Common Questions for a Florida Cerebral Palsy Lawyer

Cerebral Palsy is not a disease; it is a condition caused most often by medical personnel not providing adequate care to a patient. Cerebral Palsy is not genetic, not bacterial, and not a virus. It is likely the most overlooked type of medical malpractice case.

Cerebral, which means Cerebellum, or the brain; Palsy means paralysis, or weakness. Palsy is caused by the lack of oxygen to the victim’s brain, usually during childbirth, and the brain or nerve damage causes weakness in the muscles. Often, a child thought to have been born with a birth defect is really a victim of medical malpractice.

Did you know…

Cerebral palsy can be caused by negligence on the part of a hospital or doctor. 

Warning Signs of Cerebral Palsy include:

  • Difficult childbirth
  • Delayed cesarean
  • Head trauma caused by vacuum

Symptoms of CP include seizures, vision issues, hearing loss, speech problems, and/or intellectual disability. Over time one may develop scoliosis or other spinal issues, as well as joint problems. In all cases, it can affect a person’s independence, career, relationships, and mental health.

When a child exhibits developmental problems that were not diagnosed prior to birth, it is important to consult with a medical malpractice attorney as quickly as possible in order to have a claim evaluated and to assure that the legal rights of the child are preserved.

Mild CP may make it difficult to walk or communicate; severe CP may require special equipment to walk or talk. CP is not progressive, meaning it does not get worse over time. Children with cerebral palsy may experience a shift in symptoms over the course of their lifetime.

Below, Florida cerebral palsy lawyer Matt Powell answers some of the most frequently asked questions about this debilitating, life-long condition.

If you believe legal action should be taken on behalf of a child with CP, call our law firm today: 813-222-2222.

What causes cerebral palsy?

Both causes and severity vary from case to case. Common factors that can lead to cerebral palsy fall into two broad categories:

  • Perinatal Factors: Complications during childbirth, such as asphyxia (lack of oxygen to the brain) or trauma during delivery. Medical malpractice cases can arise when the umbilical cord becomes wrapped around the infant’s neck, resulting in oxygen loss.
  • Postnatal Factors: Brain injuries or infections that occur after birth, such as head injuries or infections like meningitis.

Cerebral palsy lawsuits can be taken on behalf of a child diagnosed after birth. The state of Florida allows up to seven (7) years after the child’s birth to file a cerebral palsy lawsuit, as CP may not be discovered by the parents for several years. The signs of CP are delays in development and the child not hitting milestones.

Does my child have cerebral palsy?

While some cases of cerebral palsy are obvious from birth, others may take months, or even years, to diagnose. If your child experienced even momentary oxygen deprivation in the womb, they may evince signs of cerebral palsy within the first seven (7) years of life.

Signs of cerebral palsy include:

  • Muscle weakness and/or loss of movement (paralysis).
  • Tight, unstretchable muscles that seem to get tighter over time
  • Unusual walking style (generally: arms tucked by the sides, walking on toes, knees crossing while walking, and/or the legs making “scissors” movements.
  • Joints that do not exhibit a full range of motion (joint contracture)

Note that each CP case can present differently. Cerebral palsy can affect one limb, one side of the body, both legs, both arms, or the entire body.

If you believe your child has cerebral palsy, you have until their eighth (8th) birthday to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Call Mattlaw today to discuss your case and begin your claim: (813) 222-2222.

How long do I have to file a cerebral palsy lawsuit?

In Florida, the statute of limitations for medical negligence is two (2) years. However, because of the difficulty in diagnosing CP, the Florida law allows bringing a medical malpractice case up and until the child’s eighth (8th) birthday, so long as the parents or legal guardian were not expected to have known that malpractice may have caused the cerebral palsy.

What are the most common types of cerebral palsy?

The most common types of cerebral palsy are:

Spastic Cerebral Palsy: The most common type of CP, SCP, is characterized by muscle tightness and general stiffness throughout the body. It affects one side of the body (spastic hemiplegia), the legs (spastic diplegia), or all four limbs (spastic quadriplegia). In all cases, people living with SCP will have difficulty moving and controlling their muscles. Causes include birth injury, genetic disorders, and bacterial infections.

Athetoid Cerebral Palsy or Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy: This type involves involuntary and uncontrolled movements, making it challenging to control posture and coordination. It can affect the face, trunk, and limbs. The NIH reports that ACP/DCP is the second most common type of CP. This chronic, nonprogressive disorder is frequently the result of a brain injury during fetal infant development.

Ataxic Cerebral Palsy: Ataxic cerebral palsy affects about 10% of all children with CP. It primarily affects a child’s coordination and vestibular system; this results in balance issues, shaky movements and vision issues (primarily depth perception). Fine motor skills can be challenging for ACP sufferers; writing, getting dressed and walking may be lifelong challenges.

Additionally, some individuals may show a combination of symptoms from all three types of cerebral palsy. Each type may present with a different symptom and degree of severity; this is the result of the extent of brain damage, as well as the part(s) of the brain that are affected.

Do You Need A Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy Lawyer (Florida)? Call MattLaw Today

Does RJ Mitte have cerebral palsy?

Yes. Actor RJ Mitte, best known for his role as Walter White Jr. on the AMC television series Breaking Bad (2008–2013), is among the most famous people living with CP. He was delivered by emergency C-section and was not breathing at the time of delivery; this resulted in permanent brain damage. He was diagnosed with CP at three years old.

Do I need a cerebral palsy lawyer?

Whether or not you need a cerebral palsy lawyer depends on the individual circumstances of your case and the extent of your child’s suffering. If you believe medical negligence or malpractice was a factor in your child’s condition, talk to an attorney as soon as possible.

Your child’s injuries may not be apparent immediately after their birth. Most cases become evident by the second year of birth; medical specialists may do a series of test, including x-ray computed tomography (CT scan) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to diagnose their symptoms. You may also need to get an electroencephalogram (EEG), as well as genetic testing, to diagnose your child’s condition.

MattLaw specializes in birth injury cases, with subspecialty in cerebral palsy outcomes. Call us today for a free consultation: 813-222-2222.

How do I file a lawsuit on a birth injury claim?

The primary objective in evaluating your birth injury lawsuit is simply: Was medical negligence a factor in the child’s birth? If you believe a lack of medical care during prenatal visits, delivery, or postnatal care, always consult with a lawyer specializing in medical malpractice. They can review your case and determine if you have grounds for a legal claim. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your child’s ongoing medical care, physical therapy, mobility equipment, and other support services.

Talk to the birth injury lawyers at MattLaw for a free case evaluation: 813-222-2222. Consultations are always free and confidential.

What is the statute of limitations for cerebral palsy cases?

Florida’s statute of limitations is two (2) years from the date of injury for most cases involving cerebral palsy. If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, talk to a cerebral palsy lawyer at MattLaw to learn more about your legal options: 813-222-2222.

Is cerebral palsy progressive?

No, cerebral palsy is not progressive. However, in a young child with cerebral palsy, it may not be apparent until the child starts missing developmental milestones.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: “The disorder isn’t progressive, meaning it doesn’t get worse over time, and some symptoms may even change as the child gets older. There is no cure for cerebral palsy, but supportive treatments, medications, and surgery can help many individuals improve their motor skills and ability to communicate with the world.”

Does cold weather affect cerebral palsy?

Cold weather is known to make cerebral palsy symptoms worse. According to Gavin Clifton, an author and disabilities advocate living with cerebral palsy, cold weather can lead to increased muscle stiffness, decreased flexibility, muscle pain, and balance problems. CP can be extremely debilitating during the winter months, particularly for people living in colder climates.

Read more: How Cold Weather Can Impact Muscles for Individuals with Cerebral Palsy

Can ECV cause cerebral palsy?

ECV, or external cephalic version, is a procedure that adjusts a fetus’ position from breech (head-up) to head-down. The head-down position decreases risk during delivery and increases the likelihood of a vaginal birth. The NIH reports that abnormal fetal positions, including breech, can lead to birth injuries, including cerebral palsy. While the procedure is generally considered safe, ECV risks include cord prolapse and entanglement, placental abruption, and feto-maternal hemorrhage.

Read more: Fetal Position and Cerebral Palsy

Can people with cerebral palsy drive?

Yes. Depending on the injury severity, some people living with cerebral palsy may be able to operate a car or other vehicle. Their vehicle may require significant modifications to be operated safely, including automatic windshield wipers, hand controls, steering knobs, and swiveling seat cushions to aid in the driver getting in and out of the vehicle. In a birth injury case, these expenses are often considered recoverable through legal action.

Talk To A Cerebral Palsy Lawyer Now: 813-222-2222

Matt Powell

About Matt

Matt Powell is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer by the Florida Bar who represents injured victims and their families. He is an experienced personal injury trial attorney who has been practicing since 1989 in Tampa, Florida. If you have any questions, feel free to call him at 813-222-2222 today.

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