The birth of your baby should be full of joy and in the 21st century, few parents expect complications to occur. Thankfully, most births are straightforward, and mother and baby go home safe and well. But sometimes, things go wrong during birth. Cerebral Palsy, a permanent condition caused by a brain injury, can result in a newborn baby being left with a lifetime of additional needs and care requirements. Cerebral Palsy is sometimes caused by negligence and if it is, compensation can be claimed to help fund ongoing costs and rehabilitation.
At Devonshires Claims, our team of specialist medical negligence lawyers will advise and represent you and your child in a Cerebral Palsy compensation claim. Our Solicitors have extensive knowledge of medical negligence law and are completely focused on ensuring their clients get the compensation required to provide for the additional needs of your family.
Contact Devonshires Claims medical negligence solicitors for advice on making your cerebral palsy compensation claim. We provide a free no-obligation case evaluation as well as a ‘No Win No Fee‘ agreement, so there are no upfront costs to start your claim and nothing to pay if your case is not successful*. To start your free case evaluation, contact our birth injury claims experts today on 0333 577 9444, email [email protected] or complete our online form.
Read our FAQs
Cerebral Palsy is a blanket term used to describe loss or impairment of motor function. The condition affects movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture, and balance. It can also impact fine motor skills, gross motor skills, and speech.
Cerebral Palsy is caused by a brain injury or an abnormal development of the brain either during pregnancy, labour or immediately after birth. The condition is permanent and can range from mild to so severe that the child requires 24-hour care for the rest of their life.
Cerebral Palsy sometimes results from Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). This is where a baby’s brain is deprived of oxygen and blood, causing brain tissue to die. The extent of the brain damage will depend on how long oxygen and blood was denied to the brain and what parts of the brain were most affected.
Hypoxic brain injuries can be caused by:
- medical negligence in the form of negligent pre-natal care, labour and delivery, or care of the baby
- Failure to monitor and treat fetal distress
- Prolonged labour, including the inappropriate use of medication
- Mistakes made with the administration of anaesthesia to the mother
- Fetal stroke caused by the negligent use of forceps and vacuum extractors. This can cause the baby to have a stroke, which can lead to severe oxygen deprivation.
- Preeclampsia and eclampsia: Preeclampsia is a pregnancy condition in which the mother has high blood pressure which can result in reduced blood flow to the baby.
The high blood pressure can damage or lead to a constriction of the vessels in the placenta. Preeclampsia can predispose a baby to hypoxia or low oxygen levels and therefore potential brain damage.
- Trauma during birth which results in a serious brain injury to the baby
- Misdiagnosed meningitis in a baby
- Infections during pregnancy. One such infection is Group B Strep (GBS) a bacterial infection which can be acquired by a baby during birth. If a A GBS infection is misdiagnosed or diagnosed late in a baby, this could lead to meningitis and the associated risk of a serious brain injury and cerebral palsy.
- Birth complications such as detachment of the placenta, uterine rupture, or problems with the umbilical cord during birth can affect the oxygen supply to a baby.
Most parents begin to notice something is not quite right when their baby is around a year old. Delays in development, e.g. rolling over, sitting, and grasping objects may be become apparent after this time.. Between 12-24 months, delays in crawling, walking, and talking start to show.
Common symptoms include:
- Limpness in the head when being picked up
- Stiffening of the legs when being picked up
- Fussiness – i.e. difficulties feeding and sleeping
- Inability to visually focus on objects
- Excessive docility
- Frequent vomiting
- Shaky arms and legs
- The baby reaches out with one hand only while keeping the other one in a fist, or the baby keeps both hands in fists continuously
- Cannot bring the hands together
- Inability to push up onto the hands when lying face-down
- Cannot bring their hands to their mouth
- Lopsided crawling reflex (the baby pushes off with one hand and leg while dragging the opposite hand and leg)
- Does not pull themselves up using a table or similar object for support
Other general clinical signs of Cerebral Palsy
- Your baby continues to show signs of primitive reflexes (rooting for example) well past the age they should have stopped
- General stiffness in the limbs
- Increased reflexes and involuntary contraction of the muscles
- Stiffness in the extremities
- Strange mouth and tongue movements, for example retracting and thrusting the tongue, biting hard and not letting go, and/or an overly sensitive mouth
If your baby has severe Cerebral Palsy, healthcare professionals will pick it up quickly following birth.
To successfully claim compensation for Cerebral Palsy you must prove:
- healthcare professionals owed you a duty of care,
- the duty of care was breached, and
- breaching the duty of care caused the condition.
Our experienced Cerebral Palsy Solicitors will handle your case for you, including collating the necessary evidence (such as medical records and correspondence) and will write to the organisation responsible for yours and your baby’s care outlining the grounds for your claim. Furthermore, we will aggressively fight to achieve an early admission of liability so we can secure interim funding for rehabilitation as soon as possible.
Yes; the ‘limitation’ period in clinical negligence claims is three years from the date of the injury (the date of the birth) or three years from the date of knowledge of the injury. However, if a claim is brought on behalf of a minor (a child) then the three year period doesn’t start to run until they reach the age of 18. In rare circumstances and only for exceptional reasons, the Court may use its discretion to extend the limitation period.
Yes; Devonshires Claims can provide a Conditional Fee Agreement, otherwise known as no win, no fee. Your medical negligence Solicitor will inform you of the structure of a no win, no fee agreement, including the payment of any expenses which will be payable regardless of the case outcome.
If you win your case you will pay a maximum of 25% from your damages in Solicitor’s fees.
For more information on our ‘No Win – No Fee’ agreement please click here.
Most medical negligence claims normally take between 24-36 months to complete. The timescale will depend on the individual circumstances of your case. However, in many, if not all Cerebal Palsy claims this time scale will be much longer as it is not easy to be confident in a final prognosis of a child’s condition until they are much older. Some claims may run for 10 -15 years dependant on the injury sustained. Factors which will affect how long a claim takes may include:
- the seriousness of the Cerebral Palsy
- whether ongoing care is required
- how much rehabilitation is needed
- whether your home needs renovating to accommodate your child’s needs
- Whether the defendant NHS Trust or private hospital admit liability (if they do, claims can usually be concluded much faster).
Compensation claims for Cerebral Palsy not only reflect the pain and suffering experienced but also:
- Allow people to obtain justice for the mistreatment they received
- Highlight failings in clinical practice, standards of care, and protocols
- Provide you with answers as to what happened and preclude an apology from the NHS Trust or private hospital
The compensation payment will depend on several factors:
- The pain and suffering of your child has/will suffer
- The impact of the delay and / or negligence on health and quality of life – including current and future care requirements, medical aids, home adaptations or other necessary assistance
- Any financial losses experienced as a result of the injuries – including past loss of earnings, medical expenses, travel expenses, and equipment costs
- Any future financial losses e.g. loss of earnings, loss of promotion prospects, pension
Compensation for Cerebral Palsy fall into two main categories:
- General compensation (General Damages): this includes compensation for pain and suffering and the impact of the injury on lifestyle and quality of life – for you and/or your child.
- Financial losses and expenses (Special Damages): these include the costs associated with private treatment, care support, travel expenses, other medical expenses, specialist equipment and loss of income.
Severe Cerebral Palsy cases can result in multi-million-pound compensation awards.
Why choose our medical negligence experts to represent you?
We understand that money can never make up for the fact your baby has a life-long disability due to medical negligence. What we can do is ensure there is money available to provide the best treatment possible in order to help you and your child to enjoy life and live as independently as they can.
Our Solicitors are sensitive, compassionate, and will fully support you through the claims process. But don’t just take our word for it. Read the reviews from our many satisfied clients.