A parent’s guide to erb’s palsy claims

What type of injury leads to erb’s palsy claims?

This can be caused by an injury that has occurred during a child’s birth. The injury affects one arm and can be a result of an incident leading to nerve damage.

Erb’s palsy is also known as Erb-Duchenne palsy or brachial plexus palsy. The severity of the injury will vary on a case-by-case basis.

This type of injury is avoidable with the appropriate level of medical care.

Can my child recover from erb’s palsy?

For some, correct, timely and frequent physiotherapy can lead to a full recovery within a few months.

In more severe incidents, the baby may never have the full function of the affected arm and would be entitled to pursue compensation which may include general damages, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, handicap in the open market and loss of earnings.

Children who have suffered a serious erb’s palsy injury are entitled to compensation to provide the quality of treatment, aids and support they need as a result of the incident.

Which circumstances lead to a claim?

You can make a claim for compensation if you believe that your child’s injury was avoidable had the appropriate medical care been provided.

When can the injury leading to erb’s palsy claims occur?

Erb’s palsy can occur in the following circumstances:

Medical staff have failed to recognise that the baby is too large to safely proceed with a vaginal birth. In these instances, there is a considerable risk of the baby’s shoulder getting stuck.

The baby’s shoulder gets stuck because it is too large for the mother’s pelvis. If this is not handled following the correct NHS protocols and guidelines, this injury is highly likely.

If forceps are used with excessive force instead of the correct manoeuvre being utilised during the course of the birth when it reaches crisis point, it may result in erb’s palsy.

The baby is in breech position making a vaginal delivery risky. There are guidelines available to medical staff offering best practice for the safe delivery of the baby in these situations however, if these are not followed, an injury will occur.

The mother is diabetic or significantly overweight and medical staff have failed to provide a timely caesarean intervention in order to ensure the safe delivery of the baby.

The second stage of labour is prolonged lasting for more than an hour increasing the risk of the baby suffering an injury.

Symptoms to look out for

The tell-tale signs are a floppy or weak arm. It can include a weak grip or difficulty in gripping items. There may be a loss of sensory function in the affected arm and / or a loss of movement in the upper arm.

Other red flags

Poor circulation in the arm impacted and poor nerve and muscle development are all red flags that an injury has been suffered.

In order for erb’s palsy claims to be successful, it must be proved that the injury could have been prevented had the appropriate level of medical care been provided.

Diagnosing erb’s palsy

It is crucial to gain a diagnosis through a GP who will refer your child to a paediatrician. An erb’s palsy diagnosis will require nerve conduction studies, x-rays and ultrasound scans.

What happens after a diagnosis is confirmed?

Once a diagnosis is given, timely treatment could result in a full recovery depending on the severity of the damage caused.

When can erb’s palsy claims be made?

Claims for compensation can be pursued until a child reaches their 21st birthday if mental capacity has not been affected.

Can a claim be made for historical incidents?

Erb’s palsy claims can be pursued until a child reaches their 21st birthday. However, if the affected individual has lost mental capacity, there is no time limit.

When are erb’s palsy claims successful?

A specialist solicitor is recommended as they have in-depth knowledge and expertise in this complex area of law.

An erb’s palsy claims expert will also have relationships with the right independent medical experts who can help to provide the evidence required to prove that the injury could have been avoided.

Does the injury have to be permanent for erb’s palsy claims?

To pursue a claim the injury does not have to be permanent however, if your child has made a full recovery in a relatively short time, a solicitor may advise that the costs of pursuing such a claim may exceed the value of any compensation.

How much are erb’s palsy claims worth?

In the most serious circumstances when a child has suffered the most significant injury leading to a permanently damaged arm that is weakened, or is not functional, erb’s palsy claims can be worth £multi-millions.

Is erb’s palsy avoidable?

Yes it can be avoided if the appropriate medical care is provided.

For example, during a pregnancy and birth it should be clear to medical staff if a baby is too large and if a caesarean section would be the safest method of delivery for both mother and baby.

Excessive force can lead to erb’s palsy claims

When a vaginal birth has been progressed despite red flags such as the size of the baby in relation to the mother’s pelvis, the baby being in breech position, or the second stage of labour has been prolonged beyond one-hour, excessive force may be used to deliver the baby leading to erb’s palsy.

Following NHS guidelines to prevent the risk of injury

In some cases, the baby’s shoulder gets stuck during labour. This is a high-risk incident that could result in oxygen deprivation causing irreversible injuries such as brain damage.

Medical staff should be aware of NHS protocols and guidelines providing details of manoeuvres to safely deliver a baby in these situations to avoid an injury leading to erb’s palsy claims or other birth injury compensation claims.

How will it impact my child?

In cases where the baby’s arm cannot make a full recovery due to the severity of the injury, their disability will affect them in different ways as they develop.

Erb’s palsy treatment

In some cases, surgery is an appropriate treatment. Compensation will help to ensure the best possible care is provided.

Impact during childhood

Sport, and other physical activities, may prove difficult as they progress through school which may lead to loss of confidence and/or bullying.

Long term impact

An individual with erb’s palsy will be at a significant disadvantage in the workplace and this is factored into any compensation claim.

Compensation will help to provide for the best treatment and any aids and equipment to allow more independence and improve the quality of their life.

How do I choose the right solicitor?

Birth injury claims are complex, so it is highly recommended that a specialist solicitor is instructed. Choosing the right expert for your family will help to make the legal process less stressful and ensure that your child’s needs are met both now, and in the future.

A good lawyer will offer a strong track record of securing the right level of compensation in these types of claims.

The process can be lengthy depending on individual circumstances. Selecting a specialist lawyer, who you feel comfortable with, is important as you may be dealing with them for some time.

What are the criteria for choosing a solicitor for erb’s palsy claims?

There are some quality markers to help in the selection of the right birth injury solicitor for you. Legal directories such as Legal 500 rank the best lawyers in England and Wales by specialism.

The rankings include testimonials from clients, peers and medical experts and are worth reading to gain insight into the people behind the legal muscle.

It is important not to be deterred by the location of their offices. A good solicitor will represent clients across the country. Finding and instructing the right solicitor is paramount to the success of your claim.

What do previous clients say about them?

When pursuing a birth injury claim, it is useful to have evidence that a solicitor has a strong track record of securing the right level of compensation.

In some cases, erb’s palsy claims can be worth £multi-million which requires a solicitor with the best credentials and previous clients are the best judge of this.

What can I expect from the legal process?

Birth injuries are a complex area of law and require both specialist legal and medical expertise to deliver the best outcome for families.

The law as it stands places the responsibility on the affected family to prove that their child’s injury could have been prevented with the appropriate level of medical care.

Information about what to expect when making a birth injury claim can be found here.

Why should I choose Diane Rostron?

Diane Rostron and her team of birth injury experts offer in excess of 25 years’ experience in these complex, and highly contested, claims.

The team of parents offer more than robust legal representation providing sensitive and empathetic support to families every step of the way.

A mother, grandmother and leading birth injury expert, Diane Rostron has a strong track record of securing £multi-million claims to ensure that children seriously injured as a result of medical negligence can have the best quality of life.

Can I read about Diane Rostron’s previous cases?

Diane Rostron frequently appears on TV, radio, newspapers and magazines passionately talking about maternity issues and recently settled cases.

We are solicitors who care and treat families affected by medical negligence with the empathy that they deserve. Our experts relentlessly pursue justice for children who have suffered significant, and preventable, birth injuries.

Read more about the families the team have represented and Diane Rostron’s expert view on the issues facing maternity services today.

How do I contact Diane Rostron?

Our empathetic team of specialists are available to advise families on whether they are entitled to pursue erb’s palsy claims.

We can contact you at a time that is convenient for you and your family. We will listen and are here to help.

The specialists at Diane Rostron will support you every step of the way.

Get In Touch

Contact Diane Rostron

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If you suspect that your child suffered a preventable brain injury at birth, we can help. You can contact our team of medical and legal brain injury experts for a free initial consultation by calling 01253 766 559 or completing the form below.