Cerebral palsy is the name given to movement disorders caused by damage to a fetus’s brain. There is no one form of cerebral palsy, and its symptoms may vary from person to person. At Paulson & Nace, PLLC, we are aware of how severe the symptoms of cerebral palsy can become, and that it sometimes takes years before they manifest. We have helped families throughout Washington, D.C. obtain the compensation they need to provide support and care for their children afflicted by cerebral palsy. If your child developed CP because of medical negligence, we may be able to help you, too.

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Cerebral palsy is the result of brain damage. Undiagnosed brain infections or a case of meningitis could lead to CP, as can a congenital defect. In cases of medical negligence, however, cerebral palsy is a birth injury resulting from:

  • Oxygen deprivation, either during labor or by the umbilical cord cutting off the oxygen supply
  • Brain swelling or bleeding caused by vacuum extractor or forceps errors
  • Untreated skull fractures that affect oxygen levels or cut off the circulation of oxygen-rich blood to the brain
  • Errors made during C-sections that damage the brain
  • Failing to monitor a fetus properly for indications of infection or injury
  • Failure to provide adequate postpartum care after the birth of the child

Verdicts & Settlements

Jury returns $10.8 Million Verdict in Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit Tried by Paulson & Nace
Paulson & Nace, PLLC won a significant $10.8 million verdict against Raleigh General Hospital and the United States for a child who suffered cerebral palsy due to oxygen deprivation at birth. The case was complicated by a misdiagnosis and delayed by the pandemic, but the firm's attorneys successfully argued that medical negligence caused the child's condition. The jury agreed, assigning liability to both the hospital and a federally-funded clinic involved in the child's care.


Children afflicted with CP exhibit problems with muscle coordination and mobility. According to the National Institutes of Health, the most common signs include:

  • Ataxia, a “lack of muscle coordination when performing voluntary movements”
  • Spasticity, indicated by exaggerated reflexes
  • Muscle tone that is “too stiff or too floppy”
  • Abnormal walking gaits

The Mayo Clinic also states that rigidity may be apparent in the trunk of the child’s body, and that “abnormal posture” could indicate cerebral palsy. Some children may also suffer with an imbalance in their eye muscles or have difficulty swallowing.


There is no cure for cerebral palsy. CP is a non-progressive condition, which means the symptoms your child has now will stay with him or her throughout his or her lifetime.

Depending on the severity of the damage, walking may range from just being more difficult to being reliant on crutches or a wheelchair for mobility. Speech may be slower or seem labored, and eating may be more difficult depending upon the affected muscles.


The answer to whether those with cerebral palsy can live a traditional life span truly depends on the severity of the condition. Everyone will differ, however those with moderate symptoms can live long lives while others with extreme disability will likely die sooner. Due to the amount of energy required to do what comes naturally to individuals without CP, such as walking and eating, there is added strain placed on their system that causes premature aging.

The age at which CP is diagnosed can be a bit tricky. Doctors may suspect a baby has the condition when he or she fails to meet basic milestones. The general movements assessment in conjunction with MRI results showing brain damage could show CP as early as three months of age.


Although you and your child will deal with CP for life, there are treatments available to help improve and manage symptoms that may offer your son or daughter a chance at a more independent lifestyle. As you might expect, these treatments take time and money to maximize their benefits. They are often viewed as building blocks.

Developing the best treatment plan will require working together with a team of doctors, teachers, and therapists. Your child may require one or several of the following treatment protocols:

  • Doctors may prescribe medications to aid in muscle function either orally, through periodic injections, or surgical implant.
  • Therapies for improving physical movement, tasks for daily living, speech or communication tools, and his or her emotional and social wellbeing are often required.
  • Surgery on nerve fibers, bones, hips, and joints may be needed to help with pain, motion, and flexibility and can be a periodic necessity.
  • Alternative medical treatments such as hyperbaric oxygen or stem cell therapy may become more common as these areas are further developed.

At Paulson & Nace, we handle complex medical malpractice cases like these with diligence. We pay meticulous attention to detail and use only authoritative testimony when appropriate for a case. Over the past 40 years, our team has secured millions of dollars for our clients. We are aggressive patient advocates who are not afraid to hold healthcare providers accountable for their mistakes in the courtroom; in fact, we thrive in such atmospheres. That is why so many of our clients and our peers throughout Washington, D.C., and West Virginia call us for complex birth injury cases.

Helping Washington, DC families whose children are diagnosed with cerebral palsy

The experienced trial attorneys of Paulson & Nace, PLLC, have spent over 40 years protecting new parents and newborns in the greater Washington, D.C. metro. If your child has cerebral palsy due to a medical error at birth, we may be able to help you obtain compensation you will need to provide the level of care your child needs. Schedule your free case evaluation in our Washington, D.C. or Charleston, WV office by calling 202-463-1999 or by reaching out to us through our contact page.