Can You Sue for Erb’s Palsy?
You may be able to file an Erb’s palsy lawsuit if you believe medical negligence or medical malpractice caused your child’s condition.
Sadly, Erb’s palsy malpractice often plays a major role in brachial plexus palsy injuries. This means that Erb’s palsy, which is characterized by nerve damage to brachial plexus nerves, is often preventable. Damage to this network of nerves can cause lifelong problems with your baby’s affected arm.
Examples of Erb’s palsy malpractice that may result in nerve injury include:
- Pulling on a baby’s head and neck as the shoulders pass through the birth canal
- Pulling on a baby’s shoulders or a baby’s arms during a head-first delivery
- Pulling on a baby’s feet during a feet-first (breech) delivery
Excessive force or improper use of forceps are often the causes of a child’s birth injury.
Why Should I File an Erb’s Palsy Lawsuit?
People choose to file Erb’s palsy lawsuits due to the needless suffering the condition can cause. By holding negligent medical professionals accountable for their malpractice, Erb’s palsy lawsuits can give families a sense of closure and justice.
Compensation from Erb’s palsy lawsuits can help families cover the costs of medical care. Children with disabilities have much higher health care costs and out-of-pocket expenses that parents may not be financially prepared for.
These unplanned expenses may include:
- Lost wages for parents and caregivers who took time off work
- Adaptive equipment
- Occupational, speech, and physical therapies
- Nursing and special care
- Other medical and personal expenses
Unfortunately, studies from the National Institutes of Health suggest that low-income families are often hit the hardest by the cost of caring for a disabled child. Filing an Erb’s palsy lawsuit can provide financial relief to families who need it most.
“40% of families of children with special health care needs experience a financial burden due to their child’s condition.”
– National Institutes of Health
Filing an Erb’s palsy lawsuit can help heal the devastation a birth injury causes. With the closure and compensation from a lawsuit, families can be better equipped, both emotionally and financially, to best care for the affected child.
Do you suspect your child’s birth injury was caused by medical malpractice?
How to File an Erb’s Palsy Lawsuit
Although each case is different, the following steps are common in Erb’s palsy malpractice cases.
1. Get a Free Case Review
The first step in filing an Erb’s palsy lawsuit is consulting with a qualified birth injury lawyer to get a case evaluation. An Erb’s palsy lawyer will ask you questions and discuss the facts of your potential case at no cost to you.
During this free case review, the lawyer will evaluate the strength of your Erb’s palsy case. They may also talk with you about Erb’s palsy case values, which is the amount of money your case may be worth. Once you establish an attorney-client relationship, your attorney can officially begin the lawsuit process.
2. Determine Case Value
Before formally filing your Erb’s palsy claim, your lawyer will need to determine the treatments your child may need, as this is a key factor in establishing your Erb’s palsy case value.
To do so, your attorney will work to create a life care plan that documents how much your child’s care will cost throughout their lifetime — and, in turn, how much compensation your family may be eligible to receive for your child’s injuries.
3. Gather Evidence
In order to build the strongest case possible, your lawyer will need to gather evidence that shows your child’s Erb’s palsy was caused by medical malpractice.
This evidence may include:
- Medical history of the baby’s mother, including any possible risk factors
- Medical records from pregnancy and birth of the child
- Details of the exact series of events that happened before, during, and after birth
4. File the Lawsuit
The next step is for your legal team to file your Erb’s palsy lawsuit against the defendants, who are usually the doctors and/or hospital. The defendants are generally given 30 days to respond to your claim.
The court will then issue a schedule for your Erb’s palsy case.
After the defendants respond to your complaint, your lawyer will gather more evidence to support your case. The defendant’s legal team will gather their own evidence in an attempt to prove their side.
Information gathered during discovery usually includes:
- Interrogatories: Written questions each side has for the other side to answer
- Requests for disclosure and production: Access to information, records, and written documentation related to the case
- Admissions: Requests for the other party to weigh in on aspects of the case
- Experts reports: Written reports by medical experts — an Erb’s palsy malpractice suit requires a physician to serve as an expert witness
- Depositions: Question and answer sessions with witnesses
6. Settlement vs Trial
The next step in your lawsuit will likely be either settling out of court or taking the case to trial.
Generally speaking, the options are as follows:
- Erb’s palsy settlements: Most birth injury cases settle out of court without a trial. Settlements may occur in order to lessen poor publicity for the defendants and to avoid jury trials, which are expensive and time-consuming.
- Erb’s palsy case verdicts: If your case goes to trial, a verdict will occur after closing arguments are made. If a judge or jury decides the defendants are guilty of medical negligence, they will determine the amount of damages owed to you. The amount awarded depends on factors specific to your case.
If you decide to accept a settlement offer, you will likely receive compensation quicker than if the case goes to trial.
Trials may award a higher amount of compensation, however, there is no guarantee that your case will be successful. If the judge or jury rules in favor of the defendant, you will not receive any money — unless you go through a lengthy and costly appeals process.
Average Erb’s Palsy Settlements and Verdicts
Erb’s palsy lawsuit settlement amounts vary greatly, depending on the severity of the condition and the degree of medical malpractice.
Some notable Erb’s palsy settlements include:
- $1.2 million in the case of a 10-year-old South Carolina child
- $1 million in the case of a 13-year-old South Carolina teenager
- $975,000 in the case of a 6-year-old Florida child
- $850,000 in the case of a New York baby
Common Questions About Erb’s Palsy Cases
How long do Erb’s palsy lawsuits take?
Since each case is different, it is difficult to predict how long your Erb’s palsy lawsuit will take. In some cases, more complicated cases take longer to resolve. Additionally, settling out of court can significantly shorten the legal process.
It takes an average of 2.5 years to reach an Erb’s palsy settlement. On the other hand, it can take 4 years or more to reach a court verdict for an Erb’s palsy case.
How much does it cost to file an Erb’s palsy lawsuit?
Erb’s palsy malpractice cases are usually handled under a contingency fee agreement. This means you do not pay your legal team any money unless your Erb’s palsy lawsuit is successful. When your case is resolved, you then pay your lawyer a percentage of the money you receive.
Not every lawyer, however, works on a contingency fee basis. It is critical to talk with your Erb’s palsy lawyer about any legal fees that will be involved.
Do people usually win Erb’s palsy lawsuit cases?
All medical professionals are held to a standard of care, which means they must act in the best interest of each of their patients.
During pregnancy and delivery, obstetricians are responsible for the welfare of both the mother and child. This means medical professionals may be forced to make difficult decisions during emergency situations.
To win an Erb’s palsy lawsuit, your legal team must prove that the medical professionals who cared for you and your child did not provide proper medical care. Further, it must be established that this breach of care resulted in your child’s brachial plexus injury.
In Erb’s palsy cases, a breach in care might be:
- Not responding quickly enough to infant distress
- Taking too long to perform a Cesarean section
- Failing to properly monitor the pregnancy
- Failing to properly monitor the newborn’s condition following delivery
Do you suspect your child’s birth injury was caused by medical malpractice?
How long do I have to file an Erb’s palsy malpractice case?
Your Erb’s palsy lawsuit must be filed within the statute of limitations, or the law that places a limit on the amount of time you have to start a legal case. This deadline varies by state, but the “clock” usually starts running on the date when the Erb’s palsy malpractice occurred.
It is, therefore, crucial to be aware of the statute of limitations, or else your right to sue may be lost forever. If you are eligible, an experienced birth injury attorney can help you file a claim in your state within the proper time frame.
Do all lawyers take Erb’s palsy cases?
Because of the complexity of birth injury cases, it is best to find an Erb’s palsy lawyer with experience handling cases similar to your own. Erb’s palsy attorneys understand the burdens that this condition puts on families and will work to get you the maximum amount of compensation.
A skilled Erb’s palsy lawyer will also handle the legal heavy lifting for you. They will be able to advise you on the best legal strategy for your specific case. This will give you the peace of mind that you need to focus on caring for your child.
Find an Experienced Attorney Near You
Victims of Erb’s palsy stemming from medical negligence deserve justice and compensation. Working with an experienced attorney is the best way to file an Erb’s palsy lawsuit and secure a safe and healthy future for your child.
If you are interested in seeking compensation to help pay for your child’s Erb’s palsy care, get a free legal case review today.