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A brachial plexus injury lawsuit is a way to seek justice and compensation on behalf of a child who was harmed due to medical negligence. Brachial plexus injuries include damage to the nerves that run from the spinal cord, along the neck, and to the shoulder. A brachial plexus injury lawyer can assist you through the legal process.
A Brachial Plexus Injury and its Consequences
The brachial plexus is a bundle of five nerves originating in the spinal cord and running along either side of the neck and down to the shoulders. From there, these nerves attach to smaller nerves that run to each part of the arms providing sensation and the ability to move.
The brachial plexus gets damaged when stretched. How far it’s stretched determines the severity of the damage. The nerves may be stretched just a little or stretched so much that they tear out of the spinal cord.
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When the brachial plexus is only mildly stretched a baby may be born with a mild disability that heals over a few months.
More serious brachial plexus injuries can cause lasting symptoms:
- Loss of sensation in the arm
- Muscle weakness in the arm
- Varying degrees of paralysis
The damage may be treatable with surgery, physical therapy, and medications, but for some children, there will be a lifelong disability.
Damage to the brachial plexus during childbirth is not that uncommon. As a baby emerges from the birth canal, it may get stuck. The pulling motion used to get the baby out while the head or shoulder is stuck, can stretch out the nerves in the neck, causing damage.
In most cases, this doesn’t result in serious damage. In other cases, though, the damage is moderate to severe and could have been prevented.
A medical professional, like a doctor, might be considered to be negligent in a brachial plexus injury if they used too much force on the baby.
It could also be considered negligence if a doctor should have noticed signs that labor would be complicated but failed to perform a Cesarean section to avoid those complications.
The use of instruments, like forceps, can also be considered malpractice if they cause serious brachial plexus injury.
If you think your child’s injury was preventable, you may want to file a brachial plexus injury lawsuit.
What Is a Brachial Plexus Lawsuit?
Any medical malpractice warrants a lawsuit against the responsible party, which may be an individual doctor or an entire hospital.
If your child was injured because of actions taken or actions not taken by a doctor or other medical professional, it might be medical malpractice.
A brachial plexus injury lawsuit is a legal means to sue and attempt to recover monetary damages from those responsible for your child’s injury.
To file a successful lawsuit, your legal team must prove three things:
- You must prove that the person or facility you are suing was given explicit responsibility for your and your child’s medical care.
- You must also prove that this person or institution made a medical error, such as failing to perform a Cesarean section.
- You also must show that this error led to the brachial plexus injury your child now has.
What Can a Lawsuit Achieve?
A brachial plexus injury lawsuit has the potential to achieve two things: justice and compensation. It isn’t fair that your child will have to live with a disability for the rest of her life. Someone should be held accountable for mistakes made that led to that disability.
Furthermore, getting this justice protects other babies. A successful malpractice lawsuit forces doctors and hospitals to be more careful, make better decisions, and institute policies that protect children and other patients.
A successful lawsuit can also provide you with financial compensation that can cover things like medical bills, future medical and therapeutic expenses, travel expenses for treatment, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
A Lawsuit Starts with a Good Lawyer
To file a lawsuit against a doctor or hospital that you believe caused your child’s injury can seem like a daunting task.
You need a lawyer experienced in medical malpractice cases and birth injuries to file the lawsuit for you. They will gather evidence, make a strong case, and represent you in a settlement agreement or in a trial, depending on how the lawsuit ends.
Make sure you find a lawyer with whom you feel comfortable and who has a proven track record of helping parents like you.
An Example of a Brachial Plexus Injury Lawsuit
In 2003, the parents of a girl born with a brachial plexus injury won $20 million on her behalf. The girl was born in Evanston, Illinois, and the parents claimed that her doctors used excessive traction as she was being delivered.
In other words, they used too much force to pull her from the birth canal, which caused damage to the brachial plexus nerves, resulting in a lifelong disability.
The baby was in a breech position, and the doctors should have noticed the positioning and performed a Cesarean section to avoid complications. The baby’s parents maintained that if the doctors had done so, their daughter would not be disabled.
If you also feel that your baby suffered unnecessarily because of a doctor’s error, you too may be able to recover monetary damages. A brachial plexus injury lawsuit is a way of getting justice for your child and providing for their continuing care.
- Brachial Plexus Injury in Newborns: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (n.d.). MedlinePlus - Health Information from the National Library of Medicine.
Retrieved from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001395.htm
- Carlos Sadovi, Tribune staff reporter. (2018, August 27). Lawsuit over Girl's Birth Settled for $20 Million. Chicagotribune.com.
Retrieved from: https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2003-11-11-0311110225-story.html