Cerebral Palsy medical negligence claims
Childbirth should be one of the happiest times of your life. Unfortunately, sometimes things go wrong. Cerebral Palsy (“CP”) is a developmental disorder and one of the leading causes of disability in young children. The incidence rate in the U.K. is around 1 in 400 births, with approximately 1800 children diagnosed with cerebral palsy every year. Some cases are not
preventable. However, some are. These include incidents resulting from medical negligence, which usually occur during pregnancy or birth.
If CP has affected you or a loved one, Fletchers Solicitors are here to guide you through the claims process, alleviating any unnecessary worry during such a stressful time. We are one of the leading medical negligence practices in the UK and have over 400 years’ combined experience, so you can rest assured we’ll bring the best legal minds to your case.
What is a Cerebral Palsy negligence claim?
CP generally refers to a group of lifelong conditions affecting movement and co-ordination caused by problems with the brain before, during or soon after birth. Each case of CP is unique to the individual. The degree to which a brain injury affects a child’s motor functioning and intellectual abilities is highly dependent on the nature of the brain injury, the damage sustained and how severe it is.
Not every case of CP will be a result of medical negligence. It will depend on the circumstances giving rise to the CP. Medical negligence claims for CP are usually the result of actions or omissions during or shortly after childbirth. These may include a failure to deliver a baby without delay, leading to the baby being starved of oxygen, or a failure to treat a baby for an infection.
To determine if medical negligence was a cause of the CP, it is likely that we will need to review the notes and records of the health professionals involved in the delivery and care of your baby. We may also need to obtain medical reports to assess whose fault the injury was.
At Fletchers, we have the specialised expertise to handle all aspects of your claim. We understand that establishing liability is the number one priority. Once liability is established, we may apply to the Court for “interim payment” system to provide funds for items such as new equipment and in some cases, even a new home. If you are unsure of what you or your loved
one’s accommodation and equipment needs may be, our extensive network of case managers is here to help. Case managers are also able to recommend a range of therapies to aid your rehabilitation including occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, I.T. therapy and psychological support.
We also have access to one of the country’s largest and most sophisticated expert databases that allows us to choose the right expert, and arrangements with some of the U.K.’s most preeminent barristers.
Fletchers Solicitors take a holistic approach to you or your loved one’s claim.
Different types of Cerebral Palsy negligence claims
CP may be the result of negligent acts or omissions of a health practitioner. Alternatively, there are circumstances in which the health practitioner is not liable for the development of CP.
Liability will typically arise in the following circumstances:
- Midwifery issues before or at the time of delivery
- Obstetric issues before or at the time of delivery
- Paediatric issue before or at the time of delivery
- An untreated viral or bacterial infection
If you are unsure of the cause of you or your loved one’s CP, contact us today to find out how we can guide you through the legal process.
Is there a time limit on making a Cerebral Palsy negligence claim?
A claim for negligence must be made within three years of the date (“date of knowledge”) on which the affected person became aware (or ought reasonably to have become aware) that he or she suffered a personal injury as a result of the health professional’s acts or omissions.
The date of knowledge is not the date on which the injury occurred unless you knew or ought to have known about it at that time. Sometimes people do find out that a mistake has been made straight away, but sometimes it can actually be a matter of months, even years, before he or she realises something has gone wrong.
If you or the person the mistake happened to is, or was under the age of 18 at the time the incident occurred, then the time limit is three years from the date of their 18th birthday (i.e. their 21st birthday).
Unfortunately, some children or adults who have been injured do not have the mental capacity to either conduct and/or provide instructions in connection with the case, or to manage the compensation that is obtained. In these situations, a parent or guardian can be legally appointed as a “Litigation friend” to run the proceedings on the affected person’s behalf.
If the affected person does not have the mental capacity to recognise the mistake, there can be no time limit, unless the person regains capacity.