Erb’s palsy, which is the more common shorthand name used for Erb-Duchenne palsy, is an affliction that affects newborns. This is caused by an injury that occurs to the nerves surrounding the shoulder, which also leads to a very important point: this is not the same thing as cerebral palsy, which is always caused by the brain or by brain abnormalities. This is an entirely different situation.
The reason that Erb’s palsy is so important when it comes to legal matters is that this is an injury that mostly comes due to medical malpractice. More often than not, the injury takes place during childbirth and is much more likely to happen during a particularly hard natural childbirth. The injury to the shoulder takes place because of tugging, pulling, and abnormal movement during the birthing process.
If a baby is showing signs of Erb’s palsy, which is extremely easy to see since there will be very limited movement from the arm or shoulder that’s affected, the difficulty in court becomes proving negligence. While, at first glance, this might seem like the type of injury that will be an open-and-shut case, you will most likely find that it is not that simple.
The reason for this is that, often times, Erb’s palsy takes place because during a difficult birth in which the attending doctors are worried that the baby might be in danger of suffocating or of getting stuck too long and having the danger of a miscarriage or oxygen deprivation. During these rushed times, and attending doctor or nurse will often make the choice to risk Erb’s palsy, which they see as the lesser of two injuries for the safety of the baby.
There are also occasions where the injury can be due to a large baby being too large to fit comfortably out of the birth canal, and its shoulders either get squeezed together too much or even catch on the mom’s pelvic bone. In these cases, there is no fault at all on the case of the doctors.
So Why Is Legal Counsel so Important for Erb’s Palsy Cases?
One of the major reasons why you still need to seek legal counsel if you are dealing with an Erb’s palsy case is that this injury may still be caused by improper tool use or improper techniques. In this situation, you may be entitled to damages that can help you pay for the treatments and rehabilitation that your baby will have to go through in order to try and bring back as much shoulder movement as possible.
Professional personal damage attorneys who have worked on Erb’s palsy cases before will have the knowledge and the assistance of medical experts to be able to look at your situation and see if all the doctors’ actions were reasonable, or if you may have the legal basis for pursuing a malpractice claim.
The injury of a child is always a serious issue, and it doesn’t get much more serious than the potential for unnecessary injury or even disfigurement due to malpractice while giving birth. When it comes to Erb’s palsy, the severity of the damage can vary greatly from one case to another. Some children may recover to the point of only feeling occasional twinges in their shoulder, while serious and permanent injuries can occur in severe cases.
According to Hop-Law.com, one such case occurred in Michigan, where a jury awarded the mother $12.9 million over an Erb’s palsy lawsuit in 2013. This goes to show just how important this injury can be, and why it is so critical to have quality legal counsel on your side.