Claim for Cerebral Palsy at Birth

How can I tell if I will be able to make a claim for cerebral palsy at birth on behalf of my daughter?

In order for you to make a claim for cerebral palsy at birth, it must be established and proven – on the balance of probabilities – that the injury to your daughter occurred during childbirth and action should have been taken by the attending doctor or nurses to prevent the injury being sustained. It is also possible to make a cerebral palsy birth injury claim if severity of brain damage could have been reduced had proper medical care been provided.

There are a number of possible causes of cerebral palsy, and not all cases can be explained by the actions – or lack of action – of nurses, obstetricians and paediatricians so it is not always possible to claim compensation for cerebral palsy. In some cases it is not clear how cerebral palsy developed and current thinking is that brain damage may be caused during pregnancy and not only during childbirth.

Consequently, in order to determine how your daughter developed cerebral palsy – and therefore establish whether a claim for cerebral palsy at birth is possible – it will be necessary for an investigation of the birth process to be conducted and for this you will need the services of a specialist medical negligence solicitor.

A solicitor will write to the hospital and the medical professionals who attended to you during childbirth to obtain their opinions on the birth process. A picture can then be built of the sequence of events that led to your daughter’s injuries being sustained.

Investigations into the cause of your daughter’s injury may take some time to complete, but until the exact circumstances of the birth and the cause of the brain damage can be established it will not be possible to confirm whether cerebral palsy at birth claims are possible. The HSE will also need to conduct an investigation to establish how the injuries were allowed to occur, and if anything could have been done to prevent your daughter’s injury.

Once statements have been collected by all parties involved, your solicitor will consult a medical expert to have the case reviewed to determine whether errors were made and if action could have been taken to prevent your daughter from developing cerebral palsy. Medical negligence can only be confirmed by a medical professional after a thorough review of the evidence has been completed. It must also be established that a competent doctor or nurse would have taken a different course of action which would have prevented a birth injury from being sustained.

Only when the case review has been completed will it be possible to tell if compensation for cerebral palsy can be claimed. The strength of the cerebral palsy birth injury claim will also need to be evaluated, as while it may be possible to take legal action it is important that the probability of success is established. If there is considerable doubt as to the cause of the injury, it may not be advisable to pursue cerebral palsy at birth claims.