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Medical Negligence Resulting in Cerebral Palsy

While the causes of cerebral palsy are complex and oftentimes unavoidable, there are instances where this condition could have been prevented had a medical professional acted promptly and competently. 

If you believe that a healthcare provider’s negligence caused your child’s cerebral palsy, read on to learn what your legal options are and what compensation you and your child may be entitled to. Or, to receive personalised legal advice based on your circumstance, book a free, non-obligation consultation with one of our medical negligence lawyers.

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How medical negligence can cause cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that generally impair a person’s movement, yet may also impact their neurological functioning. The severity of cerebral palsy can range quite significantly: Those with a milder case may retain the ability to function entirely independently, while more severe cases can lead to a complete lack of functional autonomy, requiring lifelong care.

Cerebral palsy is split into four main categories, and the category that your child’s condition falls within will contribute to how much compensation you’re entitled to if you are eligible to claim:

  • Spastic cerebral palsy: This is the most common form, making up approximately 80% of those with cerebral palsy. This category is characterised by increased muscle tone, leading to stiff, jolted movement. Notably, this category is further subdivided into spastic diplegia, spastic quadriplegia and spastic hemiplegia.
  • Dyskinetic cerebral palsy: This category generally involves a lack of control of the arms and legs — including hands and feet, also. It also extends, in certain cases, to impair facial movement.
  • Ataxic cerebral palsy: This category mainly concerns balance and coordination — commonly restricting sudden movements.  
  • Mixed cerebral palsy: Naturally, this category includes those who fall into more than one of the above categories. 


Each of these categories is caused by abnormal brain development. The causes of the abnormal brain development itself, however, vary: While the cause is unknown for many cerebral palsy cases, there are instances where identifiable medical negligence is present and can be directly connected to the disorder. 

Examples that could lead to cerebral palsy can include medical professionals failing to:

  • Perform safe medical procedures.
  • Schedule and perform an emergency C-section when necessary.
  • Monitor the baby’s heart rate throughout pregnancy and labour.
  • Detect and correct umbilical cord concerns.
  • Use forceps or a vacuum extractor properly.
  • Accurately detect and address maternal infections.


The birthing process can be traumatic for the mother and infant; sometimes that trauma can cause cerebral palsy. A careful review of the medical records can help support your claim and point out the cause of injuries and where the medical staff may have played a part in your child’s injury.

A cerebral palsy lawyer from GMP Law has experience investigating medical negligence and birth injury malpractice. They will help you to build your case and, in representing you, ensure your rights — and the rights of your child — are protected.

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How to file a cerebral palsy claim

Medical malpractice occurs between a hospital, medical staff and their patients. The medical professionals may have caused a birth injury due to negligence. ‘Negligence’ here refers to a lack of competent, prudent care that otherwise would be expected of another healthcare professional within the same situation.  

To file a cerebral palsy claim, your GMP Law team and you must be able to prove that:

  • There was a breach of standard medical care.
  • The injury was caused by negligence.
  • Due to negligence, the child suffered significant damage.


Medical malpractice cases can be difficult to prove without the right team to support you. Medical experts must be involved to evaluate records and statements, the state of the child with cerebral palsy and determine where a breach in medical duty of care occurred.

Your GMP Law personal injury solicitor will gather evidence and review the information with expert, unbiased medical professionals to determine the strength of your case. If you do have a viable negligence case, you have the chance to earn compensation to cover:

  • Attendant care.
  • Equipment and aids.
  • Loss of earnings.
  • Pain and suffering.
  • Medical expenses.


Most cases can be settled out of court after the hospital agrees to the amount of compensation to ensure the child’s needs are covered. However, there are some process nuances to be aware of:

Most medical negligence claims are settled in mediation. This is fortunate as mediation is not only more time-effective than litigation but also more cost-effective. Mediation is the process where a neutral third party will mediate the dispute among involved parties and work to facilitate a resolution. Notably, once a settlement is reached within mediation, the court must approve it — while also approving the legal fees. This is to ensure the rights of yourself and your child are upheld; and that your child is adequately provided for through the agreed-upon compensation amount. 

There are cases where a resolution is unable to be reached through mediation. The court then becomes more involved and the case’s outcome is ultimately determined through litigation. Regardless of how your case progresses, the important thing is that you have legal representation that you trust. You can trust the team at GMP Law to provide you with competent, compassionate and committed legal services — from your initial free consultation right through to the resolution of your case.

Timeline to file a medical negligence claim for cerebral palsy

Australian law allows up to six years after the date of injury to bring a cerebral palsy lawsuit forward on behalf of the child. If six years pass, there are some exceptions to the rule, but it is important to bring your case to use as soon as possible.

Book an appointment with our expert team of personal injury solicitors

Cerebral palsy caused by negligent management of pregnancy by a Sydney hospital results in over $10 million in compensation

Our medical negligence case involved a Sydney couple, in the late stages of pregnancy, looking forward to starting a family. When the expectant mother’s water broke six days later than anticipated, she visited her local suburban hospital expecting her child to be delivered.

Rather than having her pregnancy managed at the hospital, the expectant mother was sent home to monitor any progression. It was not until two days and two presentations later that she was eventually admitted and her son was delivered.

It is well known in the medical profession that following the breaking of a mother’s water the child can be exposed to infection and the deprivation of oxygen. Despite this knowledge our client’s local hospital failed, upon her initial presentation, to transfer her to a major Sydney hospital located a mere 13km away with a dedicated obstetrics team and the facilities capable of performing caesarean sections.

The failure to appropriately manage the birth of our client’s first son resulted in depriving him of oxygen in the womb which ultimately led to his cerebral palsy.

The couple found themselves caught in the bittersweet emotions of joy from starting a family with a son they loved. However, they felt strong feelings of fear and apprehension as they considered how their child would be brought up with only one parent to care for him. The family would have to rely on one income to cover living, medical, housing and special schooling expenses.

Aside from these emotions, the family was also horrified at the suspicion they had, that their son would have been born happy and healthy if it was not for the undue delay of the hospital.

This young family approached Gerard Malouf & Partners to assist and investigate their suspicions. In obtaining multiple expert opinions from some of Australia’s best professors and doctors we were able to establish a strong case of negligence against the hospital. Most disappointingly, it was confirmed that these injuries to our client’s newborn could have been avoided.

Fortunately, this matter was able to be settled for over $10 million dollars at mediation by our medical negligence lawyer.

This settlement provided the family with a sense of much-needed hope for their future allowing them to ensure their home was modified to best suit the needs of their child. WIth compensation, their son could go to a special needs school to obtain the treatment he required without the family having to worry about making ends meet.

Today, the mother of the child is a member of the Cerebral Palsy Alliance and was particularly pleased that their claim was resolved in just two years, while many other families waited five to ten years to obtain the closure and support they desperately require in similar cases.

We hope that with a settlement this young couple’s son can grow up with all the necessary support he requires.

How GMP Law can help in your negligence case

GMP Law cerebral palsy lawyers can help support your family with expert legal advice and advocacy for the compensation you deserve. If you’re considering pursuing a cerebral palsy compensation claim, there are two initial steps to take:

  • Step one: Gather any evidence that you can to support your claim. While much of the evidence that goes into strengthening your case will be difficult or impossible to attain, simply gather what you’re able to. This may include medical records, financial statements and witness statements, among other documents.
  • Step two: Book a free consultation with our personal injury lawyers. They will look at the evidence that you’ve gathered and advise you accordingly. Even if you’re unable to retrieve any supporting documents, our team will still be able to offer you personalised legal advice and, if you choose to pursue a compensation claim, work with you to build your case.  


Your free consultation is also an opportunity to learn — and ask questions — about our no-win, no-fee policy. Through this policy, GMP Law takes on all the expenses associated with your case. And, we only get paid if your case is successful. This means that you can gain access to our expert medical negligence legal services without worrying about upfront costs or financial risks. 

Book your free, non-obligation consultation today, or simply call us on 1800 004 878.

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Gerard Malouf & Partners have provided friendly, experienced legal advice to communities across Australia for over 35 years. Our Personal Injury Lawyers have taken on ten’s of thousands of cases and we are proud to have won billions of dollars for our clients.
Meet the diverse and dynamic team of compensation lawyers and supporting staff that have made this all happen below. Our multi-lingual team can discuss your claims in Arabic, Assyrian, Turkish, Greek, Italian, French, Serbian, Croatian, Armenian, Mandarin, Hindi, Punjabi or Malayalam.
Meet the diverse and dynamic team of compensation lawyers and supporting staff that have made this all happen below. Our multi-lingual team can discuss your claims in Arabic, Assyrian, Turkish, Greek, Italian, French, Serbian, Croatian, Armenian, Mandarin, Hindi, Punjabi or Malayalam.

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