Cerebral palsy compensation claims are often started because there has been some form of medical negligence that has caused the condition. Cerebral palsy itself is not actually a specific disease or illness. It is probably best described as a number of conditions which affect movement as a result of a brain injury.
This guide on cerebral palsy compensation claims will help you to understand your options if your child’s condition was caused by negligence during childbirth. We understand that you and your child may have complex needs, however, a medical negligence solicitor from our panel could help with a cerebral palsy claim to get you the compensation you deserve.
Our team of specially trained advisors can give you free advice about cerebral palsy claims during a no-obligation consultation. They’ll explain your options after reviewing your case and will try to answer all of your questions. If a medical negligence solicitor from our panel represents you, all aspects of their work will be conducted on a No Win, No Fee basis. That means you won’t be asked to pay any legal fees in advance.
Please read on to find out more about cerebral palsy compensation claims or call us on 0800 652 1345 with any questions.
What is cerebral palsy?
According to this NHS guide, cerebral palsy is a term used to describe brain injuries that result in lifelong disabilities that cause coordination and movement problems.
In many cases, cerebral palsy occurs due to development problems during labour. However, it is also possible for cerebral palsy to be caused by mistakes during or just after birth.
Cerebral palsy can cause the following symptoms:
- Developmental issues i.e. where a baby cannot sit or walk within the normal timeframes.
- Weakness in the arms or legs.
- Where a baby seems too floppy or stiff.
- Random clumsy, fidgety, jerky or uncontrolled movements.
- Difficulty swallowing.
- Vision problems.
- Speaking problems.
- Learning disabilities.
- Walking on tiptoes.
In some cases, symptoms may be manageable and some people may be able to manage them and live a relatively normal life. However, some cerebral palsy symptoms can be much more severe and mean that the person needs lifelong care and support.
If you believe your child is suffering from cerebral palsy symptoms as a result of medical negligence, please feel free to speak to one of our specialist advisors.
Types of cerebral palsy
According to Scope, three main types of cerebral palsy can be diagnosed:
- Spastic cerebral palsy. This is where the person’s muscles will be stiff and tight. This can be very painful and result in regular muscle spasms. Various areas of the body can be affected by spastic cerebral palsy.
- Ataxic cerebral palsy. Ataxia can affect all parts of the body. It makes it hard to control the correct muscles needed for movement. While most people with this type of cerebral palsy can walk, their movement may be jerky and unsteady as it will affect special awareness and balance.
- Dyskinetic cerebral palsy. This type of cerebral palsy causes uncontrollable and involuntary muscle contractions. As a result, the person may have difficulty speaking because of a lack of control of their tongue and vocal cords. Breathing can also be made more difficult with dystonic cerebral palsy.
Importantly, many people are diagnosed as having a mixture of all three types of cerebral palsy.
Can cerebral palsy be treated?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for cerebral palsy. However, some treatments such as physiotherapy can improve the person’s symptoms and help them become more independent.
Importantly, cerebral palsy is not a progressive condition and the brain injury will not usually worsen.
Each person with cerebral palsy will be affected in different ways so any treatment plan will need to be designed around the individual’s needs. Some ways that the symptoms of cerebral palsy may be managed include:
- Mobility aids such as wheelchairs or powered mobility walkers.
- Splinting to improve the range of movement in a joint.
- Medications to help reduce muscle spasms.
- Surgery, in some cases, to improve limb function.
- Spinal surgery to improve walking ability.
It’s important to note that any compensation awarded for cerebral palsy could be used to cover the cost of any treatment or care needed to help the claimant deal with their symptoms.
Can I claim compensation for cerebral palsy?
A medical negligence solicitor from our panel will assess your claim before agreeing to represent you to check that you have a viable chance of being compensated. The main criteria that need to be proven in cerebral palsy claims are:
- Breach of duty. It will need to be proven that a medical professional provided a substandard level of treatment i.e. they were negligent.
- Causation. Where it can be demonstrated that your child’s symptoms were caused as a direct result of the medical professional’s negligence.
Birth injury claims can be particularly difficult to win because of the complexity of the evidence that needs to be assessed. For that reason, your solicitor will investigate your claim with independent medical experts to try and find out what went wrong during the birth of your child.
If the experts believe that something should have been done differently during labour or after your child was born, we could help you to claim the compensation needed to help your child in the future.
Types of negligence that can cause cerebral palsy
As we’ve shown in the previous section, you can essentially only claim cerebral palsy compensation if a medical professional was negligent during your child’s delivery. Some examples of medical negligence during delivery that can lead to cerebral palsy include:
- A failure to deal with signs of foetal distress.
- Where the baby’s heartbeat was not monitored properly.
- The baby was not delivered soon enough.
- Forceps or other delivery tools were used unnecessarily or too much force was used.
- A choice was made to continue with a normal delivery rather than delivering by caesarean section.
- A failure to spot that the baby’s umbilical cord was wrapped around the neck.
After your baby was born, some infections and illnesses can also lead to cerebral palsy. That means you could be compensated if a midwife or doctor failed to diagnose or treat:
If you believe your child is suffering because of medical negligence, please let us know and we’ll assess your options with you for free.
How much compensation do you get for cerebral palsy?
It is vital that your child receives the right level of compensation if their cerebral palsy claim is successful. Any settlement should compensate them for any suffering they’ve already endured plus any support and care they’ll need in the future.
If you work with a solicitor from our panel, they’ll use reports from medical experts to try and understand the full impact of your child’s symptoms. By doing so, they could claim compensation to cover:
- The cost of a professional care team to support your child.
- The psychological damage from cerebral palsy.
- A more suitable vehicle to make access easier.
- Modifications to your home to make it easier to support your child. For example, you could use compensation to cover the cost of installing lifts, hoists or wet rooms.
- Medical treatment costs.
- Travel expenses.
- The loss of enjoyment of activities that your child would’ve enjoyed if they were not suffering from cerebral palsy.
- Future loss of income.
Each cerebral claim is unique and each child will be affected in different ways so the amount of compensation awarded will vary from case to case.
Is it right to sue the NHS for cerebral palsy?
As we’ve shown, your child’s welfare comes first when it comes to deciding whether you’ll claim compensation for their suffering. While the NHS carries out amazing work every day, they do have a duty to put things right when mistakes are made.
If you go on to make a claim, any compensation for cerebral palsy will not reduce the budget of the hospital you claim against. That’s because, like any other organisation, hospitals have insurance to cover them for such claims.
If you believe you have a valid claim against an NHS organisation and would like to discuss your options, please feel free to contact us.
How to claim cerebral palsy compensation on behalf of your child
Although your child can claim compensation themselves after they turn 18 years old, you’ll probably want to claim before that point to secure any compensation they might be owed.
This is possible and something a solicitor can help with. Essentially, you’ll need to be approved by a court through the litigation friend process. Once that’s happened, you’ll be able to work with a solicitor on behalf of your child.
If your cerebral palsy claim is successful, the amount of compensation you’ll be paid will have to be approved by a court. In many cases, a lump sum payment is awarded plus annual payments to cover your child’s care and treatment costs for the rest of their life.
Cerebral palsy compensation claims time limits
If you make a cerebral palsy compensation claim on behalf of your child, you can do so at any point before your child turns 18 years old.
After your child becomes an adult, the time limit for claiming will depend on their level of mental capacity. If the claimant hasn’t got the mental capacity to file a claim themselves then there isn’t a time limit for claiming. Otherwise, the claimant will need to make a claim before their 21st birthday.
To check how long you have to lodge your claim, please call our team today.
Interim payments for cerebral palsy claims
To ensure that your child is compensated fairly, cerebral palsy claims can take some time to be processed. This might be the case, for example, if it’s not yet possible to evaluate your child’s prognosis.
In these cases, you are likely to need financial support to help with care, rehabilitation or medical costs. You may need to cover living expenses as well if you’ve stopped working to support your child. In these cases, interim payments may be awarded monthly or annually until your claim is finalised. Please let your solicitor know if this is something that would make things easier for you. Importantly, interim payments are only possible if the hospital has accepted liability for your child’s suffering.
No Win, No Fee claims
Any claim accepted by a medical negligence solicitor from our panel will be managed on a No Win, No Fee basis. That means that you:
- Won’t pay legal fees upfront.
- Don’t have to pay legal fees if your claim is lost.
- Will only pay a success fee to cover your solicitor’s work if compensation is awarded.
The exact amount you’ll pay will be listed in your No Win, No Fee agreement but please feel free to discuss this with your solicitor if needs be.
Start a cerebral palsy claim today
We hope that our guide has made the options available to you clearer. If you believe compensation for cerebral palsy should be awarded, call us on 0800 652 1345 to discuss your options.
There’s no obligation to make a claim when you call and all advice we provide is free. If you do decide to take legal action and one of our panel of medical negligence lawyers can help, they’ll represent you on a No Win, No Fee basis. In all cases, they’ll try to secure every penny of the compensation you deserve.
Our live chat team is on hand to discuss cerebral palsy claims too so please feel free to connect with them at any point.