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Cerebral Palsy

Having your baby diagnosed with cerebral palsy can be devastating. You are bound to ask why? That is where the specialist team at Alsters Kelley can help.

We will be able to advise you on whether or not your child’s disability has potentially been caused by a lack of care during your labour. This means you can concentrate on caring for you baby whilst we work on your legal case trying to establish if you have a claim.

Our specialist team will sit down with you to take full information about what happened. Then we access your medical records and obtain independent evidence on the standard of care you received.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

This condition affects the brain (cerebral) and the ability to move (palsy). It occurs where there has been some damage to the brain. There are various sorts of cerebral palsy and each person will be affected differently from others. The symptoms can vary from mild to severe and various areas of the body can be affected. The condition can affect the ability to move, hear, see and think. Sometimes the person can suffer from epileptic fits. People with cerebral palsy often have severe disabilities resulting in the need for care for the rest of their lives. The diagnosis can take several years to make as the diagnosis is only really confirmed when your child fails to hit the usual developmental milestones.

What Causes Cerebral Palsy?

The vast majority of cerebral palsy cases are not caused by negligent treatment at birth. Those that are, are usually caused by a lack of oxygen to the baby, either before, during or just after delivery. This lack of oxygen causes brain damage, which in turn causes cerebral palsy.

This is a list of some of the problems that have been found to be negligent:

  • Failing to identify and act upon abnormalities on the foetal heart rate trace (CTG or cardiotocograph)
  • Failing to follow the NICE (National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence) guidelines
  • Failing to identify foetal distress
  • Failing to perform a caesarean section where there are clear signs of fetal distress
  • Leaving the baby in the birth canal for too long resulting in a lack of oxygen to the brain
  • Failing to diagnose a breech presentation
  • Failing to carry out blood tests during pregnancy to assess blood incompatibility between the baby and the mother
  • Improper use of forceps causing nerve damage, bruising, and head injuries
  • Failing to identify and treat pre eclampsia
  • Delaying in delivery once shoulder dystocia develops
  • Failing to identify and treat haemorrhage
  • Failing to diagnose and treat a baby’s seizures following delivery
  • Failing to diagnose and treat jaundice
  • Failing to diagnose and treat meningitis
  • Failing to diagnose and treat hypoglycaemia (low sugar)

Time Limits

The time limit for children who suffer from cerebral palsy runs from the child’s 18th birthday. This means the statutory 3-year time limit expires on the child’s 21st birthday. There is one exception. If someone does not have the mental capacity to manage their own affairs then the time limits do not apply. This can be the case in cerebral palsy cases where the damage to the brain has resulted in developmental delay and some cases can be pursued past a person’s 21st birthday. You should seek urgent legal advice if you wish to pursue a claim as, or on behalf of, an adult.


With clinical negligence cases involving cerebral palsy, Public Funding is available. This was previously known as Legal Aid. Only firms with a Public Funding franchise are able to obtain funding for you or your child. As an experienced medico-legal department, Alsters Kelley have been awarded a clinical negligence franchise from the Legal Services Commission.

If your baby suffers from cerebral palsy we can help advise you on whether or not you have a potential claim. We have a specialist team with vast experience in this area of law who can help answer your questions.

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Meet the Medical Negligence team

Kiran Jalota
Head of Medical Negligence and Personal Injury

Kiran's role is to recover necessary compensation for victims of negligence who have suffered physical and/or psychological injury & other consequential loss. Read more

Call us on 01926 356000 for more information or for a chat.

Kiran is supported by our Medical Negligence team
Harvin Dhillon, John LLewelyn, Haidee Vedy and Nisha Vegad

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