If your baby has been diagnosed with Erb’s pals due to the negligence of your physician, medical staff, or any other liable party, you have the right retain an attorney and file charges against the party responsible for injuring your infant.
By consulting an Erb’s Palsy lawyer, you can help ease the financial burden on your family and help you get back to the life you had planned for you and your baby.
Erb’s Palsy Complications
Erb’s palsy, also known as brachial plexus palsy and shoulder dystocia, is a condition in which the brachial plexus nerves in the shoulder have been damaged, torn, displaced, or severed. The injury usually happens during delivery, generally when a doctor or medical staff member pulls on an infant forcefully and improperly.
If left untreated, your baby may have permanent nerve damage. The damage can be as severe as paralysis or as mild as lifelong pain, depending on how serious the injury is. Treatment for Erb’s palsy includes physical and occupational therapy, surgery (for severe cases), medication, and programs with goals to get your infant’s arm moving normally.
When to Speak to an Erb’s Palsy Lawyer
It’s important to speak to a lawyer as quickly as possible. Generally, parents may want to take a while to consider the decision and not rush into anything, but it’s important that you talk to a lawyer when all of the details are still fresh.
Additionally, some of these cases take 18 months to two years or more from the date of filing if you happen to go to trial, and with medical expenses and other costs associated with Erb’s palsy, it’s a good idea to get your case rolling as soon as you can.
Furthermore, anyone filing an Erb’s palsy lawsuit must adhere to state statute of limitations. While the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is typically two years from the time of the injury or the time of the discovery of the injury, some states’ statute of limitations are short as one year while others may be three years.
You’ll also want to make 100% sure that you have a valid Erb’s palsy lawsuit. During an initial case consultation, your attorney will advise you as to whether you have a successful chance, but generally, your case must show that:
- The defendant (for example, a physician or someone on the medical staff) had a “duty of care” relationship with you and/or your infant, meaning they were responsible for your medical care during the time the injuries occurred.
- The defendant must have breached their duty of care in some manner
- The breached duty of care must have been what led to your infant’s injuries
How to Find an Erb’s Palsy Attorney
When you’re looking for an attorney, you can take a more public route by looking through your phone book or newspaper for lawyers in your area. However, don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth. Many people find trusted attorneys via friend and family. Even if your friends and family can’t recommend a birth injury lawyer, they may be able to recommend you to an attorney who can.
Additionally, research suggest that millions of people have found attorneys via Internet searches. In fact, recent reports conducted by Google, the American Bar Association (ABA), and various other organizations and companies suggest that currently, most people turn to the Internet to find legal representation, especially on sites that allow them to ask legal questions or provide in-depth information regarding the reason they need an attorney.
Whichever way you decide, you want to be sure that you work with a lawyer that you’re comfortable with and one who will be on your side at all times. Since you’ll more than likely have plenty of communication with your attorney, it’s important that you feel at ease and can comfortably ask questions when you need to.
Moreover, it’s extremely important to find an attorney who specializes in birth injury cases. Keep in mind that there are many different fields of law and retaining the services of a general attorney who has never handled a case involving Erb’s palsy is not recommended.
Choosing an Experienced Erb’s Palsy Attorney
It’s recommended that you don’t work with the first law firm with experience in Erb’s palsy cases that you come across. Do your research and make sure that you double check the law firm’s area of competence. Consider the following questions before selecting an attorney to represent you:
- How long has the attorney been in practice and how many cases have been specifically dedicated to Erb’s palsy cases?
- What was the outcome of the previous Erb’s palsy cases that the attorney handled?
- Will you be kept in the loop throughout the duration the attorney works on your case?
- How much time will be spent handling your case?
Affording an Erb’s Palsy Attorney
With medical costs, extended care, and more, most parents typically cannot afford to add on more expenses. Yet, most birth injury lawyers will work with clients on an contingency fee basis, meaning you’ll never have to pay an up-front to retain legal services. In fact, you’ll only pay when you win your lawsuit; a percentage of your compensation amount is taken out for attorney fees.
It’s important to note that not all attorneys offer contingency fees, but it’s ideal to only with an attorney who do. You can rest assured that the attorney has the funding available to successfully research your case.
Starting an Erb’s Palsy Lawsuit
Once you find an Erb’s palsy lawyer to represent you, it’s important to have as much information with you as possible. Take all relevant paperwork with you, and see if you can provide specific names, job titles, and lines of dialogue from medical staff persons or witnesses that recognized what went wrong in your case.
Your attorney will also be able to gather pertinent documents, identify key witnesses, and access medical records, but the more information you have on hand, the easier it will be to get your case rolling.
Even after your attorney has started the process of your lawsuit, you should still keep all medical documents each time your baby has a doctor’s appointment, physical therapy session, or any examinations done. This information will come in handy for your attorney when negotiating a compensation amount for your case.
Out-of-Court Settlement vs. Trial
Most birth injury cases are settled out of court. Your attorney will work diligently in order to reach a fair settlement that you agree with, but in the event that an agreement cannot be met with the defendant, you more than likely will have to go to trial.
Although there is a only a small chance of your case going to trial, it’s best to be prepared beforehand and understand that it’s a possibility.
During the pre-litigation phase of your lawsuit, your attorney will gather evidence and other information, and present it to the defense. This gives the defendant a chance to see what’s “stacked up against them” so to speak, and review the evidence. In many situations, defendants in a birth injury case understand that there is an ample amount of evidence pointing towards medical negligence, and will therefore negotiate a settlement with your attorney.
If a settlement still isn’t negotiated, your case will enter into the litigation phase, and during this phase, your attorney will start preparing your case for trial. Keep in mind, however, that the defendant can still agree to a settlement during this time, and statistically, most will settle by the litigation phase. Additionally, even if your case goes to trial, the defendant has the legal right and may still settle during the trial.
How Compensation Works
Several factors go into determining the compensation for an Erb’s palsy case, including past, present, and future medical expenses associated with your baby’s injuries, the costs of physical therapy and other forms of rehabilitation, and more. However, since each case is different and an Erb’s palsy injury can greatly fluctuate from mild to severe, there isn’t a set way to figure out in advance how much compensation you can expect. On average though, plaintiffs in an Erb’s palsy injury case may receive damages for:
- Medical bills and expenses for any specialized medical products needed
- Physical pain your infant endured due to the injury
- Emotional pain and turmoil
- Punitive damages, if applicable
- Costs of in-home medical, if needed
- Parental lost wages that occurred due to caring for the injured infant
How Much Compensation to Expect
It’s difficult to determine an exact amount of compensation in birth injury cases, as each case has its own set of unique set of factors. Generally, however, you can expect compensation for:
- Medical expenses, including past and future
- Rehabilitation costs, including physical and/or occupational therapy
- Lost wages, should you leave your job or reduce hours in order to medically care for the infant