Erb's Palsy Compensation Claims Solicitors

Potential difficulties with a baby’s delivery should be identified during labour. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen and this can lead to serious injury such as erb’s palsy. If your child has suffered from erb’s palsy as the result of medical negligence, you may be able to claim compensation.

Our clinical negligence solicitors understand the impact erb’s palsy (also known as brachial plexus injury) can have on a child’s life, especially when it has been caused as the result of an avoidable error. Our specialist erb’s palsy lawyers can not only help secure compensation but help you to get access to any further medical care or treatment that your child needs.

What causes erb’s palsy?

Erb’s palsy occurs during childbirth when the baby’s head has been delivered but the shoulders are too large and become lodged behind the mother’s pelvis. This is known as shoulder dystocia.

With shoulder dystocia, the baby’s body is ultimately delivered but normally, various manoeuvres and a degree of force are required. Where an inappropriate amount of force has been applied, it can cause injury to the baby’s neck, as well as damage to the Brachial Plexus nerves located in the neck and upper back.

Symptoms of erb’s palsy will vary, but could include a paralysed or partially-paralysed arm wrist and/or hand, limpness, a lack of muscle tone or a lack of sensation. Often, the affected limb will be smaller than the non-affected limb.

Identifying erb’s palsy and shoulder dystocia

Midwives or other medical staff should pick up on any potential difficulties with delivery during labour. Sometimes it is clear during pregnancy that a baby will be large. Similarly, if a mother has given birth to a child who suffered from shoulder dystocia in a previous pregnancy, the mother can be advised that a caesarean section is an option for them.

It is the responsibility of midwives and medical staff to ensure appropriate steps are taken to avoid causing serious injury, or even death, to the baby.

Unfortunately, this is sometimes missed or not acted upon as it should be. Failure to identify shoulder dystocia can result in medical negligence by the midwife or healthcare provider.

Case study | £1.9m for child with erb’s palsy after a failure in communication

Risk factors for erb’s palsy

There are several known risk factors, such as:

  • Delivery of a large baby
  • Babies born to diabetic mothers
  • Long labours
  • The use of forceps
  • Babies in breech position
  • Those who have previously had a child with shoulder dystocia

Case study | £1.5m in compensation for child with brachial plexus injury

What injuries can be caused by erb’s palsy?

There are a number of injuries to the nerves in the back affecting one particular arm and shoulder and, more generally, that present as a result of shoulder dystocia, including:

  • Avulsion (where nerve roots are displaced from the spine)
  • Neuropraxia (stretching of the nerve)
  • Nerve ruptures
  • Fractures to the humerus and collarbone
  • Shoulder dislocation

Some of these injuries will require surgery or multiple surgeries which may or may not be successful. This is not only a cause of extra stress and worry, but can involve extensive rehabilitation, which may need to be paid for. Claiming compensation for erb’s palsy can not only help you to find closure after what happened but assist you in paying for treatment and rehabilitation costs for your child?

Can I claim for erb’s palsy?

If you’re considering a compensation claim for erb’s palsy, it’s important that you speak to a specialist medical negligence solicitor. For your claim to be successful, we will need to demonstrate that your baby’s injury was caused by negligence. For example:

  • Lack of staff training, e.g. failure to spot the signs of a difficult delivery that could cause erb’s palsy
  • Incorrect manoeuvres or tools used
  • Not enough staff in attendance
  • Excessive force or inappropriate delivery
  • Failures in antenatal care

Whilst some babies recover from the symptoms related to their shoulder dystocia, children with erb’s palsy will typically require professional help including surgical referral and physiotherapy. Either way, investigating an erb’s palsy claim is a complex process that requires a specialist medical negligence lawyer.

What will my claim cover?

Claiming compensation for erb’s palsy can help cover the costs of ongoing and future care, as well as any losses you have incurred due to the child’s injuries. For example, loss of earnings due to time off work to attend medical appointments or the cost of rehabilitation. It can also cover the child’s potential future loss of earnings.

Compensation can also help cover the cost of home adaptations and access to specialist care, in particular, physiotherapy.

How long do I have to start a claim for erb’s palsy?

As with other types of medical negligence claims, typically, there is a three-year period from the date of the negligence to start a claim.

However, in the case of children, these three years do not start until their 18th birthday. Our medical negligence solicitors will be able to advise you on this in more detail.

Get in touch with our medical negligence solicitors about an erb’s palsy claim

If you’re concerned that an event during your antenatal period or your baby’s delivery may have contributed to their erb’s palsy injuries, contact our specialist medical negligence solicitors for advice.

Our lawyers help clients across the UK from our offices across Bristol, in Bedminster, Bishopston, Bristol city centre, Kingswood and Thornbury. You can discuss a potential erb’s palsy claim by calling us on 0117 325 2929 or completing our online enquiry form.


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