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Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit

If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, medical malpractice during pregnancy or childbirth may be to blame, even if your child was diagnosed months or years after birth. A cerebral palsy lawsuit can help you recover financial compensation for the added costs of your child’s care, your family’s lost wages, your child’s lost earning capacity, and more. Call our experienced birth injury lawyers today at 877-374-1417 for a free consultation.

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Cerebral palsy is a movement disorder caused by abnormal brain development or brain damage during pregnancy, labor, delivery, or shortly after childbirth. Abnormal brain development and brain damage are often preventable through competent prenatal care and proper management of childbirth complications.

Errors that may lead to brain damage and cerebral palsy include failure to promptly detect and treat maternal infections during pregnancy, failure to perform a timely C-section, forceps or vacuum extraction injuries, and prolonged oxygen deprivation during or after birth.

Healthcare providers who fail to provide a reasonable standard of care during pregnancy and childbirth are liable if your child consequently develops cerebral palsy.

Our experienced birth injury lawyers can investigate the medical care you and your child received during pregnancy and birth and identify the errors that may have led to your child’s cerebral palsy diagnosis. Contact us now for a free consultation.

Can You Sue for Cerebral Palsy?

You may have grounds to sue for a cerebral palsy diagnosis if you can prove all of the following elements of medical malpractice occurred:

  1. You were a patient of the defendant, and the defendant owed you a duty to provide a reasonable standard of care.
  2. The health care provider breached the duty of care.
    Your child received a cerebral palsy diagnosis.
  3. Your child would not have developed cerebral palsy were it not for the breach of duty.
  4. The breach of duty is the actual cause of the cerebral palsy diagnosis.

Proving medical negligence can be challenging because health care providers are insured by large insurance companies that fight parents of children injured at birth.

Going against large insurance companies requires the testimony of medical experts, which requires significant financial resources. We invest our own resources into proving our clients’ cases, and our clients owe us nothing unless we win.

Our award-winning firm has birth injury lawyers recognized as the nation’s leading cerebral palsy experts, including Dov Apfel, a nationally recognized advocate for children with cerebral palsy. Mr. Apfel has investigated and litigated cerebral palsy cases for more than 40 years and has helped shape the standards for how attorneys should advocate for families with children with cerebral palsy.

What Is a Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit?

A cerebral palsy medical malpractice lawsuit is a means to hold health care providers liable for the medical negligence that led to your child’s cerebral palsy diagnosis. A cerebral palsy lawsuit may be filed when an insurance company will not voluntarily pay fair compensation for medical malpractice.

A lawsuit may result in a settlement or a verdict. We have a track record of obtaining settlements for most of our clients, but we are successful trial lawyers who will confidently take your case to trial if the insurance company refuses to settle for the compensation you and your child deserve.

Why Should I File a Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit?

The average lifetime cost of caring for a child with cerebral palsy is $1,496,934.60. If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy resulting from medical negligence, you and your child are already paying a severe price for a careless doctor or midwife’s mistakes. You should not have to pay financially, too.

Filing a cerebral palsy lawsuit cannot reverse your child’s condition, but it can provide your family with the resources needed to give your child access to the most advanced therapies and educational opportunities while also providing the following:

  • Financial security for your child’s future
  • Financial relief for your family
  • A sense of justice
  • An opportunity to publicly disclose a doctor’s negligence and spare other families the same fate

Fighting large insurance companies and navigating the legal system is overwhelming for most families. You can count on our supportive and experienced cerebral palsy lawyers to shoulder the entire burden so you can focus on your family. You will not have to worry about deadlines, deal with the insurance company, or handle court filings. We will take care of it all.

What Types of Damages Are Available in a Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit?

Compensation in a cerebral palsy lawsuit may include the following economic and non-economic damages:

  • Your child’s current and future medical expenses related to cerebral palsy
  • Therapy
  • Assistive devices
  • Educational costs
  • Your family’s lost wages
  • Your child’s pain and suffering
  • Your child’s lost earning capacity

The amount you receive will depend on the specifics of your case, including the severity of your child’s condition, the financial impact on your family, and the number of health care providers responsible for the diagnosis. It also depends on where you live.

Every state has different laws about compensation in medical malpractice cases. For example, some states impose damage caps, which limit the amount you can recover.

Which States Have Damage Caps in Cerebral Palsy Lawsuits?

The following states have set limits on the amount of damages recoverable in medical malpractice cases:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Who Is Liable for My Child’s Cerebral Palsy?

Any licensed health care provider or facility that caused or contributed to the brain damage leading to your child’s condition may be liable in a medical malpractice case. Most states also hold facilities such as hospitals liable for employees’ negligence.

The following parties may be held liable in a cerebral palsy lawsuit:

  • An OBGYN
  • A nurse-midwife
  • A labor and delivery nurse
  • A pharmacist
  • A radiologist
  • A pathologist
  • A hospital
  • A birthing center

One of the most important jobs of a reputable birth injury lawyer is to identify all the responsible parties. Holding multiple parties liable may increase the amount of insurance coverage available, potentially raising your case’s value.

Our talented cerebral palsy lawyers are committed to maximizing your compensation, and you can count on us to leave no stone unturned when identifying the health care providers responsible for your child’s diagnosis.

Steps To Filing a Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit

Hiring a reputable cerebral palsy lawyer is the primary step necessary to pursue your lawsuit. Your attorneys should complete the remaining work involved in filing your case.

Investigating Your Case

Before your case can be filed, your attorney will need to complete a thorough investigation of the following:

  • Medical records throughout the pregnancy
  • Medical records surrounding labor and delivery
  • The child’s medical records from birth until the present time
  • The actions of each health care provider during pregnancy, birth, and shortly after birth
  • The insurance coverage available for each health care provider involved
  • The extra care needs of the child
  • The financial impact of the cerebral palsy diagnosis
  • The child’s future ability to live independently
  • The child’s future earning capacity
  • The physical pain and emotional impact of the diagnosis on the child
  • The emotional impact of the diagnosis on the family

Calculating Your Case Value

After completing the investigation, your attorney must calculate your case’s value. This is the amount of damages the attorney will demand in the lawsuit. Your attorney will also file an insurance claim against the negligent health care providers’ medical malpractice insurance companies.

If the insurance company agrees to pay the amount your attorney calculated, your case could quickly settle. However, it is extremely rare for insurance companies to voluntarily pay your full case value, making it necessary to file a lawsuit.

Filing Your Lawsuit

Your attorney will file the lawsuit for you in the jurisdiction required by the laws of your state. Once the lawsuit is filed, you become the plaintiff, and the health care providers become the defendants. The defendants have a right to receive a copy of the lawsuit. This is known as being served with process.

Each state gives defendants time to respond to the lawsuit after being served. The defendant may contest the lawsuit or make a counteroffer.


Discovery is the process of examining the other side’s evidence. The defendants have a right to request and view a copy of the evidence against them. Such evidence includes documentation your attorney has gathered, eyewitness statements, and any other evidence. You may be required to testify in an informal hearing under oath. This hearing is known as a deposition.

Our attorneys prepare every case for trial. The discovery process allows defendants to see our case’s strength. If they see their chances of winning at trial are slim, they are more likely to settle for a fair and reasonable amount. Such a settlement is usually in the best interest of all parties.


Most states have some type of mediation requirement. Mediation is a gathering of plaintiffs, defendants, their attorneys, and an impartial third party known as a mediator, during which the plaintiff and defendant attempt to reach an agreement. If an agreement is reached, the court will generally approve it.

If no agreement is reached, the case will proceed to trial. However, settlement negotiations can continue until a verdict is returned. If a settlement agreement is reached at any point, the case will be resolved without going to trial.


During a trial, your attorneys and the defendants’ attorneys will present evidence in front of a judge or jury, and both sides will have an opportunity to cross-examine witnesses. After both sides have presented their cases, the jury will determine whether the defendants are liable and, if so, how much compensation you deserve.

In states that limit damages, a judge will reduce the jury’s award to conform with state damage caps. Most states with damages caps prohibit the jury from being informed about these caps.

Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit Statute Of Limitations

Every state imposes a time limit for filing medical malpractice lawsuits. This is known as a statute of limitations. The statutes of limitations for birth injuries like cerebral palsy are complex.

Cerebral palsy is often discovered much later than when the medical errors occurred. Sometimes, the discovery doesn’t happen until after the statute of limitations has expired. Thus, most states have adopted a discovery rule, which provides extra time to file a lawsuit if the injury is discovered later. The statute of limitations generally begins to run on the date of the cerebral palsy diagnosis.

Some states with a discovery rule provide a hard limit based on when the actual negligence occurred, regardless of when you discovered the injury. This limit is known as a statute of repose.

The statutes of limitations for birth injuries can be confusing because both the parents and the injured children have a right to file a claim. The time limit for the children varies from the time limits for the parents.

The table below provides the general statute of limitations information for parents and children.

Please note that these statutes are subject to change, and it is best to contact an attorney in your jurisdiction to understand if you have grounds for a CP lawsuit.

Last Updated: October 26, 2023

State Claims by the Parents Discovery Rule Statute of Repose Claims by or on Behalf of the Child
Alabama 2 years 6 months 4 years 8 years
Alaska 2 years No discovery rule Not applicable 10 years
Arizona 2 years 2 years None 20 years
Arkansas 2 years 2 years None 11 years
California Up to 3 years, depending on the date the injury or the negligence is discovered 1 year None 8 years
Colorado 2 years 2 years 3 years 8 years
Connecticut 2 years 2 years 3 years 2 years
Delaware 2 years Extends the statute of limitations to 3 years if the injury is not discovered within 2 years None
District of Columbia 3 years 3 years after discovery None 6 years
Florida 2 years 2 years 4 years 21 years
Georgia 2 years None None 8 years
Hawaii 2 years 2 years 6 years 10 years
Idaho 2 years after the medical error or 1 year after discovery 1 year None 6 years
Illinois 2 years 2 years 4 years 8 years
Indiana 2 years 2 years if discovered after the statute of limitations expired None 8 years
Iowa 2 years 2 years 6 years 10 years
Kansas 2 years 2 years 4 years 8 years
Kentucky 1 year 1 year 5 years 19 years
Louisiana 1 year 1 year 3 years 1 year
Maine 3 years None None 6 years
Maryland 5 years from the medical error or 3 years from discovery, whichever is earlier 3 years 5 years The 3 or 5 year statute of limitations begins to run at age 11
Massachusetts 3 years 3 years 7 years 7 years
Michigan 2 years 6 months 6 years 10 years
Minnesota 4 years None None 7 years
Mississippi 2 years 2 years 7 years 8 years
Missouri 2 years 2 years, but only applies if the doctor failed to inform you of medical test results None 20 years
Montana 2 years after the medical error or 2 years after discovery but no longer than 5 years after the error 2 years 5 years 10 years, and this is tolled during time periods when the child does not reside with the parents
Nebraska 2 years after the medical error or 1 year after discovery but no longer than 10 years after the error 1 year 10 years 23 years
Nevada 2 years 1 year 3 years 10 years
New Hampshire 3 years 3 years None 20 years
New Jersey 2 years 2 years None 13 years
New Mexico 3 years 3 years None 9 years
New York 2.5 years None None 10 years
North Carolina 3 years 1 years 4 years 10 years
North Dakota 2 years 2 years 6 years 12 years
Ohio 1 year 1 year 4 years 19 years
Oklahoma 2 years 2 years None 7 years
Oregon 2 years 2 years 5 years 5 years
Pennsylvania 2 years 2 years None 20 years
Rhode Island 3 years 3 years None 21 years if no claim was filed by the parents within 3 years
South Carolina 3 years 3 years 6 years 10 years
South Dakota 2 years None None 19 years
Tennessee 1 year 1 year 3 years 1 year
Texas 2 years Only applicable in limited cases None 14 years
Utah 2 years 2 years 4 years 20 years
Vermont 3 years 2 years 7 years 21 years
Virginia 2 years 1 year, but only applicable in cases of fraudulent concealment None 10 years
Washington 3 years 1 year 8 years 21 years
West Virginia 2 years 2 years 10 years 12 years
Wisconsin 3 years 1 year 5 years 10 years
Wyoming 2 years 2 years None 20 years

Remember, the table above provides the general statute of limitations information for parents and children. There are multiple exceptions to the statutes of limitations in every state, and in some cases, it could be much shorter. If you miss the deadline, you can lose your right to file a cerebral palsy lawsuit for life. Speaking with an experienced cerebral palsy lawyer as soon as your child is diagnosed is crucial.

Notable Cerebral Palsy Lawsuits

We have won record verdicts and settlements in birth injury cases, including the following:

  • $40 million verdcit for a 19-year-old disabled teen who suffered severe brain injury due to a delayed C-section.
  • $20 million verdict for a child who was left with permanent cognitive and developmental impairments as a result of preventable HIE and asphyxia injuries at birth
  • $14 million for the family of a child who suffered a brain injury at birth due to a delayed C-section after a hospital failed to promptly respond to nonreactive fetal heart tracings detected during fetal monitoring
  • $11.5 million FTCA settlement for the child of two active duty parents born at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Guam, who sustained a catastrophic hypoxic-ischemic brain injury due to negligent neonatal resusciation and intubation.
  • $6.5 million settlement for a young girl who suffered cerebral palsy from a brain injury during birth after physicians failed to perform a timely C-section
  • $4.5 million settlement in a case of a child who developed cerebral palsy after a negligent forceps delivery by a Chicago area obstetrical group caused a perinatal stroke, brain bleeds, and skull fractures during birth.
  • $4.5 million settlement for a child who suffered brain damage causing cerebral palsy due to a family practice physician’s failure to perform a timely Caesarean section in the face of fetal distress.
  • \$2.35 million settlement for a child who suffered a severe brain injury and cerebral palsy due to a uterine rupture in a vaginal birth that the doctor and hospital could have avoided with a timely Caesarean delivery.

Contact The Cerebral Palsy Lawyers At Levin & Perconti

Our founding partners Steven Levin and John Perconti are pioneers in birth injury litigation, and during the past 30 years since our law firm’s establishment, we have built a nationwide network of the best experts in the field of cerebral palsy who work with us to strengthen our clients’ cases.

Our attorneys have more than 400 years of combined experience, and we are one of the nation’s most respected birth injury law firms. We understand cerebral palsy’s profound impact on families and know what it takes to hold negligent health care providers accountable.

We will not settle for less than you deserve. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.