Cerebral palsy (CP) occurs when a developing brain endures an injury. The sad truth is that many infants born in Nova Scotia with CP suffered this neurological condition due to improper medical care while still in the womb or during the birthing process.
Some common causes of cerebral palsy are discussed below. Regardless of the specific cause, it is important for parents to understand that while sometimes these brain injuries are unavoidable, at many other times they are absolutely caused by medical negligence.
When the medical negligence of a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional reaches the level of constituting medical malpractice, the family of an injured child can file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party or parties in order to recover compensation for their losses.
If your child suffered cerebral palsy due to someone else’s negligence, we feel for you and would like to help. Call our Halifax office today to find out what Valent Law can do for you and your family. Our lawyers are approachable and easy to talk to. The case discussion is free and completely confidential.
What Is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a motor disorder that primarily affects movement and muscle tone. The second-most common disability found in children, it is estimated that 17 million people worldwide suffer from CP.
There are several different types of cerebral palsy, including:
- Spastic cerebral palsy, which causes stiffness
- Dyskinetic cerebral palsy, which causes involuntary movement
- Ataxic cerebral palsy, which causes problems with depth perception and balance
Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common type, accounting for approximately 80 percent of CP cases. In many of these cases, people experience walking abnormalities, and in some, it is severe enough to make an individual unable to walk.
Causes of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is caused by a brain injury that occurs while a child’s brain is still developing. This most often occurs in utero, during birth, or in early infancy. However, brain trauma during early childhood can also cause cerebral palsy.
Some of the most common types of brain injury that can result in CP include:
- Oxygen deprivation
- Severe untreated jaundice
- Poor or limited blood flow to the brain
- Bacterial meningitis
- Infections during pregnancy
- Intracranial hemorrhage (bleeding in the brain)
- Blunt force trauma to the head (caused by a fall, car accident, child abuse, etc.)
Effects of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy can cause a range of cognitive and physical challenges. How CP impacts an individual depends largely on which part of the brain was damaged and to what extent.
Some symptoms that cerebral palsy patients may experience include:
- Lack of muscle tone
- Stiff muscles
- Problems with coordination and balance
- Involuntary movements
- Problems with walking
- Favoring one side of the body
- Hearing loss
- Learning impediments
- Food aspiration
- Speech issues
- Sleep disorders
- Behavioral problems
- Tooth decay
- Gastroesophageal reflux
- Global Developmental delay
- Visual impairment
Treatment for Cerebral Palsy
There is currently no known cure for cerebral palsy, but there are a variety of different treatment options that can help improve a patient’s quality of life. The most common treatment options include:
- Physical therapy
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
Additionally, medications are frequently prescribed to help alleviate muscle pain and stiffness.
There are many assistive devices that have been known to help CP patients in their day-to-day lives. These assistive aids include:
- Body braces
- Hearing aids
- Walking aids
Compensation in Cerebral Palsy Claims
If a Nova Scotia court hears your cerebral palsy medical malpractice case and determines that you are entitled to collect damages from the defendants, you could be awarded financial compensation. This is designed as a balance against the losses the injured plaintiff (and in the case of a minor with cerebral palsy, their parents) have suffered as a result of the medical malpractice.
Most damages awarded in cerebral palsy cases are classified as either pecuniary or non-pecuniary. Pecuniary damages are awarded as compensation for losses that have a clear dollar amount associated with them, such as hospital bills, physical therapy bills, assistive aids, medications and others. Non-pecuniary damages, on the other hand, provide compensation for losses that do not come with a clear price tag, such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and similar losses. Because cerebral palsy can be disabling to a child at a young age, compensation for loss of lifetime income, and for the costs to appropriately care for the child, are significant. It takes millions of dollars to give a disabled child the care that he or she needs. The law is that if medical malpractice caused this need, then the child and his or her family must be awarded appropriate compensation.
It is important to note that non-pecuniary damage awards in medical malpractice cases are generally capped at $360,000, while pecuniary damage awards are not limited. There is an exception to the non-pecuniary damages cap that allows an injured person to recover much more if the malpractice at issue was particularly egregious. This exception is very limited, however, and only applies in exceptional cases.
Nova Scotia courts can also award punitive damages (damages that are designed to punish the defendant, rather than compensate the plaintiff), but the court will only do so in extreme situations.
Talk to a Halifax Cerebral Palsy Lawyer Now
If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and you suspect that their condition may have been caused by medical negligence, the experienced birth injury lawyers of Valent Legal are here to help.
We understand how emotionally challenging it can be to file a lawsuit on behalf of your injured child. We also understand how important a financial award can be for a family struggling to pay for their child’s ongoing expenses. That’s why we are dedicated to representing families who have been harmed by a medical professional’s negligence. We will pursue the maximum compensation you are entitled to in the eyes of the law.
To talk about your potential case with an experienced Halifax, Nova Scotia cerebral palsy lawyer, call Valent Legal today or contact us online. Our lawyers are standing by, ready to help.