Boston Cerebral Palsy Attorney

What is Cerebral Palsy and What are its Causes?

Many cases of cerebral palsy are caused by medical error or neglect either before, during or immediately after the delivery of a newborn child. Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term for certain complications that affect a baby’s developing brain. Injury to the brain of a baby can result in a loss of motor function, posture, and muscle coordination at varying degrees of severity. While there is no single cause for cerebral palsy, it is perhaps the most common problem for babies born in the United States, occurring on average in 2 out of every 1,000 babies. As a birth injury, many cases of cerebral palsy are due to medical error or negligence by medical staff. If medical error led to a brain injury, the medical professionals who were negligent should be identified so that they do not harm another child.

Cerebral palsy may be caused by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Birth asphyxia or hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) during delivery
  • Undiagnosed medical issues not accounted for by the delivery doctor
  • Misuse of forceps or a vacuum extractor during labor
  • Misuse of Pitocin or other drugs or methods to induce labor
  • Slow or inadequate response to trauma during and after labor

There are many causes of cerebral palsy and determining the exact reason for the condition may require expert analysis of medical records by seasoned medical investigators and a legal team committed to finding the truth. The Boston cerebral palsy attorneys of Sweeney Merrigan have the resources and the commitment necessary to find the truth.

Why you May Need a Boston Cerebral Palsy Attorney

If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy or you suspect your child may have this condition, because he/she is not reaching cognitive and physical milestones, you may need to consult with a Boston cerebral palsy attorney.  If your child’s condition has been caused or made more severe as a result of medical malpractice, birth injury, failure to diagnose or any other medical failure in the mother or child’s care before, during or after delivery, you may need substantial economic support to provide the life your child deserves. Caring for a child with this condition requires highly specialized resources. Those who caused your child’s condition should be held accountable.

Sweeney Merrigan has the legal and medical resources necessary to investigate and litigate these extremely complex cases.  The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can help you obtain the compensation and justice you and your family deserve if cerebral palsy was the result of medical malpractice. Our law firm has decades of experience handling the most complex legal and medical challenges imaginable. Our medical investigators will pore over every detail of your case to determine the cause of your child’s cerebral palsy and determine whose error led to this diagnosis

How Cerebral Palsy Legal Claims Work

Plaintiffs file claims against the hospital staff when their children are born with cerebral palsy due to substandard medical care. The claim works to cover the costs of treatment, pain, and suffering. It is important to gather as many facts as possible because medical injury claims are difficult to prove.

Parents and legal guardians of the child are both able to file claims against a negligent staff member. Other than the statute of limitations of three years, another reason to file quickly is so the child can begin treatment. He or she will likely need to undergo an exhaustive set of treatments that account for social, emotional, and physical challenges. Because of the extensive care required, cerebral palsy compensation claims are large and the claim process is long.

How to Recognize Negligence

Negligence is defined by a doctor, nurse, or other staff member who provides substandard care that leads to injury. Your doctor may have provided substandard care, but unless your lawyer can prove the negligence directly led to cerebral palsy, you will not receive compensation.

The claim is meant to provide families with the means to adequately handle the extensive medical challenges brought on by cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is not curable; it is a problem that lasts for the duration of the child’s life. Compensation, therefore, is massive and covers a huge range of expenses, including:

  • Workers’ compensation, if the mother is unable to return to her job
  • All required therapy, including physical, occupational, and physiotherapy
  • Medical equipment
  • Pain and suffering
  • Education costs
  • Home changes, upgrades, and other accommodations
  • All medical care
  • Perceived (long-term) medical costs

Compensation

There are too many variables at play to accurately state how much money your claim will return. Compensation is based on how negligent the medical staff was, the hospital environment at the time, the severity of the child’s cerebral palsy, the financial well-being of the family and other factors.

Massachusetts has a non-economic damages of $500,000 rule, which means certain damages will only return so much money. Non-economic damages include intangible problems like stress, depression, and suffering. More compensation is typically awarded for economic damages, such as lost income and medical costs. These yield measurable quantities of money estimated for a lifetime.

Contact Sweeney Merrigan Law today to get assistance handling your child’s cerebral palsy claim. We are one of the top injury firms in Boston and can help you reclaim the life of you and your child. Do not struggle with cerebral palsy alone; let us help you.

Facts about Cerebral Palsy

The condition is neither contagious nor curable. Cerebral palsy generally does not increase or decrease in severity over time. The many disorders that result from cerebral palsy impact a child’s motor development, posture, and physical abilities to varying degrees. It is nearly always the result of an individual trauma or series of disturbances to the brain. These are most often brain injuries that occur during, before or immediately after birth. While some challenges related to cerebral palsy may be obvious and present as soon as a child is born, many signs and symptoms do not manifest until a child is much older. Some children do not show obvious signs until they are several years old.

Lack of oxygen, untreated or undiagnosed maternal medical conditions, undiagnosed infection and other complicated medical conditions are some of the many examples that can lead to a diagnosis of cerebral palsy. The physical, intellectual and emotional impact of cerebral palsy can be significant:

  • Blindness
  • Hearing loss
  • Impairment of speech
  • Mobility and motor skills issues
  • Severe intellectual impairment
  • Seizures

Cerebral palsy can lead to a wide-range of behaviors and impairments depending on the injury suffered and the impacted area of the brain. While there are some common conditions related to all forms of cerebral palsy and the severity of symptoms can vary widely, the following are the most common classifications of the condition.

  • Spastic cerebral palsy generally includes intense muscle contractions that are either unpredictable or constant and may lead to immobility. Muscle tension may lead to deformity and problems with swallowing, speaking and walking.
  • Extrapyramidal cerebral palsy is usually identified by involuntary extension or bending of the limbs, defects in posture, difficulty with speech and rigid muscle tone in certain areas of the body. Facial contortions may also result and severe mental impairment is often present.
  • Mixed cerebral palsy may involve symptoms related to both spastic and extrapyramidal types. These children have typically experienced a very serious injury that has caused massive damage to extensive areas of the brain.
  • Ataxic cerebral palsy—while the least common—is particularly common among preterm babies. Sitting upright and standing may be incredibly difficult and the walking gait, if the child walks at all, can be severely impacted. Fine motor skills may be substantially impaired. While children with this type of cerebral palsy may have nearly normal intellectual development, they may have severe physical limitations. These limitations can lead to cognitive problems if the child does not receive appropriate mental stimulation and educational challenges. Ataxic cerebral palsy may not be diagnosed until the child tries to sit upright or walk which may not occur until the child is approximately a year old.

While the brain injuries that lead to cerebral palsy can never be reversed, children who receive proper medical intervention and supportive therapy can achieve many physical and cognitive milestones and lead happy and healthy lives. Early intervention is essential and treating a child with cerebral palsy can be incredibly expensive since each child must receive customized treatment based on their specific needs. In order to obtain the most beneficial treatment, parents of children with cerebral palsy need substantial financial support. Treatment for cerebral palsy is often a lifelong investment.

Because your child deserves the most exceptional treatment available, you should get justice for the medical errors that led to your child’s condition. Contact the Boston cerebral palsy attorneys at Sweeney Merrigan as soon as possible to get the justice and compensation your child deserves if their cerebral palsy was the result of medical error.