Baltimore Accident Attorneys Advocate on Behalf of Erb’s Palsy Victims
Maryland Injury Firm Focuses on Recovering Maximum Damages
Erb’s Palsy, a form of brachial plexus palsy, affects approximately one or two of every 1,000 babies born. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Erb’s palsy often occurs when an infant’s head is pulled forcefully and the neck is stretched to the side during a difficult delivery.
The brachial plexus is bundle of nerves near the neck that provides movement and feeling to the shoulder, arm, hand, and fingers. When the upper nerves in the brachial plexus are damaged, Erb’s palsy is the result, and the afflicted person experiences arm weakness and the loss of motion. If both the upper and lower nerves are stretched, the condition is typically more severe and is known as total brachial plexus birth palsy.
What Causes Erb's Palsy?
Erb’s palsy in newborns usually happens because of a long and difficult delivery, such as with an unusually large infant, a breech delivery, shoulder dystocia, or a lengthy labor. If the birth becomes a complicated one, the person assisting the delivery must sometimes act quickly and exert force to pull the baby from the birth canal. If one side of the baby’s neck is stretched and the nerves are also stretched, Erb’s palsy can result.
Although most infants fully recover from Erb’s palsy within three to nine months with time and physical therapy, when a child has more severe damage, surgery may be necessary and the condition can result in lifelong impairment. Some of the lasting effects of Erb’s palsy can include:
- The affected arm is shorter than the other
- Limitation in the range of motion at the shoulder joint
- Arm weakness
Some children also experience complications from Erb’s palsy, including chronic tightening of the muscles, shoulder dislocation, loss of feeling in the affected arm, and scoliosis of the spine.
Erb’s Palsy Compensation Claims
If preventable nerve damage occurring during birth resulted in Erb’s palsy, a legal claim can be brought by parents or other family members against doctors, hospitals, or other parties responsible for the injury. These lawsuits seek financial compensation that will allow the family to afford medical care and other expenses related to a child’s Erb’s palsy diagnosis.
Doctors have a duty of care to ensure their patients’ safety, and those who use excessive force during delivery can be found liable in an Erb’s palsy lawsuit. Some of the damages that might be recovered include:
- Past, present, and future medical expenses
- Lost wages for a family member who had to stop working to care for the child
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
If your child has been diagnosed with Erb’s palsy and you are considering taking legal action, you need to contact a competent birth injury attorney as soon as possible. In Maryland, an Erb’s palsy lawsuit must be filed within five years of the injury, or three years following its discovery – whichever occurs first.