Cerebral palsy and the issue of causation, P.2

In our last post, we began discussing a recent study suggesting that, at least in some cases, cerebral palsy may be rooted in a genetic mutation rather than a mishap during the birth process. As we noted, the findings could potentially have an impact on the issue of causation in birth injury litigation.

The principle of causation in medical malpractice litigation is aimed at ensuring that the alleged acts of negligence are a sufficiently connected cause of the alleged injuries. In cases where negligence is established but it cannot be established that the negligence was the legal cause of the injuries, no recovery is possible. 

A number of factors can impact upon a case to destroy the causal connection between the negligence and the injuries. In some medical malpractice cases, there may be another possible explanation for what caused the injuries. This, of course, is part of why it is necessary to enlist the help of expert witnesses, typically physicians who are able to provide insight not only into standard of care that should have been exercised by the defendant, but also about what likely caused the plaintiff’s injuries, and to help exclude alternative explanations.  

In cases of cerebral palsy caused by birth trauma, it is critical for plaintiffs to build a strong argument in all aspects of their medical malpractice case. With the research continuing to show that genetics can play a role in the development of the condition, excluding that possibility is likely to become an important task for plaintiffs and their attorneys.

In pursuing any medical malpractice case, of course, it is critical to work with an experienced attorney to ensure one’s rights are protected and that one’s interests are zealously advocated.

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