The Small Firm for Big Cases

Philadelphia Cerebral Palsy Lawyer

When you have experienced an uncomplicated pregnancy you expect that the delivery will go smoothly and anticipate the delivery of a healthy baby. Your visions of life with a healthy baby may be dashed as a result of the carelessness of your doctor. Your doctor and all the medical providers involved in your delivery are expected to carry out their duties according to a standard of care expected from medical professionals.

When they do not meet that standard of care, and their actions cause injury to you or your baby, you may be entitled to financial compensation. To find out about your rights and entitlements, you should speak to a Philadelphia cerebral palsy lawyer as soon as possible. Call Youman & Caputo to speak with an experienced trial lawyer who understands how to fight for your rights.

Philadelphia Cerebral Palsy Resources

To immediately access the resources at any point on this page, click the corresponding link below.

Why Choose Our Law Firm?
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy
What Causes Cerebral Palsy?
Proving Medical Negligence in Your Case
Potential Lasting Effects of Cerebral Palsy
Compensation for Cerebral Palsy
Potential Damages in Your Case
Philadelphia’s Statute of Limitations
What to Look for in a Cerebral Palsy Lawyer
How Much Will an Attorney Charge?
Cerebral Palsy FAQs
Speak to a Lawyer Today

Philadelphia Cerebral Palsy Attorney

Why Choose Our Firm for a Birth Injury Case?

  • The Philadelphia birth injury lawyers at Youman & Caputo  have significant experience handling cases involving cerebral palsy injuries, including multiple cases resulting in eight figure verdicts and settlements.
  • Personalized client attention is a core principle of our firm. When our clients have questions or want an update, or when there is an important development in their case, our clients are always able to speak with one of the name partners of the firm.

To schedule your free consultation, call us at (215) 302-1999.

What Is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a motor disability that affects a person’s mobility and the ability to maintain balance and posture. It is caused by abnormal development of the brain or damage to the brain during or after childbirth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 345 children in the United States have cerebral palsy. The condition is more prevalent in children born preterm or at a low birth weight.

What Are the Three Types of Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy actually refers to a group of motor function disorders that can affect a patient in a variety of ways, including impacting muscles, balance and posture. When a child is diagnosed with cerebral palsy, the condition is classified according to type:

  • Spastic. Patients with spastic cerebral palsy have trouble relaxing certain muscles that may become stiff or rigid, as well as experience difficulty controlling their movements, eating or speaking. Spastic cerebral palsy is caused by damage or injury to the brain’s motor cortex region or pyramidal tracts. It is the most common type of cerebral palsy.
  • Athetoid. Athetoid cerebral palsy typically causes uncontrolled jerking, writhing or other movements. The arms and head are affected by this type of cerebral palsy more often than the lower half of the body, which can result in trouble eating or speaking. It is caused most often by brain hypoxia (a lack of oxygen) during birth. Athetoid makes up approximately 10 to 20 percent of all cerebral palsy diagnoses.
  • Ataxic. Symptoms associated with ataxic cerebral palsy include shaking and tremors when attempting to perform voluntary movements. This can make it difficult to complete tasks that require precision or balance. Ataxic cerebral palsy is most often caused by damage or injury to the cerebellum. It is the least common type.

The type of cerebral palsy that a patient is diagnosed with can help doctors to pinpoint the cause of the patient’s condition; however, in many cases, the cause remains unknown. No matter what type of cerebral palsy your child has been diagnosed with, the attorneys at Youman & Caputo can help you understand your legal options in Philadelphia.

Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy can cause such a wide range of symptoms that it can be difficult to diagnose. Some families do not discover that a child has cerebral palsy until ages three, four or older, when the child starts missing milestones. Others recognize the symptoms of this condition in their newborns. The symptoms can vary based on the type of cerebral palsy, the severity of the condition, the age of the child and many other factors.

In an infant under six months old, cerebral palsy may present symptoms such as:

  • Slow to reach milestones
  • The baby feeling too stiff or floppy
  • Head lagging when you pick the baby up
  • Overextension of the back and neck when cradled
  • Abnormal muscle tone or development
  • Abnormal posture
  • Excessive drooling or trouble swallowing

In a child who is older than six months, parents or guardians may notice signs such as:

  • Developmental delays
  • Delays in speech development or difficulty speaking
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Weak arms or legs
  • Stiff muscles
  • Clumsy or jerky movements
  • Random or uncontrolled movements
  • Exaggerated reflexes
  • Trouble with coordination
  • Muscle spasms or tremors
  • Trouble rolling over
  • Not sitting by eight months
  • Not walking by 18 months
  • Favoring one hand or side of the body over the other
  • Problems with hearing or vision
  • Behavioral problems and emotional disorders
  • Seizures (epilepsy)

Cerebral palsy is permanent, but it is not progressive. This means that symptoms typically do not worsen over time. However, as a child gets older, some symptoms may become less pronounced. If you believe your child is exhibiting any symptoms or potential signs of cerebral palsy, talk to your child’s doctor right away.

What Causes Cerebral Palsy?

Although the majority of cerebral palsy cases are congenital, meaning the condition is present even before the child is born, some cases occur during and shortly after the birth.

Congenital causes of cerebral palsy include:

  • Premature birth
  • Low birthweight
  • Multiple births
  • Maternal infections during pregnancy
  • Medical conditions of the mother such as seizures and thyroid problems

Complications that can occur during the birth include uterine rupture, detachment of the placenta, or problems with the umbilical cord, which can cause a disruption of oxygen supply to the baby’s brain.

Proving Medical Negligence in a Cerebral Palsy Case

Another common cause of cerebral palsy is medical negligence. When a doctor, obstetrician, gynecologist, nurse or another health care practitioner falls short of his or her duties of care to a patient, this can cause birth injuries. This includes brain injuries or damage and cerebral palsy. Medical negligence can refer to any act or omission that a medical provider in the same or similar circumstances would not have committed.

 Examples of medical errors that could cause cerebral palsy include: 

  • Failing to diagnose and treat a maternal infection
  • Prescribing dangerous drugs to an expecting mother
  • Failing to monitor the mother or infant’s vital signs
  • Failing to detect a prolapsed umbilical cord or another emergency
  • Failing to order a C-section in a timely manner
  • Misusing birth-assistive tools, such as forceps or vacuums
  • Failing to diagnose and treat newborn jaundice

Any medical error that injures the infant’s brain – such as a traumatic brain injury, blunt force trauma or brain hypoxia – could potentially cause cerebral palsy. If your doctor or OBGYN made a careless mistake before, during or shortly after the birth of your child and this caused his or her cerebral palsy, your family is entitled to financial compensation. Speak to a brain injury attorney in Philadelphia to discuss the legal details of your specific case.

It is up to you or your attorney to prove malpractice and its connection to your child’s condition using clear and convincing evidence. Your lawyer will need to present evidence that proves the defendant is to blame with a certainty of at least 51 percent. Proving medical malpractice often requires evidence such as the victim’s medical records, letters from doctors, witness statements and medical expert testimony.

Potential Lasting Effects of Cerebral Palsy

There is no known cure for cerebral palsy. It is a lifelong condition that can come with a variety of long-term effects for a child. While no two cases are exactly alike, common lasting effects associated with this condition include:

  • Some level of difficulty with overall mobility and movement control. 
  • Trouble walking or a jerky, uneven gait.
  • Learning difficulties and developmental disorders.
  • Short attention span.
  • Difficulty with speech, comprehension and communication.
  • Long-term problems with vision and/or hearing.

The effects of cerebral palsy may be more manageable with medications, therapies and other treatments. Speak to your child’s doctor or a cerebral palsy specialist to understand his or her diagnosis and prognosis for the future.

How Can I Get Compensation for Cerebral Palsy?

If your child has cerebral palsy, your child may be entitled to compensation if the injury was the result of  medical malpractice. The cause of your child’s cerebral palsy will be an important fact in determining whether your child is entitled to compensation. Determining the cause requires investigation, access to medical records, and consulting with top experts who can review the evidence to evaluate whether there is a strong basis for filing a Philadelphia medical malpractice claim.

Potential Damages in a Philadelphia Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit

The damages (financial compensation) that may be available to you and your family during a Philadelphia cerebral palsy lawsuit can pay for several past and future costs and losses, including:

  • Medical bills
  • Physical, occupational, speech and other types of therapies
  • Rehabilitation
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medications
  • Medical devices and adaptive equipment
  • Lost wages and employment opportunities
  • Lost capacity to earn
  • Permanent disabilities
  • Ongoing care or assisted living
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Shortened life expectancy
  • Pain and suffering

Speak to one of our attorneys to find out how much your cerebral palsy medical malpractice claim may be worth. Unlike an insurance company, our lawyers want you to secure maximum financial compensation for this life-changing medical condition.

How Long Do I Have to Make a Claim for Cerebral Palsy?

If your baby has cerebral palsy caused by the negligence of your doctor, time may be running out for your claim.  In Pennsylvania, while some claims may be filed as late as the child’s twentieth birthday, other claims may have to be filed within two years of the child’s birth.  In New Jersey, pursuant to NJ.S.A. 2A:14-2, these cases must be filed prior to the child’s 13th birthday.  Waiting to contact an attorney until the cause of cerebral palsy is confirmed may not provide enough time to conduct a full and complete investigation within the time allowed to file a claim.

What to Look for in a Philadelphia Cerebral Palsy Lawyer 

It is important to find the right attorney to take your Philadelphia cerebral palsy case. You need an attorney with practice-area experience specifically handling your type of case. Your lawyer should understand this childhood neurological disorder and its connection to medical negligence. Your lawyer should also have access to qualified medical experts who specialize in cerebral palsy. A track record of successful case results can also ensure that your lawyer has what it takes to win your case.

How Much Does it Cost to Retain a Cerebral Palsy Attorney? 

At Youman & Caputo, we work on a contingency fee basis. This means if we represent you during a cerebral palsy claim in Philadelphia, you will pay nothing unless we secure financial compensation on your behalf. If we don’t win, you won’t pay. If we do secure a settlement or judgment award, we will charge our fee as a percentage of the overall amount achieved for your losses.

philadelphia cerebral palsy lawyer

Cerebral Palsy FAQs

What causes cerebral palsy? 

Most cases are congenital, meaning they are caused by genetic or developmental disorders. Some, however, are caused by damage or injury to an infant’s developing brain before, during or shortly after birth.

Is cerebral palsy fatal or life-threatening? 

No. Although there is no cure for this condition, it is not deadly. A patient’s life expectancy may or may not be shortened by cerebral palsy based on the specific circumstances.

What are the treatment options?

A patient with neural palsy may have numerous treatment options available. Different types of therapy often help improve a patient’s independence, quality of life and overall well-being. Examples include physical therapy, occupational therapy and music therapy.

Does cerebral palsy always cause intellectual disabilities? 

No. Cerebral palsy affects each patient differently. Some patients notice intellectual and developmental disabilities while others do not.

Can someone with cerebral palsy go to work or school? 

Yes. Although an individual’s capacity for daily activities, education and a career will depend on the specific case, many people living with this condition enjoy full and active lives.

When can I sue for cerebral palsy? 

You may have grounds to file a medical malpractice claim in Philadelphia for your child’s cerebral palsy if it was caused by a medical practitioner’s negligence or careless mistake.

How long do I have to file a cerebral palsy claim in Philadelphia?

No more than two years from the date of the negligent act. However, if you don’t discover your child’s cerebral palsy right away, you have two years from the date of discovery.

Contact a Philadelphia Cerebral Palsy Attorney

For a lawyer who will thoroughly investigate your case and aggressively pursue your claim, call Youman & Caputo at (215) 302-1999. Your initial consultation with a cerebral palsy or Erb’s palsy injury attorney in Philadelphia is free, so call us today and schedule your appointment.