Cerebral palsy medical malpractice

Cerebral palsy is often caused by preventable medical mistakes during childbirth that may be considered medical malpractice. If you suspect your child’s cerebral palsy was the result of medical malpractice, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Talk to a patient advocate today for information on your legal options.

What is medical malpractice?

medical malpracticeMedical malpractice occurs when a hospital, doctor, or other health care professional causes injury to a patient through a negligent act, according to the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys (ABPLA).

A cerebral palsy medical malpractice claim must prove that:

  • There was a violation of standard of care
  • The injury was caused by negligence
  • The injury resulted in significant damage to the child

Unfortunately, injuries caused by medical malpractice can result in developmental and neurological complications, such as cerebral palsy. If you suspect that a delivering doctor, nurse, or medical facility fell below their required standard of care, you may have the right to pursue a lawsuit.

There are a number of resources to determine if you are eligible to file a cerebral palsy medical malpractice lawsuit. The best way to learn if you may have a case is by receiving a free legal case review.

kristin proctor registered nurse

Kristin Proctor, RN

Registered Nurse for 20+ Years

kristin proctor registered nurse

Talk to a Nurse Now

Call or chat with a caring, experienced nurse right now — we’re standing by to get you help and answers.

Symptoms of a birth injury

A birth injury is a specific type of brain or nerve damage that occurs before, during, or shortly after childbirth. Children that sustain birth trauma have a higher risk of developing conditions related to permanent neurological damage such as cerebral palsy.

There are several early signs and symptoms of a brain injury that parents and caregivers can look out for.

Common birth injury signs and symptoms include:
  • Arched back while crying
  • Excessive drooling
  • Hands curled into claw-like shape
  • High-pitched crying
  • Low heart rate
  • Low oxygen levels
  • Muscle stiffness or looseness
  • Seizures
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Weak or absent reflexes

These birth injury symptoms may indicate the presence of cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, brain damage, and other preventable conditions.

You may be able to take legal action if your child had any birth injury symptoms and was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Contacting an experienced cerebral palsy lawyer is the first step in determining whether your child’s condition was caused by medical malpractice.

Forms of cerebral palsy malpractice

Cerebral palsy can develop from several different forms of medical negligence or malpractice. Brain damage causing cerebral palsy can be the result of medical errors or neglect that occurred before, during, or shortly after the birthing process.

Some examples of medical malpractice that are common causes of cerebral palsy include:
  • Failure to detect and/or properly treat infections
  • Failure to detect fetal distress such as lack of oxygen (hypoxia)
  • Failure to schedule or perform a necessary cesarean section (C-section)
  • Failure to detect a prolapsed umbilical cord
  • Improper use of delivery tools, such as vacuum extractors and forceps

The infographic below includes data from a study by the TDC Group highlighting the contributing factors of injury for the neonate age group of less than one month old.

Contributing factors for neonate age group (<1 month):

Selection and management of therapy
Patient assessment issues
Communication among providers
Technical performance
Insufficient/lack of documentation
Patient factors
Communication between patient/family and providers

If you have any reason to believe your child’s condition was preventable, get a free cerebral palsy case evaluation to find out if you may be eligible for compensation to pay for your child's medical expenses.

Need help with your child’s birth injury?

Get help paying for your child’s treatment.

Free case review

Proving hospital negligence

Medical malpractice lawsuits can be filed against an individual physician or against the hospital as a whole. Hospital negligence directly holds the hospital liable for its own acts of neglect.

Hospitals are expected to have policies and practices in place to avoid any instances of patient neglect. They are also expected to provide a safe and sterile environment for all patients.

Additionally, hospitals are responsible for hiring medical staff with appropriate medical care education, training, and licensing. The hospital can be held legally accountable if a medical staff member does not meet the requirements to practice.

gavel and stethoscope

Hospitals can also be held responsible for any birth injury caused by a lack of on-duty medical professionals in order to maintain quality patient care. It is the hospital’s responsibility to ensure there are enough staff members at all times to ensure all patients are safe.

How can a case evaluation help me?

A case evaluation is the first step in filing a cerebral palsy medical malpractice lawsuit. A lawyer will analyze the details of your case to determine whether you are eligible to file a cerebral palsy negligence claim.

The best cerebral palsy lawyers will evaluate your case for free and do not require any upfront costs.

Case evaluations should be conducted with an experienced cerebral palsy law firm. Experienced lawyers can build a strong cerebral palsy claim and get your family financial compensation to help pay for your child’s treatment.

Filing a cerebral palsy claim

mother calling to file claimOnce you get a free consultation from an experienced attorney, they can help you formally file your cerebral palsy medical malpractice claim.

Your birth injury attorney will take care of all the paperwork and legal heavy lifting to file your claim so you can focus on caring for your child.

Your lawyer will collect prenatal and birth records, medical bills, photographs, imaging test results, and other forms of documentation to file your cerebral palsy medical malpractice claim. A lawyer will work to find enough evidence to make your case as strong as possible.

According to the TDC Group, the average medical malpractice payout for children under one year old was $936,843.

It is incredibly important to file your cerebral palsy claim within your state’s statute of limitations. This law puts a time limit on how long you have to file your lawsuit. The TDC Group reported that 76.7% of pediatric medical malpractice claims were filed within three years of the injury.

Find out if you have a legal case

The best way to know whether you are eligible to file a cerebral palsy lawsuit is to contact a lawyer to get a free case evaluation.

Negligent medical professionals should be held responsible for their malpractice. Working with an experienced cerebral palsy law firm will ensure your case is being evaluated by medical malpractice experts.

Get a free case review today to learn more about cerebral palsy medical malpractice and find out if you are eligible for financial compensation.

Cerebral Palsy Medical Malpractice FAQs

Can doctors cause cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy can be caused by doctors if they are negligent with their care during childbirth. Medical professionals are expected to provide a high standard of care. When that standard of care is not met and results in an injury such as cerebral palsy, doctors can be found responsible.

Can you sue for cerebral palsy?

You may be able to sue for cerebral palsy if your child’s birth injury was caused by a negligent mistake during childbirth.

Filing a cerebral palsy claim can help your family get financial compensation to pay for your child’s cerebral palsy treatment.

How do lawyers prove medical malpractice?

Lawyers must gather evidence to prove that the child’s condition was caused by medical malpractice.

An experienced cerebral palsy attorney will gather written documentation such as medical records, maternal medical history, photographs, hospital bills, and more. Attorneys have access to large medical databases to support your claim to help build your case.

Cerebral Palsy Guide was founded upon the goal of educating families about cerebral palsy, raising awareness, and providing support for children, parents, and caregivers affected by the condition. Our easy-to-use website offers simple, straightforward information that provides families with medical and legal solutions. We are devoted to helping parents and children access the tools they need to live a life full of happiness

  1. Boeschen, C. (2011, October 10). Birth-Related medical malpractice. Retrieved May 06, 2021, from https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/birth-related-medical-malpractice-30150.html
  2. Bryden, D., & Storey, I. (2011, June 19). Duty of care and medical negligence. Retrieved May 06, 2021, from http://ceaccp.oxfordjournals.org/content/11/4/124.ful
  3. C. (2015). Malpractice Risks in Communication Failures 2015 Annual Benchmarking Report (Rep.). Boston, MA: The Risk Management Foundation of the Harvard Medical Institutions Incorporated.
  4. Kessler, D. (2011). Evaluating the medical malpractice system and options for reform. Retrieved May 06, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3195420/
  5. Medical malpractice: Who can be sued? (2019, October 02). Retrieved May 06, 2021, from http://injury.findlaw.com/medical-malpractice/medical-malpractice-who-can-be-sued-.html
  6. Ranum, D. (n.d.). Study of malpractice claims involving children. Retrieved May 06, 2021, from https://www.thedoctors.com/articles/study-of-malpractice-claims-involving-children/
  7. Sartwelle, T., & Johnston, J. (2015, June). Cerebral palsy litigation: Change course or abandon ship. Retrieved May 06, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4431995/
  8. Sauber-Schatz EK;Markovic N;Weiss HB;Bodnar LM;Wilson JW;Pearlman MD;. (n.d.). Descriptive epidemiology of birth trauma in the United states in 2003. Retrieved May 06, 2021, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20415766/
  9. What is malpractice? (n.d.). Retrieved May 06, 2021, from https://www.abpla.org/what-is-malpractice#:~:text=Medical%20malpractice%20occurs%20when%20a,treatment%2C%20aftercare%20or%20health%20management