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Cost of Cerebral Palsy Over a Lifetime


The parents of a child born with cerebral palsy (CP), or who develops it early in life, know the emotional toll will be significant and trying. What they may not know or anticipate is the massive financial cost of raising a child with cerebral palsy. Doctors and science currently consider CP to be an incurable affliction, meaning treatment or symptom abatement must continue for the entire lifespan of the child.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) that covers a wide variety of medical condition and treatment discussions. Within the MMWR, it examined the financial impacts of cerebral palsy on the average household. It determined, based on the monetary value of 2004, that raising and caring for a child with cerebral palsy will cost a family around $920,000.

This estimation did not include:

  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Money used to hire caregivers
  • Visits to the emergency room

With these excluded factors in mind, one could safely assume that at least $1 million is necessary to care for a child born with cerebral palsy. As the CDC’s last report on the matter was published in 2004, calculating for inflation changes, the actual total cost today could exceed $1.24 million. The MMWR also estimated that the total economic loss – that is the cost of being unable to find employment, or the fiscal consequence of making it difficult for a parent to find employment and care for their child with CP – could range into the billions.

Health insurance, government assistance programs, and even charities are all avenues a parent can explore to find financial help when trying to pay for cerebral palsy treatments for their child. However, in most cases, they simply are not enough to keep a family from falling into debt. A lawsuit may be required to find total compensation.

At Brett H. Oppenheimer, PLLC, we have focused our practice on cerebral palsy cases and the medical malpractice that often causes it. If you need the assistance of a Kentucky attorney who handles cerebral palsy cases with decades of experience and more than $100 million won for clients through verdicts and settlements, please contact Brett Oppenheimer today. Our offices are in Louisville, but we handle cases around the state of Kentucky. We work on a no recovery, no fee basis and initial consultations are free, so there is no risk to you.

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