Cerebral Palsy Lawyer New York

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Cerebral palsy is one of the most common birth injuries here in the United States.

Each year, nearly 10,000 newborns suffer birth injuries that lead to cerebral palsy – a lifelong condition with no cure.

Those with cerebral palsy struggle with lifelong muscle paralysis, coordination issues, developmental delays, speech impediments, and many other serious health issues.

Though there is no cure, a cerebral palsy lawyer can help you get financial compensation for your child’s injuries.

If your child’s cerebral palsy was caused by the negligence of a medical professional or hospital, you may be entitled to compensation for all the present and future expenses the injury will cost you. To learn more, contact the expert birth injury law team at Merson Law PLLC.

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What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of disorders that permanently affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

The name, cerebral palsy, literally means a palsy (meaning weakness or problems with using muscles) caused by some injury to the brain – cerebral.

Cerebral palsy is often identified by a characteristic gait (way of walking) and lack of muscle coordination, and sometimes by a unique speech impediment caused by reduced control of the muscles required to talk.

CP is not a disease, but a birth injury. CP is caused by abnormal brain development or damage to the developing brain. In 80-90% of cases, it is congenital (from birth), but in rare cases, it can develop within the first few years of life, while the brain is still rapidly developing.

Causes of Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is always caused by an injury to or developmental issue with the brain. This injury or developmental issue causes problems with the brain’s communication with the muscles in the body.

Even though doctors know what causes cerebral palsy, medical knowledge of the condition is still somewhat limited. In many cases, the exact cause of a child’s CP is unknown.

There are, however, many known risk factors for CP.

Risk Factors of Congenital CP

Cerebral palsy is always caused by an injury to or developmental issue with the brain. This injury or developmental issue causes problems with the brain’s communication with the muscles in the body.

Even though doctors know what causes cerebral palsy, medical knowledge of the condition is still somewhat limited. In many cases, the exact cause of a child’s CP is unknown.

There are, however, many known risk factors for CP.
Known risk factors of congenital CP include:

  • Low birthweight―Children who weigh less than 5 1/2 pounds (2,500 grams) at birth, and especially those who weigh less than 3 pounds, 5 ounces (1,500 grams) have a greater chance of having CP.
  • Premature birth―Children who were born before the 37th week of pregnancy, especially if they were born before the 32nd week of pregnancy, have a greater chance of having CP. Intensive care for premature infants has improved a lot over the past several decades. Babies born very early are more likely to live now, but many have medical problems that can put them at risk for CP.
  • Multiple births―Twins, triplets, and other multiple births have a higher risk for CP, especially if a baby’s twin or triplet dies before birth or shortly after birth. Some, but not all of this increased risk is due to the fact that children born from multiple pregnancies often are born early or with low birthweight, or both.
  • Assisted reproductive technology (ART) infertility treatments―Children born from pregnancies resulting from the use of some infertility treatments have a greater chance of having CP. Most of the increased risk is explained by preterm delivery or multiple births, or both; both preterm delivery and multiple births are increased among children conceived with ART infertility treatments.
  • Infections during pregnancy―Infections can lead to increases in certain proteins called cytokines that circulate in the brain and blood of the baby during pregnancy. Cytokines cause inflammation, which can lead to brain damage in the baby. Fever in the mother during pregnancy or delivery also can cause this problem. Some types of infection that have been linked with CP include viruses such as chickenpox, rubella (german measles), and cytomegalovirus (CMV), and bacterial infections such as infections of the placenta or fetal membranes, or maternal pelvic infections.
  • Jaundice and kernicterus― Jaundice is the yellow color seen in the skin of many newborns. Jaundice happens when a chemical called bilirubin builds up in the baby’s blood. When too much bilirubin builds up in a new baby’s body, the skin and whites of the eyes might look yellow. This yellow coloring is called jaundice. When severe jaundice goes untreated for too long, it can cause a condition called kernicterus. This can cause CP and other conditions. Sometimes, kernicterus results from ABO or Rh blood type difference between the mother and baby. This causes the red blood cells in the baby to break down too fast, resulting in severe jaundice.
  • Medical conditions of the mother―Mothers with thyroid problems, intellectual disability, or seizures have a slightly higher risk of having a child with CP.
  • Birth complications―Detachment of the placenta, uterine rupture, or problems with the umbilical cord during birth can disrupt oxygen supply to the baby and result in CP.

This information is sourced directly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s article, Causes and Risk Factors of Cerebral Palsy.

It is important to remember that these risk factors do not always lead to CP. These are only known issues that can cause the condition.

Signs & Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy

CP can be difficult to identify at first, since all babies have limited motor function. The most common method for identifying CP is to look for certain milestones that children usually have as they develop. If your child has CP you may notice that they are not reaching these milestones at the time they normally would.

If you’re concerned your child might have CP, first, look for the following signs and symptoms. If they are present, schedule an appointment with a pediatrician to examine these issues.

Infants 6 Months or Younger

At this age, your baby is not old enough to be moving all that much on their own. Even though they do not use their muscles to move around, they still use many muscles involuntarily to do things. At this stage, signs of CP include:

Their head “lags” when you pick them up while they’re lying on their back
They feel stiff
They feel “floppy”
When cradled in your arms, they seem to overextend their back and neck, constantly acting as if they are pushing away from you
When you pick them up, their legs get stiff and cross or “scissor”

Babies Older than 6 Months

Babies at this stage will normally begin to develop more control over their muscles. At this stage, signs and symptoms of CP include:

They don’t roll over in either direction
They cannot bring their hands together
They have difficulty bringing their hands to their mouth
They reach out with only one hand while keeping the other fisted

Babies Older than 10 Months

At 10 months and older, most babies are beginning to crawl and explore for the first time. This is a crucial milestone for all babies, including babies with CP. A telltale sign of CP is difficulty crawling, since many muscles are needed to do this effectively. Look for these signs when your baby is beginning to move around on their own:

  • They crawl in a lopsided manner, pushing off with one hand and leg while dragging the opposite hand and leg
  • They scoot around on their butt or hop on their knees, rather than crawling on all fours

What Can New York Families Recover in a Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit?

In a cerebral palsy lawsuit, families can seek compensation for many damages. These damages can include current and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of wages, and much more, like:

  • Physical therapy
  • Speech coaching
  • Recreational therapy
  • Corrective surgery
  • Occupational therapy
  • Medications
  • Verbal aids
  • Braces and orthotics (for walking and stability)
  • Equipment like wheelchairs, rolling walkers, canes, etc.

How can a Cerebral Palsy Lawyer Help?

A cerebral palsy lawyer can help you and your family pursue compensation for these damages.

Though you may be an expert parent, you’re not an expert attorney, and the organization or individual you take to court will have lawyers hired to defend them.

Sometimes, these lawyers will reject your claim altogether. Other times, they may offer you an amount of compensation that is significantly lower than the amount you need to pay for your child’s expenses.

Without legal representation, it’s nearly impossible for an individual to win a birth injury case. That’s why you need an experienced cerebral palsy lawyer to argue on your behalf against your opposition.

The lawyers at Merson Law PLLC have decades of experience litigating cases like your’s, many of which have settled for millions of dollars.

Our team will work with you to get the compensation you need to build the best life for your child, and we’ll do it without hourly rates.

To start your claim, contact us by filling out our confidential form or by calling our Manhattan office. Get started with your birth injury lawsuit today.

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