Is Cerebral Palsy Hereditary?

child in wheelchairIf your child was recently diagnosed with cerebral palsy, you might be wondering if the condition is hereditary. Research has shown that while it is not a hereditary condition, there are some hereditary factors that can predispose individuals to it. Genetic influences cannot directly cause cerebral palsy, however. In most cases, cerebral palsy is congenital and not acquired.

What is Congenital Cerebral Palsy?

A child who has congenital cerebral palsy likely developed this condition during pregnancy or birth, while the brain was developing. Some of the most common causes for congenital cerebral palsy include:

  • Medical malpractice
  • Oxygen deprivation
  • Poorly treated health conditions
  • Bleeding in the brain
  • Preterm birth
  • Complex pregnancies
  • Infections or fevers

Hospitals and physicians tend not to admit their mistakes in such cases and will often try to attribute this condition to other factors that eliminate their culpability, and might even suggest the child developed it after birth, despite this being a rarity. Most children do not develop cerebral palsy after birth. In fact, according to the United Cerebral Palsy Research and Educational Foundation, 70 percent are diagnosed as congenital, the cause of which is usually the result of negligent or subpar care administered by healthcare providers.

What is Acquired Cerebral Palsy?

Acquired cerebral palsy accounts for about 10 percent of all cases. Although there is some debate among experts regarding the length of time it takes for the brain to fully develop, acquired cerebral palsy occurs within two to five years of a child’s birth. In these cases, the child is not born with the condition, but rather develops it due to an exposure to certain types of bacteria, or trauma to the brain. Common causes of acquired cerebral palsy include:

  • Brain infections
  • Bacterial meningitis
  • Viral encephalitis
  • Accidents and injuries

It could also be caused by a head injury in a motor vehicle accident, a fall, near-drowning, or abuse. Unlike congenital cerebral palsy, it is often easier to identify the cause of acquired cerebral palsy.


In some cases, a child might be treated for cerebral palsy even in the absence of the condition. This happens when a child sustains a brain injury after the brain has fully developed. When a child has been diagnosed with No CP, he or she might exhibit signs of impairment that are similar to cerebral palsy. The causes are often the same as those who are diagnosed with acquired cerebral palsy, except it occurs usually after a child’s fifth birthday.

Regardless of how your child developed cerebral palsy, it is important to seek a diagnosis if you think he or she might have this condition. Getting a formal diagnosis is the first step to understanding how this happened to your child. Caring for a child with a disability can take a financial toll on a family, so if someone else was responsible, it is time to hold that person accountable.

Cerebral Palsy Attorneys in Southfield

Fieger Law is well-known by insurance companies and hospitals all over the country because they know we are the most relentless and effective opponents they will ever face. If your child is suffering from cerebral palsy, it might be a result of a mistake made by a doctor, nurse, or hospital during birth. This is a serious condition and you should not have to face it alone. With a fierce legal advocate at your side, you can begin your path toward obtaining the just compensation you deserve. Our firm has won multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients, including a $145 million verdict upheld in 2014, the largest medical malpractice verdict in the nation.

Call us today at (800) 294-6637 to get started on your case.


Let Us Win For You

    • Please enter your First Name.
    • Please enter your Last Name.
    • This isn't a valid phone number.
      Please enter your phone number.
    • This isn't a valid email address.
      Please enter your email address.
    • Please make a selection.
    • Please enter a message.
    • I have read and agree to the following disclaimer.

      Please read and agree to the disclaimer.

      By submitting this form to Fieger, Fieger, Kenney & Harrington, P.C., I acknowledge and consent that this legal inquiry may be referred to a separate law firm on my behalf or by the authority of the injured party.

Put Us On Your Side