Watching your child grow and develop is one of the joys of life. However, your joy might be tempered if a birth injury is causing your child to miss milestones or struggle to thrive. Cerebral palsy is one of the most common conditions related to gestational or birth injuries.
If you believe your child has cerebral palsy due to a doctor’s error, contact a local attorney immediately. A Macomb cerebral palsy lawyer can hold negligent medical professionals and institutions accountable and ensure you have the resources to give your child the life they deserve.
Medical Negligence Could Lead to Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a form of brain damage that often develops in the womb or during birth. Rarely, CP develops after birth resulting from a vehicle accident, fall, or child abuse. However, many cases of CP result from a medical error or negligence. Examples of medical mistakes that could lead to CP include the following:
- Failing to refer a mother to a specialist if she had identifiable risk factors for CP
- Delayed diagnosis of Kernicterus (a severe type of jaundice)
- Improper treatment of maternal infection during pregnancy
- Delaying delivery after uterine rupture
- Ignoring or misinterpreting signs of fetal distress
- Failing to respond quickly and appropriately to complications during pregnancy and birth
- Misuse of forceps during delivery
- Misuse of vacuum extraction during delivery
These are some of the more common causes of CP, but a doctor’s poor judgment or lack of skill could lead to CP in other circumstances as well.
Not every CP case results from medical negligence, and the state discourages medical negligence lawsuits when the healthcare professionals could not have prevented the outcome. Michigan Compiled Laws § 2912d requires a Macomb cerebral palsy attorney to secure an opinion from a medical expert that a mother and baby received substandard care before they can file a CP lawsuit.
Timeframe to Bring a Birth Injury Claim
Statutes of limitations are laws that define when a person can bring a lawsuit. The length of the statute of limitations depends on the type of harm the person filing the lawsuit alleges. For most medical malpractice lawsuits, the law requires a patient to file a lawsuit within two years of the medical error.
When the error involves harm to an infant, there are two complications. First, a person may not bring a lawsuit until they reach legal age, so a parent or guardian must sue for harm to a child. Second, there could be a delay in diagnosing CP. Although sometimes the diagnosis happens soon after birth, there are other cases where a child must miss several milestones before a doctor can confirm CP.
The law carves out an exception for injuries to children under 8. A parent or guardian must bring a cerebral palsy lawsuit on behalf of an injured child within two years of the injury or before the child turns 10, whichever is longer. It is important to meet with a Macomb attorney to file a cerebral palsy lawsuit sooner rather than later .
Handling Damages in CP Cases
A child with severe CP might be permanently and completely disabled. A child with a less severe case will still likely incur additional expenses and suffer some limitations on their activities and future ability to earn a living. Damages in a medical malpractice case could cover all the child’s expenses over their lifetime, including future losses. A Macomb attorney usually hires one or more experts to help define the true cost of cerebral palsy over the child’s life.
Special rules apply if the case is successful and the insurance company settles or the family wins a verdict after a trial. The money belongs to the child, but the parents may need some of it to pay the child’s extraordinary medical expenses and get the necessary services. A court will usually allow parents access to part of the settlement or award to manage these needs.
Most of a settlement usually is put in a trust or, more often, in an annuity or other structured settlement. The child will have access to the money when they turn 18, but it is often paid out in increments over the child’s lifetime. Managing settlements this way ensures the child will always have access to funds for necessary care.
Contact a Macomb Attorney if Your Child Has Cerebral Palsy
People with cerebral palsy often lead rich and fulfilling lives, but it requires resources. Caring for a child with CP might require a parent to give up their job, and even excellent health insurance might not cover many beneficial services.
A Macomb cerebral palsy lawyer helps parents like you get the funds they need to care for their child. Reach out today to speak with someone from Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C.
Macomb Cerebral Palsy Resources
Henry Ford Macomb Pediatric Unit – Pediatric unit designed for patients who are infants through 18 years of age.
Macomb County Loan Programs – List of loan programs that assist families with disabled children.
Disability Network Oakland and Macomb – Center for Independent Living