Claiming Compensation for Erb’s Palsy

What is Erb’s Palsy?

Erb’s Palsy can also be known as Brachial Plexus Paralysis, and it normally occurs as a result of trauma that a baby experiences during birth.

It is not a birth defect; it is nerve damage in the arm that is brought on by excessive or inappropriate pulling on a child’s head, neck or shoulders during childbirth by a medical professional. Those affected may wish to make a medical negligence claim to help pay towards any financial loss.

Erb’s Palsy can affect the large network of brachial plexus nerves that run from the neck to the arm, which, when unaffected, give feeling to the arm and hand.

If a baby is affected by this, paralysis of the nerves can be complete or partial. If the birth injury isn’t so severe, there is the possibility that the baby can recover on its own. If the damage is severe, however, and results in tearing of the nerves, it can be permanent – perhaps leading to a life-lasting disability that may require specialist treatment.

Signs of Erb’s Palsy

The signs of Erb’s Palsy can differ, as each baby’s injury differs. The signs of the disorder might include one or more of the following:

  • An elbow that doesn’t bend.
  • A hand permanently turning backwards, in a ‘waiters tip position’.
  • A limp hand.
  • A drooped eyelid and smaller pupil (known as associated Horner’s syndrome) that occurs on the same side as the weakened arm.
  • The baby faces away from the weak arm and is unable to face forward (known as associated Torticollis).

Erb’s Palsy Treatment

If there is severe damage to a nerve, but it is still connected, then there is a chance it could heal. Scar tissue that can form as a result, however, can be visible and can cause problems – it can stop the flow of electrical messages running through the nerves, meaning that these messages cannot get to the muscles.

If a nerve isn’t connected and has been pulled apart completely (known as avulsion), then it cannot heal on its own; therefore, the muscles that the nerves are supposed to travel to become completely paralysed.

Depending on the severity of the condition, there is a possibility that the child can have surgery to restore muscle function and help the damaged nerves. Even after surgery, however, the child is likely to still have a slight weakness in the affected arm.

Approximately one in ten children with Erb’s Palsy have an operation to try and restore the muscle function.

If you have been affected, and you would like extra support, the Erb’s Palsy Group is the only organisation in the UK that offers advice, information and support to families who have been affected by Erb’s Palsy.

Making a Claim for Erb’s Palsy

An Erb’s Palsy compensation claim can only be pursued if the injury resulted from medical negligence in the management of pregnancy and/or delivery.

If you are claiming for birth injuries such as Erb’s Palsy, your case is likely to fall into one of the following two categories:

  • The medical professional(s) failed to offer you a caesarean section (C-Section) when a difficult birth or shoulder dystocia should have been anticipated.
  • The medical professional(s) failed to follow procedures, which resulted in the negligent handling of shoulder dystocia.

Generally, with personal injury claims, there is a time limit of three years, but depending on the situation, this may differ. For example, time limitations for child accident injury claims can be complex but they do usually offer more time to put a claim forward.

A claim can be made at any time up until the age of 18. After this, they have a three-year time limit within which they can make an Erb's Palsy Claim.

For more information and detail on this, read our guide ‘Child Accident Injury Claims’.

As it can be a complicated and expensive process to go through alone, it can be highly beneficial to put your case in the hands of a No Win No Fee (NWNF) medical negligence solicitor, and while the time limit for children’s claims may be longer, it is better to put your case forward as soon as possible.

We can help with your case at Cute Injury; one of our friendly advisors will be on hand to give you free initial advice on whether or not you may be able to make a claim. Then you will be put in touch with our experienced NWNF personal injury lawyers to discuss your case further.

Treatment within the first year of a baby's life can have a significant impact on recovery, and compensation can help towards any medical costs or other expenses incurred as a result of the accident.

NHS Negligence Claims

You may think of suing the NHS doctor, nurse or midwife if the medical professional was negligent during childbirth and caused your child’s birth injury, such as Erb’s Palsy. If their actions did cause the condition, then you are entitled to make an NHS negligence claim.

Here are some actions that may have led to your child's condition and factors that our personal injury lawyer will assess to determine the strength of your Erb’s Palsy or Brachial Plexus claim:

  • Failure to estimate a large baby’s weight and size prior to delivery.
  • Failure to perform a C-Section when there were clinical indications to do so.
  • Failure to recognise and treat maternal diabetes – this often increases the risk of having a large baby.
  • Failure to follow medical protocols for shoulder dystocia – if the baby becomes stuck in the birth canal, there are certain procedures that need to be carried out by the doctor or nurse.
  • The application of unnecessary and excessive traction or force during the delivery, which results in the injury.

Cute Injury

If your child suffered nerve damage during birth which has resulted in Erb’s Palsy or Brachial Plexus Paralysis, then get in touch with us today to see how our personal injury lawyers can help you.

We are sensitive to each individual case and work hard to award victims of negligence compensation that can help cover any costs that incurred as a result of their non-fault accident.

Don’t hesitate to contact us today to see how we can help you, or share our article with someone who you know has been affected by Erb’s Palsy.

CALL US FREE ON 08000 10 60 66 or use our CLAIM CALCULATOR

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