Cerebral Palsy Lawyers

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys, Ross Feller Casey

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Why choose ross feller casey?

  • More than $2 Billion in Recoveries in Personal Injury Cases
  • No law firm has recovered more on behalf of injured Pennsylvania children over 5 years
  • Team of Leading Doctor-Lawyers on Staff
  • Among the nation’s top plaintiffs firms – The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • More than 75 $10-Million-plus Verdicts & Settlements
  • National Reputation for Record Results
  • “A firm that keeps setting new records” – Harvard Law School

Ross Feller Casey’s Philadelphia cerebral palsy attorneys have successfully handled numerous multimillion-dollar lawsuits involving cerebral palsy across Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and stand out as the nation’s recognized legal experts for such cases.

In fact, over the past five years alone, Ross Feller Casey attorneys have recovered well in excess of $1 billion for their clients and have resolved more significant birth injury lawsuits than any other Pennsylvania firm.

Ross Feller Casey is uniquely qualified to litigate cerebral palsy lawsuits, in part because we have something rare among personal injury law firms – a team of Ivy League-trained doctors right on staff. The team includes Dr. Charles H. Bowers, a nationally recognized physician with more than three decades of experience in both surgery and Obstetrics and Gynecology.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy refers to an umbrella group of disorders that can affect muscle control, sensation, head control, walking, muscle tone, coordination, and cognitive functioning. About a half million people in the U.S. develop cerebral palsy. It's caused by a brain injury or abnormal development in the immature brain, most often before birth. In many cases, a medical error occurs during the birth process that damages specific areas of the child’s brain that control motor functions.

A lack of oxygen to the brain (asphyxia) related to difficult labor or delivery is among the consequences of cerebral palsy malpractice. Mistakes can range from the child being left in the birth canal for too long to the excessive or improper use of tools and devices, such as forceps or vacuum extraction. It can be almost impossible for a parent to know if malpractice led to their child's cerebral palsy, which is why consulting a lawyer specializing in cerebral palsy cases is so important.

Most children with cerebral palsy (CP) are born with it, although it may not be detected until months or years later. The early signs of CP — mainly a lack of muscle coordination and control — usually appear before a child reaches three years of age. There is no cure for cerebral palsy, but treatments, therapies, and medication help a person be as independent as possible.

What Are the Different Types of Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is divided into five primary types: 

  • Spastic – Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common type and accounts for more than three-quarters of all cases. Most people with this type of cerebral palsy experience permanently tightened muscles or joints and jerky, exaggerated movement. The severity of spastic cerebral palsy is classified based on how many limbs are affected. 
  • Ataxic – Ataxic cerebral palsy is rare, accounting for about two percent of cases. It affects the entire body and is noticeable due to involuntary and abnormal movements of the limbs and torso. It also affects coordination, balance, hand control, and precise body movements. 
  • Athetoid – Athetoid cerebral palsy, also called nonspastic or dyskinetic, is slightly more prevalent than ataxic, accounting for about three percent of cases. Athetoid cerebral palsy causes involuntary movement in the face, limbs, and torso. It involves a combination of hypertonia (stiff muscles) and hypotonia (loose muscles), making muscle tone fluctuate. 
  • Hypotonic – Hypotonic cerebral palsy (also called atonic cerebral palsy) also accounts for about three percent of all cases. This type is characterized by loose muscle tone that causes loss of firmness and strength, lack of head control, and poor balance. 
  • Mixed – Mixed cerebral palsy occurs when brain damage occurs in more than one area, and as a result, more than one type of cerebral palsy develops. About 15 percent of people with cerebral palsy have a mixed type. 

Any type of cerebral palsy can occur due to medical error, negligence, or malpractice. Asphyxiation is the most common cause of birth injuries that develop into cerebral palsy. Other cases of medical malpractice that may lead to cerebral palsy include: 

  • Failing to treat severe jaundice properly
  • Failing to identify umbilical cord irregularities
  • Failing to detect fetal distress or the reduced heart rate of a baby in utero 

What Is The Life Expectancy For Someone With Cerebral Palsy?

Though there are no studies specific to the life expectancy of people who have cerebral palsy, most of those individuals live to between 30 and 70 years of age. Of course, several factors impact just how long a child with CP lives. These factors include:

  • The severity of the individual’s CP. A person with a mild case of CP will generally live longer than one with serious intellectual and mobility limitations. Also, people with CP who respond well to occupational and physical therapy and those who don’t suffer intellectual and developmental symptoms tend to lead longer lives.
  • The quality of treatment that a child with CP receives. This is especially significant when the child’s family has financial limitations that affect the level of medical and therapeutic care that the child can receive.
  • The severity of respiratory issues. For children with more severe cases of CP, respiratory disorders and issues related to them can be a huge factor in their mortality.

What Is The Quality Of Life Like With Cerebral Palsy?

Quality of life is typically explained in terms of personal safety and health, emotional and mental wellness, economic security, and independence and freedom. It’s no different for those who have cerebral palsy. Generally, children with CP describe their quality of life similarly to children who don’t have the condition. However, parents of children with CP tell it very differently. Many parents of children with CP believe that the quality of life for their children and their families is much lower than families who aren’t dealing with cerebral palsy.

Two key factors impact the quality of life for people with CP and their families: the level of pain the person with CP suffers; and the depression and stress that parents and family members suffer due to cerebral palsy. Parental stress must be taken into account because it affects the quality of life reported by children with CP.

What Is Cerebral Palsy Like Later In Life?

Many children with cerebral palsy live to be adults, which can be quite a different experience than being a child with CP. Because cerebral palsy isn’t a progressive disorder, a child’s condition will not worsen as the child ages. However, some things can affect the overall health and wellness of an adult with CP. Two such things are the person’s motor and intellectual impairments. The most common challenges that adults with CP experience are:

  • Disorders related to swallowing, walking, or movement
  • Premature aging
  • Mental health issues
  • Challenges with employment and in the workplace

When one or more of the above are present in an adult with CP, it can significantly affect their overall well-being.

Living with CP will sometimes require additional, expensive resources. Since many cases result from an error by a medical professional while in the hospital, victims deserve compensation and justice. This is why consulting a Philadelphia cerebral palsy attorney is so important.

Can Cerebral Palsy Be Detected During Pregnancy?

Currently, there isn’t a test that can be performed to diagnose cerebral palsy. That means that there isn’t a way to detect CP during pregnancy. However, receiving proper medical care during pregnancy can help reduce the risk of having a baby with CP.

Because there is no diagnostic test for CP, it’s essential to watch for any signs that a baby or toddler may have that indicate CP. Typically, one or more of the following are present in a baby or toddler with CP:

  • Muscle spasms or tension
  • Floppiness when picked up
  • Difficulty feeding or swallowing
  • Not meeting age-appropriate milestones like holding their head up, rolling over, sitting up, etc.
  • Favoring one side of the body over the other

What Do I Do When My Child Has A Diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy?

If you have a child who has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, you must determine why they have been affected by the disability. It may be a result of a medical error or negligence. When that is the case, parents may be entitled to compensation for the child’s and the family’s financial and emotional damages, and they should contact a cerebral palsy attorney. An attorney who handles birth injury cases will be able to determine whether your child’s cerebral palsy is a case of medical malpractice.

How to Find a Philadelphia Cerebral Palsy Lawyer?

At Ross Feller Casey, we have helped many families that have experienced cerebral palsy and other birth injuries due to a doctor or nursing mistake or another healthcare professional's negligence. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation with one of our leading Philadelphia cerebral palsy lawyers.

The firm handles all its cases, including cerebral palsy lawsuits in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania, on a contingency basis, so there will never be a cost to you unless there is a financial recovery in your case. We work hard for our clients to win them the settlement they deserve.

If you or a loved one has cerebral palsy or has suffered another birth injury, such as Erb's Palsy, one of our attorneys specializing in cerebral palsy lawsuits can assist you in determining if you have a case.

You may still be able to investigate a potential claim even if the injury occurred some time ago, but your time may be running out. Please contact us now to arrange a free consultation with an experienced Philadelphia cerebral palsy law firm.

 

Learn more about medical negligence resulting in cerebral palsy on our blog.