Cerebral Palsy Claims*
Cerebral Palsy claims* are the most important cases that go through the Courts in a given year. For families to have their child diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy is devasting and life changing. Understanding how your child developed this condition is so important for a family to just to their new reality. In the majority of cases, the development of Cerebral Palsy was not anyone’s fault nor was it the result of medical negligence.* For the family to know this, is so important. While we cannot promise that we will bring a successful Cerebral Palsy claim*, we can promise that we will get you answers.
Cerebral Palsy is a group of disorders that affect the person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. The severity of the condition means that cerebral palsy claims* are incredibly complex and they tend to be the biggest personal injury/medical negligence claims brought before the Court each year.
Cerebral Palsy is caused by damage that occurs to an immature, developing brain, most often before birth. While it is always a very serious condition, it can vary in severity. Cerebral Palsy causes impaired movement, spasticity of the limbs, lack of balance and muscle coordination, postural difficulties, and involuntary movements. It can also cause intellectual disabilities, epilepsy, blindness, or deafness. Unfortunately, Cerebral Palsy is a life-long disorder with no cure. It is for this reason that Cerebral Palsy compensation claims* tend to be so large, as the majority of the award relates to the future care costs of the child.
What Causes Cerebral Palsy*?
Whilst Cerebral Palsy can be caused by a variety of factors and only a small percentage are as a result of the negligent management of the mother’s pregnancy, delivery, or neonatal care. As a result, only a small number of cases result in successful Cerebral Palsy claims*. There are numerous causes that can result in a baby developing this terrible condition, the most common of which are:
- Maternal infections that affect the development of the foetus.
- Foetal stroke, that disrupts the blood supply to the developing brain.
- Bleeding into the brain from the womb.
- Genetic mutations that affect the developing brain.
- Brain trauma.
- Lack of oxygen to the brain, as a result of a difficult labour delivery.
Do I Have a Cerebral Palsy Claim?*
Like all medical negligence claims*, you have to prove that the injury was caused as a result of a breach duty of care by your medical practitioners, in line with the principles set out in the case of Dunne -v- The National Maternity Hospital . As previously stated, in the majority of cases, Cerebral Palsy is not the result of medical negligence*.
There are incidents however where it is. If you are concerned, that this awful condition was caused as a result of negligence, you should talk to a Cerebral Palsy solicitor*. Hypoxic Ischemia is the most Cerebral Palsy claims. Hypoxic Ischemia is where there is a temporary deprivation of oxygen to the baby’s brain. If there are complications during birth, which means the baby is not receiving enough oxygen, an emergency C-section is usually required. If medical practitioners fail to notice these complications and act in a timely and appropriate matter, this may result in a stateable cerebral palsy compensation claim. Another common cause of cerebral palsy claims is where the condition is caused by an infection the mother sustains during pregnancy, which is either not diagnosed or treated properly.
Compensation in Cerebral Palsy claims*
Given the severe nature of the condition and the horrific effect it can have on the individual and their families, Cerebral Palsy compensation claims* tend to be very large. It is not unusual to see awards of €9m and €12m in such cases. It is important to note however, that the vast majority of such awards relate to the future care costs of the child.
According to the new judicial guidelines, the most that can be awarded for general damages (being pain and suffering) is €550,000. Therefore, the rest of these large awards of €9m and €12m relate to special damages. Special damages are out of pocket expenses arising out of an injury. In Cerebral Palsy claims* the vast majority of special damages tend to be the future care costs of the child.
Interim and Periodic Payments
Given the size of awards in Cerebral Palsy claims* and the difficulty the Court has in identifying the future care and treatment costs of the injured parties, these cases often require Periodic Payment Orders. These orders set out a required periodic payment to be made to the victim, in relation to the medical expenses and care costs he has incurred.
How Long Does a Cerebral Palsy Claim Take?
Cerebral palsy claims are very complex actions which can often take somewhere between five to seven years to conclude. There is a number of reasons for this, most notably that medical experts can often not give a conclusive diagnosis as to the level of disability, until the child reaches the age of seven. The complexity of these cases also require preparation of numerous reports, not just from medical practitioners, but also from occupational therapists, vocational assessors, actuaries, and other such professionals. Given the complexity and importance of Cerebral Palsy compensation* claims, they can often take significantly longer than other medical negligence actions* to conclude.
Why Choose Hanahoe & Hanahoe?
Hanahoe & Hanahoe are a multiple award-winning law firm with over 40 years’ experience in medical negligence law. We understand, as best one not directly affected possibly can, the devastation Cerebral Palsy can cause a family. We understand that our client need our compassion, the also need our unfiltered advice, even if that is to say there was no negligence.
Our team, led by Managing Partner, Luke Hanahoe, have a proven successful track record and the experience to give you the best possible advice and to ensure, when there is negligence, that your child’s case is brought to a successful conclusion and that the future care needs of your child are met.
*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.