Cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability experienced in childhood. It is a condition that may be caused by damage to a developing brain that affects muscle control. Some cases of cerebral palsy result from abnormal brain development, but there are also preventable cases of cerebral palsy caused by medical malpractice. If you suspect that your child’s cerebral palsy might have been caused by your health care provider’s negligence, you should consult the Upstate New York cerebral palsy lawyers at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano. Cerebral palsy requires prompt diagnosis and treatment, and care can be expensive. Often, the only way to afford this care is by bringing a birth injury lawsuit and holding the health care provider whose actions or omissions caused the cerebral palsy accountable. We represent families in Syracuse, Rochester, Albany, and Buffalo.Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is a group of movement disorders that include spastic cerebral palsy, ataxic cerebral palsy, dyskinetic cerebral palsy, and mixed cerebral palsy, and these types are further subdivided. The most common type of cerebral palsy is spastic cerebral palsy, in which muscles are stiff from increased muscle tone, and movements may be awkward.
The symptoms of cerebral palsy can vary in severity. Symptoms may include uncontrollable movements, stiff muscles, and poor balance and coordination. Sometimes lifelong care and special equipment are required, and there are also intellectual disabilities. In other, milder cases, cerebral palsy causes difficulty walking, but the difficulty can be overcome with therapy.Liability
To recover damages on behalf of your child, a cerebral palsy attorney in Upstate New York will need to establish your health care provider’s liability. This means showing that the defendant owed your baby a professional duty of care, the defendant departed from the professional standard of care, and the departure caused injuries and damages.
The professional standard of care is determined by looking at the accepted medical practices of reasonably prudent health care providers in Upstate New York when dealing with the same or similar circumstances. A health care provider’s departures from the professional standard of care that could result in cerebral palsy include failing to properly monitor fetal vital signs or distress, failing to respond to fetal distress, failing to perform a C-section or scheduling it too late, using excessive force with forceps or a vacuum extractor, failing to diagnose and treat infections in the mother, errors in administering anesthesia, surgical errors in a C-section, and failing to deliver an infant promptly. Each situation is different. It might be malpractice, for example, if the fetal heart rate monitoring strips showed oxygen deprivation during labor, and an emergency C-section was required in response but was not performed, and the baby developed cerebral palsy as a result.
We will need to retain an expert, often a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist, even before filing suit. New York law requires us to file a certificate of merit, certifying that we consulted a licensed expert who is reasonably knowledgeable about the pertinent issues of your case and has concluded that your lawsuit is meritorious. Additionally, our Upstate New York cerebral palsy attorneys may need to retain experts on the questions of how severe the cerebral palsy is, which kind of treatment is needed, and the costs of treatment.Proof of Liability
We will need to present facts and medical records to establish the elements of medical negligence. Documents that may need to be reviewed include diagnostic test results, doctors’ notes, electronic records of fetal monitoring, labor and delivery flow sheets, and a record of birthing tools used by attending doctors, such as a vacuum extractor or forceps.Damages
When liability for cerebral palsy is established, you likely can obtain compensatory damages. The amount of the damages depends on how severe the cerebral palsy is. When cerebral palsy is extremely disabling, both economic and non-economic losses may be substantial. Economic losses can include the baby’s past and future medical bills, rehabilitation, therapy, and out-of-pocket expenses. Non-economic losses may include pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life. A parent’s losses can also be recovered.Consult a Cerebral Palsy Lawyer in Upstate New York
When a child develops cerebral palsy due to medical negligence, a parent can pursue damages on their behalf, and it is important to do so as soon as you suspect malpractice. If your baby suffers from cerebral palsy, you should consult the experienced birth injury attorneys at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano. Contact us at 833-200-2000 or via our online form.