Cerebral Palsy (CP) Lawyer in Pittsburgh, PA
At Edgar Snyder & Associates, we understand that having a child with cerebral palsy, or CP, is life-changing. Having a child can be physically and emotionally taxing, but having a child with cerebral palsy will involve extra doctor appointments, tests, therapies, medications, and more. And if you suspect that you and your child may have been victims of a cerebral palsy case, you likely only have more questions.
If you and your child were victims of medical malpractice resulting in a cerebral palsy birth injury, our law firm can help steer you in the right direction. A cerebral palsy settlement may help to alleviate financial stress over caring for your child. We offer a completely free legal consultation – call us today at 412-394-1000.
Can You Detect Cerebral Palsy Before Birth?
You can't detect cerebral palsy before birth. And with no single identifying test, cerebral palsy is often not diagnosed until sometime after the child is born.
Cerebral palsy is a group of conditions that affect a child's neurological movement controls, including functions like posture, reflexes, coordination, muscle control, and balance. Because CP can't be detected during pregnancy or with a single medical test, parents and medical providers may only begin to suspect cerebral palsy when a child doesn't meet typical developmental milestones. For example, children with CP may not be walking or speaking simple sentences as expected for their age.
While you can't detect cerebral palsy during pregnancy, medical care before birth and during delivery can affect the child's health. In some cases, medical errors or negligence, considered medical malpractice, can result in brain damage leading to CP, whether during fetal development, during labor, or immediately after childbirth. If that was the case, you may be entitled to compensation as a result of a cerebral palsy lawsuit verdict. Misinterpreting medical information or medical conditions, failing to detect trauma during birth, and even clerical errors resulting in poor care can all be factors in cerebral palsy caused by birth injury. If you suspect that you or your child were victims in a cerebral palsy medical negligence case, we can talk you through your situation at 412-394-1000.
Is Cerebral Palsy Preventable?
While you can't prevent cerebral palsy specifically, many of the conditions associated with or causes of cerebral palsy can be prevented. Competent medical care throughout a mother's pregnancy and during labor and delivery can address concerns that may cause cerebral palsy. However, when a mother and unborn child, or a newborn, have not received proper care, conditions that contribute to cerebral palsy can be intensified. As one example, if a mother is not properly treated for conditions such as infections, blood diseases, or other factors associated with CP, there is a higher likelihood of a child developing it. Cerebral palsy lawsuit results may show that you and your child were victims of CP medical malpractice.
Medical teams must provide proper care during pregnancy and childbirth, and treat problematic conditions as they come up. When there is failure to do so, and that negligence results in cerebral palsy caused by birth trauma or other complications, you may have a cerebral palsy malpractice case.
What Are Signs of Cerebral Palsy in Infants?
Signs of cerebral palsy in infants are typically related to muscle tone, movement, and delayed development. Those signs include:
- Excessive muscle tone (child feels stiff)
- Low muscle tone (child feels floppy)
- Trouble controlling muscles, reflexes, or posture
- Trouble feeding or swallowing
- Inability to hold head up
- Inability to sit up or roll over
- Favoring one side of body
Signs of cerebral palsy may be more obvious after a child has matured into a toddler. Children with cerebral palsy may not meet major developmental milestones, such as walking by 18 months or speaking simple sentences by 24 months.
What is the Main Cause of Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to a child's developing brain, or abnormal development in a child's brain. Most often, this damage or abnormal development occurs before birth or within a month of birth, but it can also occur during a child's toddler years.
While CP itself is caused by brain damage, there can be many possible causes of the brain damage or abnormal development. In addition, there are many risk factors that increase the chance of a child having CP.
Risk factors for congenital cerebral palsy (CP caused by brain damage that occurred before or during birth) include:
- Multiple births (twins, triplets, etc.)
- Premature birth, especially if the child is born before the 32nd week of pregnancy
- Low birthweight, especially in children born weighing less than three pounds
- Jaundice, especially if it develops into kernicterus, a severe form of jaundice
- Poor health condition in the mother, such as infection or blood disease
- Birth and blood flow complications
Risk factors for acquired cerebral palsy (CP caused by brain damage after birth) include:
- Brain infections
- Brain blood flow complications
What Can Cause Cerebral Palsy During Pregnancy?
Damage to a child's developing brain can cause cerebral palsy during pregnancy. There several situations during pregnancy that may cause this brain damage:
- Rubella and other infections in the mother that can cause brain damage
- Blood diseases such as Rh disease, a condition that can cause brain damage, severe jaundice, and blood clotting disorders
- Asphyxiation, or lack of oxygen reaching the child's brain
- Injury to the child's brain and other birth defects
Because there is no way to prevent cerebral palsy, it's important for a mother to have a healthy pregnancy. However, despite staying on top of necessary doctor visits and having a normal, healthy pregnancy, a small percentage of cerebral palsy caused by birth injury. For example, complications during labor and delivery can impact oxygen to the baby's brain, or, severe jaundice may go improperly treated.
When cerebral palsy is caused by a condition or complication that could have otherwise been avoided or treated by a competent doctor, it's in your best interest to contact a cerebral palsy attorney.
Contact Us for Free Medical Malpractice Legal Consultation
Having a child with cerebral palsy can add emotional, physical, and financial pressure to an already-stressful experience. Questioning whether an untreated condition, a birth injury, or another complication caused your child's cerebral palsy only makes matters worse. You may be wondering if you may be entitled to a cerebral palsy malpractice settlement.
If you have concerns, it's in your best interest to contact the law firm of Edgar Snyder & Associates for a free legal consultation. You have nothing to lose by asking us your questions. But don't delay – while there may be exceptions, the medical malpractice statute of limitations in Pennsylvania is two years, meaning that you may have a limited amount of time to act.
Hiring a cerebral palsy lawyer can help you and your family get back on your feet. While case-to-case details vary, making it impossible to offer an average settlement for cerebral palsy malpractice, a cerebral palsy lawsuit settlement may be able to help you cover your child's future medical bills. Get started today by calling us at 412-394-1000.