Claim compensation for cerebral palsy
If you or your child has cerebral palsy due to medical negligence, we can help you get the compensation you deserve with a cerebral palsy claim.
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Cerebral Palsy Claims

Cerebral palsy is a condition that affects brain function and is usually diagnosed shortly after birth or several months later. This condition can profoundly impact both the child and their family, leading to significant changes in their lifestyle.

There are many possible causes of Cerebral palsy, such as reduced oxygen or blood supply in the womb, maternal infections or injuries to the baby during or after labour. While some babies may experience mild symptoms, others can face severe and permanent complications. In the most severe cases, the outcomes can be fatal.

Doctors must act swiftly to prevent damage and carefully monitor any potential risks or signs of distress in a baby during pregnancy or birth. If your child suffered due to substandard medical care, you might be able to make a cerebral palsy claim.

This guide offers insights into claims for cerebral palsy and outlines how to determine eligibility for compensation if you believe the condition was due to medical negligence.

For a free and confidential consultation with a cerebral palsy lawyer, call 0800 032 3660 today or enter your details here to receive a call back. There is no obligation to proceed following your consultation, but if you do, you will be offered a no win no fee service. This means you will only pay a fee if your claim is successful, which we explain in more detail below.

What is cerebral palsy?

Many people think cerebral palsy is a specific condition or disease, but this is not the case. The term is used to describe a brain injury that affects a person’s ability to control movement and maintain posture. It is usually related to an incident of oxygen starvation in the womb but may also be due to an injury during labour or maternal infections.

According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), cerebral palsy affects about 2 out of 1,000 babies born in the UK. It is not a progressive condition, meaning it does not worsen over time, but its effects on movement and coordination can vary widely between patients. Common characteristics and symptoms of cerebral palsy may include:

  • Not reaching developmental milestones on time
  • Muscle stiffness, involuntary movements and poor coordination
  • Difficulty walking, sitting or standing and the need to use crutches, walkers or wheelchairs
  • Speech difficulties due to impaired muscle control in the face, mouth and vocal cords
  • Seizures caused by brain abnormalities
  • Sensory impairments, including vision and hearing problems, can sometimes be present
  • Some individuals may also have learning disabilities

Cerebral palsy is a highly variable condition, as each person may experience a unique combination of symptoms and challenges. Early intervention, therapies, and supportive care can significantly improve the quality of life for sufferers and their families.

If it can be proved that the illness was due to the negligence of a medical practitioner, you are likely to be eligible to claim cerebral palsy compensation.

What are the different types of cerebral palsy?

There are several different types of cerebral palsy, each characterised by specific movement patterns and areas of the body affected. These include:

  • Spastic. Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common type, characterised by muscle stiffness and tightness, which can impact movement and coordination. It affects around 70% of people with the condition.
  • Dyskinetic (Athetoid). This type involves involuntary and uncontrollable movements, which can lead to writhing or jerking motions. People with this type may also have difficulty controlling their facial muscles and speech.
  • Ataxic. Ataxia refers to difficulties with balance and coordination. People with ataxic cerebral palsy may have shaky movements, particularly when trying to perform precise tasks.

Some individuals may show a combination of symptoms from different types of cerebral palsy, such as a mix of spastic and dyskinetic features. In addition to the main varieties, cerebral palsy can also be categorised based on the number of limbs affected:

  • Monoplegia: Only one limb is affected.
  • Diplegia: Both legs or arms are involved, with the upper limbs usually less affected than the lower limbs.
  • Hemiplegia: One side of the body, usually one arm and one leg, is affected.
  • Quadriplegia: All four limbs, as well as the trunk and facial muscles, are affected.

People who suffer from cerebral palsy can struggle with many everyday activities because of involuntary muscle movements, learning difficulties and hearing and vision impairments. They might find it difficult to walk, write, eat and dress, so living independently may not be an option.

What causes cerebral palsy?

Several natural events can lead to a baby suffering from oxygen starvation. In most instances, any such issues will be recognised by a doctor, midwife or specialist and addressed promptly to protect the baby. These may include:

  • Abnormal brain development during pregnancy, often due to genetic factors, infections, or other health conditions;
  • Certain infections during pregnancy, such as rubella, cytomegalovirus (CMV), or toxoplasmosis;
  • Health conditions in the mother, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or thyroid problems;
  • Complications during labour and delivery, such as a lack of oxygen (asphyxia) or trauma;
  • Infections acquired shortly after birth, such as meningitis or encephalitis, can damage the brain and increase the risk of cerebral palsy;
  • Traumatic head injuries to the baby’s head, during or after delivery;
  • Babies born prematurely are at a higher risk of cerebral palsy due to incomplete brain development.

If your medical team has failed to identify the risks, vulnerabilities or problems in your pregnancy or labour, you are likely to be entitled to make a cerebral palsy claim for compensation.

Cerebral palsy resulting from medical negligence can have a devastating effect on a victim and family’s life. Injury lawyers are committed to securing the highest possible awards for cerebral palsy compensation claims and are highly experienced in successful outcomes. Some of the most common medical mistakes that medical negligence solicitors have dealt with in this field include:

  • Diagnosis failures and errors in recognising pregnancy-related infections
  • Negligence during traumatic births or failure to act swiftly with birth complications
  • Failing to diagnose brain injuries in a baby during pregnancy or birth
  • Inadequate levels of assessment for child development
  • Failure to diagnose or treat placental abruption
  • Failure to deliver the baby quickly enough or react to signs of distress
  • Neglect in treating postpartum infections such as meningitis
  • Failure to properly monitor the baby’s heartbeat
  • Not delivering the baby by caesarean
  • Failing to spot that the baby’s umbilical cord was wrapped around their neck

If your child has suffered a brain injury following negligent treatment by a medical professional, an experienced solicitor will support you in making a cerebral palsy claim on behalf of your child. The compensation rightfully owed to you could make a significant difference in the levels of care that can be provided to your child.

Are there treatments for cerebral palsy?

Unfortunately, there is currently no treatment or cure for cerebral palsy, but some treatments are available to help people with the condition be as active and independent as possible. These include:

  • Physiotherapy. Physical therapy is one of the most important treatments for cerebral palsy. The main goal is to maintain and improve movement by increasing muscle strength and preventing muscle issues.
  • Speech and language therapy. A therapist will provide exercises to improve talking or teach alternative communication methods like sign language. They may also use pictures or special equipment, such as a computer that generates speech.
  • Occupational therapy. This therapy identifies and addresses difficulties with daily tasks like dressing or using the toilet. It suggests effective approaches for complex activities to enhance a child’s confidence and independence. It also aims to guide adults with cerebral palsy in areas such as housing, employment, benefits, and assistive technology.
  • Medicines. Medications for cerebral palsy aim to manage specific symptoms and improve the overall quality of life. These may include muscle relaxants to reduce stiffness, botulinum toxin injections or melatonin for sleeping difficulties.
  • Surgery. Some people may benefit from surgical interventions to help with moving difficulties and other problems. Surgery may help reduce stiffness in the legs, treat bladder control problems, or correct the curvature of the spine.

If you make a successful cerebral palsy negligence claim, the compensation award could cover any treatments that could improve your or your child’s quality of life.

Can I make a cerebral palsy negligence claim?

If you or your child were diagnosed with cerebral palsy, you might be able to start a claim. Cerebral palsy solicitors have vast experience handling medical negligence claims and can help you secure the compensation you deserve. Several elements need to be proven to have a valid claim:

  • Duty of Care. All medical staff has a duty of care toward patients. They must adhere to the standards expected of skilled and knowledgeable professionals in similar circumstances. Guidelines from bodies like the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) can help determine appropriate care and identify potential negligence.
  • Breach of Duty. Your solicitor will demonstrate that the medical actions fell below the acceptable standard expected of competent professionals. That involves proving that the doctor’s actions did not meet the reasonable expectations of a skilled group of practitioners in the field.
  • Causation. In addition to proving the breach of duty, you must establish a direct connection between the doctor’s actions and the development of cerebral palsy in a reasonably foreseeable manner.
  • Damages. Relevant evidence is essential to confirm your losses and damages. These may encompass physical and emotional harm, as well as financial losses. Cerebral palsy compensation aims to place you in the position you would have been in if the negligence had not occurred.

If your solicitor can determine you suffered damages due to a breach of duty, they will take on your cerebral palsy claim on a no win no fee basis. They will also help you gather relevant evidence to support your case, such as:

  • Medical records of the treatments you received during pregnancy and childbirth
  • Documents concerning the baby’s health and their diagnosis
  • Photographs of any visible injuries to the baby’s head
  • Reports from independent medical experts in the field
  • Statements from medical personnel who assisted during your pregnancy and labour
  • An assessment of your child’s future care needs
  • A record of expenses you paid out-of-pocket due to your child’s condition
  • Your account of how the cerebral palsy affected your life and the baby’s

To get started with a claim or learn more about how much compensation you could be entitled to, call 0800 032 3660 to speak to a cerebral palsy lawyer.

Should I feel guilty about making a medical negligence claim?

Claimants often feel a level of guilt about claiming against a hospital, especially when it involves the NHS. They worry that it will affect the hospital’s budget and ability to perform or that they should just be grateful that their child survived.

We understand these worries but encourage those who have suffered an injury due to negligence to recognise that hospitals are insured to cover them against such claims. You can access the compensation you deserve without this impacting the hospital directly.

Furthermore, by making a cerebral palsy claim, you highlight potential dangers within the hospital and encourage greater safety observances in the future. Your claim may result in additional training for staff and other improvements that can help to provide better overall care for future patients.

How much compensation for cerebral palsy will be awarded?

The personal injury lawyers we work with have an excellent reputation for securing the highest levels of compensation in cerebral palsy compensation claims. They do this through an assertive approach and careful assessment of your case.

Your solicitor will prioritise your needs, providing compassionate and patient support. They will work hard to show the severity of symptoms and the significant impact the condition has had on you or your child and family.

The amount of compensation awarded to you can make a substantial difference to the support offered to your child and the recovery and treatment you can access. Your solicitor will therefore be committed to securing the maximum award possible whilst supporting you and your family emotionally throughout the case.

The compensation that you are awarded can help to cover the costs of:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Modifications to your home
  • Speech and language therapy
  • Sensory and developmental equipment
  • Emotional support and counselling services
  • Transport needs
  • Educational support and costs
  • Time off work for you and any subsequent loss of earnings
  • Costs of carers
  • Mobility aids like walkers and wheelchairs

Cerebral palsy compensation can provide substantial assistance to your child and your family. Your solicitor will work hard to achieve the highest compensation award. They will do this by building a thorough case which includes the impact on your whole family.

Besides financial needs, the claim will also include damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenities. These are more difficult to calculate and will be based on the guidelines provided by the Judicial College. Some of the most common settlements include:

  • £2,210 to £12,770 for brain damage with minimal effect on the person’s life
  • £15,320 to £43,060 for a brain injury that affects concentration and memory
  • £43,060 to £219,070 for intellectual deficit and high risk of epilepsy
  • £219,070 to £282,010 for moderately severe physical and mental disability
  • £282,010 to £403,990 for very severe brain damage affecting the person’s speech, eyesight and causing them to need full-time care

If you want to learn more about how much you could receive in a cerebral palsy claim, speak to a friendly legal adviser by calling free on 0800 032 3660. You can also enter your details here to request a call back.

Time limits for making a cerebral palsy claim

Cerebral palsy is a neurological condition often diagnosed within the first several months after birth. However, the time limit to make a cerebral palsy compensation claim does not begin until the injured person turns 18. Afterwards, they will have three years to start legal proceedings. A parent, legal guardian or another suitable adult could claim on their behalf at any time before their 18th birthday.

In cases where the claimant is an adult but lacks the mental capacity to start a claim themselves, the time limit is suspended. In this case, the litigation friend process can be used to claim compensation on their behalf at any time.

Whatever the case may be, we would always recommend that you get in touch with an injury lawyer as early as possible. They will let you know if you are eligible to make a claim and can explain your legal rights and options.

If you have a valid claim, a cerebral palsy lawyer may also be able to help you access early compensation payments to meet any immediate financial needs. Your solicitor could also arrange private treatments that are not always available through the NHS.

How long does a cerebral palsy compensation claim take?

Due to their complex nature, claims for cerebral palsy malpractice usually take longer to conclude than most personal injury cases. If all facts are clear, your claim may resolve within a year or so, but it usually takes between three and seven years to settle.

The timeframe depends on several factors, such as:

  • The age of the claimant. Medical experts cannot fully assess the level of disability a child will suffer in the future until they reach the age of seven or above.
  • Investigations. Your legal team will need a certain amount of time to investigate your case, gather medical records and expert opinions and prepare your claim.
  • Liability disputes. If the other side denies any responsibility for the cerebral palsy diagnosis, you may need more time to build a strong case and support your allegations.
  • Negotiations. If the defendant admits liability, there will be negotiations to settle. This stage can vary widely in duration, depending on the complexity of the case and the value of the cerebral palsy negligence claim.
  • Court proceedings. If you cannot settle, your solicitor will need extra time to draft legal documents and file the claim with the court.
  • Trial. If your case goes to court, trial preparations can take several months. The court trial itself can last several days or weeks, depending on the complexity of the case.

These are some of the factors that will determine how long it will take to resolve a cerebral palsy birth injury claim. If there are no liability disputes or the evidence you have strongly suggest you would win compensation, your solicitor could secure interim payments on your behalf to cover any ongoing expenses.

Can I claim cerebral palsy compensation for my child?

Yes, if your child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, you might be able to start a claim on their behalf. Although they could make a cerebral palsy claim themselves after turning 18, you will probably want to secure any compensation they might be owed as soon as possible. That could help cover all their care needs and improve their quality of their life.

To claim for your child, you must be approved by the court as their litigation friend. A cerebral palsy lawyer can help you fill in and file all the necessary documents in this regard. The court will allow you to pursue a claim if you can conduct legal proceedings fairly and competently without having any conflict of interest with the child.

Once you become a litigation friend, you will be able to work with the solicitor to secure the cerebral palsy compensation your child deserves. You will have several responsibilities, including:

  • Make decisions about the case
  • Ensure the child’s best interests are protected
  • Deal with correspondence and sign legal documents
  • Pay any fees requested by the court
  • Consider any settlement offers from the other side

If you win compensation for a child, you need to go through an Approval Hearing in court. The child may be requested to attend the hearing, according to their age and the severity of their condition. A judge will evaluate the available evidence and decide whether the settlement is fair and covers the child’s needs.

The funds awarded will be kept in a court bank account until the child turns 18 and can access their compensation. In many cases, a lump sum compensation is awarded and further annual payments to cover care and treatment costs for the rest of your child’s life.

Do cerebral palsy solicitors work on a No Win No Fee basis?

Yes. The cerebral palsy solicitors we work with will offer you a no win no fee service if you have valid grounds to start a claim. This service means you do not have to pay any upfront fees for the solicitor to work on your case. They will take on the risk of litigation and will only receive a success fee if you win your cerebral palsy claim.

No win no fee provides access to legal services for individuals who might not be able to afford to hire a law firm. This arrangement also motivates solicitors to work diligently to secure the best compensation for a cerebral palsy birth injury, as their fees are a percentage of your settlement (capped at 25%).

If you opt for a no win no fee service, your solicitor may also take out After the Event (ATE) insurance at the beginning of your case. This insurance policy will cover all the legal expenses and disbursements related to the claim that you would be liable for if your claim was unsuccessful, such as:

  • The defendant’s legal fees and expenditures
  • The cost of medical reports and expert witnesses
  • Costs of printing and copying
  • Paralegal and other staff time
  • Barrister costs if the case goes to trial
  • Any fees requested by the court

With no win no fee, you only have to pay anything if your cerebral palsy negligence claim is successful. There will be a few deductions from your compensation award, including the success fee paid to your solicitor and the cost of the ATE premium. If you lose, you will not incur any out-of-pocket expenses.

Cerebral palsy malpractice claims are one of the few types of personal injury claims where it may be possible to obtain Legal Aid. This helps pay for legal representation and expenses from public funds and is usually available if a baby has suffered a significant brain injury. Your solicitor will be able to advise on which funding option is best for you.

What should I do next?

If you want to find out if you have a valid cerebral palsy compensation claim, the first step is to contact a clinical negligence solicitor for a consultation. This case assessment is free of charge and offered without any pressure or obligation to proceed further.

It is an opportunity to have a friendly and confidential discussion with an experienced medical negligence expert who can advise you on the likely success of your claim. You will be able to find out information about the process of making a claim and receive answers to any questions you may have.

If they can help, your solicitor will be more than happy to provide their services on a no win no fee basis. This removes the financial risk that is typically associated with hiring a lawyer to pursue a claim.

To arrange your free consultation, call 0800 032 3660 or enter your details below to receive a call back. A cerebral palsy lawyer will let you know within minutes if you have a valid case and what compensation you might expect to receive if you make a successful claim.