Cerebral Palsy Claims
Potter Rees Dolan’s team of specialist solicitors are here to help if mistakes made by midwives or doctors led to your child developing cerebral palsy.
We know what you’re going through. We know that your world has been turned upside down and that it can be difficult to know where to turn. But we work with people just like you every single day, providing expert support, advice and care to make your life that little bit easier.
We strive to get you the compensation you deserve because we also see first-hand how big a difference it can make to a family’s quality of life. It can help you adapt your home for your child’s requirements, access 24/7 professional care, afford specialist equipment and much more, relieving the burden on you.
The highly reputable clinical negligence team includes Helen Dolan, Lesley Herbertson and Gill Edwards, who have more than 60 years of experience between them and who are all featured in the prestigious Legal 500 and Chambers 2017 guides. The team offers a highly personal service, strives to give their clients a voice when things have gone wrong and is dedicated to improving standards in healthcare.
“Helen Dolan was very efficient and courteous and, in many areas exceeded, our expectations. All members of staff were very approachable and helped to make a very difficult situation more bearable.”
Mrs H, Birmingham
“I am delighted with the level of support I have received. In particular, Lesley's explanation of the Part 36 process and achievement of early settlement through informed recommendations. This experience is just what you need when you are left vulnerable.”
Ms Turner, Manchester
“Friendly, understanding, clear and accommodating. Took the time to explain rationale for decisions and legal processes. Exactly the right balance of direction and recommendation. Very personable service, can't fault the service. From receptionists to solicitors to specialist help.”
Mrs B, Turton
“Just want to say thank you very much for all you have done Lesley. Not only have you done a very good job but your support to my wife and me has been outstanding and it's not all been about our son. I was very impressed with the way you pushed that little bit further. I thought you were a great team.
We are very pleased with outcome and I like the way you took nothing for granted always looking at detail. Look forward to working with you on the stages ahead.”
Mr W, Cheshire
Read more testimonials from our clients here.
To speak to one of our team about your child’s injury, call us on 0800 027 2557 and you will be put through to one of our senior solicitors who will spend time going through everything with you. You can also arrange for us to get in touch with you by completing the online contact form on the side of this page or on our contact page. If you have someone specific in mind that you would like to speak to, visit their profile on our people page.
What is cerebral palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a neurological condition caused by problems affecting the part of the brain that controls muscle function. In the UK it affects an estimated one in 4,000 people.
Causes of cerebral palsy
The condition occurs when the brain develops abnormally during, or shortly after, birth.
One known cause of the condition is periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), which describes damage to the white matter of the baby’s brain. It is believed that this occurs because of a reduction in the children’s blood or oxygen supply. Experts have linked this to:
- Premature or difficult birth
- An infection caught by the mother during pregnancy
- Abnormal blood pressure in the mother
It can also be caused by stroke - bleeding in the baby’s brain. This could happen as a result of:
- High blood pressure in the mother
- Abnormalities in the baby’s blood vessels or mother’s placenta
- Abnormal development of the baby’s brain due to mutations in key genes, an infection caught by the mother or injury to the baby’s head
- Temporary oxygen deprivation (asphyxiation)
- Low blood sugar level
The causes listed above can all occur naturally even if no mistakes have been made. However, negligent medical care can lead directly to these complications and the development of cerebral palsy.
The most common examples of clinical negligence in the cases we deal with include:
- Delays in diagnosing or misdiagnosis of infections in the baby or mother during pregnancy
- Delays in diagnosing or misdiagnosis of bleeding in the baby’s brain
- Delayed delivery or neglectful handling of a traumatic birth
- Unnecessary deprivation of oxygen during birth
If negligent medical care before, during or after birth led to your child developing cerebral palsy, you are entitled to make a claim for compensation.
Symptoms and complications
Symptoms of cerebral palsy include:
- Muscle stiffness or floppiness
- Muscle weakness
- Random and uncontrolled body movements
- Balance and coordination problems
The symptoms usually become apparent during the first three years of a child's life and they vary from person to person.
The severity of the symptoms differ - some people only experience mild problems, while others are left severely disabled.
The condition can also lead to a range of associated medical problems, including:
- Difficulty speaking
- Hearing loss
- Visual impairment
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GORD)
- Seizures or fits (epilepsy)
- Drooling and swallowing difficulties (dysphagia)
- Hip dislocation or an abnormally curved spine (scoliosis)
- Difficulty controlling their bladder (urinary incontinence)
- Learning difficulties (although intelligence is often unaffected)
How is cerebral palsy diagnosed?
To determine whether a child may have cerebral palsy, every newborn baby is given an Apgar score.
This involves carrying out a test to determine the health of a baby immediately after birth, usually after one minute after birth and again five minutes after birth. The name is derived from the criteria of the test: Appearance (colour), Pulse (heart rate), Grimace (reflexes), Activity (muscle tone) and Respiration (breathing rate and effort)
Scores of between 0-2 are given for each of the criteria and then added together. Scores of 7 and above are considered healthy. Low scores could indicate cerebral palsy.
Find out more about the Apgar score in our medical terms glossary.
In many cases the condition is not diagnosed immediately. Often it is the parents’ instinct or anxiety that their baby is not well and not developing as he or she should be that leads to further investigation. Usually a paediatrician will help to diagnose the condition using a range of tests, which could include:
- MRI scans
- Ultrasound scans
- CT scans
- Blood tests
How we can help
Our clinical negligence team has a reputation for being one of the best in the UK. This is thanks to a combination of expert legal and medical insight, combined experience that adds up to many decades, and an unwavering dedication to helping families recover the compensation they deserve.
About Helen Dolan, head of the department, Chambers 2017 says: “A source describes Helen Dolan as ‘formidable in her knowledge of the law and medicine,’ adding: ‘She's one of the best clinical negligence solicitors in Manchester.’”
According to Chambers 2017, Lesley Herbertson “plays a crucial role in many of the firm’s diverse clinical negligence cases. A commentator highlights her “understanding of cases and the way she moves cases forward," while another interviewee adds: ‘She is an extremely bright lawyer who is lovely with clients and keen to put them at ease’.”
Gill Edwards is described as being “well regarded for work on catastrophic injury in both adults and children. Her background as a registered general nurse aids her in issues of medical negligence. One source notes that ‘she is really lovely with clients, very thorough, and has a warm personality.’”
Our clients say it is also the empathy and care with which we act that sets us apart. We specialise in serious and catastrophic injuries, so we know how difficult it can be to live with severe disability. It is our aim, therefore, to make the claim process as stress-free for the family as possible.
Most clinical negligence cases are funded on the basis of a “no win, no fee” agreement, otherwise known as a Conditional Fee Agreement. Therefore, we can investigate into your potential claim and you will not have to pay any costs if the case is not successful. The detail of how a Conditional Fee Agreement works will be carefully explained to you at our first meeting.
You might already have the benefit of a legal expense insurance policy, and we will always start by looking into whether you can use the same policy before considering whether a Conditional Fee Agreement is more appropriate.
What happens next?
In the first instance we will discuss your circumstances and help you understand whether or not you have a case. If we agree that you do, we will then help you gather all the evidence required and build a strong case in order to give you the best chance we can of recovering the right amount of compensation.
We will start by obtaining all of the relevant medical records and we will go through these with you. We then instruct independent experts in the appropriate areas of specialism to advise on whether or not you or your family member has received substandard treatment. Once we have supportive expert evidence, we will commence court proceedings and progress the claim as quickly as possible, whilst always looking at whether there is any way that the case can be properly settled early
Where possible, we also work towards obtaining early interim awards, so that we can help you put in place the support that is needed with care, therapies and finding appropriate equipment. Moving to a suitable home is often a priority and we will do all that we can to make that happen at the earliest opportunity.
Contact us today
If you think you might be entitled to compensation, call us on 0800 027 2557. You can also arrange for us to get in touch with you by completing the online contact form on the side of this page or on our contact page. If you have someone specific in mind that you would like to speak to, visit their profile on our people page.