Brachial plexus injuries that occur during the birthing process may not be immediately recognizable to the parents in the birthing suite or the medical personnel overseeing the birthing process; however, the effects of these injuries can show up a few hours to a few days after the birth, leading doctors to make a diagnosis of Erb’s palsy. When you receive a diagnosis like this, you want to know what the long-term health prospects are for your baby, and you want to know how the injury occurred.
A brachial plexus palsy lawyer from the Birth Injury Lawyers Group is ready to help you defend your right to seek compensation for your baby’s medical costs and the family’s emotional trauma. If you need a Birmingham Erb’s palsy lawyer, our team is ready to begin working on your behalf as soon as you hire us. Call us at (800) 222-9529 as soon as possible.
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How Erb’s Palsy May Form
Erb’s palsy occurs after a newborn suffers injuries to the brachial plexus nerves. This network of nerves exists between the neck and the shoulder and controls the shoulder, upper arm, lower arm, and hand. It controls both movement and sensation.
Although brachial plexus injuries only appear in one to two out of every 1,000 live births, medical personnel need to keep an eye out for the symptoms, especially if the birthing process was difficult or prolonged.
Injuries During Birth
For a newborn to develop Erb’s palsy, an injury likely occurred during the birthing process. Sometimes, these injuries are unpreventable. More often, though, someone on the birthing team made an error in judgment or a physical error. Some injuries that can lead to Erb’s palsy in a newborn include:
- Shoulders wedged: the baby’s shoulders become wedged in the birth canal because of a large birth weight, labor that lasts too long, or a breech birth—any of which may lead to the brachial plexus nerve injury.
- Trauma: medical personnel use instruments improperly or place too much pressure and strain on the baby’s shoulders, neck, or arms while trying to help the baby exit the birth canal.
Erb’s palsy can show up in adults and older children too. Severe trauma in the brachial plexus area from a car accident, sports injury, or penetration of the area with a foreign object can all lead to Erb’s palsy symptoms forming. If a tumor is growing in the area of the brachial plexus nerves, it also can cause Erb’s palsy symptoms.
Preventing Erb’s Palsy at Birth
Many times, an injury occurring at birth that leads to the diagnosis of Erb’s palsy is preventable. Doctors can take steps to anticipate a difficult birth, such as preparing to handle the birth in a different way to keep the baby injury-free. Better medical care during the pregnancy may also prevent the injury.
At the Birth Injury Lawyers Group, we have a Birmingham Erb’s palsy lawyers and a legal team that can help you through this difficult time. We know how traumatic an Erb’s palsy diagnosis can be for you and your family. We are ready to stand by your side during negotiations and through a trial, if necessary. Call us at (800) 222-9529.
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Recognizing Erb’s Palsy
There are symptoms of Erb’s palsy that doctors and parents can recognize. The signs may show up as soon as a few hours after birth. Doctors and nurses should be able to recognize signs of Erb’s palsy relatively quickly. If you, the newborn’s parent, believe you see potential signs of Erb’s palsy, you need to let doctors know immediately in case they have not noticed the symptoms, which include:
- An arm hanging limply
- An unnatural rotation of the arm or forearm
- Significant weakness or paralysis in an arm or shoulder
- An inability to raise the hand to the mouth
When Erb’s palsy is present, you typically will only notice the symptoms on one side of the body, rather than in both arms and shoulders.
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Potential Compensation Awards in an Erb’s Palsy Case
The severity of an Erb’s palsy case will vary from baby to baby, according to a journal study by the Paediatrics & Child Health. The least severe cases may heal on their own within a few weeks or months using only rest and mild physical therapy. The most severe cases may cause permanent disfigurement and disability.
The varying levels of severity regarding symptoms in Erb’s palsy cases can cause potential compensation amounts to vary quite a bit. If your newborn has suffered an especially severe case of Erb’s palsy, you may be eligible to receive a higher level of compensation.
Some of the items for which you and your family could receive compensation in a birth injury case include:
- Current medical costs
- Expected future medical costs
- Emotional trauma for the family
- Out-of-pocket expenses for medication or trips to the doctor
- Reimbursement for the time you must take off work for medical appointments or medical care
- Long term loss of quality of life
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Pay Attention to the Statute of Limitations
Because each case that leads to a diagnosis of Erb’s palsy is different, it is important for your Birmingham Erb’s palsy lawyer to study the particular facts in your case. With these facts in hand, we will have a better chance of determining who was at fault for your baby’s injuries.
Another item that can vary from case to case is the time when you decide to file a lawsuit. Perhaps your baby’s Erb’s palsy symptoms seemed minor at first, but they are not healing as expected. Perhaps doctors are now telling you the symptoms may never heal properly.
Each state, including Alabama, has its own rules regarding the statute of limitations for birth injury cases. Speaking with a lawyer can help you become familiar with your state’s laws.
We Are Ready to Work for You
At the Birth Injury Lawyers Group, our team knows how insurance companies tend to treat victims in cases like this. We can use this knowledge to counteract the insurer’s techniques, working to help you receive the fairest possible settlement.
Call us at (800) 222-9529 as soon as possible for a free consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means we do not accept payment until we reach a settlement.
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