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7 things to consider before filing an Erb’s Palsy Lawsuit

Raising a child with Erb’s Palsy can be challenging. Already parenting is hard, but it reaches new heights when the child has a disability. The added costs and emotional distress of handling a child with a disability could be avoided at birth if the doctors or medical staff were not negligent. That

7 things to consider before filing an ErbPalsy Lawsuit
7 things to consider before filing an ErbPalsy Lawsuit

Raising a child with Erb’s Palsy can be challenging. Already parenting is hard, but it reaches new heights when the child has a disability. The added costs and emotional distress of handling a child with a disability could be avoided at birth if the doctors or medical staff were not negligent. That is why the hospitals responsible for the injury are liable for the resulting damages.

What is Erb’s Palsy?

Erb’s Palsy is the result of an injury. It is a condition in which the arm is weak or paralyzed because of damage to the nerves surrounding the shoulder. These nerves are called the brachial plexus. It is a network of nerves that extends from the spinal cord in the neck to the arm and into the shoulder and chest. This injury typically occurs during an abnormal or difficult childbirth.

It is caused by excessive pulling of the infant’s head and shoulders during a difficult or prolonged delivery. Exerting extra force to get the child out of the birth canal can stretch or tear the nerves in the baby’s neck and cause Erb’s Palsy.

Common symptoms of Erb’s Palsy?

  1. Paralysis or limpness in the shoulder, arm, and elbow
  2. Difficulty in moving the arm away from the body due to limited motion capability 
  3. Numbness or tingling in the arm or hand
  4. A weak grip

Finding a lawyer to discuss taking legal action

Finding a good lawyer specializing in brachial plexus birth injuries is crucial if you believe the medical staff is to blame for your child’s injury. Sometimes Erb’s Palsy is unavoidable, and no one is to blame. However, at other times, the injury is preventable and occurs due to medical negligence.

An Erb’s palsy lawyer can help your family take legal action against the hospital or medical staff and get financial compensation to help pay for your child’s treatment. They can help investigate the extent of possible negligence on account of the medical staff.

A parent can assert a birth injury claim if they can give proof of the doctor’s mistake. Such mistakes may include the following:

  • Failure to diagnose or treat prenatal conditions
  • Failure to identify risk factors for Erb’s Palsy
  • Failure to schedule a cesarean section on time
  • Failure to avoid traction during delivery
  • Inappropriate delivery room techniques, and
  • Negligence in postnatal care of the newborn

Erb’s Palsy is the most common form of brachial plexus palsy. According to a statistic, approximately 0.9 to 2.6 cases of Erb’s Palsy occur for every 1000 live births.

Erb’s Palsy Risk Factors: Who is at risk of developing Erb’s Palsy?

  1. Maternal diabetes can affect mothers late in their pregnancies. A spike in their blood sugar can damage the nerves of the fetus.
  2. Heavier children have a difficult time during the birthing process because of additional pressure on the nerves in the neck and shoulder. 
  3. Forceps delivery or vacuum extraction: Children delivered using these methods have a higher chance of Erb’s Palsy because of the excessive force applied to the nerves in the neck. 

Other risk factors include; maternal obesity, the mother being over 35, multiple births, induced labor, etc.

Medical professionals are well-trained to avoid the risk of Erb’s Palsy. They are responsible for taking the proper steps and informing the patients of the possible risks associated with the medical procedures. Failure to do so will result in a lawsuit in case of any injury.

Can Erb’s Palsy be treated?

During the first few months of the baby’s life, doctors may recommend keeping a watchful eye on the child. This is usually a wise approach because most injuries heal on their own. However, if the condition persists and the initial X-rays show severe damage, doctors will recommend other treatments if necessary.

One of the most common treatments for Erb’s Palsy is physical therapy. Doctors recommend it to prevent the joints from becoming stiff while the nerves heal. Doctors teach the parents how to properly perform the exercises so they can help do them with their children. Doctors tell them to stay consistent to see better results.

In extreme cases, surgery is necessary. When the nerves rupture during birth, surgeons perform nerve grafts or nerve transfers depending on the type of injury. Additional surgeries will be required if the affected arm remains weak as the child grows.

Cost of raising a child with Erb’s Palsy

An injury that is as severe as damage to a major nerve has long-term effects on the child and the family. As with any long-term and generally irreversible injury, the cost of treatments and additional medical expenses may overburden the family. The parents may suffer emotional and financial distress.

With one functioning arm, the child would be unable to participate in many of the same activities as his peers, making it difficult for him to fit in. Due to this, the child may suffer socially and psychologically. It may take a negative toll on his mental health. The child may grow up with self-esteem and confidence issues.

A child with Erb’s Palsy usually requires more attention than the average child during their developing years. The expenses may vary, depending on the type of injury the child suffered and the extent of nerve damage.

Some of the costs associated with Erb’s Palsy include the following:

  1. Physical therapy to strengthen the arm
  2. Several corrective surgeries to repair the nerve damage
  3. Psychological care to help with the child’s mental health
  4. Transportation costs to and from the medical facilities
  5. Loss of wages. Either for missing work or one of the parents resigning from their jobs to become a full-time caretaker.  
  6. Assistive devices
  7. Damages for emotional pain and physical trauma

The parents need to speak with their respective healthcare professionals and personal injury attorneys to discuss the severity of the case and determine the total cost of all expenses.

Erb’s Palsy Lawsuits

The parents have every right to take action against the negligent medical professionals. The latter could have prevented the birth of a child with Erb’s Palsy by taking appropriate precautions.

Filing a lawsuit can help compensate the family financially so they can pay for their child’s treatment comfortably.

The Erb’s Palsy lawsuit provides compensation based on the following:

  1. Costs related to surgeries, therapy, counseling, and more
  2. Lost wages due to a family member quitting their job to take care of the child
  3. Issues such as emotional and mental distress that it caused the child and family.

Successful lawsuits bring a sense of relief and closure to the family as they may have felt distraught due to their child’s condition. And it also helps bring attention to the matter of preventable birth-related injuries.


Seeing a child go through the pain and suffering of long and invasive surgeries is hard for anyone, let alone a parent. Plus, to be aware, this could have been prevented if not for the negligence of medical professionals is all the more traumatic.

Filing a lawsuit may seem intimidating, but it does not have to be. Finding a lawyer that suits your needs and understands the demands of the case is essential for you to win. Experienced lawyers will have your best interest at heart.


Anna Domino

Anna Domino resides in Ohio with her husband and three daughters. When she’s not writing, she’s usually reading or eating ice cream. Anna is a former librarian and graphic design professional.