Erb’s palsy (brachial plexus injury) is a condition that develops when nerves in the neck and shoulders sustain damage or become torn, severed, or displaced. This injury can occur at any age and to anyone, but it 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 with excessive force.
Depending on the severity of the case, Erb’s palsy can lead to permanent nerve damage, which in turn can lead to paralysis, mild or severe pain, or an inability to move the arms, hands, or fingers in specific ways.
If you suspect or have received a diagnosis of Erb’s palsy for your child, it is important that you speak to an experienced birth injury attorney so that you can understand how and why your child sustained Erb’s palsy, what caused it, and what your medical and legal options are. Speak to a lawyer to clarify these issues in your mind and to help you 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 case evaluation. We will discuss your legal options with you and tell you how to find medical help, what your responsibilities and rights are, and how to file a claim if you suspect that medical malpractice caused or contributed to your child’s injuries.
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Legal Settlements Involving Erb’s Palsy
Before initiating a claim for damages for injuries that caused your child’s Erb’s palsy, you need to have your case reviewed in order to determine whether or not you have grounds for seeking damages or are entitled to compensation of any sort. 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. These treatments are not cheap, but many may be compensable. Some common categories of expenses related to your child’s treatment that you may be able to seek reimbursement or coverage for include:
- Medical care costs: The cost of medicine, diagnostic tests, hospital visits, and surgery, if needed.
- Assistive devices such as arm braces or splints.
- Physical therapy, which aims to help the patient overcome weakness and a loss of motor function in the arm.
- Occupational therapy, which aims to improve the ability of the patient to perform fine motor actions.
- Social/emotional therapy, which aims to help the patient overcome the stigma and trauma caused by isolation.
- Lost income from an inability to work due to time spent at home caring for your child
- Pain and suffering damages.
You must make sure to keep receipts and a record of all costs and expenses pertaining to your child’s care if you intend on filing a claim for damages. A complete medical record will make it easier to prove damages and you will be able to seek compensation for all direct and indirect damages that accrue from your child’s care.
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Filing a Claim
You must file a claim within a predefined time frame called the statutes of limitations. These are 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 Erb’s palsy cases can take 18 to 24 months from the time you file before it goes to trial. During this time and as long as your case is pending a decision, you will have to bear the burden of paying medical expenses and other costs associated with your child’s Erb’s palsy.
To file a claim, you must ensure that you have grounds for pursuing compensation from the party or parties whom you deem responsible for your child’s condition. To do this, you must prove the following:
- That the defendant or defendants, usually your child’s doctor or another member of his or her medical staff, owed a duty of care to you, meaning that they were responsible for your child’s medical when the injuries that caused your child’s Erb’s palsy was incurred.
- That the defendant breached this duty of care or did not meet its basic requirements in some way.
- That this breach caused, worsened, or contributed to your child’s injuries.
Paying for Legal Representation
Medical care, assistive devices, medicine, and therapy can be expensive, and most families typically cannot afford to take on additional expenses while paying for the treatment of Erb’s palsy and may steer clear of any involvement in a contentious malpractice claim. However, most birth injury practices work with clients on a contingency-fee basis, meaning you do not have to make any up-front payments for legal representation and you only pay legal fees once you win your lawsuit.
If your child suffers from Erb’s palsy, call us for a free case evaluation at (800) 222-9529. We will investigate your case, collect the evidence needed to support your claim, present it to the court, and help in negotiating a settlement on your behalf.
Other tasks we will perform for you include:
- Collecting relevant documents, such as medical records and the professional records of the medical staff who treated your child.
- Identify key witnesses.
- Quantify the value of your claim.
- Ensure you file on time.
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If medical negligence is proven in a trial, or if the defendants identified in your claim accept responsibility for your damages, you need to arrive at the figure you are owed. This will involve calculating all medical expenses associated with your baby’s injuries, the costs of therapy, pain and suffering damages, lost wages that accrued due to caring for your injured child, and more.
Your lawyer can help you quantify all compensable damage categories, so speak to an experienced and qualified attorney as soon as possible. The Birth Injury Lawyers Group will help you 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 us at (800) 222-9529.