Erb’s palsy is usually a mild birth injury that heals or self-corrects over time. However, the injury can sometimes become severe and have life-long consequences for a child. As an injury to the brachial plexus nerve network, Erb’s palsy is often caused by misapplication of force during birth.
If your child’s Erb’s palsy is particularly severe or has had a significant impact on their life or the lives of your family, the medical care providers who oversaw your child’s birth could be held responsible.
Ben Crump is a Trial Lawyer for Justice who has helped countless families recover from harms they have suffered at no fault of their own. Our Erb’s palsy attorneys can evaluate your case, represent you in settlement negotiations, take the claim to trial, and fight for the compensation you need to give your child a bright future.
Erb’s Palsy and the Medical Staff’s Liability
Erb’s palsy is an injury to a network of nerves called the brachial plexus. Typically, it develops as a result of a doctor or nurse improperly applying pressure to the baby during the birth process. The brachial plexus gives rise to the nerves that control the arms, and incorrect positioning or force to the neck area can damage those nerves.
When your child develops Erb’s palsy, the main symptoms are usually a weakness in the arms and a restricted range of motion. For most cases, your baby should heal over time. However, some injuries result in the loss or diminishment of motor function for life.
When medical care providers breach the nationally accepted standard of care to which all healthcare professionals must adhere, they can be held liable for injuries they cause as a result of that malpractice. Examples of actions or negligence that could cause Erb’s palsy include:
- Pulling the baby’s head or neck while the baby’s shoulders navigate the birth canal
- Improperly using forceps, vacuum extractors, or other delivery tools
- Pulling on the baby’s feet during a breach birth
How Erb’s Palsy Attorneys Prove Liability
In order to get compensation for your child’s Erb’s palsy, we must first establish that the medical care providers are indeed at fault for the injury. There are many ways to do this, and the details of your claim will determine the exact approach of your Erb’s palsy lawyer. Typically, attorneys use evidence such as the following to prove liability in birth injury claims.
- Medical records of the care you and your baby received
- Testimony from witnesses to the birth, such as nurses or family members
- Expert witness testimony from other obstetricians or physicians
- Day-in-the-life testimony from you and your family members regarding the impact of your child’s Erb’s palsy
Special situations can require additional types of evidence to back your claims. That’s why it’s especially important to have an attorney on your side when going up against wealthy hospitals and medical care centers.
Damages You Can Sue for in Erb’s Palsy Claims
The legal term “damages” refers to all the negative impacts that your child’s injury has brought about for both your child and your family. These vary from case to case, and your dedicated Erb’s palsy lawyer can help you compile a list of all of them.
In general, damages are categorized as economic (or financial) and non-economic. However, both categories are compensable.
Families of children who develop Erb’s palsy as a result of medical malpractice typically sue for harms like:
- Medical bills associated with the injury
- Disability modifications for the child
- Any lost future earning potential if the child will be disabled for life
- Lost wages as a result of needing to stay home to care for the child
- The child’s pain and suffering
- The family’s mental anguish and stress due to the injury
It’s important to have an attorney on your side who has experience with Erb’s palsy cases, as getting the compensation you deserve relies on knowing all the damages you can sue for. At Ben Crump Law, we fight for the full value of your damages, rejecting lowball offers that won’t adequately set you and your family up to care for your child.
Erb’s Palsy Lawyer FAQs
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions that our Erb’s palsy and birth injury attorneys get from potential clients. For more information, schedule a free case review with Ben Crump.
The concept of an “average” settlement is not especially helpful, as each case is handled separately and compensation depends on the exact ways your child was harmed by their birth injury. You may qualify for significantly more or significantly less than another family whose child developed Erb’s palsy at birth.
With that said, the generally accepted average for birth injury lawsuit settlements across the country is $1.6 million.
How Long Do You Have to Sue for Erb’s Palsy?
Erb’s palsy birth injury claims must be filed within the statute of limitations of the state in which your child was originally injured. Different states set different time limits, and there can be additional complications depending on when you first discovered the injury and the injury’s severity.
In general, you could have anywhere from one to three years to file a claim for compensation after your child is diagnosed with Erb’s palsy. However, this timeframe may be different where you live and in your unique circumstances. We will need to meet with you during a free case review to learn more about your child’s injury.
Can You Sue a Hospital for Your Child’s Erb’s Palsy?
Yes, hospitals can be held liable for a child’s birth injury, including severe cases of Erb’s palsy. For doctors and nurses, liability depends on their actions, failure to act, and deviations from the standard of care. For hospitals, however, liability depends on more systemic failures inherent to the organization.
For example, a hospital can be held responsible for paying you compensation in an Erb’s palsy case if:
- Doctors or nurses were not trained properly.
- Available medical devices were faulty or broken down.
- Medical staff attending your birth had a prior history of negligence or malpractice that the hospital ignored.
Can You Sue When an Erb’s Palsy Birth Injury Results in the Mother’s Death?
Yes. Sometimes, birth injuries that result in a child’s Erb’s palsy can also injure the mother, even fatally. In that situation, you can file both a medical malpractice lawsuit for Erb’s palsy and a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death claims can help you recover compensation for expenses like funeral costs, medical care required before death, lost earnings for your family, and more.
Our Erb’s Palsy Trial Lawyers Are Ready to Hear From You
Ben Crump Law offers FREE case evaluations to help potential clients learn more about the ways we can fight for justice. If your child developed Erb’s palsy as a result of medical malpractice or negligence, your family deserves compensation and those responsible need to be held accountable.
You have a limited amount of time to file a claim for compensation due to Erb’s palsy. That timeframe can be as short as a single year in some states, so there is little time to weigh your options. Speak with our Erb’s palsy legal team, with no obligation to hire us, so that you can make the decision that best fits your family’s needs.