Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Cerebral palsy and complex medical malpractice legislation

A 4-year old boy was diagnosed with cerebral palsy that appeared to have occurred due to medical malpractice at the time that the child was born. In the locality where the child was born, there has been set aside a fund to cover specific damages related to medical malpractice, but this state also has limitations as to how much in damages can be awarded.

However, rather than wait and find out what sort of verdict the jury would deliver, the healthcare providers decided to settle the case. The amount of the settlement was the appropriate amount that would also allow the child to recover from the state fund as well.

The administrators of the fund objected to the manner in which the case was settled. But a court has since ruled that medical negligence had been "admitted and established" allowing for the boy to collect from the state fund.

Such a scheme added a layer of complexity to this case, and it probably distracts from the important issues in this matter. Though the child's cerebral palsy is considered relatively mild, this child was injured to the medical mistakes of his doctors, and the documented mistakes likely will affect him for the remainder of his life.

Rather than reduce the role of medical malpractice attorneys in these matters, it now takes an attorney that specializes in the area to even understand the new legislation. The same is true in Pennsylvania where legislators continually want to have their say as to what is and is not an appropriate award.

The boy's doctors and hospital staff purportedly failed to monitor the child's condition properly to prevent distress from occurring while the child was born. These same providers also apparently failed to take immediate action that would have reduced the damage that would have occurred due to the medical mistakes.

The boy deserved to be compensated for what occurred.

Source: Insurance Journal, "Indiana Court: Compensation Fund May Not Dispute Liability in Med Mal Case," by Stephanie K. Jones, Nov. 14, 2012

  • For questions concerning birth injuries, there is more information at our website.

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Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.
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Pittsburgh, PA 15222

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