Cerebral Palsy: A Serious Medical Condition That Remains Misunderstood

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cerebral palsy is a disorder that impacts four out of every 1,000 children. The medical term “cerebral palsy” encompasses a broad range of disorders that cause balance issues, posture issues and motor disabilities in children. An abnormality in the brain causes uncontrolled muscle movements, and a person has no ability to control these movements. It is possible for cerebral palsy to be caused due to medical malpractice and other errors during the birthing process, so parents should explore the cerebral palsy FAQs on this site to learn more about whether medical malpractice has negatively impacted their own children.

Cerebral palsy can impact children in varying degrees. It may be difficult to detect signs of cerebral palsy early in a child’s life. One may have trouble walking, while others may be completely unable to walk and require wheelchairs or other medical equipment. Those who have cerebral palsy are often able to live long lives, except their lives are impeded by constant medications, physical therapy sessions, possible surgeries and other intervention services.

The other major issue is that cerebral palsy does not progress, and it may never simply “get better.” Some parents suffer the loss of a child in only moments or days after a birth due to cerebral palsy. These are the reasons parents should be concerned about whether a medical error has caused a child to develop cerebral palsy after a birth. Parents can get in touch with cerebral palsy lawyers to learn about the possibility of filing a cerebral palsy lawsuit to obtain damages for any medical errors that caused this disorder in a child.

Medical Errors That Cause Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy can result when something goes wrong during the delivery and birth of a child. Medical errors in appointments leading up to a delivery may also account for a birth injury like cerebral palsy, such as a doctor’s failure to detect and treat meningitis and other infectious illnesses in the mother. A doctor’s error during the delivery process may cause a child to suffer from hypoxia and not receive enough oxygen, thus impairing brain functions and resulting in cerebral palsy. Here are some of the other medical errors that can cause a birth injury:

  • Premature delivery of a child
  • Birth Trauma
  • Failure to monitor the heart rate of a fetus during labor
  • Failure to use a cesarean section operation when necessary
  • Improper performance of a cesarean section by inexperienced doctors
  • Mistakes in the use of vacuums and forceps during delivery
  • Failure to diagnose and treat jaundice
  • Leaving the baby in the birth canal for a long period of time
  • Failure to respond to a prolapsed cord that is wrapped around the neck of a fetus
Additional Causes of Brain Damage in Infants

In infants, there are additional factors that can account for the brain damage in infants that ultimately leads to cerebral palsy. If a doctor failed to detect these issues or provide information for remedying them in appointments leading up to an appointment, then he or she may be liable for medical malpractice. Here are some other preventable causes of brain damage in infants:

  • Low weight throughout the birth process
  • Undetected hemorrhages in the child’s brain
  • Falling or knocking after birth
  • Premature birth that could have been prevented
Understanding the Types of Cerebral Palsy: Spastic Cerebral Palsy, Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy, Ataxic Cerebral Palsy & Mixed Cerebral Palsy

There are different types of cerebral palsy that can impact a young child depending on the movement disorder that he or she has. Stiff muscles, spastic muscle movements and poor coordination are the three disorders that can result from cerebral palsy.

In addition, cerebral palsy can be classified as spastic cerebral palsy, dyskinetic cerebral palsy, ataxic cerebral palsy and mixed cerebral palsy.

  • Spastic cerebral palsy occurs when there is muscle stiffness in the leg area. Those with spastic cerebral palsy are unable to walk and may require the use of medical equipment. The legs bend inward, and this makes it difficult for people to walk.
  • Dyskinetic cerebral palsy occurs when a person has spastic muscle movements and cannot control his or her hands, feet and arms. One cannot sit still for long periods of time. It is also difficult for one to engage in behaviors like eating, walking and speaking with others.
  • Ataxic cerebral palsy occurs when one does not have proper coordination or balance. He or she may not be able to walk or engage in activities like writing or typing.
  • Mixed cerebral palsy occurs when a person experiences several of the above disorders at once.
Detecting the Signs of Cerebral Palsy in Babies and Young Children

Parents can pay attention to specific signs of cerebral palsy in young children so that they can receive treatment as soon as possible. The following list contains signs to consider:

  • Babies Under 6 Months Old: Body feels stiff, lagging head, constantly pushing away when held
  • Babies Older Than 6 Months: Has fisted hands, unable to roll in either direction, difficulty bringing hands to mouth
  • Babies Older Than 10 Months: Crawls in lopsided way, scoots on knees or buttocks, unable to crawl with legs
Obtaining a Screening and Medical Evaluation of Your Child

When a parent suspects that a child may have cerebral palsy, it is important to take steps toward the monitoring, screening and medical evaluation of the child’s condition. Parents can meet with doctors on a continuous basis to monitor the child’s behavior to determine the type of cerebral palsy that exists. In addition, a doctor may administer developmental screening tests to check for any motor delays in the child’s behavior. Ultimately, a medical evaluation will be performed to determine the type of cerebral palsy that a child has.

Contacting Lawyers to Learn About Damages Available in Cerebral Palsy Cases

After reading these cerebral palsy FAQs, if you believe that your child has cerebral palsy and requires medical treatment, then a cerebral palsy lawyer may be able to investigate your case for medical errors that arose in the delivery process. A cerebral palsy lawyer can investigate your case to see whether a doctor or staff worker failed to deliver care in accordance with industry practice. If a doctor did not properly use equipment, made errors in a surgery or failed to provide you with preventative information, it may be possible for you to obtain compensation for a child. Speak with our cerebral palsy lawyers today to receive immediate assistance for your case. Cerebral palsy lawyers can file your legal claim and help you pursue a cerebral palsy lawsuit.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
  2. CerebralPalsy.org:
  3. Mayo Clinic:
Stories of Hope

For many families dealing with a diagnosis of cerebral palsy, feelings of anger and guilt are quickly replaced by concerns about how the condition may impact their child in the immediate and long-term future. In this area, 'Stories of Hope' we share information about families who are coping with similar situations and how they've thrived. We hope you find this information resourceful and inspirational.

Kid Smiling
Cerebral Palsy FAQs
Child in hospital bed
  • $9.1 Million
    Child deprived of oxygen during labor
  • $6.5 Million
    Settlement for baby in fetal distress
  • $5 Million+
    Lifetime payments for child with brain damage