Mothers to be and their babies need care during pregnancy and childbirth. Standards of care in the NHS and private healthcare are generally high. ’However, if medical negligence occurs during the delivery of a baby, the child could suffer irreversible damage including cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy (CP) is a condition that causes lifelong disabilities, which can vary in severity. If you are wondering could you make a cerebral palsy medical negligence claim on behalf of your child this guide may be able to provide the answer.
Medical Negligence Assist could help you understand whether you could make a cerebral palsy negligence claim for compensation. We could help you start a claim for compensation on behalf of your child if they developed cerebral palsy because of medical negligence.
To discuss compensation for cerebral palsy arising from medical negligence, contact Medical Negligence Assist today. Our advisors can provide you with a free medical negligence claim consultation. To get in touch:
- Call us on 0800 652 3087
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Our panel of skilled medical negligence solicitors could start working on your claim if they can see that you are owed compensation.
Select A Section
- What Is A Cerebral Palsy Medical Negligence Compensation Claim?
- What Is Cerebral Palsy?
- The Four Types Of Cerebral Palsy
- Causes Of Cerebral Palsy
- How Medical Negligence Could Cause Cerebral Palsy
- Living With Cerebral Palsy
- Time Limits To Claim For Cerebral Palsy
- Cerebral Palsy Medical Negligence Compensation Calculator
- No Win No Fee Cerebral Palsy Medical Negligence Claims
- Get Legal Help
- How Common Is Cerebral Palsy In The UK?
- Related Medical Claims Guides
- Cerebral Palsy Claim FAQs
Cerebral palsy can occur when the baby being delivered is starved of oxygen. This can happen and there was no way it could have been avoided. However, if it happened because of substandard care of the medical team looking after the expectant mother it can mean they are liable if the child suffers cerebral palsy.
In this guide, we will explain what cerebral palsy is. We will look at symptoms of cerebral palsy in babies and cerebral palsy in adults. Moreover, we will look at how medical negligence can lead to cerebral palsy. The guide will explain how to claim compensation if your child suffered cerebral palsy because of negligence of the medical team looking after you during the child’s birth.
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Call us today about starting a cerebral palsy clinical negligence claim. Or make an online enquiry via our website. Our advisors are available 24/7. They offer free legal advice and you won’t be obligated to proceed with our services. So why not reach out?
Cerebral palsy is a neurological condition that affects muscle control and movement. A baby can develop cerebral palsy before they are born. However, babies can also develop cerebral palsy if they experience a birth injury during childbirth or shortly after being born.
There are different types of cerebral palsy and the symptoms affect different people in different ways. Some people who have cerebral palsy are severely disabled. These people may need specialist care. Other individuals may only experience different mobility challenges. For example, some people with cerebral palsy can walk, whilst others may use a wheelchair.
Cerebral palsy is not a curable condition. However, cerebral palsy treatment is available to help manage the condition. For instance, people with CP may have physiotherapy, speech therapy or occupational therapy. They may also take medication such as diazepam, which can help with muscle stiffness. They may also use mobility equipment or adapt their home to help them live more independently.
Cerebral palsy is a name for a group of conditions that affect an individuals coordination and movements. Below we look at the different types of cerebral palsy;
Spastic Cerebral Palsy
Individuals with spastic cerebral palsy have stiff and tight muscles, making moving more challenging. The muscles may be especially stiff and tight if the individual tries to move quickly. Therefore the individual experiences a reduced range of motion.
Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy
Individuals with dyskinetic cerebral palsy have muscles that switch between floppiness and stiffness. Therefore the individual experiences muscle spasms and uncontrolled body movements.
Ataxic Cerebral Palsy
Individuals with ataxic cerebral palsy may experience problems with coordination and balance. As a result, their movements may appear to be shaky or clumsy. Or the person may experience tremors.
Mixed Cerebral Palsy
The medical term mixed cerebral palsy means that an individual experiences the symptoms of more than one type of cerebral palsy.
Cerebral Palsy Symptoms
According to the NHS, cerebral palsy in babies is not usually clear just after they’re born. Symptoms usually become visible when the child is 2 to 3 years old. If your child displays any of these signs, they may have cerebral palsy:
- Your child does not reach developmental milestones. Or your child is delayed in reaching key milestones.
- Hypotonia, which means that the infant appears to be stiff or floppy.
- The child makes uncontrolled movements at random.
- Similarly, the child makes movements that seem fidgety, clumsy or jerky.
- The child’s arms and legs appear weak.
- What’s more, the child displays symptoms of cerebral palsy such as walking on tiptoes, muscle spasms or shaking hands.
Please contact a medical professional if you believe your child is displaying cerebral palsy symptoms. They may refer your child to a specialist for a cerebral palsy diagnosis. The specialist can recommend what cerebral palsy treatment your child may need.
Infants can develop cerebral palsy before, during and after birth. We will now look at some examples of cerebral palsy causes in more detail below.
Causes Before Birth
- The unborn baby suffers a stroke before birth. (The flow of blood to the brain is cut off or the baby suffers bleeding on the brain.)
- Or the unborn baby’s mother suffers an infection such as chickenpox, toxoplasmosis or rubella.
- The unborn baby suffers a head injury.
- Or the unborn baby suffers brain damage to a certain part of the brain. This could possibly result from a reduced supply of blood or oxygen to the brain.
Causes During Or After Birth
- The baby is temporarily deprived of oxygen.
- Or the baby is deprived of oxygen because of choking or nearly drowning.
- The baby suffers an infection that affects the brain, such as meningitis.
- Or the baby experiences a low level of blood sugar.
- Or the baby suffers a stroke.
- The baby suffers a serious head injury.
Standards of medical care in the NHS are generally high. Likewise, private healthcare practices offer high standards of care. However, if an expectant mother suffers a poor standard of care in pregnancy or while giving birth this can lead to injuries to the child. This can mean the child is affected so much so that they suffer a brain injury that could lead to cerebral palsy.
First of all, let’s define what medical negligence is. Medical negligence is when a medical practitioner provides a patient with substandard medical care, causing them unnecessary, avoidable injury or worsening of an injury. The medical care would be below the standard expected within the practitioner’s profession.
An example of medical negligence could include a nurse administering the wrong medication to a patient, despite clear guidance from another medical professional.
Medical negligence is also known as clinical negligence. Let’s look at some examples of how cerebral palsy can be caused by medical negligence.
- A doctor dismisses the clear signs of jaundice and leaves it untreated. Consequently, bilirubin levels heighten and the infant does not get the medical treatment they need. The baby could suffer brain damage.
- If the baby is showing signs of distress during labour the midwife is trained to notice this and monitor it correctly. Failure to do this could mean that the baby is born having suffered oxygen starvation that resulted in cerebral palsy.
- Cerebral palsy can happen if meningitis is misdiagnosed due to clinical negligence. Or it may occur if the baby’s meningitis treatment is delayed despite urgent care required.
- What’s more, a baby can develop cerebral palsy if a doctor fails to diagnose and treat an infection the expectant mother has because they failed to listen to the symptoms she described.
How To Make A Cerebral Palsy Negligence Claim
You would have to provide evidence for you to make a successful claim for cerebral palsy medical negligence.
Firstly, the medical practitioners that treated you or your child should have owed a duty of care. (Essentially, as the patient to a medical professional, you are owed a duty of care.)
Secondly, you would have to prove that this duty was breached causing an avoidable action or inaction to occur.
And thirdly, you or your child developed cerebral palsy arising from, or symptoms worsened by medical negligence.
Very often the courts will use the Bolam test to establish if a breach in the duty of care has occurred. This involves asking a group of professional peers if the physician or practitioner acted in a capable and responsible manner. If it is declared that they did then the case for medical negligence would not be valid.
Of course, people with cerebral palsy can live full lives. However, they may face challenges that other people take for granted. Individuals with cerebral palsy may experience different symptoms at different levels of severity.
Some people with cerebral palsy can live independently. Other individuals may need care at home, school or work.
Cerebral palsy can cause mobility problems. In addition, people with cerebral palsy may experience the following challenges:
- The individual may be visually impaired or become visually impaired.
- Difficulty eating and drooling
- Speech difficulties
- They may develop epilepsy
- Scoliosis (a curved spine)
Under what circumstances can you make a cerebral palsy negligence claim? If you are an adult with cerebral palsy caused by medical negligence, you could claim compensation for your injuries. However, please see the below sections on time limits that apply.
Similarly, if you are a parent or guardian of a child with cerebral palsy, you could claim compensation on your child’s behalf as a litigation friend. Other people could also act as litigation friends. Please see our section below to find out more.
There is generally a three-year time limit to begin a medical negligence claim. How can you claim compensation if you developed cerebral palsy because of childbirth negligence?
If you have the mental capacity to claim, you would have three years to claim compensation from the date of your eighteenth birthday. However, if someone has already claimed on your behalf, you can’t claim for yourself.
As an adult, if you lack the mental capacity to claim, particular persons could do so on your behalf (providing nobody claimed on your behalf when you were a child). They would act as a litigation friend. There is no time limit for this. However, if you regain mental capacity, the time limit would start from the date you began your recovery and regained capacity.
Children cannot claim compensation for themselves. However, a parent or guardian (or other certain people) can act as a litigation friend. This means that they can act on behalf of the child and claim compensation for them. They would have until the child’s 18th birthday to do so.
You can use the compensation table below to estimate how much a medical negligence cerebral palsy claim could be worth. How much compensation you or your child receives could vary greatly depending on the severity of the injuries.
The compensation amounts in the compensation table below are based on guidelines from the Judicial College. These guidelines can be used by solicitors to help them when valuing injuries.
|Type Of Harm||Severity||Notes||Settlement Bracket|
|Brain Damage||Very Severe||There will be little or no evidence of meaningful response to environment as well as little ability to communicate and will need 24/7 nursing care. The settlement awarded will be affected by factors such as expected life-span, physical and mental limitations, feeding requirements, ability to communicate and behavioural problems (if any).||£264,650 to £379,100|
|Brain Damage||Moderately Severe||This person will have very serious disabilities and will be substantially dependent on other people. They will need constant professional care. This could be required for a variety of different factors. Their personality and intelligence may be seriously impaired. Cases may fall into this category if their life-span has not been greatly inmpacted. There is the risk of developing further problems in the future.||£205,580 to £264,650|
|Brain Damage||Moderate (i)||There could be a moderate to severe intellectual deficit or a personality change. There could also be effects on speech and sight.||£140,870 to £205,580|
|Brain Damage||Moderate (ii)||The same intellectual deficit could also be present. Their ability to work will be either reduced or lost. There could be some epilepsy risk in the future.||£85,150 to £140,870|
|Brain Damage||Moderate (iii)||The person could have problems with their memory and their ability to concentrate. Their ability to continue working will be reduced. There could be a risk or future risk of epilepsy.||£40,410 to £85,150|
|Brain Damage||Less Severe||The person could have already made a good recovery and should be able to take part in normal working and social life. This person could still have some issues with their memory or their ability to concentrate. There may be a small risk of developing epilepsy in the future.||£14,380 to £40,410|
|Epilepsy||Established Grand Mal||An Established Grand Mal Epilepsy||£95,710 to £140,870|
|Epilepsy||Established Petit Mal||How much may be paid out will depend on how serious attacks are and the degree to which they could be controlled through medication. They will also be affected by the extent to which the person's social life and their work life are impacted.||£51,460 to £123,340|
In the compensation table above, we have included figures for any general damages that could be awarded. (General damages compensate for physical and psychological suffering.)
However, we have not included any special damages in the compensation table above, which you may also be eligible to claim. Special damages compensate you for financial losses.
Please note, the amount of compensation you could receive may vary depending on your personal circumstances. A Medical Negligence Assist claims advisor will be happy to speak to you in-depth accurately estimate how much compensation you could claim. Contact us today for a free estimate.
What Damages Can You Claim Compensation For?
If you make a cerebral palsy medical negligence claim, it could include general damages and special damages. General damages are compensation for the physical and mental effects of the injuries. And special damages is compensation to pay for any financial losses incurred because of the injuries.
A cerebral palsy negligence claim could include the following special damages:
- Medical expenses: These compensation payouts can reclaim the cost of cerebral palsy treatments the claimant needs that aren’t covered by the NHS. This could include physiotherapy or speech therapy.
- Travel expenses: This could help you to recover the costs of transport to and from doctor’s appointments, for example.
- Care expenses: This is to recover the cost of specialist care or a family’s gracious care, for example.
- Loss of income expenses: A parent, for example, could claim back any income lost if they have had to take time off work to care for their child with cerebral palsy.
- Mobility equipment expenses: This can include the cost of paying for an electric wheelchair, for example.
- Home adaptation expenses: You may need to adapt your bathroom or other parts of your home.
You may wish to use the services of a solicitor to help you claim. Our panel of solicitors could offer to support your claim on a No Win No Fee basis. What does this mean? You, the claimant, would not have to pay your solicitor’s fee before you claim.
Instead, you would sign a Conditional Fee Agreement (the formal term for a No Win No Fee agreement). The agreement would state that you would pay a success fee only if the claim is successful. In the event that the claim is not successful, you would not have to pay any solicitor fees.
There are other certain benefits:
- The success fee is deducted from the compensation payout at a capped rate.
- There are no ongoing solicitor fees during the claim.
Why not find out if you could make a claim with a No Win No Fee Medical Negligence solicitor?
Medical Negligence Assist could help you to start a claim for compensation for cerebral palsy medical negligence. Talk to our advisors today about your cerebral palsy medical negligence case to begin your claim.
Let’s look at some facts and statistics about cerebral palsy.
- 1 in 400 babies born in the UK has cerebral palsy.
- 1,800 children receive a cerebral palsy diagnosis each year.
- What’s more, 4 out of 10 children with disabilities in the UK live in poverty.
We hope you have found our guide to cerebral palsy medical negligence helpful. You may also wish to read these guides to learn more about making a cerebral palsy negligence claim.
Stillborn Birth Injury Claim – claiming compensation for medical negligence, resulting in a stillbirth.
Brain Injury Negligence Claims – advice on making a compensation claim for brain injuries caused by medical negligence.
NHS Hospital Negligence Compensation – have you been harmed because of NHS negligence? Then you may be eligible to claim NHS negligence compensation.
You may also find this external information helpful.
A guide to cerebral palsy from Scope.
How does cerebral palsy affect young people? A guide from Scope.
Government advice on cerebral palsy and driving.
We will now answer some frequently asked questions about making a claim for clinical negligence which caused cerebral palsy.
Is cerebral palsy caused by negligence?
A baby can develop cerebral palsy if they develop a brain injury before or after birth. This can sadly happen if medical negligence takes place. However, it doesn’t necessarily result from clinical negligence.
Is cerebral palsy always a birth injury?
Birth injuries can cause cerebral palsy. For example, if the baby is deprived of oxygen at birth, they can develop cerebral palsy. However, cerebral palsy can happen when the baby is still in utero. For instance, if the mother suffers an infection during pregnancy it could lead to cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy can also develop shortly after birth.
Can cerebral palsy be caused by a doctor?
Sadly, a doctor could make an error that can lead to a child developing cerebral palsy. For example, a doctor may make a misdiagnosis of a newborn baby’s jaundice despite clear symptoms and tests. This misdiagnosis can lead to jaundice going untreated and the child developing CP as a result.
Who can claim on behalf of a child with cerebral palsy?
A parent or guardian can claim compensation for a child with cerebral palsy.
How do I know if I have a case?
We can assess your claim to see if you are owed compensation for cerebral palsy negligence. Get in contact with Medical Negligence Assist today to learn more.
We appreciate you reading our guide to cerebral palsy medical negligence.
Guide by Hana
Edited by Ruth