Cerebral palsy refers to permanent movement disorders that can result from
birth injury, and particularly from brain damage that occurs during or
shortly after birth. This brain damage may be caused by failures to perform
a timely C-section, failures to diagnose or treat certain conditions (infections,
hypoglycemia, seizures, etc.), or by other instances of negligence which
results in oxygen deprivation.
Although cerebral palsy can range in severity and symptoms, it has the
potential to create life-long challenges for both children and their families.
This includes a number of direct and indirect expenses, including medical
costs, medications, and accommodative needs. The exorbitant costs of raising
a child with cerebral palsy make it important for families to take legal
action when the condition could and should have been prevented if not
for the negligence of a health care provider.
Beam & Raymond has cultivated national recognition for handling challenging
birth injury cases, including those involving cerebral palsy. Because
these cases present unique challenges both legally and emotionally, families
often struggle to not only determine whether and how their child suffered
a preventable birth injury and if they have a valid claim, but also what
exact condition their child suffers from.
When it comes to brain injuries in infants, and especially when that brain
damage results in cerebral palsy, it can take time for medical professionals
to make an accurate diagnosis of a child’s condition and a prognosis
as to how it will impact their lives. Unfortunately, there is no singular
test to diagnose cerebral palsy, which means that parents and families
can face a long and at times frustrating process. This is because most
cerebral palsy diagnoses require development of the brain and continued
monitoring as a child progresses through infancy.
Children with severe cases of cerebral palsy, such as
spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy, may be diagnosed shortly after birth, but most children will be diagnosed
within the first two years. However, a diagnosis in mild cases may not
be made until a child reaches three to five years of age, when the brain
is fully developed. Moreover, many times a pediatrician will not use the
term cerebral palsy to avoid alerting the family of a child with cerebral
palsy that perhaps the injury was caused by the doctors or hospital at
birth. And to further complicate matters, some pediatricians avoid the
use of the term “cerebral palsy” to try to keep the family
from becoming suspicious about preventable events that happened during labor.
Because the time it takes to arrive at an accurate diagnosis can vary from
case to case, it can be difficult for parents who have suspicions that
there is something different about their child. Often, the path to diagnosis
entails long-term observation, and families may notice that children are
late to develop, or that they miss certain developmental milestones. Even
though a child could be a “late bloomer,” parents should still
bring their concerns to a physician who can explore key indicators and
conduct additional evaluations if needed. These indicators may include:
- Missing developmental milestones such as sitting up on their own, crawling,
- Not meeting age standards for height and weight
- Problems with a child’s reflexes or coordination
- Abnormal posture and movement
Should there be concerns as a child grows and develops over months or even
years, medical professionals and specialists may perform various tests,
including imaging tests of the brain, to check for signs of damage or
impairment and rule out other possible causes.
Although it may take time to arrive at an accurate diagnosis for cerebral
palsy, ensuring that the condition is ultimately identified is the top
priority, as doing so can help families address the unique needs of their
child as they mature. Additionally, an accurate diagnosis can be important
when families choose to pursue birth injury lawsuits when it is believed
the condition could and should have been prevented. These lawsuits enable
victims and families to hold negligent medical professionals accountable
and to pursue financial compensation for their damages and future needs.
If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy due to a medical error,
or if you suspect a possible birth injury, you can find the support and
assistance you need with our Chicago birth injury lawyers at Beam &
Raymond. Over the years, we have recovered millions of dollars in compensation
for our clients. This includes landmark victories and multi-million dollar
recoveries in challenging cerebral palsy cases. In fact, our firm received
widespread distinction after we secured a
$144 million jury award on behalf of a child who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy related to
To speak personally with a member of our legal team about your rights and
options, contact us for a FREE consultation. We proudly serve clients
throughout the U.S.