Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a type of birth injury caused by brain damage that leads to abnormal brain development. This condition is often caused by preventable medical errors made by medical professionals before, during, or shortly after delivery. Sokolove Law can fight on your behalf to pursue the compensation you need to cover your child’s medical expenses and plan for their future.

Start My Free Case Review

What Is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy refers to a group of disorders that affect a child’s brain and nervous system, which limits a child’s ability to control their movement. Many cases of cerebral palsy are caused by damage to the brain before, during, or after birth.

Cerebral palsy can affect a child’s:

  • Ability to eat
  • Balance
  • Coordination
  • Gait
  • Hearing
  • Limb control
  • Mental skills
  • Motor skills
  • Muscle tone
  • Posture
  • Vision

As a result, caring for a child with cerebral palsy or other disabilities can be expensive — almost $1 Million over your child’s lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Cerebral palsy can bring pain and suffering to the affected person and their loved ones. If your baby has received a diagnosis, you may feel frustrated, confused, and scared — but you are not alone.

Over 17 million people around the world live with cerebral palsy, according to the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation (CPARF).

How to Recognize Cerebral Palsy in Babies

Although signs of cerebral palsy begin to appear in the early months of life, cerebral palsy often isn’t officially diagnosed in children until around age two or later. However, there are early signs you can look for in your child that may indicate something may not be right.

Infants with cerebral palsy may have:

  • Decreased muscle tone (hypotonia) that can make the child appear floppy or relaxed
  • Developmental delays that make them slow to reach certain milestones like rolling over, crawling, sitting, or walking
  • Increased muscle tone (hypertonia) that can make the child appear stiff
  • Posture that favors one side of the body more than the other when reaching, crawling, or moving

If this sounds like your child, you may want to consult a doctor or cerebral palsy specialist. Receiving a diagnosis can help ensure your child is getting the best treatment for their condition.

Sokolove Law also has experienced registered nurses on staff who can listen to your story and help you understand what may have happened. Get in touch with a member of our team today.

Want to Talk to a Nurse?

Get in touch with one of our registered nurses with extensive labor and delivery experience.

Contact Us

What Can You Do If Your Child Has Cerebral Palsy?

Families of children who suffer from cerebral palsy are often looking for answers. They want to know what went wrong, if their child’s injury could have been prevented, and what they can do about it now.

Sokolove Law has registered nurses on staff who can listen to your story and help you get the resources you need. They can use their years of labor and delivery experience to help determine if something may have happened during your pregnancy or delivery that contributed to your child’s condition.

“What I’ve learned from working in the hospital is what is supposed to happen or what we would expect to happen during…a normal delivery. And it helps me be able to differentiate the red flags or the situations that could potentially cause an injury to a child or a mother.”

– Kristin Proctor, Registered Nurse with Sokolove Law

As an established birth injury law firm, we may be able to help you seek justice for your child’s injury and pursue compensation that can cover the cost of your child’s treatment and care.

Learn more about your options today — even if you don’t have a confirmed diagnosis yet.

What Causes Cerebral Palsy?

In many cases, cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the developing brain that occurs before, during, or after birth. Symptoms and their severity vary according to where the brain injury occurs, as each part of the brain controls different motor functions.

Causes of cerebral palsy in infants often include:

  • Birth complications and fetal distress
  • Improper use of delivery assistance tools (like forceps and vacuum extractors)
  • Infant brain damage or head trauma
  • Intracranial hemorrhages
  • Lack of oxygen or blood flow to the brain
  • Medical errors before, during, or after child birth

If you believe a preventable birth injury caused your child’s condition, you may be entitled to compensation. Get a free case review today to learn more about your legal options.

Cerebral Palsy Risk Factors

There are many factors that can increase the risk of cerebral palsy in a baby, including:

  • Complications during delivery (bleeding or lack of oxygen in the brain)
  • Head injury or trauma to the infant during birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Maternal infections or nutritional deficiencies
  • Multiple births (i.e., twins, triplets, etc.)
  • Premature birth

Cerebral Palsy Legal Options

Cerebral palsy cases are often linked to medical malpractice or negligence by health care professionals, which is why families affected by cerebral palsy may be able to take legal action over the birth injuries that caused their child’s condition.

Cerebral palsy lawsuits can help families:

  • Get justice for their baby’s injury
  • Hold medical professionals responsible for negligent care
  • Prevent other families from potentially going through the same thing

Filing a lawsuit can also help your family access life-changing compensation that can potentially ease some of the financial burdens associated with caring for a disabled child.

Compensation from a cerebral palsy lawsuit can help cover the costs of:

  • Assistive devices
  • Car or home modifications
  • Doctor appointments
  • Specialized care
  • Treatment for your child

Learn More About Your Options

If you believe your child’s birth injury was the result of a medical mistake, an experienced cerebral palsy lawyer can help you understand your legal options.

Contact Us

Past Cerebral Palsy Settlement and Verdict Results

Over the last 40 years, Sokolove Law has secured over $710 Million for families with children who are affected by birth injuries, including the following cerebral palsy settlements and verdicts:

  • $9 Million awarded to the family of a 5-year-old with cerebral palsy
  • Over $10 Million awarded to the family of a child affected by cerebral palsy
  • Over $4 Million awarded to a 7-year-old child with cerebral palsy
  • $5.8 Million secured for a 1-year-old girl with cerebral palsy and microcephaly
  • $8.9 Million secured for the family of a child with cerebral palsy

Treating Cerebral Palsy

Treating cerebral palsy involves a variety of treatment options and therapies. Cerebral palsy treatments can vary from case to case — what works for one person might not for another.

It’s important to consult a cerebral palsy specialist, perhaps even more than one doctor, if possible, for a better idea of what options might be most effective for treating cerebral palsy in your child.

Treatment for cerebral palsy often includes a combination of the following options:

  • Language and speech therapy
  • Massage therapy
  • Medication
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Recreational therapy
  • Surgery

Unfortunately, treating a lifelong medical condition like cerebral palsy can be costly. In fact, the lifetime cost of care and treatment is estimated to be nearly $1 Million for someone with cerebral palsy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Get Compensation to Cover Your Child’s Treatment

If your child suffered from a preventable birth injury that resulted in cerebral palsy, you may be entitled to compensation that can help cover the high cost of treatment for cerebral palsy.

Birth injury lawyers with Sokolove Law have recovered over $710 Million for families affected by cerebral palsy and other birth injuries resulting from medical mistakes. As a law firm, we have decades of experience working with families affected by birth injuries nationwide.

Our knowledgeable lawyers may be able to provide you with answers, advise you on what steps to take next, and help you get justice for your child’s injuries. Get a free case review today to see if we may be able to help you.

Cerebral Palsy FAQs

What should I do if I think my child has cerebral palsy?

It’s very important to consult with a cerebral palsy specialist as soon as possible if you suspect your child has cerebral palsy. Doctors that specialize in birth injuries will be able to run tests to diagnose your child. Once your child is diagnosed, your doctor can create a treatment plan to manage your child’s symptoms in a timely manner to improve the overall quality of life.

If you think your child developed cerebral palsy as a result of an injury at birth, Sokolove Law may be able to help you pursue compensation for your child’s injury. We have registered nurses on staff who can listen to your story and help you understand what may have happened. Get in touch with us today.

How does cerebral palsy affect the body?

Cerebral palsy can cause difficulties with motor function as well as voluntary and involuntary muscle control. Children with cerebral palsy may experience jerky or floppy movements. The condition can also affect muscle tones. Some children may suffer from muscle contractures due to stiff muscles, whereas other children may experience floppy or loose muscles.

How many types of cerebral palsy are there?

There are four main cerebral palsy types:

  • Spastic cerebral palsy
  • Dyskinetic cerebral palsy (or athetoid cerebral palsy)
  • Ataxic cerebral palsy
  • Mixed cerebral palsy

In addition to these main types, there are three types of spastic CP as well:

  • Spastic diplegia
  • Spastic hemiplegia
  • Spastic quadriplegia

A child’s symptoms and treatment options will depend on the type of cerebral palsy they have.

Is there a cure for cerebral palsy?

Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for cerebral palsy. There are many different treatment options, however, that can help manage your child’s cerebral palsy symptoms, including:

  • Assistive technology or mobility aids
  • Medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Surgery

Is cerebral palsy genetic?

Although cerebral palsy itself is not hereditary and is usually caused by birth trauma, there are potential genetic factors that can lead to the development of cerebral palsy.

Is cerebral palsy a disease?

Not exactly. Cerebral palsy describes a group of neurological movement disorders often caused by damage to a developing brain. A disease is often considered to be a pathophysiological response to internal or external factors, whereas a disorder is an interference or disruption to regular bodily functions.

Are you born with cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy cases from brain damage before birth are considered to be congenital, meaning the child was born with it. This is true even though the condition may go undiagnosed for months or years after birth.

How do you get cerebral palsy? 

Cerebral palsy is often caused by damage to the parts of the brain that control movement before, during, or after delivery. This damage is often irreversible and can interfere with regular brain development, leading to lifelong symptoms. In many cases, the baby’s brain would have formed normally had this injury not happened.

Does cerebral palsy affect the brain?

Yes — cerebral palsy affects the area of the brain that controls motor functions and muscle movements, called the cerebral cortex. The term cerebral refers to the brain and palsy to the impairment or loss of motor function.

Does cerebral palsy cause learning disabilities? 

Although cerebral palsy does not directly cause learning disabilities, 1 in 2 people with cerebral palsy have an intellectual disability, according to the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation (CPARF). These are usually caused by coexisting conditions that occur alongside cerebral palsy but are not necessarily caused by cerebral palsy.

Children with cerebral palsy may experience learning difficulties as a result of various problems associated with their condition, including complications affecting fine motor and gross motor coordination as well as communication.

Author:Sokolove Law Team
Sokolove Law Team

Contributing Authors

The Sokolove Law Content Team is made up of writers, editors, and journalists. We work with case managers and attorneys to keep site information up to date and accurate. Our site has a wealth of resources available for victims of wrongdoing and their families.

Last modified: September 2, 2021

View 4 Sources
  1. “What Is Cerebral Palsy?” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 31 Dec. 2020, www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/cp/facts.html.
  2. Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation. "How Cerebral Palsy Affects People." Retrieved from: https://cparf.org/what-is-cerebral-palsy/how-does-cerebral-palsy-affect-people/. Accessed on July 1, 2021.
  3. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. "Cerebral Palsy: Hope Through Research." Retrieved from: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Hope-Through-Research/Cerebral-Palsy-Hope-Through-Research. Accessed on July 1, 2021.
  4. Very Well Health. "What Is the Difference Between a Disease and a Disorder?" Retrieved from: https://www.verywellhealth.com/disease-vs-disorder-5092243. Accessed on July 1, 2021.