Erb’s Palsy &
Brachial Plexus Injury

Erb's palsy and brachial plexus nerve damage can happen during birth. If your doctor makes a mistake during delivery, the nerves in your baby’s neck and arms can become damaged. If this happened to your child, you should consult a lawyer.
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Weitz & Luxenberg P.C. is now accepting cases in which babies have been diagnosed with Erb’s palsy, or Erb-Duchenne palsy, following a difficult delivery at birth. Erb’s palsy can result when, during delivery, the “baby’s shoulders become impacted,” or jammed, in the birth canal.(1)

When this event occurs, nerves in the baby’s shoulder(s) can be damaged. Depending on how severe the trauma, a baby may need to undergo surgery, physical therapy, and other extensive and expensive medical treatment.

In some cases, the nerve damage “can cause permanent weakness or disability.”(2)

If your child suffered nerve damage during delivery and has been diagnosed with Erb’s palsy, or another type of brachial plexus injury, you may be entitled to compensation. The actions of your health care provider may have contributed to your child’s nerve damage.

Medical Mistakes Can Injure Your Child

Because Erb’s palsy results from a specific type of nerve damage, we suggest you speak with an experienced Erb’s palsy attorney, such as one of Weitz & Luxenberg’s attorneys who handles complex medical malpractice cases. Our attorneys have the knowledge and training to help you understand your legal options.

For a free consultation and more information about your legal options, please contact us today.

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If your child has been diagnosed with Erb’s palsy, or another form of brachial plexus injury, chances are you are already facing overwhelming challenges, financially and emotionally. You want to make the best possible decisions for your child, but the costs can seem incomprehensible.

Please, let us help you. You do not have to face this difficult time alone.

Whatever your specific circumstances, one of our experienced Erb’s palsy attorneys can help you consider possible areas of negligence or medical error. We can help you evaluate not only potential medical mistakes that took place during your baby’s delivery but also identify possible errors in medical judgment that may have occurred during your pregnancy.

For more than three decades, Weitz & Luxenberg has been helping victims of negligence and medical malpractice. As a nationally recognized firm, we can provide you with the legal assistance and guidance you need, as well as the resources to pursue appropriate compensation.

Our firm has won more than $17 billion in verdicts and settlements for our clients. Although this doesn’t guarantee future success, it is something you may want to consider when evaluating our experience. 

Mom holding baby after giving birth.

Weitz & Luxenberg Accepts Erb’s Palsy Lawsuits

With more than 30 years of experience handling complex medical malpractice lawsuits, Weitz & Luxenberg attorneys are knowledgeable and fully prepared to file Erb’s palsy lawsuits on behalf of families whose infants were diagnosed with Erb’s palsy.

Because each infant experiences the trauma of a difficult birth differently, appropriate treatment varies.

Whatever the treatment, the costs can add up quickly. Parents may need to seek out the recommendations of primary care providers as well as medical specialists.

Treatment could involve multiple consultations, numerous diagnostic tests, physical and occupational therapy, and years of expensive follow-up care. To provide your child with the best care, choosing the right attorney can make all the difference.

At Weitz & Luxenberg, we aim to achieve the best possible outcome for each and every one of our clients. We hope that after consulting with us, you will decide we are the right attorneys for you.

“When parents first learn of an Erb’s palsy diagnosis, they may have no idea how much the medical treatments will cost,” says Allan Zelikovic, a Weitz & Luxenberg attorney focusing on medical malpractice. “It’s hard enough to comprehend the diagnosis, let alone imagine the impact the diagnosis will have on the family.”

“If an infant has suffered nerve damage because of poor medical judgment or a grievous medical mistake, parents should be able to seek the treatment their child needs without worrying about the costs,” Zelikovic adds. “I encourage anyone in this situation to contact us. You may be entitled to compensation.”

For a free initial consultation, please call us at (800) 476-6070 or fill out the form available. One of our representatives will be in touch with you shortly.

Man in wheelchair on crosswalk.

What Is Erb’s Palsy?

Erb’s palsy is essentially a specific type of nerve damage, or brachial plexus injury. The nerves involved in an Erb’s palsy diagnosis form a “network” of five nerves called the brachial plexus.(3) (4)

When one or more nerves of the brachial plexus get damaged during childbirth, an infant may be diagnosed with a brachial plexus injury.(5)

The nerves of the brachial plexus are located near the neck. When they are damaged, the shoulder, arm, forearm, and hand may be weak or unable to move.(6)

When this type of nerve damage occurs in infants, the condition is called neonatal brachial plexus palsy (NBPP). The brachial plexus nerves can be damaged during a difficult delivery when:(7)

  • The baby’s head and neck are pulled or pushed sideways while the baby is passing through the birth canal; the head has emerged but the shoulders get stuck.
  • The infant’s shoulders are stretched unnaturally as the baby passes headfirst through the birth canal.
  • During a feet-first, or breech, delivery, the baby’s arms are raised and pressed or twisted in the birth canal.

Infants that are larger than average may also face a greater risk of pressing against the narrow entryway of the birth canal during labor.(8)

We would feel privileged to assist you. For a free consultation and more information about your legal options, please contact us today.

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Although a cesarean section is an alternative method of delivery, an infant delivered via cesarean section may still suffer nerve damage leading to an Erb’s palsy diagnosis.(9)

A physician’s expertise and skill may play a role in preventing Erb’s palsy.

Skilled and knowledgeable health care professionals should take necessary precautions when facing a difficult delivery or special circumstances of a woman’s medical health. Skilled professionals should also recommend appropriate neonatal care.

Sometimes, a health care provider may not advise a woman about appropriate prenatal care or may make an error in judgment when considering her medical history. In other instances, a doctor may fail to deliver a woman’s baby safely.

If your infant was diagnosed with Erb’s palsy and you believe your doctor contributed to your baby’s nerve damage — either during your pregnancy or during your delivery — you may be able to seek compensation. To find out more about your legal options, we encourage you to contact us.  

Types of Neonatal Brachial Plexus Palsy

Depending on the number of nerves damaged, the severity of the damage, and the location of the damage, infants may display different variations of paralysis.

  • Erb’s palsy, also called Duchenne-Erb or Erb-Duchenne paralysis, affects the upper arm. The specific nerve roots that are damaged are the C5 and C6. Sometimes C7 is damaged as well. “C” refers to the cervical region of the spine (the neck).(10) (11)
  • Klumpke paralysis, or Dejerine-Klumpke palsy, affects the lower portion of the arm and hand.(12)

In addition, there are four degrees of brachial plexus nerve damage:(13)

  • Avulsion: the most severe type of damage. In this case, a nerve root has been “torn from the spinal cord.”(14)
  • Rupture: In this case, a nerve has been torn “but not at the spinal attachment.”(15)
  • Neuroma: A nerve has been torn but has healed; however, “scar tissue puts pressure on the injured nerve and prevents it from sending signals to the muscles.”(16)
  • Neuropraxia: A nerve has been damaged through stretching, but it has not been torn.
Doctor wearing stethoscope in scrubs.

Symptoms of Erb’s Palsy

Erb’s palsy is a type of nerve damage that generally affects the upper arms. Infants may display some degree of limpness or paralysis in the upper arms. Infants may also be unable to control muscles in the upper arms. In addition, a child may display a lack of sensation or feeling in the upper arms.(17)

In some cases, infants may experience extreme pain.(18)

Diagnosing Erb’s Palsy

To diagnose Erb’s palsy in an infant, a doctor needs to physically examine the baby as well as arrange for a variety of diagnostic tests. These tests may include:(19) (20) (21)

  • EMG: Electromyography
  • NCV: Nerve Conduction Velocity
  • MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Computerized Tomography Myelography
  • Angiogram

These diagnostic tests can be costly. Visits and consultations with health care specialists can also be expensive.

Erb’s Palsy Treatment

Depending on the severity of nerve damage, an infant may require physical therapy and surgery. Sometimes surgery must be done to remove scar tissue that has formed.(22)

In addition, “Surgical repair is often required for nerves that … have been cut or torn … If nerve surgery occurs more than six to seven months after the injury, the muscles may not recover their function.”(23)

Types of surgery include:(24)

  • knife illustration

    Nerve graft

  • Nerve transfer illustration

    Nerve transfer

  • arm muscle illustration

    Muscle transfer

These treatments can be expensive, and costs can add up quickly. If you believe your doctor contributed to your baby’s Erb’s palsy diagnosis, please contact Weitz & Luxenberg now. You may be entitled to pursue compensation.

Erb’s Palsy Outlook

The outlook for infants diagnosed with Erb’s palsy depends on the severity of the location and specific nerves damaged.

The outlook for infants diagnosed with Erb’s palsy depends on the severity of the location and specific nerves damaged. For infants who have suffered torn nerves that have not healed, there is no possibility “for recovery unless surgical reconnection is made in a timely manner.”(25)

For infants who have experienced less severe nerve damage, the possibility for recovery varies. Those with only a slight degree of damage may “recover spontaneously with a 90-100 percent return of function.”(26)

  1. Cleveland Clinic. (2012, June 5). Erb-Duchenne & Dejerine-Klumpke Palsies. Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/erb-duchenne-and-dejerine-klumpke-palsies
  2. Mayo Clinic. (2017, August 10). Brachial plexus injury. Symptoms and causes. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/brachial-plexus-injury/symptoms-causes/dxc-20127374
  3. Cleveland Clinic. (2012, June 5). Erb-Duchenne & Dejerine-Klumpke Palsies. Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/erb-duchenne-and-dejerine-klumpke-palsies
  4. Erb’s Palsy Group. (2016). About Erb’s Palsy. Retrieved from http://www.erbspalsygroup.co.uk/about-us/
  5. Johns Hopkins Medicine. (n.d.). Neurology and Neurosurgery. Brachial Plexus Injury (BPI) Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/neurology_neurosurgery/centers_clinics/peripheral_nerve_surgery/conditions/brachial_plexus_injury_bpi.html
  6. Ibid.
  7. MedlinePlus. (2017, October 3). Brachial plexus injury in newborns. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001395.htm
  8. Ibid.
  9. Chater, M., et al. (2004, October). Erb’s palsy – Who is to blame and what will happen? Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2724163/
  10. Ibid.
  11. Chater, M., et al. (2004, October). Erb’s palsy – Who is to blame and what will happen? Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2724163/
  12. MedlinePlus. (2017, October 3). Brachial plexus injury in newborns. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001395.htm
  13. Cleveland Clinic. (2012, June 5). Erb-Duchenne & Dejerine-Klumpke Palsies. Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/erb-duchenne-and-dejerine-klumpke-palsies
  14. Mayo Clinic. (2017, August 10). Brachial plexus injury. Symptoms and causes. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/brachial-plexus-injury/symptoms-causes/dxc-20127374
  15. Cleveland Clinic. (2012, June 5). Erb-Duchenne & Dejerine-Klumpke Palsies. Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/erb-duchenne-and-dejerine-klumpke-palsies
  16. Ibid.
  17. Ibid.
  18. Mayo Clinic. (2017, August 10). Brachial plexus injury. Symptoms and causes. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/brachial-plexus-injury/symptoms-causes/dxc-20127374
  19. American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine. (2017). Erb’s Palsy. Retrieved from http://www.aanem.org/Patients/Disorders/Erb-s-Palsy
  20. Johns Hopkins Medicine. (n.d.). Neurology and Neurosurgery. Brachial Plexus Injury (BPI). Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/neurology_neurosurgery/centers_clinics/peripheral_nerve_surgery/conditions/brachial_plexus_injury_bpi.html
  21. Mayo Clinic. (2017, August 10). Brachial plexus injury. Diagnosis. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/brachial-plexus-injury/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20350241
  22. Ibid.
  23. Ibid.
  24. Ibid.
  25. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (n.d.). Erb-Duchenne and Dejerine-Klumpke Palsies Information Page. Retrieved from https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Erb-Duchenne-and-Dejerine-Klumpke-Palsies-Information-Page
  26. Ibid.

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