Cerebral palsy is a huge problem across the world. There are around 18 million individuals living with the disability globally. That number lowers to around 1 million when looking directly at the United States. The numbers are significant when considering what support and assistance are available.
Sadly, Florida has a problem when it comes to helping children and adults with cerebral palsy. A 2019 report from the UCP and Ancor Foundation showed that while Arizona provided the best care and assistance for people with developmental difficulties, Florida was not so good.
Where does Florida lie when you look at the whole country?
The state of Florida was the 18th best state for assisting individuals with learning and development disabilities from having independent lives. The Case for Inclusion report shows that Florida slipped from 18th to 34th. This isn’t the worst of it though, for helping these individuals find employment the state ranks rock bottom; No. 51 of 51. Luckily there is still great support in Florida.
Support networks in Florida
For individuals with cerebral palsy and their families, there is assistance available. The problem with Florida’s current ranking is likely to be financial rather than a lack of concern or care. There are three locations for the UCP in Florida. This organization helps parents and their children in a variety of ways:
- Therapy – helping children with motor skills, pain management, and speech
- Education – bring children’s potential to the front
- Inclusive learning – allowing traditional education in an inclusive environment
- Support – for parents and their children
There are also national organizations that can be called on and local support groups run by parents. On top of the support network, there is also legal assistance.
What are the symptoms of cerebral palsy?
There are varying degrees of severity and also different types of cerebral palsy. Not all children with special needs have visible conditions but individuals with cerebral palsy suffer from many physical conditions.
These symptoms can include a wide gait, difficulty talking, involuntary movements and jerking of the limbs, poor muscle development, and motor and body function issues. These can involve difficulties with limbs, bladder and bowel control, and a lack of balance. Children will show difficulty in walking and babies find it hard to roll over or sit up on their own.
One other problem with cerebral palsy is it doesn’t always get diagnosed straightaway. There are symptoms to look for in babies but sometimes this is put down to slow development or the symptoms may be mild. Because of this, Florida has a longer statute of limitations when it comes to child negligence cases; allowing cases to be filed up to the age of eight years old.
Using a lawyer to claim damages
If you think your child’s cerebral palsy was caused due to negligence then you may want to consider using a specialist law firm to seek damages. This type of case is not about seeking revenge but should be looked at as a way to secure your child’s future and aid them financially for the rest of their life.
Proving a negligence case can be difficult so a professional in this area is the best way to approach it. The causes of cerebral palsy by negligence include the following areas:
- Failing to check the baby’s condition during the birth. This means that the heart rate is normal and the baby is receiving oxygen.
- Delaying a c-section or performing it too late. A c-section can save a child from having cerebral palsy if there is a lack of oxygen.
- Failing to realize that the umbilical cord is strangling the baby and cutting out their oxygen.
- Using medical instruments incorrectly or negligently leading to injury, eg forceps.
What damages can a lawyer seek for you?
The compensation rates for cerebral palsy in the state of Florida vary but can be in the millions of dollars. The compensation that would be sought would cover a variety of areas such as these:
- Living expenses
- Loss of future earnings
- Loss of quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Cost of home modifications
When looking to seek damages there would be several areas that would be listed. The damages that a lawyer would seek would be to aid physical therapy, speech coaching, any aids and equipment such as wheelchairs plus future surgeries.
It is demanding to look after a child with cerebral palsy and the support network that organizations like the UCP offer are a great help. Parents with children who are coping with a disability need advice and support and luckily there are many professionals and therapists who are only too willing to help.
This support is welcomed and it is hoped that Florida will improve its rankings in future reports but as well as looking towards CP organizations you can also take advice from a law firm specializing in gaining awards for their clients. Compassionate, professional lawyers will help you to secure your child’s future to the best of their ability.