The birth of a child should bring joy to the family. An Erb’s palsy diagnosis can replace that joy with worry. Erb’s palsy is caused by a brachial plexus injury, an injury to the network of nerves that control arm movement.
These injuries typically occur during difficult deliveries. If there is an injury to the shoulders during delivery, the resulting nerve damage results in a lack of muscle control. Compression or stretch injuries can injure the brachial plexus nerves. Sometimes these injuries cause permanent damage.
Erb’s palsy happens in 0.9 to 2.6 per 1,000 births in the United States. It is commonly associated with the shoulders getting stuck on the pubic bone, breech birth, and forceps deliveries. An abnormally large baby or small mother also increases the risk.
If your baby was diagnosed with Erb’s palsy, contact the medical malpractice lawyers with Nessler & Associates. We can discuss your case during a complimentary initial consultation. An experienced birth injury attorney can help you get financial compensation to help you through this difficult time.
Erb’s Palsy Facts
Brachial plexus injury occurs when the baby’s shoulder suffers extreme force during delivery. The four kinds of Erb’s palsy are:
- Neuropraxia: shocks the nerves when they are stretched
- Neuroma: incomplete tears to the nerves that result in the formation of scar tissue
- Ruptured nerve: nerves tear apart and lose the ability to transmit signals
- Avulsion: tears nerves free of the spinal cord and prevents signal transmission
Erb’s palsy can cause the baby to hold the affected arm at an unnatural angle because the nerves that control the shoulder and elbow are damaged. More extensive cases might involve the wrist and hand. In severe cases, the entire arm might be paralyzed.
Treatments include physical therapy, hydrotherapy, occupational therapy, surgery, and botox injections. The injections relieve contracted muscles. Physical therapy aims to increase strength and range of motion. Occupational therapy is used in conjunction with surgery to make everyday tasks easier. These tasks include eating, dressing, and tying shoes.
Surgical treatments might include nerve grafts from a donor or nerve transfers from another muscle. The recovery from surgical nerve repairs is long and complex. It might take years for your child to regain full use of the arm. You will need to practice physical and occupational therapy exercises after surgery to increase the odds of a good outcome.
Erb’s Palsy Lawyers
The birth injury lawyers with Nessler & Associates can examine the medical records from your pregnancy and delivery to search for signs that your medical professionals missed the warning signs of a birth complication. We will work with you to determine whether you and your baby received the proper medical care.
We work with a network of medical experts who understand brachial plexus palsy. These experts can make insurance companies and juries understand the function of the injured series of nerves and how the injury will impact the child’s development. They can also define the standard of care and how the medical team violated it.
Erb’s palsy lawsuits require the help of personal injury attorneys experienced in handling medical malpractice claims.
Medical Malpractice and Erb’s Palsy
Some brachial plexus injuries are caused by medical negligence. When the baby gets stuck in the birth canal during the final stage of labor, excessive pulling with delivery devices such as forceps and vacuum extractors can cause a nerve injury.
Other delivery complications can cause Erb’s palsy. Medical personnel might miss the risks of shoulder dystocia, such as a large-bodied baby or a mother with a small pelvis. A prolonged second stage of labor leads to an increased risk of Erb’s palsy.
They might not closely monitor those with a medical condition that leads to a difficult labor, such as preeclampsia, kidney disease, and gestational diabetes. Brachial plexus injury can also occur in babies delivered by cesarean.
Sometimes the injury can be diagnosed immediately during a physical examination, while at other times, symptoms develop later. The sooner the injury is diagnosed, the sooner your baby can begin treatment.
Complete recovery happens for 80% to 96% of affected babies. If you experienced a failure to progress during labor and doctors failed to do a physical exam, they might miss your baby’s condition initially.
When hospital negligence leads to a medical mistake, you deserve monetary compensation. Your child deserves the best professional care. You also should receive money to provide future care.
How a Birth Injury Attorney Can Help
Erb’s palsy attorneys with Nessler & Associates can help you file a medical malpractice claim if your child received a brachial plexus injury during the birthing process. We can help you navigate the legal process and hold negligent medical professionals responsible for their mistakes.
Statutes of Limitations
Illinois law provides several time limits that apply to various medical malpractice situations. In most cases, you have two years from the date of the injury to file a claim.
In some cases, you have four years from the injury date if the damage signs manifest later or if you could not reasonably know that the injury was connected to the incident that caused it. When an injury occurs to a victim under 18, they have eight years or up to their 22nd birthday to file a claim.
Case Review with a Qualified Medical Professional
Illinois law requires that all medical malpractice cases be reviewed by a medical expert who practices or teaches in the same field covered in the case. The expert must sign an affidavit that states enough evidence of malpractice exists to proceed with the matter. Our law firm maintains a network of medical experts that can serve in this role.
Your financial recovery should include compensation for the following economic damages:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical treatment
- Lost wages for when you must miss work for an appointment
- Surgical expenses
- Expenses for parents to stay in a hotel if the surgery must happen out of town
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Transportation to and from appointments
Your malpractice claim can also seek an award for non-economic damages, including:
- Your baby’s pain and suffering
- Decreased quality of life
- Your family’s emotional distress or mental anguish
Illinois used to cap non-economic damages at $500,000 against a medical professional and $1 million against a hospital or other facility. In the 2010 case of LeBron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, the Supreme Court of Illinois found these caps unconstitutional and struck them down.
The skilled attorneys with Nessler & Associates have extensive experience calculating fair claims and negotiating with insurance companies.
Negotiating with the Insurance Company
Insurance companies are concerned with protecting profits, not providing fair compensation. You need an experienced attorney to fight for your rights to financial recovery.
The negotiation process involves investigating the background and education of all the medical professionals involved in your care and the facility’s safety record. Patterns of negligence or misconduct can increase the size of your settlement.
Appearing in Court
The experienced trial lawyers with Nessler & Associates can represent you in court. We will present your evidence, challenge the defendant’s arguments, and call experts to support your claim. We can help a jury understand what happened and how your baby’s injury affects your whole family.
Get a Complimentary Case Evaluation
You do not have to worry about upfront costs when working with the birth injury attorneys at Nessler & Associates. We work on contingency, so you only pay us if we win your claim. That can be a significant relief to new parents facing massive medical bills.
Our experienced lawyers can help you hold medical personnel responsible for committing preventable mistakes. If those mistakes lead to a disability that will affect your child for the rest of their life, you want the best legal representation you can find. Nessler & Associates can provide that.
Take advantage of our winning track record with medical malpractice lawsuits to help you get the financial compensation you deserve.
Call Nessler & Associates at (800) 727-8010 for a free initial consultation.