If doctors diagnosed your child with Erb’s palsy shortly after birth, this type of brachial plexus birth injury could support a medical malpractice case. You could hold the Lakewood, CO, doctor or hospital accountable for your family’s related medical bills, ongoing therapy costs, and other damages.
Speak with our birth injury lawyers now to get a free case review based on your child’s diagnosis. You may qualify to take legal action and seek compensation with the assistance of an Erb’s palsy lawyer in Lakewood.
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What Is Erb’s Palsy?
Erb’s palsy is a condition where a newborn baby’s upper arm becomes paralyzed due to damage to the brachial plexus, which is an intricate network of nerves in the neck and shoulder area.
The upper brachial plexus nerves are responsible for sending signals from the brain to the shoulder, arm and hand muscles. When these nerves are damaged, it can lead to paralysis in the affected area, which can cause significant problems with motor skills and other physical functions that rely on those muscles in order to operate properly.
Injuries to the brachial plexus can result in pain and weakness in the affected arm. With Erb’s palsy, there may be limited movement of the affected arm and hand. The opposite arm may also be weak or paralyzed due to overcompensation by the body.
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Causes of Erb’s Palsy
Erb’s palsy is caused by damage to the brachial plexus, which is a network of nerves that controls movement and feeling in the upper limb. This injury occurs during birth when pressure is exerted on the neck or shoulder area.
Erb’s palsy can occur as a result of an obstetric emergency such as shoulder dystocia (CD) or birth trauma that causes excessive traction on the shoulders or neck.
Occasionally, it may also happen without any apparent cause. The most common symptom is weakness or paralysis of one arm with accompanying pain. In some cases, there may be no symptoms at all.
If you or someone you love has suffered from an Erb’s palsy, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and more. An Erb’s palsy attorney in Lakewood can help you recover these damages by bringing a lawsuit against the hospital where your child was born.
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Common Symptoms of Erb’s Palsy
There are three types of symptoms associated with Erb’s palsy: reflex muscle paralysis (also known as flaccid paralysis), weakened muscle tone (also known as spastic paralysis), and sensory loss.
The most common symptom of Erb’s palsy is the weakening or loss of muscle tone in the arms and hands. If left untreated, affected individuals may need physical therapy to regain some motor function in their arms and hands.
Erb’s palsy can be classified as mild, moderate or severe. Mild cases may have few symptoms but still, require treatment. Moderate cases cause muscle weakness and spasms in the arm and shoulder muscles. Severe cases often result in permanent nerve damage and loss of function in the hand, arm, and shoulder area.
Most infants recover within six months after birth with physical therapy sessions to strengthen affected muscles. Some children may need surgery if they do not respond well to physical therapy treatment or if their condition gets worse later on in life.
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Erb’s Palsy Cases Can Vary Widely in Severity
Erb’s palsy occurs as a result of an injury to the top portion of the brachial plexus, generally around the nerve roots C5 and C6, and sometimes C7. The damage to the nerves that causes Erb’s palsy can range from relatively mild to catastrophic. This scale includes:
- Least severe injuries: Neuropraxia, a stretching or bruising of the nerve fibers, allows for a complete recovery over the child’s first few weeks or months.
- Intermediate injuries: Axonotmesis, a partial tear or injury to the nerve fibers, generally allows for a gradual recovery.
- Severe injuries: Neurotmesis, when the nerve is completely torn in two or ripped away from the spinal cord, causes permanent injuries. Surgery may help regain some motion or sensation, but full recovery is unlikely.
There are also other types of brachial plexus birth injuries, although Erb’s palsy is by far the most common. These other injuries occur in the same way and may also support a birth injury medical malpractice case. These include:
- Klumpke’s palsy: An injury to C8 and T1
- Total plexus palsy: An injury that affects all nerve roots from C5 to T1
Erb’s Palsy Treatments
Treatment for Erb’s palsy and other brachial plexus birth injuries begins as soon as the child is diagnosed.
- The first week, the affected shoulder and arm are usually immobilized in a splint or brace to reduce swelling and stop additional damage.
- Then, physical therapy begins. The therapist or doctor will teach the parents a number of active and passive exercises to help the baby maintain range of motion during healing.
- The doctor will likely monitor the baby for three to six months to see if they recover or show significant signs of improvement. If not, surgery may be necessary.
Surgery to identify the problem and repair or replace the nerves is not a guaranteed fix. According to case studies, about two out of every three children who underwent surgery show improvement in their sensation and movement once the nerves heal. However, this also requires:
- Regular monitoring every 8-12 weeks for up to two years
- Ongoing physical and occupational therapy
- Learning to adapt to doing things in non-traditional ways as their abilities allow
It is also important to note how a permanent Erb’s palsy injury can affect the child’s life in other ways, such as their self-esteem, socialization, quality of life, sports, activities of daily living, gaining independence, and more.cases, there is also the emotional trauma of not knowing what caused the injury.
A Lakewood Erb’s palsy attorney will be able to help you determine whether or not your case has merit and whether or not you should file for damages against the doctor responsible for your child’s injury.
Damages Recoverable in an Erb’s Palsy Settlement or Award
If you secure a negotiated out-of-court settlement or award in your Erb’s palsy case, you will not only get justice for your child who suffered injuries because of someone else’s negligence, but you will also be able to recover compensation for your damages. This could include:
- Current and future medical care related to the birth injury
- Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other therapies
- Adaptive equipment as recommended by therapists
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Other noneconomic damages
Pursuing Compensation Based on My Child’s Lakewood Erb’s Palsy Diagnosis
Your birth injury lawyer will help you gather evidence to support your claim and build a case to present during settlement negotiations or in court. This evidence varies somewhat from case to case, but almost always includes:
- The relevant medical records
- Other records related to the pregnancy, delivery, and diagnosis
- Expert medical witness testimony about the acceptable standard of care
- Proof of losses, such as medical records, receipts, and other documentation
Your Lakewood birth injury lawyer will walk through the process of filing a medical malpractice claim on your family’s behalf, including satisfying the requirements for having a qualified medical expert review the case and agree you have a case.
Many of these cases settle out of court without ever having to file a lawsuit. However, if a lawsuit is necessary, your attorney will represent you at trial and fight for an award based on your expenses and losses.
Why an Erb’s Palsy Attorney Is Needed
If you or someone close to you has been injured due to an Erb’s palsy, it may be important to find a personal injury attorney. You might need help with medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
A Lakewood Erb’s palsy lawyer will help you recover damages from any parties who may be responsible for causing your injury, such as your doctor or hospital staff if they failed to provide proper care during labor or delivery; even if it was not their fault but another person’s negligence that caused your injuries.
You may also be able to recover damages from pharmaceutical companies if the medication prescribed for you caused your condition or if there was a flaw in the design of the drug.
An Erb’s Palsy Attorney Will Help You Understand Your Rights
When you are considering hiring a lawyer, it is important to find one with experience in personal injury law. A birth injury attorney will have dealt with similar cases before and can help you recover damages for your pain and suffering as well as any lost wages or medical bills that resulted from your condition.
The Erb’s palsy attorney will also help you collect medical records and other evidence that supports your claim against the doctor or hospital that delivered your child. They may even file a lawsuit against them if they believe they are at fault and need to be held liable for their actions.
Because there are so many different causes of Erb’s palsy and because there are different types of treatment options available today, it is important that you contact an experienced Erb’s palsy lawyer who can help you understand your legal rights and options.
Act Quickly to Pursue a Colorado Birth Injury Legal Case
If you believe you have a legal case against a doctor, hospital, birthing center, or another medical care provider in Lakewood, you will need to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations in Colorado runs out. Your attorney will need to help you build a case, file a claim, and attempt a settlement before you file a lawsuit against the liable party or parties. This takes time.
It is important to discuss the facts of your family’s Erb’s palsy birth injury case with a lawyer who handles these cases in Colorado. This is the best way to understand the time restraints that apply to your case.
Reach Out to a Lakewood Erb’s Palsy Attorney to Learn About Options
Our birth injury lawyers are here to help if your child was diagnosed with Erb’s palsy or another brachial plexus birth injury in Lakewood or greater Jefferson County, Colorado.
These birth injuries are often preventable. You may be able to file a medical malpractice birth injury claim or file a lawsuit with a Lakewood Erb’s palsy attorney to hold the liable parties accountable and recover compensation based on your family’s damages.
Contact us today for a free review of your Erb’s palsy birth injury case. Initial consultations are always free for families who believe their child was a victim of a medical malpractice birth injury.
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