Legal teams and case managers supporting families and children living with cerebral palsy should be aware of its significant impact – affecting multiple skills of movement, posture, walking, speech, swallowing, intellect and behaviour to varying degrees as a child’s brain develops. A skilled cerebral palsy medico-legal expert can bring hugely valuable insight to a case.
Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term for a group of non-progressive and permanent neurological conditions. It occurs when a child’s developing brain faces serious injury, most often before or during birth.
What is cerebral palsy?
About one in 400 children live with cerebral palsy. A type of brain injury, cerebral palsy can occur if the brain is damaged before, during or shortly after birth, particularly during a difficult birth. Children who have low birth weight, are premature or are the result of twin pregnancies are at a greater risk of developing cerebral palsy earlier in life.
There are also some maternal and foetal risk factors that can be attributed to the occurrence of cerebral palsy. Maternal infections that include cytomegalovirus, syphilis, toxoplasmosis, herpes and rubella or neonatal infections that include bacterial meningitis, viral encephalitis, or neonatal jaundice can lead to neurological damage that eventually leads to cerebral palsy.
The symptoms usually become apparent within the first three years of birth or in the first years of primary school, when the child fails to meet its developmental milestones. For example, parents might suspect something is wrong when a child is unable to sit up by 6 months, has not started walking by 12-18 months or if the child develops an abnormal posture and floppiness. Other symptoms include stiffness in the muscles, difficulty in sucking, excessive dribbling, difficulty in learning at school, tremors and seizures and difficulty in walking.
Expert Witness Cerebral Palsy
Find a cerebral palsy specialist – consultants and neurorehabilitation expert witnesses with extensive knowledge of neuro disability and brain injuries.
Cerebral Palsy Expert Witness
Causation and Liability
Cerebral palsy can result from various causes, including birth injuries, medical negligence, infection, genetic factors, or other medical conditions. A cerebral palsy expert witness can assess the medical evidence and provide an opinion on whether the condition was caused by negligent medical care, brain injury at birth, birth trauma, or other factors, which may be relevant in determining liability in a legal case.
Treatment and Rehabilitation
Cerebral palsy requires ongoing medical care, therapy, and rehabilitation to manage the condition and optimize the individual’s functional abilities. A cerebral palsy expert witness can provide insights into the appropriate treatment modalities, therapy options, and anticipated outcomes, which can be crucial in determining the appropriate compensation or damages for medical care and rehabilitation in a legal case.
Functional Impairments and Disability
Cerebral palsy can cause a wide range of physical, cognitive, and developmental impairments that can affect the individual’s daily life, education, employment, and quality of life. A cerebral palsy expert witness can assess the functional limitations and disability resulting from cerebral palsy and provide expert opinions on the impact of the condition on the individual’s abilities and needs for support or accommodations in various aspects of life.
Life Care Planning and Cost Projections
Cerebral palsy cases may involve estimating the future medical, rehabilitation, and support needs of the individual over their lifespan. A cerebral palsy expert witness can provide valuable insights into the anticipated medical care, therapy, assistive devices, and other support requirements, and provide cost projections for life care planning purposes, which can be important in determining the appropriate compensation or damages in a legal case.
Selecting a medical expert witness for cerebral palsy cases is a crucial step in building a strong legal case. A medical expert witness can provide valuable insights and opinions based on their expertise and experience, which can help support the legal arguments and increase the chances of a successful outcome in cerebral palsy cases.
Look for an expert witness who has specific expertise and experience in the field of cerebral palsy, brain injury and an understanding of treatment options. This can include medical professionals such as a paediatric neurologist or rehabilitation specialists who have a deep understanding of the condition, its causes, diagnosis, treatment, and long-term prognosis.
An early diagnosis of cerebral palsy and lead to better lifetime outcomes for the child, and may avoid further complications. Neurorehabilitation is essential to regain the near-normal functional potential of a person.
Alongside medical and surgical procedures which aim to improve range of movement and decrease the impact of spasticity, a team of rehabilitation professionals also work together to deal with the symptoms that the child presents with as the disease progresses.
These professionals work together to help the child and family cope with the impairments caused by cerebral palsy that adversely affect and impede their development.
This team may include experts in physiotherapy, orthotics, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, recreational therapy, psychology, nursing, medicine and orthopaedics, covering all possible neurological implications of this condition.
The multi-disciplinary team focuses on developing a child’s basic daily activities and skills like sitting and walking. In children diagnosed with cerebral palsy, the therapists ensure that the patient is capable of living as independently as possible later in life.
The rehabilitation aims to improve the function and independence of a patient, so they can live a more independent life.
Instruct a medical expert specialising in cerebral palsy
The cerebral palsy injury specialists at NRC Medical Experts assess, evaluate and produce high-quality court reports and expert witness testimony to support legal teams to build the best case for your client.
To enquire about appointing an expert witness for your case, request a call back or contact us directly.