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What Is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders involving brain and nervous system functions such as movement, hearing, seeing and thinking. The term cerebral refers to the brain and palsy refers to paralysis or lack of bodily control. It is a disability resulting from injury to the brain before, during or shortly after birth. Each year in the U.S., about 10,000 newborns develop cerebral palsy.

Causes of cerebral palsy vary and may include:

  • Lack of oxygen in the brain before, during or after birth
  • Bleeding or infections in the brain
  • Severe jaundice
  • Infections in the mother during pregnancy

In some cases, cerebral palsy can be the result of negligent medical care provided to the mother and child during the birthing process – and often times could have been prevented.

Learn more about the causes and risk factors of cerebral palsy here.

Signs and Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy

Signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy typically appear prior to age three and  in more than 80% of cases, are apparent within the first month of a newborn’s life. In instances where the infant’s brain is injured by low oxygen levels, there may be signs of cerebral palsy present at the time of delivery. However, it is very common for infants to show symptoms before an official diagnosis is given. Symptoms can impact physical movement, the brain and nervous system and other bodily functions.

Learn more about the symptoms of cerebral palsy.

Life with Cerebral Palsy

Life with cerebral palsy varies based upon the severity of the brain injury. Some people require little to no assistance. Those with severe cerebral palsy may require special medical, educational, and social services. Cerebral palsy can put tremendous emotional and financial stress on a family trying to care for a disabled child. In 2003, the average lifetime cost of cerebral palsy-related expenses for one person was estimated at $921,000*.

If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, call Sokolove Law today or fill out the form on this page to request a free, no-obligation consultation. Our registered nurse case managers are available to review the care you received and help answer any questions.

* This figure represents both direct and indirect costs, such as medical expenses, accessibility modifications to homes and cars, special education, and lost wages.