Cerebral Palsy Lawsuits in British Columbia
How Many Preventable Cerebral Palsy Cases Occur in BC?
Every year, an estimated 10 to 16 cases of cerebral palsy are due to preventable medical error in British Columbia.
According to Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children at BC Children’s Hospital, the estimated prevalence of cerebral palsy in British Columbia is 1 in 400. Using the Statistics Canada estimate of 44,000 live births per year in BC, we can estimate that 110 children in this province are born with CP, or develop the disorder early in infancy.
At least 110 new cases of cerebral palsy in British Columbia per year is all the more striking when one considers that one-third of cerebral palsy cases are associated with an adverse obstetrical event (“red flag”), such as placental abruption, uterine rupture, fetal distress, birth trauma, cord prolapse, and birth asphyxia.
Adverse obstetrical events are hospital complications during labour and delivery that result in injury, disability, or death. Of the 110 annual cases of cerebral palsy in BC, every year 33 CP cases are associated with at least one adverse birth-related complication.
About 30% to 50% of ‘complications’ are preventable, according to a Canadian Medical Association Journal study on the incidence of adverse events among hospital patients in Canada.
Thus, one may calculate that every year 10 to 16 new cases of cerebral palsy in BC are the result of medical negligence.
Was My Child’s Cerebral Palsy Preventable?
Possibly. Diagnosing the precise cause of your child’s cerebral palsy requires the opinion of medical experts. However, there are situations in which it is reasonable for the parents of a child with cerebral palsy to be suspicious:
Can I Sue On Behalf of My Child with Cerebral Palsy in British Columbia?
Yes, however, access to complete hospital records are denied to patients (and their guardians) in British Columbia under Section 51 of the BC Evidence Act.
The way around this roadblock is to hire a medical negligence lawyer.
All parents deserve to know the cause of their child’s cerebral palsy.
Parents can authorize a lawyer to collect the child and mother’s medical records and coordinate an independent investigation. If the medical experts suspect preventable errors, parents may hire the malpractice lawyer to pursue a claim.
A lawyer must meet four essential criteria to succeed in a cerebral palsy medical malpractice lawsuit:
1. The lawyer must prove the standard that (a) reasonably competent healthcare professional(s) must meet in dealing with a pregnancy and the time surrounding the birth of a child.
2. The lawyer must prove that the healthcare professional(s) failed to meet that standard of care.
3. The lawyer must prove that this failure led to the child’s injuries, in this case cerebral palsy.
4. The lawyer must prove what money is needed to make up for the losses and harms caused by the negligence of the healthcare professional.
Why Should I Sue for My Child’s Cerebral Palsy Injuries in BC?
Securing a settlement or verdict for a child with cerebral palsy can significantly alter the entire family’s quality of life for the better. The financial cost of raising a child with profound disabilities is tenfold that of other children, despite Canada’s universal health care system.
What’s more, most government funding available to children with profound disabilities in BC is terminated abruptly at age 18.
The goal of the lawyer is to provide the child, and his or her family, with the resources and tools to lead the best life possible. By removing financial burdens, parents are able to maximize family time and move forward.
Watch client case study: Story of a Girl with Cerebral Palsy
What Should I Know If I Sue for Cerebral Palsy Caused by Medical Malpractice in BC?
Parents wishing to investigate the cause of their child’s cerebral palsy must contact a medical malpractice lawyer with tested experience in obstetrical negligence. Not all medical malpractice and personal injuries lawyers have the training, education, and experience to handle complex, birth injury medical negligence files.
Although more medical negligence cases are settled out of court, in Canada about 20% proceed to trial. Thus, it is also imperative that you select for your child a lawyer with years spent as lead counsel in the courts of British Columbia.
It is paramount that parents select a lawyer who they feel has their child’s best interests at heart. The process may take several years and parents must know that they can approach and be heard by their legal team every step of the way.
Most medical negligence lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis. In other words, the client pays the lawyer a fee only if the case is successful. Normally, it is a percentage of the settlement or verdict.