In many cases, families of newborns who suffer from Erb’s palsy have a strong enough case to support filing a birth injury lawsuit or taking other steps to pursue compensation on their child’s behalf. Erb’s palsy and other brachial plexus birth injuries are often preventable if the doctor takes proper precautions after noting certain risk factors.
In other cases, it is the doctor or other care provider’s own careless or negligent actions that cause the injury. This injury can happen during a difficult labor when the doctor uses too much force or an improper technique to try to deliver the baby. This negligence may also support a legal claim against the doctor or hospital.
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Erb’s Palsy Can Require Medical Intervention and Cause Lasting Impairment
Parents who consider pursuing compensation based on their child’s Erb’s palsy diagnosis will need to work closely with their lawyer to build a strong case. Each state has its own rules for the type of evidence–usually a medical expert witness–to prove a birth injury case. In addition, your lawyer should help you document how the injury affects your child’s life and other damages your family suffers because of the injury.
When Erb’s palsy requires surgical intervention, the cost of microsurgery to graft or transfer a nerve is often very expensive. Children who do not recover full movement and sensation, whether they require surgery or not, may need additional therapy, including physical therapy and occupational therapy. They may also suffer complications that include:
- Weakened muscles in the affected arm
- Slowed growth of the affected arm
- Poor range of motion in the affected shoulder
Occupational therapy can help the child master many self-care tasks and activities of daily living, but this type of injury can prevent them from participating in some activities with their peers. As a result, an Erb’s palsy birth injury may affect their quality of life and self-esteem.
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Erb’s Palsy Is Often Preventable
In most cases, it is possible to prevent Erb’s palsy. While it does sometimes occur naturally as a result of a difficult birth, doctors should be able to identify the risk factors of a difficult birth and determine if the baby is at an increased risk of a brachial plexus injury or a host of other possible birth injuries. Sometimes, it is safer to call for a cesarean (c-section) delivery than risk the possible birth injuries.
A c-section may occur in many situations where there is an increased risk of Erb’s palsy, including:
- When the baby will likely have a high birth weight
- When the baby is very large compared to the size or shape of the birth canal
- When the baby is breech (feet first)
- When there are other risk factors for a prolonged labor
In addition to failing to prevent an Erb’s palsy birth injury, there are some instances when a doctor’s actions directly cause this type of brachial plexus nerve injury. This injury can occur when there are complications during delivery, and the doctor uses inappropriate force or improper techniques to:
- Turn the baby
- Move the baby down the birth canal
- Pull or tug on the baby
- Free a shoulder stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone
No matter whether the doctor or other medical care providers caused the injury directly or failed to prevent the injury, your child’s Erb’s palsy diagnosis may support a birth injury claim. Discuss your case with a medical malpractice lawyer to learn more.
Your Birth Injury Lawyer Can Help You Build an Erb’s Palsy Medical Malpractice Case
Most birth injury lawyers offer free case reviews to families whose newborns suffered a brachial plexus injury at birth. You can work with a lawyer to build a strong case, prove your economic and noneconomic damages, and pursue compensation to cover your:
- Past and future medical care costs related to your child’s birth injury
- Therapy and rehabilitation expenses
- Out-of-pocket expenses related to their injury or treatment
- Pain and suffering damages
You should consider discussing the strength of your case with your lawyer as soon as possible. Each state has rules about how long you can wait to take legal action, and only some of them allow you to toll this statute of limitations for newborn medical malpractice victims. A lawyer who practices birth injury law will know the applicable deadlines and work with you to meet them.
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Contact the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529 For a Free Case Review
Reach out to Birth Injury Lawyers Group today to discuss your Erb’s palsy case and schedule a complimentary consultation with a medical malpractice attorney.
Call (800) 222-9529 now to learn more.