If your child has been diagnosed with Erb’s Palsy, it may be caused by medical malpractice, and if so, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering, among other losses. We are working with experienced Erb’s Palsy medical malpractice lawyers in RI, who charge no fee unless you get a settlement or award. Contact us toll free or online for a free (no obligation) case evaluation.

A baby with erb's palsy taking a nap in the office of a erb's palsy lawyer.

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When Is Erb’s Palsy Caused By Medical Malpractice?

Erb’s Palsy can be caused by medical malpractice. A good physician will usually be able to identify the risk factors and avoid them. Most often, Erb’s Palsy is caused by the failure of a doctor to perform a C-Section. During labor, doctors perform “fetal monitoring,” where they record data related to the baby. Often times, this monitoring will let a doctor know whether or not a child is at risk for shoulder dystocia. If the child is at risk for shoulder dystocia, most doctors will perform a C-Section instead of risking the injury.

Doctors sometimes fail to properly identify and treat the risk factors for Erb’s Palsy before the mother gives birth. In a review of 2,000 lawsuits, many of the worst cases involved medical school residents in delivery rooms who were inexperienced with delivering babies, who received inadequate guidance from senior doctors.

What Are Some Common Causes of Erb’s Palsy from Medical Malpractice?

  • Failure to order a C-section.
  • Using too much force during birth.
  • Attempting to pull or twist a baby out while the shoulders are passing through the birth canal.
  • Inappropriate use of forceps or vacuum.
  • Failure to reposition the baby.
  • Failure to apply traction.
  • Other causes.

What Is an Erb’s Palsy Lawsuit Worth?

When considering the value of an Erb’s Palsy lawsuit, certain factors will be taken into account in order to compensate you. The amount of medical bills that have already been paid, as well as income that may have been lost due to increased time spent caring for the person with the condition, will be examined. Additionally, the pain and suffering experienced by the child will be examined.

Potential “future” losses will also be considered. These are losses that will be incurred over the course of time related to care for the sufferer. In rare cases, a judge or a jury will award “punitive” damages. These are awarded when the doctor that committed malpractice was extremely out of line with what a normal doctor would have done.

Examples of Erb’s Palsy lawsuits:

Gavel and stethoscope on a erb's palsy lawyer table.Erb’s Palsy lawyers around the country have been successful in these kinds of medical malpractice lawsuits. Successful lawsuits include:

  • $12.9 Million jury verdict to a Michigan woman after doctors performed a natural birth instead of a C-Section, even though there was evidence showing that a C-Section was necessary. The baby was born with Erb’s Palsy and has had to undergo multiples surgeries, but will never have full use of her arm.
  • $6 Million jury verdict to a New York woman, whose baby was born with Erb’s Palsy. Once the baby’s head was delivered, the doctor began pulling on the head in order to deliver the body of the child, leading to shoulder dystocia and Erb’s Palsy.
  • $2 Million jury verdict to a New York woman after the doctor failed to recognize shoulder dystocia and then applied excessive force while removing the baby.

What Is Erb’s Palsy?

Erb’s Palsy is the injury caused by shoulder dystocia, occurring in 1 out of every 1,000 births. It can also be referred to as Erb-Duchenne Palsy or Brachial Plexus Paralysis. Shoulder dystocia occurs when the baby’s shoulders get stuck on the pelvic bone of the mother during delivery. When this happens, the nerves in the baby’s neck are affected and the spinal cord is damaged.

In many cases, the child’s nerves will be damaged by tears, ruptures, or stretching. Damage to these nerves can affect the child’s use of their arms. Sometimes the child will eventually gain full use of their arms, but often they are permanently disabled. The level of disability can be as mild as a reduced range of motion, to as severe as full paralysis of the arm and hand.

What Are the Symptoms of Erb’s Palsy?

Erb’s Palsy affects a person’s ability to move their arms. Some signs and symptoms of the injury include:

  • Limpness
  • Lack of Muscle Control
  • Reduced Sensation
  • Paralysis

These symptoms often lead to severe pain and discomfort and inability to function normally. Sometimes, the affected arm is left almost useless. In these situations, an experienced Erb’s Palsy lawyer might be able to get you compensation for those injuries.

What Risk Factors Are Associated with Shoulder Dystocia and Erb’s Pa

  • Large Baby
  • Obese Mother
  • Short or Small Mother
  • Gestational Diabetes
  • Overdue Baby
  • Prolonged Labor
  • Breech Position
  • Mother has a small or flat pelvis
  • Abnormal weight gain during pregnancy
  • Advanced age of the mother

Risk factors for Erb’s Palsy may also be related to the mother’s prior medical history. Doctors should be aware if the mother has previously given birth to a baby weighing over 8 pounds 8 ounces, any shoulder dystocia in prior births, and more than 8 years between giving birth.

Is There a Treatment for Erb’s Palsy?

A Rhode Island Erb's Palsy lawyer guiding the hand of a child with erb's palsy.

Some nerve damage may heal with treatment. Common treatments include; occupational therapy, physical therapy, and surgery. Early intervention and treatment are keys to helping children regain movement and function of their muscles and joints. Surgery is often recommended for babies when they are between 5-12 months old.

Exercise and therapy are needed to work out the muscles and joints in the body. Otherwise, they will tighten and stiffen. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, most cases of Erb’s Palsy heal within 6-24 months. However, 10% of babies will suffer from lifelong injuries. Babies may suffer permanently from limited or no use of their arms, having a limp arm, or an atrophied (meaning an underdeveloped or smaller) arm.

Why Contact Us?

A birth injury lawyer is speaking with his two clients about medical malpractice.We are working with experienced Erb’s Palsy medical malpractice lawyers throughout RI and MA, who can file a lawsuit for you and do not charge a legal fee unless you get a settlement or award. You could be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering, among many other losses. For a free (no obligation) case evaluation, call us toll free or fill out a contact form online.