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Chicago Cerebral Palsy Birth Injury Attorney

Lake County Illinois Cerebral Palsy Injury Lawyer

Caring for a Loved One With Cerebral Palsy Can Be Complex - Our Illinois Lawyers Are Here to Help

Cerebral Palsy, or CP, is a group of developmental disorders caused by abnormal brain development or damage to a developing brain. It is a lifelong chronic disability that affects a person's ability to control their muscles and can also affect vision, hearing, speech, or intellectual ability, depending on the severity of the disorder. CP is the most common motor disability in childhood, affecting about 1 in 323 children in the United States. Caring for a loved one with CP comes at a significant financial cost, but there are many options for families searching for answers and guidance after a cerebral palsy diagnosis.

Causes of Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral means having to do with the brain, and palsy means weakness or problems with using the muscles. Cerebral palsy can occur when part of the brain does not develop properly, or when the brain is damaged very early in a child's life.

CP can be caused before birth, during birth, or within the first year of a child's life, if the brain is still developing. There are generally two classifications—Congenital CP, which occurs before or during birth, and Acquired CP, which occurs more than 28 days after birth.

A small percentage of cases are classified as Acquired Cerebral Palsy, which occurs more than 28 days after birth. These cases are usually associated with an infection of the brain, such as meningitis, or a head injury affecting the brain, from a car crash or child abuse, for example.

The majority of CP is Congenital Cerebral Palsy, which is related to brain damage before or during birth and makes up about 85 to 90 percent of all cases.

Risk Factors for Cerebral Palsy

While the specific cause of cerebral palsy is often not known, there are many risk factors that could increase the likelihood of a child being born with CP. These risk factors include low birth weight, premature birth, multiple births, births resulting from assisted reproductive technology (IVF or fertility treatments), infections during pregnancy, and birth complications, such as a detached placenta, uterine rupture, or problems with the baby's umbilical cord. These risk factors do not mean that a child will have cerebral palsy, but they increase the possibility of CP. Healthcare providers should recognize these risk factors and take extra precautions. If they do not, a child's brain may be damaged before birth or during delivery when CP might have otherwise been prevented.

Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy

Symptoms of CP vary from person to person. Those with severe CP might need special equipment to be able to walk, while some may not be able to walk at all, requiring a wheelchair. Other cases may be milder, causing the individual to walk slightly awkwardly, but not need any additional help.

Depending on the severity of the individual case, a person with CP may also have developmental disabilities. These could include epilepsy, or seizures, as well as disabilities creating various challenges to vision, hearing, or speech. Treatment for such challenges may involve occupational therapy, speech therapy, adaptive equipment, or specialized communication systems.

Similarly, some with CP may have cognitive or intellectual disabilities. These challenges also vary—some may be entirely unable to cognitively process information, some may require special education, and others may have normal intellectual ability.

Cost of Caring for Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy is a life-long chronic medical condition that often requires professional care and supportive services. Most of those with CP have significant occupational limitations and will be unable to earn a living or live independently as adults. As a result, a family who cares for an individual with Cerebral Palsy often incurs significant costs and expenses.

The average lifetime cost of care for a person with cerebral palsy easily exceeds $1 million. This cost estimate varies based on the severity of the disorder, and a family is likely to experience additional costs, including out-of-pocket expenses, emergency room visits, and lost wages of family members as a result of providing care.

These expenses are necessary to provide for the ongoing need for medical care, developmental assistance, special education, assisted living, and accessories or equipment to facilitate a better quality of life for their loved one. Without good care, persons with CP may also have a shortened life expectancy.

There are also many indirect costs. In order to provide proper care or transportation, family members of those with Cerebral Palsy often work fewer hours or are unable to complete their education, resulting in lost wages, which contributes to the overall expense.

There are financial assistance programs and support groups through the government, health insurance, and community or charity organizations. However, many families continue to feel financial pressure despite organizational aid. For more information, read our page on the cost of caring for a loved one with cerebral palsy.

Legal Help With Cerebral Palsy Cases

While some disorders occur naturally, many instances of cerebral palsy can be prevented. These cases are not the result of an accident, but medical negligence, which may entitle you to financial compensation for damage caused by a doctor or nurse.

While no lawsuit can undo the damage of Cerebral Palsy, seeking professional legal help may alleviate the financial burden on your family and provide your child with a higher quality of life. Compensation resulting from medical negligence cases can give your loved one more access to professional care or provide you more hours at home with your child.

While these lawsuits can be complex, the Birth Injury Law Alliance brings together a team of professionals who are trained to lead you through the process and guide your family toward tools and resources that may help you care for your loved one. Determining whether you have a case is entirely free of charge. As in most cases of medical malpractice or personal injury, you do not pay for legal help by the hour—our attorneys are only paid if your case results in financial compensation. Click here to learn more about the cost of legal aid.

We understand the difficulties families face when raising a child with Cerebral Palsy, and we are dedicated to ensuring that parents and children have the financial resources they need to receive the best possible care throughout their lifetime. If cerebral palsy is the result of a medical error made during childbirth, we will work to hold the negligent parties responsible and recover the fair compensation that your family deserves.

Contact an Illinois Cerebral Palsy Birth Injury Lawyer

If your child suffers from cerebral palsy that was caused by medical negligence, the Birth Injury Law Alliance can provide you with the legal representation you need. We will investigate the circumstances of the injury and gather the evidence required to demonstrate that negligence during birth was the cause of your child's condition. We will also show the full effects of the injury both in the past and in the future, ensuring that you will be able to receive compensation that fully addresses your family's needs. To schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help, contact us at 312-945-1300.

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