Childbirth involves the ending of a pregnancy where one or more babies leaves the uterus by passing through the vagina or by caesarean section. Although it is a natural biological process, it has the potential to carry significant risk for both mother and baby. Advances in medicine over the years have meant that it is now much easier for doctors and midwives to detect issues early and treat them in time. However, occasionally things can go wrong during pregnancy or birth, sometimes due to medical negligence, which can result in birth defects such as cerebral palsy.
If your baby has been born with cerebral palsy (CP) and you believe it may have been caused due to negligent care before, during, or shortly after their birth, you may be entitled to claim compensation. No amount of money can undo what has happened to your baby, but a compensation award can go some way to helping you to provide the additional care that your child will require to live a comfortable life.
Here at Lanyon Bowdler our team of specialist cerebral palsy medical negligence solicitors have the knowledge and experience to support you through your compensation claim, ensuring you get the best possible outcome.
Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term used to describe several different variations of a motor disorder, which typically affects the development and coordination of muscles. The type and severity of the cerebral palsy is determined by the size, location, and timing of the brain damage to the immature developing brain of the baby, which occurs due to a lack of oxygen either before, during, or immediately after birth.
The condition affects everyone differently - some children will develop mild symptoms and go on to live a relatively normal life, whilst others will develop severe and life-limiting symptoms which require ongoing medical assistance. In some cases, symptoms can be eased with treatments such as physiotherapy. There is no cure for cerebral palsy and babies who develop it at birth will require some amount of support and care for the rest of their lives. However, the condition is not progressive, meaning that the brain damage won’t continue to deteriorate, although the physical symptoms can worsen over time.
Cerebral palsy can affect different areas of the body - hemiplegia means that one side of the body is primarily affected; diplegia refers to the lower half of the body; and quadriplegia refers to cases where the whole body is affected. There are several different types of cerebral palsy, and it is fairly common for people to have a combination of two or more of the following:
If your child has developed any of the above types of cerebral palsy, as a result of negligent care to mother or baby at any stage of the birth, you may be entitled to make a claim against the hospital, whether it was an NHS or private hospital. In legal cases like this, you need a strong team on your side, and that’s exactly what we can offer here at Lanyon Bowdler. Please don't hesitate to get in touch with us to find out how we can help.
Cerebral palsy can develop in babies either before, during, or after birth, and can be caused by a number of different things which can happen ultimately leading to brain injury.
Causes before birth can include:
Causes during or after birth can include:
The standard of medical care within the NHS and private healthcare settings is generally high. However, there is always room for human error and the healthcare provider may be negligent in their care of an expectant mother or new-born baby, which can lead to avoidable injuries both to mother or child.
Medical negligence, also known as clinical negligence, is the term used to refer to instances where a medical practitioner provides substandard medical care to a patient, which causes a new injury, or worsening of an existing injury. For example, an ultrasound scan could be misinterpreted meaning a medical issue could be missed, or a doctor or midwife could administer the wrong type or dose of medication to a patient.
Medical negligence could lead to a baby developing cerebral palsy in the following ways:
Some babies are statistically more susceptible to developing cerebral palsy, including those born prematurely or with low birth weights, those born to mothers under 20 years old or over 40 years old; those born to very overweight mothers; as well as those who have siblings who had difficult or traumatic births. When these risks are not adequately monitored throughout pregnancy and labour, negligence can occur which can result in birth injuries such as cerebral palsy.
If your baby has developed cerebral palsy caused by clinical negligence, we can help. Speak to our team of knowledgeable solicitors today to find out what we can do for you and your child.
Cerebral palsy varies in severity and affects each individual differently. However, most children are likely to face challenges which other children may take for granted and they may not achieve the usual milestones expected of babies and children.
Cerebral palsy typically causes mobility problems and children may also experience some of the following during their early years:
The long-term prognosis of cerebral palsy typically depends on the type and severity someone has. Some people may be able to live independently, while others may require some level of care at home, school or the workplace.
In terms of life expectancy, again it depends on the severity of the cerebral palsy. Symptoms such as mobility issues, visual and auditory impairments, special educational needs, along with any other coexisting health conditions can affect how long someone with cerebral palsy may be expected to live.
Children with milder forms of cerebral palsy may have an average life expectancy similar to that of the general population, while those with the most severe forms of the condition have around a forty percent chance of living to twenty years old. The main factors that can determine life expectancy in someone with cerebral palsy are motor abilities and intellectual impairments.
Cerebral palsy is a permanent condition for which there is no cure. However, it is not a progressive disorder, which means the brain damage won’t worsen over time and the severity of some of the symptoms can potentially be improved with adequate and regular treatment such as physiotherapy, or even surgery in some cases.
If you believe your child’s cerebral palsy may have occurred as a direct result of medical negligence it is advisable to seek legal advice from a specialist clinical negligence solicitor as early as possible. Whether the negligent care happened under the NHS or a private medical practice, you are entitled to pursue a claim against the establishment in question for damages.
In order to make a clinical negligence claim you will most likely need to gather evidence to prove that the hospital was negligent in their care of you and your baby. Keep any hospital records, such as your maternity and birth notes, as well as a record of any meetings with the hospital if these records exist.
Our team has a wealth of experience in handling a variety of medical negligence claims, including compensation claims for cerebral palsy. Get in touch today to find out how we can help you and your child to claim financial help and support.
In the majority of cases, a claim for cerebral palsy caused by medical malpractice should be brought about before the person turns 21. However, in some cases it may be possible to make a claim after the age of 21 if the person is assessed as not having the legal capacity to make the claim themselves due to intellectual impairment.
It is always beneficial to seek legal advice as soon as possible after the negligent care has taken place, or as soon as possible after the condition has been diagnosed. Acting promptly means you will have better access to medical records and any other evidence you may need to support your claim. The longer you leave it, the more difficult it can be to gather the relevant documents.
If your child has developed cerebral palsy you are likely to find yourself facing the daunting prospect of finding the money to pay for their necessary care on a long-term basis. The costs involved in adapting your home and vehicles to suit your child’s ongoing needs, as well as the costs of treatments and therapies over the years, will soon mount up. A medical negligence claim can help you and your child by providing the financial support to ensure they are comfortable and well looked after throughout their life.
Depending on which local authority you are under, your child may be entitled to receive a community care assessment, in which social services will assess your situation and help you to procure any equipment and accessories you may need. However, there are often budgeting restrictions and delays in obtaining equipment, services, and assistance, which can result in some of the child’s needs not being fully met.
Compensation, paid in either a lump sum or periodically, can help to ensure your child’s needs are properly met by providing provision for the following:
One of the main reasons parents decide to make a medical negligence claim for their child’s cerebral palsy is to ensure that sufficient financial provision is put in place to support the ongoing health and care costs that will be necessary throughout the child’s lifetime.
There are several exceptional circumstances in which Legal Aid may be granted in a compensation claim, one of which is in the instance that a baby has suffered severe brain damage before, during, or shortly after birth due to clinical negligence. The Legal Aid Agency will take into account your financial circumstances as well as the clinical malpractice you have experienced when assessing whether you are eligible to receive Legal Aid. We are able to offer help under the Legal Aid scheme.
The specialist team here at Lanyon Bowdler will work with you to determine whether or not you qualify for Legal Aid. We also offer our services on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis, so whatever your financial situation, we are confident that we can assist you in your cerebral palsy medical negligence compensation claim.
Our medical negligence team is made up of experienced and knowledgeable solicitors, two nurses, and our own in-house doctor. We have extensive experience in handling claims where children have suffered cerebral palsy and we can secure the funding you will need to care for your child. When you choose Lanyon Bowdler, our people become your team, and together we can achieve the best possible outcome for your family.
Our team is recognised as a Tier 1 firm by The Legal 500 and we rank in Band 1 of the 2022 edition of Chambers UK. We are incredibly proud of these accreditations and we continually strive to provide the high level of service that we have become known for. We have offices in Shrewsbury, Bromyard, Conwy, Hereford, Ludlow, Oswestry, and Telford, but we can assist you wherever you are in England or Wales, so if you’d like us on your team please get in touch.
There are a number of organisations and charities that can help and support you and your family as you learn to adapt to life with cerebral palsy:
At Lanyon Bowdler, we take pride in being a friendly and approachable law firm, so please get in touch to discuss what has happened to you and find out how we can help. Our team of specialist Cerebral Palsy Negligence Lawyers are part of our award-winning medical negligence team, we will be happy to talk you through the process of filing a compensation claim.
If you think you or a family member has been treated negligently by a hospital or medical staff then it is likely you are entitled to claim compensation. Give us a call or complete our online enquiry form, to see how our team can help you get the justice and compensation you deserve. There is no obligation on you or any charges for our initial assessment.
By choosing Lanyon Bowdler for your Cerebral Palsy Negligence Claim, you can rest assured that you have the best legal expertise on your team. Lanyon Bowdler's Medical Negligence team is widely acclaimed and recognised as one of the best clinical negligence departments in the country. We are committed to providing exceptional levels of client care and will work closely and considerately with you to help find the best outcomes and help to get your life back on track.
We have offices in Shrewsbury, Bromyard, Conwy, Hereford, Ludlow, Oswestry, and Telford, so are able to act for clients all over Shropshire, Herefordshire, Mid and North Wales and across the Midlands (including Wolverhampton & Birmingham). As a leading full-service law firm, we can represent you wherever you live in England and Wales.
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