South Dakota Cerebral Palsy Lawyer

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Cerebral Palsy: What is it? What causes it?

Cerebral Palsy (CP) is an illness that affects very young children and is physically debilitating in nature. The term Cerebral Palsy is used to describe a number of illnesses that affect children and are the result of trauma to the brain. Symptoms include complete loss of mobility, radical, involuntary movements, loss of balance and coordination, lack of depth perception, visual impairments, and seizures. Very often, CP is accompanied by learning disabilities and cognitive delays. Because the disorder is non-progressive and can improve with therapy over time, it is usually not life-threatening.

Most cases of CP develop during pregnancy or just after birth. In some children, the disorder's symptoms are discovered in a child's first three years of life. Women that do not receive prenatal exams stand are at a particularly high risk of having a baby inflicted with this disorder. Sometimes, obstetrical complications arise during difficult labors, and errors can happen, leaving a child with brain injuries and a higher likelihood of developing CP.

Diagnoses of CP later in a child's life are often indicators of abuse. Shaken baby syndrome is a brain trauma inflicted on children, typically under two years of age when neck muscles still very weak. The baby is shaken violently, causing the baby's brain to hit the side of the skull. Bruising, swelling, and bleeding of the brain occur, and a child is likely to develop CP as a result of this abuse. A car accident causing trauma to the head is another possible cause of CP, but is much less likely to occur.

Is There a Cure for CP?

While there is no known cure for this disorder, there are plenty of treatments available that can minimize symptoms and help a child experience success in the future. Physical therapists are likely to work with your child to increase gross motor skills and define muscle tone. The goal of this type of therapy is to increase the child's control over mobility. Many children with CP experience fine motor skill deficiencies as well. Therefore, occupational therapy is often required as well. The sooner therapy is provided, the better, since children with CP typically experience writing difficulties in school. If posture and coordination are severely lacking, your child is likely to be referred to a speech therapist to work on these skills.

One type of CP is characterized by uncontrolled movements of the limbs, making it difficult to live a normal life. Surgeries are often recommended for these children, helping them to control the movement of muscles, reducing the risk of further injuries. Since CP is frequently accompanied by seizures, drug therapy is often introduced to control this. Mobility and communication poses problems for children diagnosed with CP. In most cases, these children must practice using adaptive equipment and communication technology.

When Should I Contact an Attorney?

If you believe your baby was the victim of medical malpractice, your first step is to contact an attorney to help you file a claim. According to South Dakota statute of limitations laws, you must file a professional medical malpractice claim in the first two years of the injury. Personal injury claims must be filed within three years of the incident. Therefore, if your child is suffering from this disorder, you must take immediate action and contact a birth injury attorney to assess your claim.

Lawsuits are typically taken on by attorneys if an instance of malpractice is obvious. For example, if your doctor neglected to perform an emergency c-section when required, and your child was born with CP, he or she is likely to face charges. Similarly, if your doctor made other careless errors during your prenatal exams or during your labor, an attorney is likely to pursue your case for further investigation. Lawsuits against hospitals can be difficult because of contractual agreements and statute of limitation laws protecting them. You need to research the most qualified attorneys to fight for your rights.

Aside from the emotional distress experienced with the diagnoses of your child, the medical expenses accrued for the cost of drugs and hospital support are high. If the disorder is severe enough and accompanied by other problems, expenses can unbearable. At the very least, a qualified attorney may be able to obtain financial compensation for these costs. Moreover, contacting a law firm to represent you helps you advocate for your rights and seek justice for your child.


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