Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of neurological disorders usually caused by brain abnormalities early in a child’s development or during delivery. The disorders affect muscle coordination, body movement, and brain functioning. Most children born with cerebral palsy may not display symptoms until months or years later. The Chicago cerebral palsy attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC appreciate the impact a special-needs child can have on the entire family and work hard to ensure that the legal rights of the child are protected to the fullest extent under Illinois medical negligence laws.
We invite you to speak with an experienced Chicago cerebral palsy lawyer who has worked on cerebral palsy lawsuits, without any cost or obligation. If you are ready to get answers to determine if a physician’s negligence caused your child’s CP, we are here for you and offer years of experience in working with cerebral palsy lawsuits.
There are three types of cerebral palsy:
- Spastic Cerebral Palsy: Stiff muscles with jerky movement
- Athetoid Cerebral Palsy: Uncontrolled movements, writhing
- Ataxic Cerebral Palsy: Poor balance and coordination
It’s also possible to have mixed-type cerebral palsy, a combination of the different types of cerebral palsy listed above.
Cerebral Palsy and Medical Negligence
Cerebral palsy is usually caused by non-progressive abnormalities in the part of the brain that controls muscle function. “Non-progressive” means that the brain abnormality does not cause ongoing brain degeneration. The brain damage associated with cerebral palsy can occur during pregnancy or during the labor and delivery process if the physician or medical professional delays the delivery or fails to monitor for signs of fetal distress.
The main causes of brain damage that may lead to cerebral palsy can happen during pregnancy or during labor/delivery as a birth injury. Cerebral palsy may also be caused by events immediately or shortly following birth. Common causes include:
- Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL): This is damage to the white matter of the brain. The majority of infants diagnosed with PVL will also have cerebral palsy.
- Cerebral Dysgenesis: This is abnormal brain development and is the only one of the four main causes that is not from the result of an injury to the brain.
- Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE): HIE is a brain injury that is the result of asphyxia to the brain. This lack of oxygen can happen during pregnancy, childbirth, or events after birth.
- Intraventricular Hemorrhage (IVH): IVH is hemorrhaging or bleeding in the brain. Bleeding can cause a hematoma that can damage brain tissue.
Medical-Legal Issues Involved in a Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit
If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a birth injury or improper prenatal care may be connected to their condition. In order to determine if there is a viable case to pursue, it must be established that the negligence of the physicians or medical staff is responsible for the development of the child’s cerebral palsy.
The evaluation process of a cerebral palsy case requires consultation with medical specialists, such as obstetricians and neurologists, working with a Chicago cerebral palsy lawyer to review the medical records. If the consulting physicians believe that there is evidence to support a claim, a medical malpractice lawsuit may then be pursued. Some of the medical records that may be reviewed are:
- Physician/Medical Records: These can include prenatal care as well as labor and delivery facility records and physician care after birth.
- Fetal Monitoring Strips: These strips are used during delivery and can provide evidence of fetal distress during childbirth.
- Mother’s Prenatal Records: In order to determine if there were complications during the development of the child, the mother’s records may be reviewed.
Sample Cerebral Palsy Jury Awards and Settlements From Illinois Jurisdictions
In the next section, we provide summaries of Cerebral Palsy cases. These should help you see what kind of relief is possible. Try to line up the facts of the cases with your own. Also, speak with a qualified attorney to more precisely estimate your own recovery.
$1,000,000 ILLINOIS SETTLEMENT.
This birth injury case happened in 2013. The mother presented to the hospital for labor. Doctors kept giving her Pitocin. Her lawyers later argued that they shouldn’t. The baby had signs that should have stopped this. For example, her heart rate was slowed, and she had hyperstimulation. Nevertheless, they persisted in the medication. The doctors tried to a delivery with a vacuum. That didn’t work. Finally, they came in and did a C-section. The child was in a critical condition at this point. She had acidosis and had to be resuscitated. While they were able to bring her back, she had major injuries including cerebral palsy. Her brain and motor functions would be impaired for the rest of her life. When the two sides arrived at the settlement figure, they looked at a number of things. They assessed the family’s past damages including medical bills. They analyzed the pain and disability the child would have. They estimated how this would affect her tangibly and intangibly into the future. Then, they summed all the losses.
$9,000,000 ILLINOIS SETTLEMENT.
This birth injury came 38 weeks into the pregnancy. Doctors induced her because of hypertension. They gave her 100 mg Cytotec vaginally. This is four times the suggested amount. This caused a number of problems including bradycardia (slowed heart rate). When the child was finally born, they surveyed the harm. He had acidosis. This produced cerebral palsy. Lawyers for the family cried foul. They claimed the doctors’ care was substandard. They pointed to the dosage error and said that was directly responsible for the child’s problems. He needed a device to speak and required medical care for the rest of his life. This came with enormous costs. They predicted millions in long-term medical needs, lost wages, pain, and other damages. The defendants didn’t have much wiggle room. They filed a summary reply. They couldn’t really stand on any substantial defense. In the end, they were forced to negotiate. The family received $9 million. That amount came after valuing all of the kids past and future economic and non-economic losses. This included things like reduced normalcy, suffering, medical care, and the like.
$5,500,000 ILLINOIS SETTLEMENT.
The facts of this case largely came about through delay. The mother delivered at 42-weeks pregnant. The doctors performed a C-section to remove the baby. They waited despite the child’s large size (9 pounds), thick meconium, and other factors exhibiting an overdue pregnancy. Fast forward almost 20 years, that child brought this lawsuit. Through her attorneys, she claimed negligence. As a result, she sustained seizure disorder, cerebral palsy, and other problems. By age 16, her brain had only developed to the level of someone 8 years old. She sought compensation for various damages including those. The value she wanted was in the millions. This was in line with fact scenarios of similar cases. It totaled the care required, reduced life enjoyment, and pain. It also factored in the lost wages she suffered as a result of her disability and lack of employment. The defendants finally relented to the tune of $5.5 million.
$2,000,000 ILLINOIS SETTLEMENT.
This settlement of this case was notable compared to the allegations. Plainly, the plaintiff didn’t make much of a case. She really only cited mismanagement and its effects. Let’s explain what happened. The woman went into labor. She visited the nearest hospital in McLean County, Illinois. Fast forward a few years, her kid was living with cerebral palsy. In the complaint filed in court, she said it was the doctors’ fault who delivered the baby. She asked for damages in the millions of dollars. She calculated that sum by looking at their losses and comparing them to other lawsuits. The defendants argued they acted reasonably. However, they were fighting from a corner. When a child is born with cerebral palsy, it’s assumed something went wrong with the delivery. And that would be the doctors’ fault most of the time. They couldn’t show that the woman had anything to do with it or the child’s problems were preexisting. Thus, the only thing to do was to settle on the right number. They found that sum at $2 million.
$1,800,000 ILLINOIS SETTLEMENT.
This chain of events began after a doctor missed a sign. He was given an echocardiogram of a newborn child. The kid was just over one month old. The doc thought the kid was fine. The child was anything but fine. As a result of this misdiagnosis, the baby went several hours without care. This created a hypoxic brain injury. Later on, this led to cerebral palsy and a number of other problems. In court, the family evidenced almost $1 million in medical bills. This was to clean up the first doctor’s failures. It didn’t even address the child’s future pain, costs, and disability. However, emphasis was put on these things when valuing the claim as a whole. The family recovered $1 million from the doctor. They secured $800,000 from the hospital. Also, they still brought other claims against related medical professionals. Most of their arguments were similar: the defendants failed to see and cure the baby’s health problems. That failure led to cerebral palsy and a lifetime of pain and expenses.
Protecting the Rights of Disabled Children in Chicago: Cerebral Palsy Attorneys are Ready to Help Your Family
Our cerebral palsy attorneys understand the frustration and anger parents may feel, knowing that their child’s cerebral palsy is due to a physician’s error. You can be assured that the Chicago cerebral palsy attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have the experience, resources, and commitment to pursue all responsible parties. We will work hard to see that the cerebral palsy lawsuit is successful and that your child receives full compensation for all damages as set forth by the applicable laws.