Chicago Cerebral Palsy Lawyer
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of neurological disorders usually caused by brain abnormalities that occur early in a child’s development or during delivery.
The disorder in a key area of the brain affects muscle coordination, body movement, and brain functioning. Most children born with CP may not display symptoms until months or years later.
Our Chicago, IL birth injury attorneys invite you to speak with an experienced Chicago medical malpractice 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 cerebral palsy, we are here for you and offer years of experience in working with litigation birth injury lawsuits.
All of our cerebral palsy cases are handled on a contingency fee basis where we only receive a legal fee when we are successful in obtaining a financial recovery for your child and family. Talk to us today for a free consultation.
Types of Cerebral Palsy
There are multiple forms of cerebral palsy with different characteristics:
- Spastic cerebral palsy: Stiff muscles with a jerky movement
- Athetoid cerebral palsy: Uncontrolled movements, writhing
- Ataxic cerebral palsy: Poor balance and coordination
- Hemiplegic cerebral palsy: Poor balance and coordination
It is possible to have mixed-type CP, a combination of the different types of CP listed above.
Cerebral Palsy Injuries FAQs
Here are answers to common questions that people dealing with a cerebral palsy diagnosis ask.
If you have questions about your situation or are wondering if a doctor's negligence caused your child to sustain a birth injury, contact our legal team today.
What Birth Injuries Cause Cerebral Palsy?
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), blunt force trauma to the head and pregnancy issues can lead to different types of cerebral palsy (CP).
Contributing factors to CP include:
- Multiple gestations
- The mother’s high blood pressure
- Placental abnormalities including perfusion and placenta abruption
- Blood clotting
- Oxygen deprivation affecting the baby’s brain blood flow
- Improper medical care
- Brain injury including TBIs (traumatic brain injuries)
- Prenatal drug use
- Low birth weight
- Premature birth
What Is the Most Common Cause of Cerebral Palsy?
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), cerebral palsy is caused by brain damage or its abnormal development affecting the child’s control over muscles.
The condition develops in utero, during birth, within a month after delivery, or in the first few years of the young child’s life.
Common causes of cerebral palsy including:
Congenital Cerebral Palsy (CP) –
- Low birth weight, multiple births, premature birth, ART (assisted reproductive technology – infertility treatments)
- Pregnancy-related infection
- Kernicterus and jaundice
- Maternal medical conditions including intellectual disability, thyroid issues, or seizures
- Birth complications including uterine rupture, placenta abruption, umbilical cord issues, and other conditions that disrupt the baby’s lack of oxygen.
What Are Some Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy?
Symptoms of cerebral palsy include:
- Poor muscle tone
- Difficulty walking
- Failure to thrive and learning disabilities
- Difficulty swallowing
- Lack of coordination
- Speech delay
Symptoms can range from mild to severe. Cerebral palsy may be a lifelong disability that prevents a normal life and causes severe problems.
Could Medical Malpractice Result in a Child's Cerebral Palsy?
Yes. Many cases of cerebral palsy, including those linked to brain damage, are linked to injuries sustained by the developing infant during pregnancy or during labor and delivery.
Cerebral palsy related to medical malpractice is primarily the outcome of the failure of medical professionals to detect or timely act upon injuries that can impair the development of the brain or function during labor and delivery.
In most cases, children born with cerebral palsy are affected by the condition for life and require ongoing care with extensive future medical expenses for the treatment of their symptoms.
There are links between elevated bilirubin levels and cerebral palsy due both to the ability of bilirubin to freely pass into the brain and the undeveloped liver’s inability to process and eliminate bilirubin from a newborn’s system quickly.
Depleted oxygen levels also play a factor in the development of cerebral palsy as the areas of the brain affected are responsible for the development of motor functions, balance and the ability to speak.
Injuries that can eventually cause the development of cerebral palsy if not properly addressed include the following.
Infections during pregnancy or as the result of injuries sustained during birth. Infections threaten brain development by triggering an immune response, elevating internal temperature and increasing bilirubin levels. Most infections are cured through the administration of antibiotics if properly detected.
The detachment of the placenta during birth. This can cause uncontrolled bleeding, limiting the supply of blood reaching the infant's brain. The mother and child need to be monitored for signs of distress during labor and delivery.
Injuries to the head that are the result of assisted delivery devices such as forceps or a vacuum. One prevalent symptom of injuries sustained in this manner is the presence of a "caput succedaneum", which is a formation on the scalp that results from bleeding and swelling following the use of delivery devices to suction the child’s head. Bleeding results in the production of bilirubin. Babies who have sustained head trauma and possible brain damage need to be monitored for jaundice as this is a sign of elevated bilirubin levels.
Genetic mutations or predispositions. In some cases, genetic markers or mutations that occur naturally throughout pregnancy may increase the risk of cerebral palsy or act as the catalyst.
Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE): HIE is a brain injury that is the result of asphyxia to the brain. This cutoff of oxygen supply to the brain can happen during pregnancy, childbirth, or events after birth.
Injuries sustained following birth. Some cases of cerebral palsy are the result of a traumatic injury occurring during an infant's developmental stages. Blows to the head such as from a fall or sustained in a car accident may result in elevated bilirubin levels. Internal bleeding can limit the supply of oxygen to the brain, resulting in the death of cells important to cognitive and motor function.
Infections occur after birth. Infants possess underdeveloped immune systems and are susceptible to infection in the months following delivery. It is important to detect the presence of serious infections such as meningitis as they are linked to the development of cerebral palsy in infants.
Cerebral Dysgenesis: This is abnormal brain development and is not the result of an injury to the brain
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.
Intraventricular Hemorrhage (IVH): IVH is hemorrhaging or bleeding in the brain. Bleeding can cause a hematoma that can damage brain tissue.
Types of Medical Negligence That Can Result in Birth Trauma and CP
While a medical error is not always one of the primary causes of cerebral palsy, it is important to note that around ten percent of cases have been linked to medical negligence.
Doctors and medical staff should take the following precautions in order to ensure the safety of the unborn child throughout the pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
Our Chicago, Illinois cerebral palsy law offices and lawyers commonly see physician and hospital staff negligence such as:
Improper monitoring of the child throughout the pregnancy in order to detect abnormalities, mutations, infections, or other risk factors that may place the child at risk of developing neurological disorders.
Special treatment must be given to children who are born prematurely or who have a low birth weight as these factors may increase the chance of hemorrhaging during and after delivery. A definitive link has been proven between premature birth and cerebral palsy as one of the risk factors; some studies have suggested that premature babies could be up to 80 times more likely to develop cerebral palsy than those delivered at full term.
Failure to properly monitor the heart rates of both mother and child during delivery in order to detect symptoms of fetal distress. If the baby exhibits an abnormal heart rate, it is likely a symptom of reduced blood or oxygen deprivation and may represent a threat to their well-being. Doctors must take decisive action regarding the use of emergency cesarean section if it is determined the child or mother is in distress.
How Much are Cerebral Palsy Lawsuits Worth?
Every case is different and each child's past, current, and future needs are unique. Our cerebral palsy attorneys fight for the highest possible compensation when presenting evidence in court or negotiating with an insurance company.
We seek to recover financial compensation on your behalf including:
- Past and current medical expenses
- The cost of future care that may last the child's lifetime
- Family out-of-pocket expenses
- The cost of counseling and special education
- Funds to cover physical, occupational, and speech therapies
- Money for future surgical needs
- Funds to pay for equipment and supplies including braces and wheelchairs
- Home care costs for the child's entire life
- Non-tangible damages may include the family and child's pain, suffering, mental anguish, and emotional distress
Future Medical Bills for Your Child's Cerebral Palsy
In many cerebral palsy cases, we retain a life care planner and economist who can assist in preparing a life care plan which sets forth the anticipated expenses needed to care for the child.
Many of your birth injury expenses are for future care. Especially if your child will never be able to care for themselves, the bills will be high.
Sample Illinois CP Settlements & Verdicts
Because many people with cerebral palsy experience life-long disabilities, many CP legal cases have considerable value. Each attorney in our law office appreciates the impact a diagnosis of CP has on your child and your family. Every resource is utilized to get full compensation under Illinois law.
Below are some examples of lucrative negotiated Illinois settlements:
$9 Million Settlement
Doctors induced labor at 38 weeks of pregnancy because the mother had high blood pressure. The medical professionals administered four times the suggested dose of a drug called Cytotec, which caused the infant’s heart rate to slow.
The child was born with a condition called acidosis, which produced cerebral palsy. He needed a device to speak and required medical care for the rest of his life for the damage. The family’s attorneys presented evidence that the child would have millions of dollars’ worth of long-term medical needs, lost wages, pain, and other economic and non-economic damages. This case was filed in Cook County Court in Chicago, IL
$5 Million Settlement
The physicians, in this case, waited too long to perform a cesarean section (C-section) despite the fact that the pregnancy was several weeks overdue and the fetus was already nine pounds. The child was born with a seizure disorder, cerebral palsy, and other medical conditions.
By age 16, she had the mental development of an eight-year-old. The family brought a negligence lawsuit against the doctor and hospital for medical mistakes and to recover financial compensation for her costs of care, reduced quality of life, lost future wages, and pain.
$10 Million Settlement
This lawsuit involved twins born at twenty-seven weeks. One twin showed signs of an infection and was effectively treated. The other child wasn’t checked for infections despite being at high risk and suffered permanent damage. Meningitis set in as well as cerebral palsy.
The medical bills alone were almost $500,000, not including the long-term care the child would need. The parents sued the hospital and doctors for breach of the duties of care. The family recovered compensation for their economic and non-economic damage and losses.
A Chicago Cerebral Palsy Lawyer Is Ready to Help Your Family
Our Chicago cerebral palsy lawyers understand the frustration and anger parents may feel after a birth injury, knowing that their child's cerebral palsy is due to a medical error.
You can be assured that Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has the experience, resources, and commitment to pursue all responsible parties.
We will work hard to see that your Illinois cerebral palsy lawsuit is successful and that your child receives full compensation for all damages available under the law. Begin the process now and contact a cerebral palsy attorney at our law firm for a free consultation.
Contact us today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation to take legal action. All discussions with our birth injury lawyers remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship.
Our law offices are headquartered in Chicago, IL, but we help families and children from all parts of Illinois and across the Midwest. Many cases are brought in Cook County, DuPage County, Will County and Lake County as well.
- Ataxic Cerebral Palsy
- Attorneys for Cerebral Palsy From Cephalopelvic Disproportion (CPD)
- Face Presentation Cerebral Palsy
- Attorneys for Cerebral Palsy From Macrosomia (Large Babies)
- Breech Babies (Feet First) and Cerebral Palsy
- Cerebral Palsy Treatment
- Diagnosing Cerebral Palsy
- Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy
- Signs of Cerebral Palsy
- Spastic Cerebral Palsy
- Cerebral Palsy FAQs
- Facts About Cerebral Palsy
- Causes of Cerebral Palsy
- Cerebral Palsy Statistics