Erb’s palsy is a condition in which a network of nerves in the shoulders called the brachial plexus sustains damage or becomes torn, severed, or displaced. This injury often occurs when a child is being delivered, especially if a doctor or other member of the delivery team pulls on the infant improperly or forcefully.
If left untreated, Erb’s palsy can lead to permanent nerve damage that results in paralysis, mild pain, severe pain, or an inability to move the arms, hands, or fingers in a certain way. Treatments for Erb’s palsy include physical and occupational therapy, surgery for severe cases, medication, and other rehab programs that aim to help your child improve the strength, range of motion, and motor ability in their affected arm.
It is of the utmost importance that you speak to an experienced birth injury attorney as quickly as you can if you suspect or have been given a diagnosis of Erb’s palsy. In most cases, parents will want to understand how and why their child sustained Erb’s palsy, what caused it, and what their medical and legal options are. Speaking to a lawyer will help clarify these issues and will allow you to take measures to ensure your child receives the treatment and care that he or she deserves. Call us today at (800) 222-9529 for a free, no-obligation consultation about your legal options, how to find medical help, what your responsibilities and rights are, and how to file a claim if you suspect that medical negligence caused or contributed to your child’s disabilities.
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Important Timelines and Filing a Claim
Statutes of limitations are the timelines within which you are required to file a claim against a negligent party if you wish to sue for damages and compensation. It varies from state to state, but keep in mind that some Erb’s palsy cases can take 18 to 24 months from the time you file before it goes to trial, and you will be forced to bear the burden of paying for medical expenses and other costs associated with your child’s Erb’s palsy along the way.
Before filing a claim, you need to make sure that you have valid grounds for pursuing compensation from a party or parties you deem responsible for your child’s condition. You need to be able to prove the following:
- That the defendant or defendants, usually a doctor or another member of medical staff, owed a duty of care to you, meaning they were provably responsible for your medical care at the time during which the injuries that caused your child’s Erb’s palsy were incurred.
- That the defendant breached this duty of care or did not meet its basic requirements in some way.
- That their breach of this duty of care caused, aggravated, or contributed to your child’s injuries.
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Paying for Legal Representation
While paying for medical care, assistive devices, medicine, therapy, and more, most families typically cannot afford to take on additional expenses, so they may worry about paying legal fees and may shy away from seeking Erb’s palsy care and seeking compensation and damages even if they are legally entitled to those damages. However, the good news is that most birth injury practices work with clients on a contingency-fee-basis. This means you do not have to make any up-front payments to retain legal representation, and you only pay once you win your lawsuit.
If you feel you have a case and want to learn more about filing a claim, call us for a free case evaluation at (800) 222-9529. We will investigate your case, and if you have grounds for a claim, we will collect the evidence needed to build a case, present it to the court, negotiate a settlement with at-fault parties, and take the case to court if a fair and amicable settlement cannot be arrived at.
Other tasks we will perform for you include:
- Gathering relevant documents, such as medical records and the professional records of medical staff.
- Identifying key witnesses.
- Quantifying the value of your claim.
- Ensuring you file on time and with the right courts
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Negotiating a Settlement vs. Going to Trial
Most birth injury claims are settled out of court. Your legal counsel will fight for a fair settlement that you are happy with, but if an agreement cannot be reached with the defendant or at-fault parties, you will likely have to take your case to trial. Even though very few cases make it all the way to trial, it is better to prepare beforehand and to know that fighting a courtroom trial is a possibility.
During the discovery and investigation phase of your lawsuit, your attorney will collect the evidence and information needed to support your case and will present it to the defense. This will give the defendant(s) a chance to see the evidence and arguments that are stacked up against them and will allow them to review the evidence. In many cases, as soon as the defendants of a birth injury case realize that there is substantial evidence that points toward medical negligence, they will be happy to negotiate a settlement with you.
If a settlement still cannot be reached, your case will enter litigation, and your attorney will begin preparing for trial. Even now, the defendants can agree to settle, and most do so by the time your case enters litigation. If they do not, and your case goes to trial, your claim will be assessed based on the facts of your case.
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If medical negligence is proven in a trial, you need to be compensated by the defendants, and arriving at the figure you are owed will involve calculating the past, present, and future medical expenses associated with your baby’s injuries, the costs of therapy, pain and suffering, lost wages that accrued due to caring for the injured child, and more.
Your lawyer can break down the exact categories that are compensable, but it is important to speak to an experienced and qualified attorney as soon as possible so that you can meet important filing deadlines, collect the evidence needed to build a case, and quickly get back on track toward helping your child live an independent and pain-free life. For a free case evaluation by a dedicated birth injury expert, call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529.