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Brain injuries caused during birth may lead to legal claim

The birth of a child in Ontario is normally anticipated with high expectations. Sometimes, however, things can go wrong. A difficult birth can result in brain injuries that are grouped under the collective term of cerebral palsy. This affects the brain functions and body movements of a baby. An injury during labour or insufficient oxygen supply to the child's brain before, during or after the birth can cause cerebral palsy.

If the child's parents suspect that the condition resulted from medical negligence, they may have a viable medical malpractice case against the physician, obstetrician, nurse or another member of the attending medical team. However, making such a claim is a complicated process that involves several elements. As in other injury claims, the plaintiff must prove negligence on the part of the defendant.

The first element to show is the defendant's legal duty to provide care for the baby, which is typically proved by the medical team's agreement to deliver the baby in a manner that meets accepted standards of care. The next element to show is that there was a breach of the duty of care, and expert testimony might be necessary to show that the level of care failed. Then the plaintiff must prove that by breaching the duty of care, the child suffered cerebral palsy, and not by other means.

The final aspect to prove is that the baby suffered cerebral palsy that resulted from the defendant's negligence. Ontario parents may question whether they have a viable claim against a medical professional or institution. An experienced lawyer who focuses on cases involving brain injuries can answer questions and assess the claim for viability. He or she can navigate the legal proceedings and provide support and guidance to the family who has to deal with their child's condition and the related concerns.

Source: FindLaw, "When to Sue If Your Child Has Cerebral Palsy", Christopher Coble, Accessed on March 3, 2017

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