Cerebral palsy refers to a group of neurological disorders that impairs a person’s movement, balance, and posture. The disorder occurs when the brain is damaged before, during, or after birth.
With cerebral palsy, the damage is non-degenerative. This simply means that the damage and injuries will not become more severe over time. The damage that is done, however, can affect a person for their entire life from birth through adulthood.
Types of Cerebral Palsy
There are four types of cerebral palsy: spastic, dyskinetic, ataxic, and mixed.
Each type of cerebral palsy has its own distinct symptoms and limitations.
Spastic Cerebral Palsy
Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common type of the disorder, affecting more than 76 percent of all children with CP. This type of the disorder is characterized by uncontrolled spastic and jerky movements. Children with spastic cerebral palsy have incredibly tight muscles and increased muscle tone. This can limit movement and make it incredibly painful or difficult.
Signs and symptoms of spastic cerebral palsy include:
- Muscle tightness
- Difficulty controlling individual muscles
- Difficulty eating, drinking, writing, getting dressed, and controlling fine motor function
- Difficulty speaking, and
- Difficulty standing or walking
Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy
Dyskinetic cerebral palsy affects nearly three percent of all children afflicted with CP. This type of the disorder is caused when the basal ganglia becomes damaged. This part of the brain is primarily responsible for replaying communication about movement throughout the body. A person who suffers from dyskinetic cerebral palsy will experience involuntary and variable movements. These can include dystonia (repetitive twisting motions), athetosis (slow motions), and chorea (irregular and unpredictable motions).
Signs and symptoms of dyskinetic cerebral palsy include:
- High muscle tone
- Involuntary movement
- Repetitive movements
- Chronic pain, and
- Inability to maintain posture.
Ataxic Cerebral Palsy
Ataxic cerebral palsy affects more than 2 percent of all children with CP. This type of the disorder occurs when the cerebellum is damaged. This part of the brain is responsible for coordinating the body’s movement and posture. When the cerebellum is damaged the brain cannot fully control muscle movement in the body. Ataxic cerebral palsy is characterized by tremors, instability, and clumsiness.
Signs and symptoms of ataxic cerebral palsy include:
- Unsteady movements
- Balance issues
- Impaired depth perception, and
- Difficulty walking.
Mixed Cerebral Palsy
Many children who suffer from cerebral palsy will exhibit symptoms that are indicative of more than one type of the disorder. When this happens, children will be diagnosed as having mixed cerebral palsy. Approximately 15 percent of all children with CP suffer from the mixed form of the disorder.
Diagnosing Cerebral Palsy in a Young Child
Cerebral palsy affects 1 in 323 children in the United States. Some children will exhibit symptoms of cerebral palsy shortly after birth. In other children, signs of the disorder will not begin to appear until the age of 3 or 4. Early intervention can be important in limiting the adverse effects of the disorder. Signs and indicators of cerebral palsy in young children include:
- Infants unable to turn or roll over
- Limited motor function
- Poor motor control
- Difficulty or inability to bring hands together
- Choosing to scoot, rather than crawl, and
- Physical movement, including crawling, dominated by one side.
Always seek medical attention immediately if you believe that your child may have impaired motor function or control. Prompt medical attention can help to treat and diagnose your child with cerebral palsy at an early age.
Medical Negligence and Cerebral Palsy Injuries
Cerebral palsy occurs when a child’s developing brain is injured before, during, or after birth. Unfortunately, medical negligence is a leading cause of the neurological disorder.
Medical negligence occurs when a doctor, nurse, hospital, or other health care provider breaches their duty of care to you. Since medical professionals are entrusted with our health, safety, and lives, they are held to a higher standard of care than others.
When professionals fail to meet this high standard, they can be considered negligent.
Medical negligence occurs when a medical professional does not demonstrate the “level of care, skill, and treatment which, in light of all relevant surrounding circumstances, is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similar health care providers.”
Medical malpractice resulting in cerebral palsy can occur when a mother is seeking prenatal care for an unborn child, during delivery, or immediately after birth.
Examples of negligence that can contribute to or cause cerebral palsy include:
- Inadequate fetal monitoring during prenatal care
- Undiagnosed infections during pregnancy
- Failure to diagnose fetal/infant distress during pregnancy, labor, or after birth
- Failure to address fetal/infant distress during pregnancy, labor, or after birth
- Misidentifying a child’s position in utero
- Failing to use appropriate care and technique when delivering a child
- Lack of knowledge and skills required to deliver a child
- Failure to order a timely and medically-necessary C-Section, and
- Inadequate monitoring of a child immediately after birth.
Other causes of cerebral palsy can include breech birth, vacuum delivery, and forceps delivery. These can create added complications during childbirth that adversely affect the child’s brain development.
What Damages Are Available to Cerebral Palsy Injury Victims?
It’s important to not underestimate the physical, emotional, and financial costs of cerebral palsy. This disorder will stay with your child for life and limit the things they can do. Filing a personal injury lawsuit can allow you to recover much-needed compensation. The money you recover won’t reverse your child’s injury, but it can help to make life with the disorder much more manageable.
At Lavent Law, P.A., our birth injury lawyers in Miami will aggressively pursue any damages to which your family may be entitled.
This can include compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Reduced earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Anxiety and depression
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Necessary medical devices
- Necessary home alternations,
- Nursing care, and more.
Call our personal injury lawyers in Miami to find out how we can help you get the money you deserve. We offer a free consultation and are happy to answer the questions you have.
What’s the Statute of Limitations for Cerebral Palsy Injury Cases in Florida?
It’s important to consider your legal options shortly after discovering that medical malpractice may have caused your child’s cerebral palsy. Why? The state of Florida limits the amount of time you have to file your personal injury claim. You and your child can be barred from getting the compensation you deserve if you do not file your claim before the applicable statute of limitations expires.
In most cases, you must file your cerebral palsy injury lawsuit within two years of the date your child is injured. If your child doesn’t exhibit symptoms right away, your claim can be filed within two years of the date the disorder is identified.
What happens if a parent doesn’t know that their child’s neurological disorder was caused by medical malpractice? Tony’s Law extends to children the right to file a personal injury lawsuit at any point before their 8th birthday. However, the extension will only be granted if it was reasonable for the parent to not know the cause of the disorder.
You only have a very limited time to file a lawsuit after you discover your child has cerebral palsy. Contacting an attorney as soon as possible will help to ensure that your claim is filed on time. At Lavent Law, P.A., our attorneys are prepared to help you fight for the money you deserve. Call us today to learn more.
Call Our Miami Personal Injury Lawyers
Contact the personal injury lawyers at Lavent Law, P.A. to learn about your legal options. You may have the right to demand compensation if someone else is responsible for your child’s injury.
Our attorneys can help you maximize the amount of money you recover. Call us today to schedule your free consultation to learn more.