Cerebral Palsy

Introduction

Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term that refers to a group of disorders affecting a person’s ability to move. It is due to damage to the developing brain either during pregnancy or shortly after birth.

Cerebral palsy affects people in different ways and can affect body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance. Although cerebral palsy is a permanent life-long condition, some of these signs of cerebral palsy can improve or worsen over time.

People who have cerebral palsy may also have visual, learning, hearing, speech, epilepsy and intellectual impairments.

What Causes Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a result of damage or incorrect development of one or more parts of the brain.  There are many potential causes of cerebral palsy and it is fair to say that most of them do not necessarily involve any negligence on the part of doctors.

Some of the problems that can damage the brain or disrupt its growth include:

  • Bleeding in the brain while the baby is in the womb, during birth or afterward
  • A lack of blood flow to important organs
  • Seizures at birth or in the first month of life
  • Some genetic conditions
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Some conditions such as jaundice, if left untreated
  • Infections like german measles, chickenpox etc when contracted by a pregnant woman

Certain problems that happen in childbirth can also increase the risk of cerebral palsy. They include:

  • Breech position. This means a baby is settled feet-first rather than headfirst when labour begins.
  • Low birth weight. If your baby is less than 5.5 pounds, the chances for CP go up.
  • Premature birth. This is means anytime under 37 weeks into the pregnancy.
  • Complicated labour and delivery. This means problems with your baby's breathing or circulatory system.

Clinical Negligence Claims

Unfortunately, despite the excellent standards of today’s medical professionals many cases where Cerebral Palsy has developed are preventable.  Infant brain damage can subsequently affect the parents and child in many different ways in the short, medium and long term.

Our clinical negligence department at Ison Harrison has vast experience in dealing with the many different scenarios that our clients can face. Every case is different but our team will guide you through each stage of the process, from investigating whether there has been medical negligence to representing you in court. We understand that making a claim cannot undo the negligence you experienced but it can help you to get answers and to secure compensation to help your child in the future, as cerebral palsy will mean that the path  and challenges of their life will be very different.

Subject to some exceptions (such as for very premature babies) Legal Aid is still available for firms with a legal aid franchise to conduct cerebral palsy claims and we at Ison Harrison are one of only a handful of firms in Yorkshire to have demonstrated the legal skill to be granted a franchise.

Most families simply can’t afford the hugely expensive but necessary equipment and treatment to let a child with Cerebral Palsy lead a fulfilling life. The demanding daily routines and often 24-hour care can be difficult for parents to deal with without outside help.

We regularly obtain multi-million pound awards for clients with cerebral palsy so that they and their families can obtain the best treatment, therapy, education, and accommodation to suit their needs throughout their lifetime. In many cases annual payments are awarded in addition to a lump sum payment.

We are also very aware that help and equipment may be needed before a final settlement is eventually reached and will make applications for an earlier “interim” payment wherever it is appropriate and necessary to do so, for instance to allow the family to move into suitable and suitably-adapted accommodation.

Clinical Negligence At Ison Harrison

All Ison Harrison’s staff are familiar with the potentially traumatic situations our clients can face, and hence they always adopt an approach which puts the client and their needs first.

At Ison Harrison, the emphasis within our department is on teamwork within a group of highly experienced and highly motivated specialist clinical negligence lawyers.

The team is headed by James Thompson, a highly respected lawyer in the field and a member of the specialist panels of both the Law Society and the Association for the Victims of Medical Accidents. Since qualifying in 2007, James has gained great respect in legal circles for his extensive legal knowledge and his unfailing commitment to achieving the right results for his clients.  In addition to managing the team, James conducts a number of Erb’s and Cerebral Palsy matters assisted by his team of highly proficient and professional colleagues.

The other solicitor within the team with primary conduct of Erb’s and Cerebral Palsy claims is Iain Oliver.  Iain is a lawyer who, having qualified in 1991, is also well respected in the legal world and who has successfully concluded a number of Cerebral Palsy and Erb’s Palsy claims, achieving multi-million pound awards for his clients.  Iain is likewise backed by a team of highly experienced and professional lawyers including Geraldine Kane who, as a Chartered Legal Executive, has herself conducted a number of very high-value claims to successful conclusion.

We recognise that clients will often contact us almost as soon as a traumatic birth has been experienced and so we are ready to offer immediate advice and compassionate support. In such circumstances we also understand that parents need guidance and emotional assistance, and so as well as legal advice we can offer help in learning to deal with disability and special needs. One such support group, run by parents, is the Little Hiccups Charity, which aims to help both children and parents to come to terms with a life now involving the effects of infant brain damage. James Thompson is a Director and Trustee of this charity and takes great pride in the work they carry out.  

Clinical Negligence cases are recognised for their complexity, seriousness but most importantly their significance for the people affected. This has been clearly illustrated in the case of Master TJ, as you can see here.







This was a contested Cerebral Palsy case, as a result of substandard midwifery care provided following birth. TJ suffers from visual impairment, epilepsy, profound intellectual disability and seizures.

Our vastly experienced Clinical Negligence team were able to fight and win his case despite years of denial from the Trust. They have also secured him a substantial interim payment which will enable them to purchase a suitable home and has enabled TJ’s mother to take him on his first overseas holiday to Barbados. This was the first time ever that Master TJ and his family were able to go abroad together. It has been incredibly rewarding for our Clinical Negligence team to see how the settlement has directly helped and improved the lives of Master TJ and his family.

The amount of specialist equipment and additional carers needed were all made possible by way of the payment. We have been delighted to help the family reach this point.

If you would like our expert team of Clinical Negligence solicitors to help you with your cerebral palsy case, please contact us on 0113 284 5000 or email clinneg@isonharrison.co.uk


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