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Erb’s palsy claims

If your child has Erb’s palsy as the result of the negligent actions of medical professionals during labour, you may be entitled to make a claim.

Call our medical negligence solicitors on 0344 854 7000 for a free, initial consultation, or submit your details below and we will call you back:

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What is Erb’s palsy?

Erb’s palsy is a medical condition used to describe damage to the brachial plexus – a group of nerves that run between the spinal cord and the arm, passing under the collarbone.

The brachial plexus has the job of transmitting signals from the brain to the arms and hands, therefore damage to this group of nerves can have an adverse effect on movement and position.

What causes Erb’s palsy?

Erb’s palsy is often caused when medical professionals use excessive force on the baby’s shoulder during birth, leading to the brachial plexus becoming bruised, stretched or torn.

The impact of Erb’s palsy varies depending on the number of nerves damaged and the severity of the injury. It may be possible for some injuries to heal on their own, whilst others may require surgery to put right.

Can I make a claim on behalf of my child?

If your child has Erb’s palsy as a result of negligent treatment during labour, we may be able to help you to make a claim on their behalf.

If a medical professional failed to:

  • Identify signs that can cause Erb’s plasy. Erb’s palsy is typically caused by shoulder dysticocia- where the baby’s shoulders get stuck behind the mother’s public bone preventing the rest of the body from being delivered. Signs that can increase the risk of shoulder dystocia and therefore Erb’s palsy include:
    • Carrying a large baby.
    • Gestational diabetes.
    • A long labour.
    • If the baby is in a breech position.
    • The use of forceps or vacuum extraction.
    • Pelvic abnormalities.
  • Take the appropriate steps to move your baby out of a trapped or breech position in order to deliver safely.
  • Use the appropriate tools and/or force to assist in the birth.
  • Refer you to have a caesarean section in the likelihood of a problematic birth.
  • Advise you on the potential risks of birth injuries.

Speak to our birth injury solicitors today to find out more about making a claim. Compensation can be used to pay for ongoing and future medical and rehabilitation treatment for your child.

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What can be the impact of Erb’s palsy?

Erb’s palsy, also known as brachial plexus paralysis, can lead to partial or full paralysis. In the worst instances children may be left permanently paralysed.

Injuries caused as a consequence of shoulder dystocia include:

  • Nerve ruptures.
  • Avulsion – when the nerve roots completely come away from the spine.
  • Neuropraxia – stretching of the nerve.

If it is found that that nerves need to be reattached this will require extensive surgery.

Aside from nerve damage, shoulder dystocia can also lead to other injuries including:

  • Fractures – to the humerus and collar bone.
  • Facial palsy – weakness of the facial muscles.
  • Cervical subluxation – separation of the neck bones.
  • Risk of future shoulder dislocations.

The signs of Erb’s palsy may not manifest themselves straight away, becoming apparent as your child grows. Signs of Erb’s palsy include:

  • Partial or full paralysis.
  • Numbness in the arm.
  • No motor function in the upper arm.
  • Difficulty being able to grip with the affected hand.
  • The affected arm appears limp and bent at the elbow.

What can I use the compensation to pay for?

In severe cases children with Erb’s palsy may require lifelong care and assistance. Through making a claim for medical negligence the compensation obtained can be used to help you to pay for:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Home and vehicle adaptations
  • Private tutoring
  • Loss of income – i.e. through needing to take time off work to care for your child/take them to medical appointments etc.
  • Travel expenses – to and from medical appointments.

How much compensation will I get?

Your birth injury solicitor will take the following into consideration when quantifying your Erb’s palsy claim:

  • The extent of your child’s physical pain and suffering.
  • The severity of your child’s injuries.
  • Medical and care expenses incurred as a result of the negligent treatment.
  • Your (parent/guardian) income loss due to needing to extra care requirements.
  • Home or vehicle adaptations you may have needed to make to help your child.
  • Private tutoring – if your child needs additional help due to missing school for medical appointments.
  • The impact on the child’s future independence and ability to enjoy life.

Will I be entitled to interim payments?

Due to their complexity medical negligence claims can take several years to settle. However, if the medical professional or healthcare trust responsible for causing the Erb’s palsy accepts liability, your solicitor will aim to help you get access to early compensation payments – known as interim payments.

Interim payments can be used to pay for things like medical care and rehabilitation for your child, before your claim is fully settled.

How much will it cost to make a claim?

We are no win, no fee medical negligence solicitors. This simply means that should we not win your case, you will not need to pay us a penny to cover your legal fees.

If you win your case your opponent will pay most of your legal costs.

Any legal costs not paid by your opponent will be deducted from the compensation that you receive. These costs include:

• The cost of your no win no fee insurance policy
• Some of your basic legal costs which can’t be recovered from your opponent
• A “success fee” which compensates us for the risk that if your claim was unsuccessful then we would not be paid at all.

Your solicitor will discuss this with you in advance, so you’ll know what to expect when your claim settles.

Read our guide on how personal injury claims are funded for more information.

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Please Note: Estimate amounts are guidelines only. Your injury and recovery are as individual as you are. The amounts are guideline amounts only and any settlement will be based upon the evidence of medical practitioners.
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