Is Cerebral Palsy Always Caused by Birth Injury?

Cerebral Palsy – A Common Birth Injury

Cerebral palsy is one of the most common childhood disorders in the United States, according to Cerebral Palsy Guidance. In fact, as many as 10,000 babies are born each year with a childhood disorder.

The birth injury attorneys at Banville Law would like to share some information about the condition, including how to seek compensation when it was caused by a birth injury. While not all cases of Cerebral palsy are caused by negligent medical mistakes, understanding when they are can help victims seek justice.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a condition that affects movement and muscle control. It occurs when an infant is born too early or has certain problems during pregnancy. It causes physical disabilities that affect movement and posture. 

Spastic cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the nervous system. This type of cerebral palsy usually happens after birth. Non-spastic cerebral palsy is due to abnormal brain development. It may happen before birth or after birth.

There are four stages of cerebral palsy, including:

Stage 1: Infantile stage. This is the first stage of cerebral palsy. It starts within the first three years of life.

Stage 2: Choreoathetoid stage. This stage begins between 3 and 6 years old. During this stage, children develop muscle tone and coordination issues.

Stage 3: Spastic stage. This stage begins at seven years old. Children begin to walk independently. However, they still have muscle tone and coordination issues that cause walking difficulties.

Stage 4: Adolescent stage. This stage begins when children reach puberty. They continue to grow and develop physically.

What Are the Different Types of Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a neurological condition where there is damage to the developing brain. This causes problems with movement, posture, muscle tone, sensation, vision, hearing, speech, cognition, communication, learning, and behavior.

There are four main types of cerebral palsy: 


Spastic cerebral palsy is caused by an injury to the immature brain that affects the motor neurons, causing uncontrolled muscle contractions. Spasticity may cause stiffness, clumsiness, and poor coordination.


Dyskinesia is characterized by involuntary movements such as jerky arm and leg movements. Dyskinesia usually occurs after a stroke.


Mixed cerebral palsy is a combination of two or more of these conditions. Ataxic cerebral palsy is caused when the cerebellum does not develop properly.


Ataxic cerebral palsy often has symptoms similar to those seen in autism spectrum disorder.

What Are Some Causes and Risk Factors of Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that cause problems with movement and posture. It affects muscle tone and coordination, causing abnormal movements and posture. 

There are two main types of cerebral palsy: spastic and non-spastic. Spastic cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the developing nervous system, usually occurring during pregnancy or birth. Non-spastic cerebral palsy occurs later in life and may be due to genetic factors, head injury, stroke, infection, or other causes.

In addition to physical disabilities, children with cerebral palsy often face emotional challenges such as depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. They may also struggle socially and academically.

According to the CDC, several factors may contribute to the development of cerebral palsy, such as: 

  • Prematurity
  • Birth complications
  • Infection
  • Trauma
  • Genetic conditions
  • Brain injuries
  • Stroke
  • Other medical conditions

Risk factors for cerebral palsy include:

  • Being born prematurely
  • Having an older mother
  • Having multiple births
  • Low birthweight
  • Smoking during pregnancy
  • Alcohol consumption during pregnancy
  • Maternal diabetes
  • Preterm labor
  • Inadequate prenatal care
  • Lack of oxygen
  • Lack of nutrients

How Common is Cerebral Palsy in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania ranks among the top 10 states with the highest rates of cerebral palsy. In 2013, the state had a rate of 4.6 per 10,000 births. The national average was 3.1 per 10,000 births in 2011.

The CDC reports that the number of cases of cerebral palsy increased between 2000 and 2010. However, this increase may be attributed to better reporting of diagnoses rather than actual changes in the incidence of cerebral palsy.

Can Compensation Be Recovered By Filing a Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit?

Birth injury cases can be very complicated. They involve medical malpractice, negligence, and even intentional acts.

In birth injury cases, there are several types of damages that may be recovered. These include economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.

Economic damages are those that result in financial losses due to the injuries sustained. Examples of these damages would be medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Non-economic damages are those that do not result in monetary losses. Examples of these damages are physical impairment, disfigurement, emotional distress, and loss of consortium.

Punitive damages are awarded against defendants whose conduct was malicious, fraudulent, reckless, or otherwise morally reprehensible. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant and deter similar future behavior.

These damages are usually awarded in birth injury cases where the plaintiff has suffered serious bodily harm. However, punitive damages are sometimes awarded in birth injury cases involving minor injuries.

Why You Should Always Consult a Lawyer If Your Child Was Born With Cerebral Palsy?

A cerebral palsy lawyer can help you understand your rights and responsibilities under the law. An experienced cerebral palsy lawyer can help you file an insurance claim, seek compensation for medical expenses, and obtain disability benefits.

An experienced cerebral palsy lawyer should be familiar with the laws governing cerebral palsy claims. If you do not receive adequate compensation for your injuries, you may be eligible to sue. In addition to filing a lawsuit, an experienced cerebral palsy lawyer may be able to negotiate a settlement with the defendant’s insurer. Negotiating a fair settlement can save you money and stress.

When hiring a cerebral palsy lawyer, consider his or her experience handling similar cases. Ask about the lawyer’s success rate. A good cerebral palsy lawyer should have a proven track record of winning settlements and awards.

Call For a Free Consultation with a Cerebral Palsy Attorney

We specialize in helping families deal with cerebral palsy and other birth injury lawsuits. We understand how devastating it is to go through a lawsuit and we know how much stress it puts on a family, both emotionally and financially. Our birth injury lawyers at Schuster Law are dedicated to helping families file cerebral palsies lawsuits. We offer free consultations and we’re here to answer any questions you may have about your case.