Erb’s palsy is a birth injury that affects thousands of infants born each year. It is too often caused by medical malpractice or negligence. If your child is impacted and is facing a lifelong disability, you may be looking for someone to blame.
If you think you have a solid case, that your doctor or other caregiver took some action or failed to take a necessary step while you were in labor, you could make an Erb’s palsy claim for compensation. With the right representation by your side, you could just win compensation that will help your child live a better life in spite of a permanent disability.
Erb’s Palsy as a Disability
This is a condition that can cause permanent disability, although it may be temporary. It is caused by damage to the brachial plexus nerves that control movement of muscles in the arm and provide sensation to the arm. The nerves can be damaged in a number of ways, but the majority of these injuries occur in infants during childbirth. These injuries are too often caused by situations that could have been prevented.
Depending on the severity of the injury an infant may be facing temporary or permanent Erb’s palsy. The symptoms of Erb’s palsy are loss of sensation in the arm, weakness in the arm muscles, and paralysis in the arm muscles, ranging from mild or moderate to complete and severe. If the damage that causes the palsy is minor it most likely will heal as the infant grows.
For some infants, though, the damage is too much to be healed, even with surgery or other treatments. These infants face the reality of growing up with a permanent disability. This may mean losing all feeling in an arm, having minimal use of the arm, or even being completely paralyzed in one arm.
Erb’s Palsy and Medical Malpractice
It is always possible that the brachial plexus injury that causes Erb’s palsy was a true accident, but in most cases some type of error in practice or judgement can be found to explain how it happened. The nerves of the brachial plexus run from the spine, through the neck, and to the shoulder where they connect to smaller nerves that run down the arm.
If the head and shoulder of a baby during childbirth get spread apart such that the neck is overstretched, damage can be caused to the nerves. Here are some examples of how medical malpractice could be found to be to blame in Erb’s palsy in a newborn:
- The baby was unusually large and the head got stuck in the pelvic area. The doctor or midwife pulled too hard to free the head, damaging the nerves.
- The baby was in breech position and as the doctor or midwife pulled on the infant its arms were raised over its head, causing strain to the brachial plexus as it emerged from the birth canal.
- The labor was long and complicated and the doctor failed to recognize this and order a Cesarean section to avoid damage to the newborn.
- A doctor uses forceps or a vacuum extractor to aid in delivery and accidentally uses them too forcefully causing the brachial plexus to get stretched out and damaged.
What is an Erb’s Palsy Compensation Claim?
An Erb’s palsy claim for compensation is a lawsuit that you as a parent may file in order to seek monetary damages for the disability caused to your child by the process of labor and delivery. In many cases of Erb’s palsy, blame can be found to lie with a medical caregiver whom you trusted to provide competent care for you and your child.
If you can prove that this person had a responsibility for your medical care, that he or she made a mistake or error in judgement and you can show that this mistake led to your child’s disability, you can file a claim for compensation and you stand a good chance of recovering damages. Getting that money could mean a better life for your child with the best medical care, important adaptive equipment, a good education, and even therapy.
What an Erb’s Palsy Claim for Compensation May Cover
What the compensation may cover, and how much you are likely to be awarded, depends on several factors. The decision will take into account the extent and severity of your child’s’ injury, how permanent the disability is expected to be, and the degree of negligence or malpractice that can be proven against the doctor or other caregiver present at your delivery.
Your compensation could cover a number of expenses you and your child will be facing in the future, including some things you may not have yet foreseen. For instance, it can cover some of the more obvious costs of a disability like medical bills and your lost wages if you need to stay home to care for your child. It may also cover therapy, both emotional and physical, surgeries, assistive and adaptive devices for home and school, and even transportation to doctor’s appointments. It can even cover things like emotional and physical pain and suffering.
How to File a Claim and Win Compensation
In order to file an Erb’s palsy claim for compensation you need an experienced lawyer. This professional should be someone experienced with birth injury and medical malpractice cases and in winning compensation for clients. You could go it alone, but your odds of winning money for your child are much less than if you trust in a professional who knows what to do.
For one thing, a lawyer will know when the statute of limitation runs out and can ensure all necessary paperwork is filed. This professional can also make the best case to prove negligence in your child’s injury and can be your representation either in a trial or a negotiation for a settlement. Make sure you choose a lawyer with a proven track record for helping parents of children with birth injuries, and you will give your child the best possible future.