Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that causes motor disability in some children. It is caused by brain damage to a developing brain that occurs while the fetus is in utero or during a baby’s delivery or labor or just after birth. If you suspect your child’s cerebral palsy is the result of medical malpractice, the experienced Syracuse birth injury attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano may be able to help. We can assess your case and consult with knowledgeable and credible experts about whether your child’s birth injury is the fault of a doctor or health care provider.Cerebral Palsy
Signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy can occur during infancy or preschool. Often signs include floppiness, reduced range of motion, rigidity, spasticity, slow writhing, tremors, abnormal reflexes, strange posture, difficulty with sucking, seizures, favoring one side of the body, asymmetrical gait, too much drooling, unsteady walking, involuntary movements, intellectual disabilities or some combination of these signs. Those with cerebral palsy may find it difficult to swallow. They may also have an eye muscle imbalance such that their eyes are unable to focus on the same thing.
Disability can affect just half the body or a single limb, but sometimes it affects the whole body. It may require significant treatment, therapy and rehabilitation. Sometimes those with cerebral palsy require lifelong care, particularly if they have additional neurological issues and difficulties.Liability for Cerebral Palsy
A health care provider may be held liable for cerebral palsy if parents can show: (1) the defendant owed a professional standard of care, (2) the professional standard of care wasn’t met, (3) causation, and (4) actual damages. In most cases, it is crucial to retain an experienced and credible expert to testify as to what the professional standard of care was. For example, it may have been the professional standard of care for an OB-GYN to order a C-section rather than have the mother continue a vaginal delivery where a baby is having trouble breathing. In other cases, the cerebral palsy may be caused by breaches in the professional standard of care earlier in the process.Certificate of Merit
In New York, an expert needs to review a medical malpractice lawsuit before its filed. As part of this process, you would send your medical records and the facts to a doctor licensed to practice medicine who is knowledgeable about birth injuries such as cerebral palsy. You would then consult with the doctor after his or her review of the records and facts, and you will need to have a reasonable basis for commencing the action. A certificate of merit must be filed under New York Civil Practice Law and Rules Section 3012-a. This is one reason it’s so important to consult with an attorney well before the expiration of the statute of limitations. There is the possibility of filing the lawsuit but then supplementing it with a certificate of merit within a 90-day period, but it’s best to have time to determine whether there is a basis to sue before suing.
Sometimes health care providers do not comply with medical record requests, but a failure to cooperate will not keep you from being able to recover damages. Once medical records are received, you have 90 days from the date of receipt to comply with the certificate of merit section.Damages
If you’re able to establish liability with the help of a credible expert, you may be able to recover compensatory damages. Of course, for parents, nothing can make up for an injury that causes your child suffer severely with a disability as a result of medical malpractice. However, there are often numerous medical, therapy, and rehabilitation bills arising from the injuries. These may last a lifetime in some cases, and most people do not have enough money saved to take care of those expenses. Establishing liability in a medical malpractice lawsuit puts the onus for paying these expenses on those responsible for them.Committed Birth Injury Attorneys in Syracuse
At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, our lawyers represent babies and parents harmed by birth injuries in Syracuse. We can also hold negligent health care providers accountable in Rochester, Wampsville, Lyons, Cooperstown, Utica, Oswego, Watertown, Lowville, Canandaigua, Oneida, Delhi, Norwich, Ithaca, Binghamton, Herkimer, Auburn and Elmira. Please call us at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form.