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A brachial plexus lawsuit is a way that parents can seek justice and compensation on behalf of a child who was injured during childbirth due to medical malpractice or negligence. Brachial plexus injuries are injuries to the nerves that run from the spinal cord, along the neck, and to the shoulder. They provide sensation and the ability to move to the muscles and other tissues in the arms.
When the brachial plexus is damaged during childbirth it can lead to a range of symptoms of differing severities, from permanent paralysis to mild sensation loss. If your child suffered a brachial plexus injury, she may be facing a lifetime of disability and it may be someone’s fault.
You can use a brachial plexus injury lawsuit to get justice and compensation for your child so that you can provide her with the best care as she grows.
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A Brachial Plexus Injury and its Consequences
The brachial plexus is a bundle of five nerves that originate in the spinal cord and run 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 it is stretched. How much it is stretched determines the severity of the damage. The nerves may be stretched just a little or stretched so much that they are torn out of the spinal cord.
When the brachial plexus is only mildly stretched a baby may be born with a mild disability that heals over the course of a few months. More serious damage, though, can cause lasting symptoms, like loss of sensation in the arm, weakness in the arm, or 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 it’s head or shoulder is stuck, can stretch out the nerves in the neck causing the 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 doctor or other caregiver may be considered to be negligent in a brachial plexus injury if he or she used too much force on the baby. It may 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 kind of 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 may 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, many things are required, the most important of which is proof of 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. And, finally, you 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, to make better decisions, and to 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. The money that you get from a lawsuit could be the difference between getting your child the best care and just getting by.
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, to gather evidence, to make a strong case, and to 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 that 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 and this caused damage to the brachial plexus nerves which has resulted in a lifelong disability. 
The baby was in a breech position, and the parents claimed that the doctors should have seen her positioning and performed a Cesarean section to avoid complications. They maintained that if the doctors had done so, their daughter would not be disabled.
If you also feel that your baby suffered unnecessarily, and will continue to live with a disability indefinitely, 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 her 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