Settlement for Child with Cerebral Palsy Valued at Over $10 Million

Click here for a printer-friendly PDF of this Birth Injury Law Special Alert.

Attorneys Laraine Kelley and Joe Manna recently obtained a settlement valued at over $10,000,000 for a child injured at birth. The birth injury caused the child to suffer brain damage, which resulted in cerebral palsy (CP).

Settlement for Avoidable Cerebral Palsy

The settlement in this matter was negotiated with the hospital and obstetrician involved in the birth injury. Insurance carriers paid the settlement, recognizing that the child’s cerebral palsy injuries were caused by avoidable oxygen deprivation during labor and delivery.

Future Medical Expenses

As part of the settlement, the child’s future medical expenses, which were projected to be many millions of dollars, will be paid for by New York’s Medical Indemnity Fund (MIF).  The MIF pays all medical expenses incurred by neurologically injured children if a court finds that they were injured at birth and directs that the child be covered by the program.

Is Cerebral Palsy Preventable?

Cerebral Palsy can occur in otherwise healthy children as a result of mismanagement by the doctor and/or medical staff during labor and delivery. Statistics show that approximately 10% of CP injuries are caused by healthcare provider negligence and medical malpractice.

Thus, CP is avoidable in a substantial number of children who develop it.  Often, children with CP would have been born as normal, healthy children if healthcare providers recognized and reacted to signs of fetal distress in a timely fashion.  Too often, labor and delivery nurses and doctors do not take timely measures to avoid oxygen deprivation during birth, resulting in catastrophic consequences.

How Do I Find Out If My Child’s Cerebral Palsy Was Preventable?

Treating healthcare providers rarely volunteer that a child’s CP was preventable. Most parents need an experienced birth injury lawyer, who can guide them through the process of answering this important question.  A family lawyer or general practitioner will be unable to reliably help because the area is complex and requires specialized knowledge and experience.

Experienced birth injury lawyers have access to a team of expert physicians with specialized knowledge in obstetrics and neurological injuries.  That medical team will be able to review your child’s medical records and give an accurate and reliable opinion about whether the injury could have been avoided.  Together, a birth injury lawyer and his or her medical experts will be able to answer all questions about whether malpractice caused your child to suffer from CP.

How Long Does A Cerebral Palsy Court Case Take?

CP cases take a long time to be resolved in Court.  There are many reasons why this is so:

  • Medical records must be gathered and reviewed
  • Experts need sufficient time to review them and consult with counsel
  • Legal papers must be prepared, filed and served
  • Doctors and nurses must be questioned under oath
  • There are long waits for court dates in New York

Delays, however, can work in favor of your child.  Because of the nature of CP, a child’s injuries are not always immediately known.  As the child develops, new problems can be recognized and addressed in the claim.  Thus, the lengthy process allows parents and counsel to plan for the future, and to accurately predict the compensation the child will need to help them cope with CP related challenges.

What Will the Settlement Be Like?

Parents sometimes feel awkward talking about money.  The reality is, however, that money can help lessen a child’s physical and mental challenges. For example, settlement money can be used to buy the best available medical equipment, which will not be covered by insurance. It can be used to modify your home as necessary to help your child with mobility and other challenges.  Money can help give your child liberty and freedom from the challenges CP can impose.  So, asking this question is important and prudent.

The settlement amount is a figure based on the lifetime costs of your child’s care plus full justice for the physical and emotional challenges healthcare provider negligence imposed upon them. Medical costs are calculated in a document called a Life Care Plan. Your family will work with a group of experts to take all of your child’s needs into consideration. The experts then create a list of the therapies, medications, treatments and aids your child may need at various stages of his or her life. The costs of these needs are part of the plan.  Depending on the severity of your child’s injuries, medical costs can reach into the multimillion dollar range.

Additionally, non-economic damages are also part of the calculous.  The law requires that if someone takes away physical and emotional abilities through negligence, that wrongdoer must replace it with full justice in the form of monetary compensation.  Thus, this amount will be based on a range of factors, including what has been taken away from your child.

Get Answers to Your Cerebral Palsy Legal Questions

If you have cerebral palsy legal questions, contact Laraine Kelley or Joe Manna via e-mail at lkelley@lglaw.com and jmanna@lglaw.com or call 716-849-3333. Attorneys Laraine Kelley and Joe Manna offer a free case review to help you sort through your questions and find the answers you need. Furthermore, if your situation constitutes medical malpractice, we can help build a claim for your child so they can be financially protected in the future.