Erb's Palsy Negligence Claims
Erb's Palsy is a name given to a condition affecting mobility in the arms, generally caused during childbirth when the nerves in the brachial plexus are injured, leading to problems with movement and sensory responses in the arm.
Finding out that your child is affected by Erb’s Palsy is always going to be a stressful time for a parent, while the challenge of raising a child who is severely affected by this condition can have far-reaching consequences both emotionally and financially for the whole family.
Our specialist medical negligence solicitors are determined to make life a little easier for those affected, by helping you get the compensation and future healthcare support you may need.
Often, a child can make a full recovery from this condition (also known as Brachial Plexus Palsy, or Erb-Duchenne palsy), but on occasion, damage to the brachial plexus nerve can be permanent or have a lasting impact that may take years to recover from.
If your child has been diagnosed with Erb’s Palsy and you believe this to have been caused because your child’s birth was delivered negligently, then you might be entitled to make a substantial claim for medical negligence compensation.
A child may be left with permanent mobility problems in one or both arms, and in severe cases, paralysis may extend to the fingers. Because of this, individuals with Erb's Palsy may never regain full mobility, even after many years of physiotherapy and surgical intervention. A severe case of Erb’s Palsy will have a significant and damaging impact on the child’s ability to lead a full and normal life, as such, successful compensation claims for medical negligence at birth can reach justifiably high compensation values.
Sheldon Davidson Solicitors is a leading firm of Medical Negligence Solicitors in Manchester, we can help you make a claim for compensation for injuries caused to your child during a difficult birth. We have a great deal of experience in successfully claiming compensation on behalf of children and parents in Erb’s Palsy cases.
Contact us to find out more. We handle all enquiries compassionately and in complete confidentiality, and we work on a no-win, no-fee basis, alleviating any financial stress you may have about the costs of making a claim.
Can I claim compensation for Erb's Palsy?
If you have been informed that your child has Erb’s Palsy, the likelihood is, this injury was sustained during childbirth. If you believe that some form of negligent behaviour has led to the injury, then you may be able to claim compensation.
For a compensation claim to be successful, we must be able to demonstrate that medical staff supervising the birth behaved negligently.
Proving negligence by a doctor, midwife, or nurse, or proving that medical equipment or tests failed, or the wrong tools were used by a healthcare professional, can be a complex and painstaking process to get the truth, so it’s always best to seek expert legal advice at the earliest opportunity. This way, we can explain things fully so you understand your rights, your child’s rights and how best to proceed with the claim. We can help.
Different factors can comprise the compensation package claimed. Some examples are:
- General damages for the pain and suffering caused to you or the child
- Costs of physiotherapy
- Costs associated with Occupational therapy
- Private Medical care costs – which could cover attempts at corrective surgery and nerve grafts
- Home adaptations
- Mobility equipment
- Loss of future earnings (handicap on the open labour market)
At Sheldon Davidson Solicitors we always take a highly personalised approach to each medical negligence claim. No two people are the same, and no two injuries (and prospects for recovery) are the same. Our team will leave no stone unturned to help prove liability from the healthcare professionals entrusted with your care, and we will fight to secure you the highest compensation settlement and long term care provision.
You should consider claiming as soon as you can after becoming aware of the diagnosis of Erb’s Palsy. Early intervention can have lasting benefits for sufferers, giving your child more time and the best chance to repair their upper arm muscles and learn the appropriate coping mechanisms.
What information do I need to make a claim?
The more information you can provide, the better. However, we will also investigate your case on your behalf, so if you only have some of the items listed below, please contact us to make an enquiry.
We will need to know when your child was born, or when you became aware of their injury, as well as their symptoms, even if you do not yet know the severity of their paralysis.
If you are aware of anything specific that went wrong during labour, for example, if the child was delivered unusually quickly or slowly, this can also be evidence of negligence by your doctor.
Finally, if you know of any reasons why a brachial plexus injury was more likely in your case (e.g. you have a previous child who suffered the same injury) this can also be important when investigating your case.
We can examine all of the information you provide, as well as drawing on our knowledge and experience of past Erb's Palsy cases to decide whether you have good cause to make a claim.
When can I claim for Erb's Palsy?
The standard time limit to claim compensation for Erb's Palsy is three years. However, there are several different ways in which this limit can apply.
- Three years from the child's date of birth (i.e. the date the injury occurred).
- Three years from the date you discovered the injury (if later).
The injured child can also make a claim once they reach adulthood. In such cases, the three-year limit starts on the individual's 18th birthday and they must claim before they reach the age of 21.
In cases involving individuals who lack mental capacity, the normal three-year time limit does not apply, so you may be able to make a compensation claim at any age.
It takes time to investigate a case, so we would always suggest speaking to a personal injury solicitor as early as possible to prevent the three-year time limit from becoming a concern.
What causes Erb's Palsy?
Erb's Palsy can happen in a number of ways. But in all cases, it is very likely to occur as a result of medical negligence during labour.
The general cause is trauma to the child's neck, which leads to lasting nerve damage in one or both arms. In many cases, the head is delivered successfully, but the delivery team then encounter difficulty when trying to free the child's shoulders.
Some of the ways this can happen include:
- Failure to deliver a breech baby by caesarean section.
- Failure to deliver a large baby by caesarean section.
- Failure to deliver by caesarean section when the mother has a small pelvis.
- Use of excessive force during delivery (e.g. pulling the baby's head or arm).
- Incorrect or excessive use of delivery tools (e.g. forceps or vacuum).
A brachial plexus injury may be more likely if something goes wrong during the birth, leading the doctors to deliver the child more quickly and using force.
This kind of birth injury is also more likely to reoccur in subsequent births. If you've had a child with a brachial plexus injury, your medical team should monitor you closely during any further pregnancies to reduce the risk of it happening again.
Other scenarios can lead to Erb’s Palsy or impact on the likelihood of making the best recovery possible. So our best advice is to call Sheldon Davidson Solicitors and tell one of our medical negligence claim experts what has happened.
What are the lasting effects of Erb's Palsy?
Erb's Palsy is unusual in that it specifically affects the arms. The C5 and C6 nerves in the brachial plexus are badly damaged or severed completely, which leads to mobility problems in the arms.
Different types of nerve damage can occur:
- Neuropraxia - The nerve is stretched but not torn.
- Neuroma - The nerve is stretched and damaged, which may lead to scarring.
- Rupture - The nerve is torn and cannot heal naturally.
- Avulsion - The nerve is pulled away from the spinal cord completely.
The lasting impact is greater with ruptures and avulsions, where natural healing cannot occur, and nerve grafts may be required to prevent total paralysis of the arm muscles.
Cases, where the fingers are also paralysed, are known as global brachial plexus birth palsy or total brachial plexus birth palsy - they are technically not Erb's Palsy, although the causes are the same.
Living with Erb's Palsy
A variety of treatments can make it easier to live with Erb's Palsy and restore mobility where possible, although it is usually not possible to completely repair the nerve damage.
- Surgery to increase muscle movement and nerve grafts to improve control.
- Long-term physiotherapy from an early age to build muscle strength.
- Lifestyle changes and coping mechanisms to live with reduced mobility.
Surgery can be a traumatic experience for young people, and they may also not understand why they have to undergo frequent physiotherapy - sometimes as often as one or more times every week for many years.
Compensation helps to cover the financial costs of living with a permanent condition like Erb's Palsy, which can include private physiotherapy, transport costs to get to and from sessions, and loss of earnings if you have to spend more time at home caring for your child.
Why choose Sheldon Davidson Solicitors?
We appreciate that a birth injury like Erb's Palsy can be challenging not only for the child but for the whole family.
Our solicitors treat every enquiry with compassion and confidentiality. We listen to all the evidence you provide, and we can investigate further if you do not have all the details.
We work on a no-win, no-fee basis. You can get the support you need from an experienced personal injury solicitor, without worrying about the cost of representation.
Our commitment to the very best standard of customer service has earned us Lexcel accreditation, so you know your claim is in good hands.
Finally, because we have worked with clients throughout England and Wales since 1997, we have a strong case history and deep understanding of Erb's Palsy and other birth injuries, which we can bring to your claim.
Contact our team
All enquiries are welcome, whether you are ready to make a claim, or you have only recently become aware of your child's brachial plexus injury and would like to find out more about how to claim compensation.
We are based in Manchester and work closely with the community around the area, including handling birth injury claims from Bolton, Oldham, Rochdale, Prestwich, Bury and Radcliffe.
However, our medical negligence solicitors represent clients from anywhere in England and Wales, with no obligation to proceed beyond your free initial claim assessment.
You will find all our details on our Contact Us page, and you can get in touch via email, telephone or SMS to request a callback or to schedule a free consultation.
We know traumatic labour can have a lasting emotional impact on both parents, even before any birth injuries are discovered, so we always treat enquiries with care and sensitivity.
To discuss your circumstances and find out whether you have grounds to make a compensation claim, please get in touch today and we will be happy to help.