Adults can develop Erb’s palsy from injuries in auto accidents or contact sports and other traumatic events. When an infant or child receives an Erb’s palsy diagnosis, the cause can sometimes be traced back to childbirth and negligence of the obstetrician, delivery doctor, or medical team who supported the delivery.
If your newborn or child suffers from this condition, consider having a Sunrise Erb’s palsy lawyer review your medical history and the documentation of the delivery. If a lawyer determines that a medical provider’s negligence caused your child’s condition, you may be entitled to receive compensation from the at-fault party.
Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at (800) 222-9529.
For a free legal consultation with Sunrise Erb's Palsy lawyer, call 1-800-222-9529
Doctors Are Held to a “Standard of Care”
In order for your case to qualify as “medical malpractice,” the circumstances must meet four legal criteria for negligence:
- Duty of care: The defendant (medical provider) owed the plaintiff (you) a duty to uphold a standard of care consistent with that of other medical providers in similar circumstances.
- Breach of duty: The defendant failed to meet the standard of care.
- Causation: The defendant’s negligence caused your injury (or that of your child).
- Damages: You (or your child) suffered physical, emotional, and financial harm.
A violation of the standard of care can occur at any stage of pregnancy, delivery, or after-care.
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The Biological Cause of Erb’s Palsy
The human body relies on networks of nerves that transmit signals to and from various parts of the body. Think of them like electric circuits. One such bundle of nerves, the brachial plexus, is responsible for sending signals from the spinal cord to the shoulder, arm, and hand on each side of the body. This relay of signals enables mobility and sensation to these areas.
Erb’s palsy happens when the upper brachial plexus is damaged from being stretched—sometimes to the point of being ripped away from the spinal cord.
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How the Brachial Plexus Is Injured During Childbirth
Common scenarios for this type of injury develop during difficult deliveries. There are several risk factors that might necessitate a careful maneuvering of the fetus during delivery and which, if not handled properly, may lead to a brachial plexus injury.
- A baby is larger than normal, or the mother is smaller than normal.
- The baby is presented feet first (breech).
- One or both of the infant’s shoulders get lodged inside the mother’s pelvis.
These situations, although problematic, do not mean that a baby will suffer an injury during the delivery. An attentive, responsive, and skilled physician and delivery team should be aware of the risks, be prepared to handle them, then skillfully execute the proper delivery techniques to ensure the baby emerges unharmed.
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Ways in Which Medical Negligence Can Cause Erb’s Palsy
At multiple points in time throughout your pregnancy, labor, and delivery, your physician or other healthcare provider’s negligence might have paved the way for your child’s birth injury.
Your obstetrician may have provided substandard prenatal care, failing to diagnose conditions that represented risk factors for your delivery. Or perhaps they did not inform you of aspects of your health that would lend to a difficult delivery and educate you of recommended alternatives, such as a Cesarean section (C-section).
During labor, your physician should have been aware of signs of trouble, and yet maybe they failed to properly maneuver your baby or perform an emergency C-section. In another scenario, it is possible the medical provider who delivered your baby applied excessive force to the head, neck, or shoulder during delivery, causing direct damage to the brachial plexus, resulting in your child’s Erb’s palsy.
If your medical provider’s behavior resembled any of the above situations, their actions did not meet the standard of care. If your baby suffered from Erb’s palsy as a result of this negligence, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your damages.
A Sunrise Erb’s palsy lawyer from the Birth Injury Lawyers Group will discuss the details of your case and inform you of your options for seeking a settlement from the at-fault party’s insurance or taking the matter to court for a judge or jury to decide. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at (800) 222-9529.
Diagnosing Erb’s Palsy
Beyond causing the nerve damage that ends in Erb’s palsy, a medical professional can exacerbate this condition by failing to diagnose it—or failing to do so in a timely manner. Early diagnosis of these types of injuries is important because prompt surgery may be required in order to restore function to the arm or shoulder. By failing to act swiftly, the patient may suffer a permanent disability preventing them from using their arm or hand.
Signs and Symptoms
A baby who suffers from Erb’s palsy depends on medical professionals and others to detect the signs of the condition, as an infant cannot communicate some of the symptoms they may be experiencing. There are several symptoms that might indicate Erb’s palsy:
- Weak or abnormal reflexes in the arm that has been affected
- Weakened grip
- Lack of sensation in the affected arm or shoulder
- Affected arm is abnormally positioned
- Diminished movement and weakness in affected arm
The signs you may detect in your child depend on which nerves were damaged and how severely they were injured. In the most serious cases of the condition, an Erb’s palsy patient may experience temporary or permanent paralysis of the affected limb.
Damages You Might Recover
The damages you recover from your child’s Erb’s palsy may not be the same as the amount granted to another parent whose child suffers from this condition. Not only are the circumstances of the injury likely to be different, but also the economic impact the injury has had and will continue to have on your family will likely differ.
Your lawyer will review the medical evidence and consult with experts in the fields of medicine and vocational therapy to determine the damages you can demand in an insurance settlement or jury award.
A partial list of the types of damages commonly associated with personal injuries includes:
- Costs of medical treatment, medications, physical therapy, hospitalization, etc.
- Wages lost while you care for your child
- Diminished future potential earnings
- Pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional stress
- Loss of consortium
- Diminished quality of life
Your lawyer will determine which of these, and possibly other types of damages, you may be able to recover. They will submit the demand for compensation to the insurance provider and negotiate for a fair settlement. If the insurer fails to agree to a fair settlement, your lawyer can file a lawsuit and have the matter decided in civil court.
A Sunrise Erb’s Palsy Lawyer Can Help You
While you consider hiring a Sunrise Erb’s palsy lawyer, remember that each state limits the amount of time you have to file a legal action for a personal injury. In the case of a birth injury, however, you may be able to toll, or pause, the statute of limitations.
Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at (800) 222-9529 for a free consultation.
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