Cerebral palsy is a complex condition that can impact both cognitive and physical function and will affect each individual differently. In some cases, cerebral palsy can be caused by a preventable incident before, during or just after the birth of a child.
In these circumstances, choosing the right cerebral palsy solicitors can be a minefield and can place additional pressure on families who are already struggling with meeting their child’s extensive needs.
Taking the time to find the right legal team for your family will help to ensure a less daunting claims process.
Early signs of cerebral palsy
Some of the very early indicators that a baby may have cerebral palsy can include that they were born in a floppy condition.
Other common symptoms include the baby making what sounds like grunting noises from birth.
Mottled, discoloured skin can be a sign that the baby has suffered oxygen deprivation which is the leading cause of preventable cerebral palsy.
As a baby grows and develops, other tell-tale signs include missed milestones. Delayed development is one of the consequences of a serious birth injury.
How many babies are affected by cerebral palsy?
Around one in every 400 babies born in the UK will be affected by cerebral palsy. It can be caused by an injury to the brain that occurs before, during or just after a baby is born.
As the condition results from an irreversible brain injury, it causes a wide range of complex issues including, but not limited to, co-ordination and mobility, learning difficulties, behavioural issues, difficulties with speech, hearing and in some cases, seizures. Cerebral palsy is extremely complex, and no two cases are exactly the same.
In circumstances when it is believed that the injury could have been avoided, an expert legal team will pursue the compensation that your child needs to help meet their needs both now, and for the rest of their lives.
Cerebral palsy affects each individual differently
This is a complicated condition with every affected person experiencing a unique combination of disabilities. The condition can either be mild or severe.
There are four main types of CP:
- Spastic cerebral palsy describes the condition when the muscles are stiff or tight
- Dyskinetic CP is when the muscles switch from being stiff to being floppy which causes uncontrolled sudden movements
- Ataxic cerebral palsy causes difficulties with balance and co-ordination resulting in shaky or clumsy movements. It can also cause tremors
Some of the other terms used describe the affected portion of the body. Monoplegia means that CP only affects one limb.
Hemiplegia is when only one side of the body is affected by cerebral palsy. When all four limbs are affected by the condition, it is called quadriplegia.
A formal, and full, diagnosis of cerebral palsy may not be possible until a child reaches the age of four or five.
It is important for a child’s development to be monitored during their early years as missed milestones are a sign that something may require further investigation.
Some of the early signs may be delayed or difficulties with speech, co-ordination issues and poor feeding.
Cerebral palsy compensation
CP is a complicated condition and individuals living with cerebral palsy will have extensive needs. Cerebral palsy solicitors will have the expertise to pursue the right level of compensation to meet a child’s needs including speech and language therapies, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and more.
Specialist wheelchairs, 24-hour carers and an adapted, or new home are all costly and beyond the financial means of most families. Cerebral palsy compensation will factor in all these costs when the right cerebral palsy solicitors are instructed.
The right time to instruct solicitors
It can take several years before a full formal cerebral palsy diagnosis is given as medical staff need to understand how your child is developing and the challenges they face as they get older. It is not necessary to wait for a formal diagnosis before seeking advice from lawyers.
It is best to start the claims process as soon as possible as interim payments can be secured to help to get your child the quality of treatment needed as early in their life as possible.
If a child has lost mental capacity as a result of what is believed to be avoidable medical errors resulting in cerebral palsy, there is no time limit to instructing cerebral palsy solicitors.
If an individual living with CP due to suspected medical negligence has full mental capacity, a claim for cerebral palsy compensation can be made until they reach the age of 21. The sooner a cerebral palsy claim is pursued, the sooner that their needs can be met and the worry over their future care and support can be alleviated.
Parents often have a sixth sense when something has gone wrong during their pregnancy and child’s birth. It is important to trust your instincts if you believe that something may have gone wrong during the management of your pregnancy and childbirth.
Tell-tale signs often experienced by parents who have instructed our team to pursue their cerebral palsy compensation claim are that medical staff were panicked during their child’s birth.
Red flags that cerebral palsy could have been avoided
Cerebral palsy solicitors will pursue a claim for compensation if it is suspected that a preventable injury occurred before, during or just after a child’s birth.
The birth injury specialists at Diane Rostron have in excess of 25 years’ experience in these types of claims. Our experts have found that the following are the common, and repeated, errors made by medical staff resulting in injuries causing cerebral palsy:
- Failure to diagnose a treatable infection such as Group B streptococcus
- Failure to recognise that the baby is in distress requiring timely medical intervention
- Failing to recognise the need for an urgent caesarean section
- Inadequate monitoring of mother and baby leading to a crisis situation
- Delayed medical intervention
- Medical intervention that falls below acceptable standards of care
Cerebral palsy as a result of Group B streptococcus
A Group B strep infection has no symptoms and affects between 20% – 40% of women. The infection can be passed on to a baby during childbirth in a small number of cases. If detected and treated in a timely manner, most babies will make a full recovery.
If a baby is infected during childbirth and this is not diagnosed, nor treated quickly, it can lead to devastating consequences.
A Group B strep infection that is not caught and treated in a timely manner can be extremely dangerous leading to serious illnesses. Meningitis, pneumonia, and sepsis can develop in incidents when the infection goes undetected or is treated too late.
Oxygen deprivation leading to cerebral palsy
Sadly, even when a pregnancy has been textbook perfect and is considered a low-risk pregnancy, complications can arise during labour and childbirth.
Both mother and baby must be monitored regularly, and throughout, to ensure that any changes or abnormalities can be picked up in time. If this does not happen, and the appropriate medical intervention provided in a timely manner, the baby can be deprived of oxygen with permanent consequences.
If the baby is showing signs of being in distress, or the baby is in breech position, but this noticed too late, or there is a delay in adequate medical care, brain damage can occur. This is a critical, and vulnerable period, and delays in diagnosis and action of just a few minutes can mean the difference between a perfectly healthy baby and a child who suffers catastrophic injuries.
Delayed caesarean section causing cerebral palsy
In some cases, the baby will show signs of being in distress or may be too large to deliver vaginally or is in breech position. In these, and other time critical circumstances, a caesarean section will be the safest option for both mother and baby.
Why instructing the right cerebral palsy solicitors is vital to the success of a claim
Cerebral palsy is a complex condition. The medical circumstances leading to this irreversible lifelong condition require detailed expert knowledge. Cerebral palsy compensation claims are worth £multi-million as the affected individual’s lifelong needs are factored in.
This includes past and future care costs, adapted accommodation, specialist equipment, therapies and loss of future earnings. These claims are hard fought by the solicitors representing the hospitals believed to be responsible for the injury.
Instructing the right cerebral palsy solicitors can mean the difference between winning or losing your case.
How to choose the right solicitors
What clients say about a law firm, and the service provided, gives a strong indicator of whether you have found the right cerebral palsy solicitors for your family. The cerebral palsy claims process can take several years as evidence is gathered and considered by independent medical experts, your lawyers and specialist barristers.
Taking the time to find a legal team that offers both the specialist expertise required to win these complex cases, and one that you feel comfortable with, will help to make the process easier for your family. A strong indicator when selecting the right legal team to help your family pursue a cerebral palsy compensation claim is recent evidence of successful settlements for other families.
The law currently places the burden of proof on the injured individual. Winning a cerebral palsy claim, and securing the right amount of compensation to meet an individual’s lifelong needs, is very difficult if the right specialist solicitor is not instructed.
What happens if the wrong cerebral palsy solicitors are chosen?
Families may choose a solicitor with offices close to where they live. Sometimes a general medical negligence or personal injury solicitor is instructed. Birth injuries, including those leading to cerebral palsy, are very complex and require specialist medical and legal experts.
The legal process is hard fought by the NHS Trusts involved. In some cases, families have been with previous solicitors and after several years, their case is dropped due to insufficient evidence. The right cerebral palsy solicitors can win sizeable settlements even in cases where one, or more, previous non specialist lawyers have failed to reach a positive outcome.
It is natural to start a search for legal representation to pursue cerebral palsy compensation in the local area. As a specialist, and complex area of law however, it is recommended that the search is widened to ensure the right lawyer is found for your family.
Contact and correspondence throughout the legal process is predominantly carried out by phone / videocall and email. Leading cerebral palsy solicitors will represent families throughout England and Wales, regardless of their office locations.
The right solicitors for your family may not have offices on your doorstep, but they will fight for justice and the compensation that your child needs and deserves.
The costs involved in pursuing cerebral palsy compensation
These types of claims involve the costs of your legal team, independent medical experts, barristers, court fees and other disbursements such as obtaining medical records.
The cerebral palsy solicitors at Diane Rostron pursue these cases on a no win no fee basis providing all families with access to justice. Cerebral palsy claims are complex, are vigorously defended, and can take several years before a satisfactory settlement is reached. Interim payments can be sought so that families can meet their child’s complex needs during the legal process in the meantime.
Getting to know your cerebral palsy solicitors
A good lawyer will get to know you and your child well in order to gain a thorough understanding of the impact of the injury on them and your entire family. Your child’s short, and long term, physical and mental health needs will be carefully considered.
Sharing family details and your concerns and fears around your child’s needs and future, means that choosing a solicitor who makes you feel at ease essential.
Why Diane Rostron solicitors are the right firm for your family
The team of cerebral palsy compensation experts at Diane Rostron includes medical and legal specialists offering in excess of 25 years’ experience.
Our lawyers are parents, and they understand that a serious birth injury has devastating consequences for the whole family. We sadly hear too often that families are not listened to when they have raised concerns during their pregnancy and childbirth.
We also hear too frequently that the medical professionals suspected of making a mistake do not acknowledge this, instead, telling families that their child’s significant injury could not have been prevented.
Our team fight for families, meticulously obtaining and reviewing medical records to piece together what happened to identify when medical negligence has led to an avoidable catastrophic injury.
If you suspect that your child has cerebral palsy, or you have received a formal diagnosis and suspect that they suffered an injury before, during, or just after their birth, we can help.
The NHS provides medical professionals with detailed guidelines around best practice during pregnancy and birth and the interventions when a crisis situation presents itself. We believe families who suspect that their child’s CP was caused by something that happened during this critical period.
We will tenaciously challenge the hospital suspected of being responsible for a serious injury. We will give families the answers that they need so that they understand what has happened to their child, and why.
We are committed to supporting families throughout the legal process and leave no stone unturned until justice is secured.
Our empathetic team are here to listen, and to help.