Pursuing Justice: Legal Options For Families Of Children With Cerebral Palsy

Updated on May 18, 2023


Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that affects movement, posture, and muscle coordination. It is caused by brain damage that occurs before, during, or shortly after birth. This condition can have a significant impact on a child’s quality of life, as well as the family’s emotional and financial well-being. 

If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, you may wonder what legal options are available to seek justice and compensation. This article will explore some of the legal options available to families of children with cerebral palsy.

Medical Malpractice

One of the most common legal options for families of children with cerebral palsy is to pursue a medical malpractice claim. Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider fails to provide the standard of care that another healthcare provider in the same specialty would have provided in similar circumstances. 

In the case of cerebral palsy, medical malpractice can occur during the delivery process or shortly after birth. Some examples of medical malpractice that can lead to cerebral palsy include:

  • Failure to detect and treat infections during pregnancy
  • Failure to diagnose and treat fetal distress during labor and delivery
  • Failure to perform a timely c-section when necessary
  • Improper use of delivery tools, such as forceps or vacuum extractors
  • Failure to properly monitor and address changes in the baby’s heart rate

If you believe that medical malpractice contributed to your child’s injury, discuss your cerebral palsy case with BIL Group. They can help you investigate the circumstances of your child’s birth and determine if there was a breach in the standard of care.

Product Liability

Another legal option for families of children with cerebral palsy is to pursue a product liability claim. Product liability occurs when a product is defective and causes harm to a consumer. 

Product liability claims can be filed against manufacturers of medical devices, such as fetal monitors or delivery tools, or against pharmaceutical companies that produce drugs that can cause birth defects.

These claims can be complex and require a thorough investigation of the product in question. Working with an attorney with experience in product liability cases is important to determine if this is a viable legal option for your family.

Social Security Disability

If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, they may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. Social Security Disability benefits provide financial support to individuals with disabilities who are unable to work. To qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, your child must meet certain criteria, including:

  • Having a medically determinable impairment that meets the definition of disability
  • Being under the age of 18
  • Having limited income and resources

If your child meets these criteria, you can apply for Social Security Disability benefits on their behalf. 

Educational Advocacy

Children with cerebral palsy may also require special education services to help them reach their full potential. As a parent, you have the right to advocate for your child’s educational needs and ensure that they receive the services they need to succeed. This may include:

  • Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) that outline your child’s educational goals and the services they will receive
  • Section 504 plans provide accommodations and modifications to help your child access the curriculum
  • Assistive technology and devices that can help your child communicate and participate in the classroom

If you feel that your child’s school is not providing the services they need, you can work with an educational advocate or an attorney who specializes in special education law to help you navigate the process.

Considering Your Legal Options

As your child with cerebral palsy grows older, you may need to consider legal options for guardianship and estate planning. Guardianship is a legal process that grants an individual the authority to make decisions on behalf of someone who is unable to make decisions for themselves. If your child has cerebral palsy and is unable to make decisions for themselves, you may need to pursue guardianship to ensure that their needs are met.

Estate planning is also important for families of children with cerebral palsy. Estate planning involves creating a plan for how your assets will be distributed after your death. If you have a child with cerebral palsy, you may want to consider setting up a special needs trust to ensure that their financial needs are met after you are gone.

It is important to work with experienced attorneys and advocates to ensure that your child’s needs are met and that they receive the support they need to reach their full potential.

Leland Bengtson
Leland Bengtson

As a journalist, Leland Bengtson dedicated most of his career to law reporting. His greatest satisfaction is to convey legal matters to the public in a language that they can understand. He is active on various platforms and media outlets, writing about common legal issues that people confront with every day. While medical malpractice is his strong suit, Leland covers plenty of other topics, including personal injury cases, family law, and other civil and even criminal legal matters.