necessary actions if the heart rate becomes abnormal in any way
  • Reducing the risks associated with infant head injuries by refraining from using rough techniques during the delivery process and from using tools that are sharp and can injure the infant’s head
  • Checking the fetal and maternal blood types well in advance
  • Managing any underlying medical conditions from which the woman may suffer, including diabetes and hypertension, which can cause delivery and birth complications

When delivery room doctors and other medical professionals fail to take the necessary steps and precautions, their chances of causing a birth injury like cerebral palsy increase dramatically.

Your attorney can investigate your child’s circumstances and determine whether a medical provider likely acted unreasonably by violating the applicable standard of care. If that happened in your case, your lawyer can assist you with pursuing a medical malpractice claim against the negligent healthcare provider and their insurance company.

Successfully Proving a Claim for Medical Negligence

In any claim for medical negligence or malpractice, the claimant usually the injured child’s parent has the legal burden of proof in the case. Therefore, they are responsible for establishing the validity of several legal elements to recover monetary compensation for their child’s birth injuries.

First, a claimant must show that the medical provider owed them a legal duty of care. Medical providers generally owe a very high legal duty of care to patients. Specifically, they must act as a hypothetical reasonable medical provider should act under the same or similar circumstances. Moreover, the law typically holds medical specialists to a national standard of care.

Next, a claimant must establish that the healthcare provider deviated from the prevailing standard of care in some way. To prove this legal element, the claimant must have an independent medical provider on board in their case to serve as an expert. That provider must be willing to state on the record, and to a reasonable degree of medical probability, that the treating healthcare provider made a medical mistake.

In addition, the claimant must successfully establish the causation element of their medical malpractice claim. Specifically, this means that the treating medical provider’s negligence was both the actual and the foreseeable result of the medical complication and the child’s birth injury, such as cerebral palsy.

When a medical malpractice claimant can establish these legal elements, they can pursue and recover various types of monetary compensation and damages in their case. Since every birth injury case is different, the types of economic damages – as well as the amounts – will likely vary from case to case.

However, some of the most common types of economic damages that medical malpractice claimants can recover in a medical negligence case include compensation for:

  • The child’s anticipated medical costs, including future surgeries and other medical procedures that the child may need later in life due to cerebral palsy or some other birth injury
  • Permanent disability or inability to function
  • Loss of the ability to use one or more body parts due to the medical complication
  • Permanent physical or mental impairments
  • Long-term care costs

To maximize your monetary recovery in a medical negligence case, you should retain legal counsel to represent you as quickly as possible. Your lawyer can start working on your claim immediately, submit the necessary claim documents to the insurance company, and begin pursuing a favorable settlement result on your behalf.

If the insurance company refuses to offer you fair monetary damages, your lawyer can threaten them with litigation and, if necessary, pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit in court.

Settlement versus Litigation in Medical Negligence Cases

If the at-fault medical provider ultimately accepts liability in a medical negligence case, your attorney can negotiate fair settlement compensation for all your child’s medical complications. However, obtaining a fair monetary settlement in a medical malpractice case is frequently difficult.

Insurance companies for medical providers are never on your side and will do everything possible to minimize their liability exposure. In some instances, they may challenge causation, alleging that the birth injuries and other medical complications are not directly due to the delivery room doctor or other medical provider’s negligence. When that happens, the independent medical provider serving as an expert in your case can be helpful.

Settlement negotiations in medical malpractice cases involving birth injuries can take a significant amount of time. The parties will usually go back and forth with one another until they either reach a settlement or an impasse.

If the parties cannot decide on a mutually agreeable settlement number, the claimant may file a lawsuit and pursue medical malpractice litigation in the court system.

Litigation begins when a claimant files their lawsuit in court. However, even after that step occurs, the parties may still decide to resolve their case through settlement. In fact, a medical malpractice lawsuit can settle up until the time of trial and even during a trial.

During the litigation stage of a medical negligence case, the parties will answer one another’s written questions, called interrogatories. The medical provider’s lawyer may also take the deposition of the claimant’s independent expert.

Sometimes, after a deposition takes place in a medical malpractice case, the provider’s insurance company may decide to increase its settlement offer. The insurance company may not increase their offer, however, even in the light of strong evidence of malpractice and your child’s losses. The parties may need to take their case to a civil jury trial in this latter scenario.

At trial, the jury hearing the case will review and listen to the medical evidence and determine the issues of fault and damages. They will decide on any issues in dispute, including whether a doctor committed malpractice and the amount of compensation your family deserves.

Your birth injury lawyer can help you decide whether you should accept a pending offer from the insurance company or take your case to a jury trial in court. They know how to assess your losses and advise whether an offer is fair. You should never accept less than your family needs and deserves.

Speak With a Birth Injury Lawyer in Your Area Right Away about Your Legal Options

Tatiana Boohoff, Lawyer for Motorcycle Accident cases near Tampa area.
Tatiana Boohoff, Birth Injury Attorney in Tampa.

Few things in life can be more devastating than a serious birth injury. Raising a child suffering from a severe birth injury, such as cerebral palsy, is challenging, and your child will face preventable obstacles their entire life.

If your child’s birth injury resulted from a medical provider’s carelessness or negligence, seek out the legal help that you need in your case right away. A lawyer can hold doctors and other professionals should for birth injuries when they make a serious error during birth.

Your personal injury attorney in Tampa can review your legal options with you and help you decide on the best course of action for your case. If the negligent medical provider’s insurance company fails to reasonably compensate you for your child’s birth injuries, your lawyer can help you pursue litigation in the state court system.

Moreover, if your case must proceed to a jury trial, your lawyer can aggressively represent you, introduce the necessary medical evidence, and secure the best possible result.

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