Erb’s palsy is a type of brachial plexus injury that occurs when the nerves in the upper arm are injured. One to two out of every 1,000 infants born in the United States experience Erb’s palsy, which is most often caused by a physician excessively pulling or tugging the baby’s arm during childbirth. Erb’s palsy compensation claims are a way to help recover damages associated with your baby’s injury.
Erb’s Palsy Compensation Claims Defined
Since Erb’s palsy is caused by stretched or torn nerves and usually happens during childbirth, most experts state that it’s an injury that’s avoidable. By exercising the proper medical procedures, the majority of Erb’s palsy injuries could have been thwarted. When a healthcare provider acts in a negligent manner that results in an infant’s injury, parents or legal guardians have the right to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. This lawsuit is known as an Erb’s palsy compensation claim, a type of medical malpractice lawsuit filed against the physician, hospital, or any other party culpable of the baby’s injury.
Who Can File an Erb’s Palsy Compensation Claim?
Generally, the legal guardians or the parents file an Erb’s palsy compensation claim on behalf of the injured infant. Although some states do allow the injured party to file on their own behalf once they reach 18 years of age, most parents or legal guardians file the claim immediately as there are up-front and ongoing medical expenses that need to be taken care of as soon as possible.
In addition, many states have a statute of limitations that will not honor waiting until the injured infant reaches adulthood. Statute of limitations will vary according to state, but are usually anywhere from one year to six years after the injury. If parents or legal guardians wait until the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases in their state has passed, they are ineligible to seek compensation from the party who caused the infant’s injuries.
How Can I Be Certain My Baby’s Erb’s Palsy Was Caused by Medical Malpractice?
There are some instance in which an Erb’s palsy injury occurs for no apparent reason and no one is to blame. You’ll need to be certain that your baby’s injuries were indeed caused by medical errors and negligence. The most common reasons that Erb’s palsy results from medical negligence includes:
- A physician pulling too forcefully on the baby’s arms
- A physician failing to plan and carry out an emergency C-section
- Improper use of birth-assisting tools, such as forceps or a vacuum extraction tool
- Failure to monitor for signs of fetal distress
Of course, in some cases, it’s hard for parents to determine if the aforementioned actions occurred, but physicians who specialize in these types of opinions can offer you a medical opinion on how the injury happened.
What Does an Erb’s Palsy Compensation Claim Cover?
Erb’s palsy compensation claims help loved ones recover the overwhelming expenses involved with caring for the injured baby. Depending on the state you live in, you may be able to recover economic damages, along with non-economic damages. Keep in mind, however, that some states put limits, also known as “caps,” on non-economic damages, while other states do not recognize non-economic caps in Erb’s palsy cases at all.
In general, however, Erb’s palsy compensation claims cover:
- Doctor’s appointments
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Lost wages (if a parent or caregiver loses income due to medical care of the infant)
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of activities and life
How Much Compensation Will I Receive?
As with almost all other types of medical malpractice lawsuits, there is no set way to determine how much compensation you can expect from an Erb’s palsy compensation claim. There are several factors involved that makes it difficult to pinpoint an exact compensation amount, including how severe the injury is, the state you live in, and the details surrounding your case.
In fact, the compensation amounts very so greatly in Erb’s palsy cases that it’s hard to estimate even an average amount of compensation to expect. The following Erb’s palsy claims examples, however, will give you an indication of how compensation for these types of cases are considerably different:
Michigan $12.9 Million Erb’s Palsy Verdict
In 2013, a Flint, Michigan mother was award $12.9 million after he infant suffered through a severe birth injury that led to Erb’s palsy. The injury, which took place at Grand Balnc’s Genesys Regional Medical Center, happened after the baby become lodged in the mother’s pelvic area during delivery. However, the lawsuit claims that the injuries could have been avoided if the physician had scheduled an emergency C-section or utilized different medical maneuvers that would have kept the baby safe.
However, the infant was delivered naturally, and because of the excess force applied to his arms, his nerves were torn and stretched, resulting in Erb’s palsy. Since then, the baby has had numerous surgeries, yet still continues to having issues with the affected arm.
The jury awarded the infant’s family $12.9 million, yet because of Michigan’s cap law on non-economic damages, the total amount was lowered to around $4 million. Michigan mandates a cap of $433,400 on non-economic losses.
New York $900,000 Erb’s Palsy Settlement
In 2010, a Poughkeepsie, New York family settled their Erb’s palsy compensation claim for $900,000. According to medical documents, the infant boy, who was born at the Vassar Brothers Hospital, experienced moderate traction when the physician pulled too forcefully during delivery. Consequently, the infant developed Erb’s palsy and now has permanent nerve injuries.
Essex County $5.5 Million Erb’s Palsy Verdict
After a lengthy trial, an Essex County, New Jersey jury awarded the family of a girl with Erb’s palsy $5.5. million, after it was determined that the injury was caused by a doctor applying too much lateral traction on the baby’s head during delivery.
According to court documents, the infant’s shoulders were lodged in the mother’s pelvic area (shoulder dystocia), and even though the physician applied medical maneuvers to safely deliver the infant, it was done inappropriately, leading to the baby’s torn and stretched brachial nerves. A total of $5,158,910 was awarded to the family for impairment, loss of enjoyment of life, disability, and pain and suffering. An additional $132,240 was awarded for future medical costs, as well as $225,000 for future lost wages.