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Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition that may impact a child’s cognition, sensory and fine motor skills, movement, and ability to talk. Causes of cerebral palsy that may be linked to professional negligence include not monitoring the infant’s heart rate or oxygen levels during delivery, not controlling a baby’s seizures, and forceful or inappropriate use of assistive delivery devices. If you or your child has cerebral palsy and medical negligence is to blame, you may be entitled to take legal action against the doctor or hospital that harmed you. 

Snyder Law Group can help you and your family take legal action against those who harmed your child. A Baltimore birth injury lawyer on our team stands ready to champion your rights in a court of law so you feel heard, valued, and supported. For example, we can gather critical information about the circumstances that caused your child’s condition, fulfill the filing requirements under Maryland law, and help steer negotiations. You do not have to go through this alone.


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What Is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a group of chronic conditions that can hinder a child’s movement, motor skills, and ability to coordinate their muscle movements. Damage to specific areas of the brain during fetal development, infancy, or before, during, or after the birthing process can cause CP.

The symptoms of cerebral palsy arise during the first few years of a child’s life, but these symptoms do not progress over time. For many with CP, damage to the parts of the brain that control movement and posture makes it difficult for them to perform tasks—like walking in a steady and controlled manner—that others take for granted.

What Are the Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy?

The symptoms of cerebral palsy vary from person to person, but the brain trauma associated with the condition prevents the child from using their muscles in the smooth and controlled manner that their peers do. While the issues that one child experiences may drastically vary from another’s, common areas where a child with CP may experience challenges include speech, motor coordination, and cognition or learning. 


For example, the child’s difficulties with speech may encompass not meeting their speech milestones, issues with retrieving and using the proper word, or, in severe cases, essentially being unable to communicate. In the area of motor coordination, the child may be unable to control many of their body’s movements and, as such, may have excess movements when they try to walk or even sit still. Likewise, the child may develop a seizure disorder or be unable to walk properly. Finally, a child with cerebral palsy may struggle with attention, emotion regulation, social interactions, and learning. 

What Are the Causes of Cerebral Palsy?

As explained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the medical field believes there are many potential causes of cerebral palsy. For example, the mother contracting an infection while pregnant may upset the development of the baby’s brain, resulting in CP. Or, the child developing a severe form of jaundice may interrupt the normal brain development process. Additionally, errors during the delivery process—e.g., aggressive use of forceps or vacuums—may put a baby at a higher risk of developing CP. 

What Is the Outlook for Someone With Cerebral Palsy?

Those with CP do not usually experience a degeneration of their symptoms as they get older. In other words, their condition isn’t one that typically worsens with age. Rather, the child may get worse and then plateau. 

Because of the constellation of symptoms someone with CP may experience, they may have to participate in a range of treatments. For example, if they’re experiencing problems with their ability to speak or understand language, they may work with a speech therapist. Likewise, if walking and volitional movement—e.g., picking objects up and placing them somewhere else—is something they struggle with, physical or occupational therapies may be beneficial. 

The costs to treat and manage CP may be quite high, especially because there is no cure for the condition. Rather, the person would have to develop strategies to cope with their symptoms, such as by continuing to see a speech therapist or use assistive devices to communicate with others. 

When a negligent healthcare provider is to blame for the child’s condition, Maryland’s medical negligence laws may allow the child (through their parents or representative) to file a lawsuit against them. Should the parents successfully bring a claim against them, they may be entitled to recoup the costs of caring for their child with CP. A seasoned medical malpractice attorney can help the parents prepare and file a lawsuit against the appropriate party. 

How Can Medical Malpractice Lead to Cerebral Palsy?

In the context of CP, medical negligence occurs when a physician—or other healthcare professional—makes a costly mistake that injures a baby before, during, or after birth. For example, the delivery doctor may fail to track properly the baby’s position during birth or time in the birth canal. In turn, this may prevent the oxygen-filled blood from reaching the infant’s brain during these critical moments. A child with CP may encounter challenges that other children may not, such as the inability to control one’s body, talk, or walk like other children. 

Many medical mistakes made during childbirth can result in cerebral palsy. Here are just a few examples:

  • A failure to recognize and properly treat seizures following a child’s delivery;
  • Failure to identify and address a prolapsed umbilical cord;
  • Using forceps improperly and using a vacuum excessively to extract the infant; and
  • Failure to perform a cesarean section (C-section) when fetal distress arises. 

Additionally, doctors may commit malpractice if they fail to respond appropriately and in a timely manner to the mother’s condition before, during, and after childbirth. Likewise, a physician may be negligent if they don’t track or manage the fetal heart rate or diagnose and treat jaundice in a timely manner. 

What Should a Parent Know About Suing a Doctor for Negligence? 

Suing a doctor, hospital, nurse, or other practitioner for causing your child to develop CP involves proving that negligence occurred. In general, negligence is when someone has a responsibility to act a certain way or refrain from acting a certain way and fails to do so, causing an injury to another person. For example, a delivery nurse has a responsibility to monitor the baby’s vitals and only use hygienic materials to help with the childbirth process. When they don’t carry out these actions appropriately and the baby gets hurt, the nurse and the hospital they work for may be liable. 

Filing Deadlines in Medical Malpractice Cases

In the context of medical malpractice cases, Maryland Code, Courts and Judicial Proceedings § 5–109 requires parents to file their lawsuit on behalf of their child within a specific amount of time. Ordinarily, the deadline for suing for malpractice is within three years after the person discovers the injury or within five years after the injury occurs, whichever is earlier. That said, when the victim is a child, the court extends the deadline to the person’s 21st birthday. 

Compensation for the Losses from Medical Negligence

As explained in Maryland Code, Courts and Judicial Proceedings 3-2A-01, filing a lawsuit against the negligent hospital or provider may enable parents to recoup the losses they have experienced due to the error. For example, they might request restitution to address the immense costs of ongoing speech, occupational, and cognitive therapies. 

Likewise, they may qualify to receive money to cover the medical bills to treat their child, such as for forearm crutches. Additionally, the parents (on behalf of the child) may be eligible for non-economic damages, including pain, suffering, and inconvenience. 

Special Requirements in Maryland Medical Malpractice Cases

Under Maryland Code, Courts and Judicial Proceedings § 3-2A-02, people must fulfill special requirements when they bring a claim against a negligent doctor or hospital. For example, they should get the expert opinion of a trained doctor who can review the record and confirm that the decisions or actions by the careless providers deviated from the standard of care expected of them. Likewise, the expert should agree with the connection between the provider’s missteps and the child developing CP. 

Snyder Law Group: Medical Malpractice Attorneys Proudly Serving MD

Finding out that your child has cerebral palsy because a healthcare professional made a mistake can be incredibly difficult news to receive. You may worry about your child’s health and what this means for your family going forward. While nothing can undo the damage done to your child’s brain and body, seeking compensation through the appropriate legal channels may lessen the financial strain you may be feeling to cover the unexpected and prolonged expenses of treating your child’s condition.



Scott Snyder and Michael Snyder


Snyder Law Group cares deeply about the well-being of children who have cerebral palsy and must face unique challenges their peers do not—all because a doctor made a mistake. With 23 years of valuable experience, Scott Snyder has the impressive knowledge and skills to help elevate your chance of success in the courtroom. When your child has cerebral palsy because of a healthcare professional’s missteps, contact us today by calling 410-609-5085 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

Call 410-THE-FIRM (843-3476) For a Free Case Evaluation

The Snyder Law Group, LLC proudly represents clients throughout Maryland and Washington, D.C. Our experienced attorneys understand the frustration that comes with an insurance company, medical professional, or other party that refuses to accept liability for negligent or reckless behavior. You can take heart in knowing there are talented and experienced lawyers ready to work for you.

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