Imagine what it would be like if you couldn’t use your arms well or if they hurt all the time. Now imagine what that would be like if you were a newborn. Brachial plexus injuries happen to many newborns when doctors pull too hard on them during delivery.
If your child has suffered a brachial plexus injury, or been diagnosed with Erb’s palsy or a similar condition involving the arms, we can help you. Find out if you have a malpractice lawsuit by calling the Birth Injury Lawyers Group. We’ll connect you with a Chandler, AZ, brachial plexus attorney.
For a free legal consultation, call 1-800-222-9529
How does the Brachial Plexus Get Injured in Newborns?
There are two bundles of nerves that run down the neck and through the shoulders to the arms. These are the brachial plexuses. If a child’s neck or shoulder gets moved too far out of alignment, the nerves can get stretched or tear completely. This reduces the function of the arms, and could even make them paralyzed.
While there are birth defects that can affect the plexus, a large percentage of injuries are caused by doctors pulling too hard on a baby’s head or through a difficult labor that could have been fixed by a C-section. Either of these can be the basis of a malpractice lawsuit.
Another potential cause for injury is an undiagnosed infection. Inflammation of the nerves can cause long-term damage to them, creating similar symptoms to stretching or tearing. If an infection was missed by your doctor, that can be a reason to sue.
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Signs of a Brachial Plexus Injury
Not all brachial plexus injuries are serious. In minor cases, it can create pain, shock, or burning sensations down the arm, or cause numbness and weakness. These sensations can clear on their own but it may take days.
In worse cases, the victim cannot use muscles in their hands, arms, or shoulder. There may be a complete lack of movement. The arm and hand might be twisted and stuck in particular ways that are clear signs of an injury. There might also be incredible pain.
One common form of brachial plexus injury in newborns is Erb’s palsy. If your infant’s arm is rotated inward and cannot lift sideways on its own, get your child examined for this condition. Early intervention may repair the damage, though surgery may be necessary. Permanent disability is possible.
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Risk Factors for Brachial Plexus Injuries in Infants
Doctors should check for risk factors that could lead to a brachial plexus injury. Large birth weight or breech births are two of these. In these cases, your doctor should have advised you about the benefits of a C-section to ease birth and prevent injury.
Giving natural birth to babies with these conditions leads to a chance of prolonged labor and shoulder dystocia. Shoulder dystocia is a medical emergency. Doctors may have to push you on your stomach or use forceps to free the child’s shoulder from your pelvis.
Pressure on a baby stuck in this position from contractions or from a doctor’s forceps could cause damage to the brachial plexus. The question in these cases will be whether what the doctor did was within the standards of care, or if they used too much force to fix the problem.
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How do I Know If It Was Malpractice?
Since medicine is an uncertain profession, doctors have a lot of leeway to make mistakes. There are no guarantees. However, if we can prove four things using the evidence in your case, you’ll have a malpractice lawsuit.
- Was there a medical relationship between you and who you are suing?
- Did your caretaker breach the standards of care that other doctors would follow in a similar situation?
- Did that breach cause your child’s injuries?
- How was your child injured, and how did those injuries affect you and your family?
Proving these things on your own is nearly impossible. Malpractice insurers have decades of experience fighting against claims. You need to have a birth injury lawyer before you try to claim compensation. Our experience and our network of medical experts can determine if you have a case.
Potential Damages in Brachial Plexus Injury Cases
Damages in birth injury cases can be of three types, economic, non-economic, and punitive. Economic damages are the financial costs of caring for your child and the lost economic opportunities you suffered because of the injury, like lost wages because you had to take time off to take your child to appointments.
Non-economic damages are things like the pain and suffering you and your child have experienced because of the injury. It’s not just the child’s suffering, as many family members may need therapy to cope with raising a child with birth injuries. You can get compensation for this.
In rare cases, a court may award punitive damages. If a doctor acted maliciously or with gross negligence, the court may add an additional financial penalty to the defendant. It punishes defendants who go well beyond the boundaries of good care.
Is There a Deadline to File?
In Arizona, there are deadlines to file cases. Injuries to minors have a deadline of the minor’s 20th birthday, but parents should start a lawsuit on their behalf long before then. The earlier, the better. An early start makes it much easier to get evidence.
Mothers who were also injured during birth have a shorter time frame. They have two years from the date of the injury to start their case before they reach the statute of limitations. If you try to start a case after this time, the court will say you took too long to file and dismiss your case.
There are some exceptions to these statutes that effect the time you have to file your lawsuit. You can discuss this with your Chandler brachial plexus lawyer during your free consultation.
Hire a Brachial Plexus Attorney in Chandler, AZ
You do not have to fear approaching one of our birth injury attorneys. All of our consultations are free and you will owe us nothing unless we win your case. The worst we can say is that you do not have a case, but you and your child deserve to know what your legal options are.
Hire one of our attorneys at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group by calling the number on your screen. On our contact page, you can also email if you prefer. One of our representatives will ask for your information and connect you with a brachial plexus lawyer in your area that can help you.
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