Portland Cerebral Palsy Attorney
After a long pregnancy, the labor and delivery process can be stressful with a lot of risks for injuries to your child. Doctors assisting in a labor and delivery should have the training and knowledge to make the right decisions to help facilitate the delivery of a healthy child whenever possible. When a doctor fails to use the proper care or fails to act as another reasonable doctor would during a specific delivery, harm may occur to the child and the doctor may be held liable for medical malpractice. One of the most common birth injuries that results from negligent acts of a doctor during delivery is cerebral palsy. If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, you should discuss your legal options with an experienced cerebral palsy law firm as soon as possible.
Information About Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is a general medical name for a range of neurological disorders. These conditions develop in infancy and can affect a wide variety of abilities and functioning, including:
- Bladder and bowel control;
- Sensory abilities;
Once cerebral palsy develops, it is not curable and the impairments will be permanent throughout the child’s entire life. Treatment and therapy can often help to improve certain functioning, though the condition will never be completely cured.
There are many varying degrees of cerebral palsy. For example, some children with cerebral palsy may have a disrupted gait when they walk while others may not be able to walk at all and may have to rely upon a wheelchair for mobility their entire lives. In addition, some may be able to thrive in school and others may suffer from profound cognitive disabilities.
Cerebral Palsy Can be Caused by Medical Negligence
While cerebral palsy can occur on its own due to genetic or environmental factors in the womb, many cases occur due to mistakes made by medical professionals before, during, or after birth. Some common causes include:
- Failing to diagnose and treat an infection in the mother;
- Brain trauma due to forceful pulling or pushing on the baby;
- Trauma due to misuse of vacuums or forceps;
- Oxygen deprivation due to improperly handled complications during birth;
- Enduring the labor process for too long;
- Failure to order an emergency C-section if needed.
Not all mistakes during birth can give you the right to file a medical malpractice claim. Instead, you must prove that the medical professional failed to provide the required standard of care for your child. Determining whether the error rose to the level of medical negligence often requires the opinions of medical experts.
If you can prove that a doctor was negligent, you can hold that doctor liable for the following:
- Medical expenses for your child’s condition (past and future);
- Lost opportunities due to cerebral palsy;
- Lost enjoyment of life;
- Pain and emotional trauma.
The value of these losses will vary determining on the severity of your child’s cerebral palsy.
Time Limits To File a Claim
In Oregon, there is a deadline for filing legal claims that is called the statute of limitations. For birth injury cases, the claim must be filed two years from either of the following:
- The date the injury occurred;
- The date the injury was discovered (or should have reasonably been discovered).
The latter is important because, in some cases, cerebral palsy can be mild, causing it to go undetected or mistaken for another type of impairment or condition. In some situations, cerebral palsy may not be properly diagnosed until your child reaches school age and undergoes comprehensive testing of physical and cognitive capabilities. In these cases, you will still have the opportunity to file a legal claim for medical malpractice if your doctor’s errors caused the condition.
Contact a Portland, Oregon Cerebral Palsy Lawyer For a Free Consultation
Learning that your child needlessly suffered a birth injury that resulted in lifelong impairments can be traumatizing. While your focus should be on ensuring that your child receives all of the care, treatment, and assistance they need to thrive with their condition, you should also consider whether you have the legal right to file a legal claim to recover for the losses incurred by you and your child. At the Johnston Law Firm in Portland, we have extensive experience helping parents seek recovery for preventable birth injuries caused by medical malpractice. We know how to handle these complex cases and are committed to protecting your rights as birth injury victims. Please call our cerebral palsy attorneys for free to discuss your situation today.