Can you claim compensation for cerebral palsy?

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Cerebral Palsy Claims

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Cerebral Palsy Claims

If you believe that cerebral palsy was brought on as a consequence of medical negligence then you may have a claim to cerebral palsy compensation.

The level of compensation awarded to those suffering cerebral palsy because of negligence can be significant when you bear in mind the pain and suffering individuals may experience not to mention long-term medical expenses and inability to live a “normal” life.

What Is Cerebral Palsy?

While the term cerebral palsy is often used to describe a condition which affects mobility, it is not an actual disease or illness in itself. It is the result of brain damage which can occur pre and post birth.

While there are many situations where cerebral palsy will occur with no fault, unfortunately we have seen situations where medical negligence has brought on this debilitating condition.

Differing Severeness Of Cerebral Palsy

The potential impact of cerebral palsy on an individual’s life can vary enormously. In medical terms there are three specific types of cerebral palsy known as:

Spastic Cerebral Palsy

This type of condition has a severe impact upon the individual’s control of movement and balance. Causing muscles to stiffen, weaken or tighten it can have a marked impact on a person’s standard of living.

Athetoid Cerebral Palsy

Athetoid cerebral palsy is a more visible variation of the condition causing the victim to carry out spontaneous uncontrollable movements. The condition also has a big effect on balance and posture thereby directly impacting the person standard of living.

Ataxic Cerebral Palsy

This is by far and away the severest variation of cerebral palsy which leads to spontaneous uncontrollable movements of the hands/ feet together with reduced balance and affects speech. It’s quite easy to understand why this degree of cerebral palsy is literally life changing.

Diagnosing Cerebral Palsy

There are many different signs that a child may be suffering from cerebral palsy although sometimes an official diagnosis cannot be completed until much further down the line. For example, some of the early signs of cerebral palsy in babies can include:

  • A lack of muscle tone;
  • An inability to hold their own head-up;
  • Muscle spasms;
  • A feeling of stiffness and inability to flex muscles;
  • Poor reflexes, posture and muscle control;
  • Slow physical development;
  • Feeding difficulties;
  • A noticeable preference to use one side of their body.

Sometimes the condition may not become obvious until they reach the toddler stage with symptoms such as:

  • An inability to walk by 12 to 18 months;
  • Difficulty in speaking simple sentences by 24 months.

These are just two of the more usual milestones which people use to measure the development of their children. If you have any concerns regarding your child’s development and the potential threat of cerebral palsy then you should approach your doctor and raise your concerns as soon as possible.

It is worth noting that the severity of an individual cerebral palsy will not worsen over time as it is directly linked to the original brain problem. However, there are some therapies and treatments which can subdue some elements of cerebral palsy and allow the individual to live a more “normal” life. It will ultimately depend upon the severity of the cerebral palsy in question as to whether there is any scope for even low-level improvement.

Levels Of Compensation In Cerebral Palsy Claims

The levels of compensation available for those who develop cerebral palsy as a consequence of medical negligence can vary enormously. Some of the more common types of compensation amounts might include:

Brain Damage

  • Relatively mild brain damage which has a minimal effect on the persons standard of living often attracts compensation of between £1,880 and £10,890.
  • Damage to the brain which is severe but towards the lower end of the scale will attract compensation of between £13,070 and £36,740.
  • Moderate brain damage leading to a change in personality, intellectual deficit and an inability to concentrate can attract compensation of between £36,740 and £186,890.
  • Moderately severe brain damage leading to an array of physical and mental disabilities can attract compensation of between £186,890 and £240,590.
  • The most severe form of brain damage impacts an individual’s ability to speak, eye sight and general standard of living. In this situation compensation from £240,590 and £344,640 is a possibility.

Epilepsy

It is common for those with cerebral palsy to suffer from epileptic fits. Advised compensation amounts for epilepsy are:

  • Relatively mild forms of epilepsy which are temporary can lead to compensation between £9,080 and £22,440.
  • The level of severity described as established petit mal can attract compensation between £46,780 and £112,130. This type of epilepsy can impact working/ social life, lead to behaviour problems and often requires long-term medication.
  • Established grand mal epilepsy is the most severe and debilitating form of this condition. It can lead to compensation claims between £87,010 and £128,060.

Proving Medical Negligence In A Cerebral Palsy Claim

Proving medical negligence in a cerebral palsy claim will require the assistance of medical experts. If the standard of care received by the victim was below that expected in a normal situation then there may well be a case for negligence and compensation.

It is vital that medical evidence, witness statements as well as the experiences and qualifications of those involved are noted as soon as possible. When claiming for a child the usual three-year time limit in which to claim is still maintained or a child can claim themselves when they reach 18, at which point the three-year time limit begins. Parents, guardians and legal representatives are able to claim on behalf of a minor and bearing in mind the majority of cerebral palsy cases involve babies, this is usually the case.

It is also useful to put together a record of events showing treatment received as well as advice given before and after birth and any relevant issues along the way.

Cerebral Palsy Medical Negligence Solicitors

For expert advice on cerebral palsy compensation claims you should speak with a medical negligence solicitor, preferably one with experience in the field of cerebral palsy claims. Most medical negligence solicitors will discuss your situation with you free of charge and if they conclude there is a case to claim compensation will likely advise on starting a claim and the best way to proceed forward.

In many cases they will also request a further medical examination by an independent third-party to clarify the extent of the cerebral palsy and the level of brain damage. This will help when calculating what compensation you might be owed for your cerebral palsy claim.

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