Brachial Palsy: Birth Injuries and Legal Options

By dtaw on January 01, 2018

A newborn baby cryingBirth injury lawsuits are among the most heartrending yet important kinds of cases that our legal team pursues. A child who is injured during birth faces a number of developmental challenges. Parents will need to make many adjustments and accommodations for their child, and these would have been avoided if the medical professionals in charge acted responsibly.

Our team of Oklahoma City, OK medical malpractice lawyers can help parents and their children in their time of legal need. In the case of brachial plexus injuries, our legal assistance will help address your baby's future struggles due to an injury during birth.

About Brachial Plexus Palsy

The brachial plexus is a network of nerves located in the neck that extend down into the upper arm. These nerves are intended to send signals from a person’s spine into their shoulder, arm, and hand. Brachial plexus palsy is a type ion injury that affects these nerves, resulting in difficulties using the arms and hands. The severity of the palsy varies depending on the damage done to the nerves.

The condition is also known as Erb's palsy. Only 1 percent of live births result in a brachial plexus injury.

Causes of Brachial Plexus Palsy

Brachial plexus palsy is most commonly seen in new borns who have had a difficult birth, such as obstructed labor as a result of shoulder dystocia. In shoulder dystocia, the baby’s head has emerged but his or her shoulder is caught, preventing the rest of the baby's body from exiting the mother. The brachial plexus may be stretched and damaged while trying to free the baby during delivery.

Signs and Symptoms of Brachial Plexus Palsy

The most common signs and symptoms o brachial plexus palsy include:

  • Pain or discomfort in the arm
  • Paralysis of the muscles in the shoulder and upper arm
  • Loss of sensation in the arm and hand
  • Weakness in the muscles of the hand and arm
  • Reduced mobility of the arm

How Brachial Plexus Palsy Affects Your Child's Life

Many infants who suffer from brachial plexus palsy are able to restore the sensation and use to their arms through physical therapy and proper medical care. However, severe damage to the brachial plexus may require much more involved medical attention. In some cases, a child may not be able to use his or her arms and hands as they ought to, resulting in problems with basics tasks that involve grip strength and fine manipulation of objects. This can lead to many challenges for a child as he or she grows up.

Do I Have a Birth Injury Lawsuit?

If it can be show that the doctor who delivered the child acted negligently and their actions resulted in an injury to the brachial plexus, you likely have a birth injury case worth pursuing. Similarly, if your OB-GYN recognized a risk of shoulder dystocia or other problems with delivery yet does not take those into account when a child is being born, you may have a potential medical malpractice lawsuit worth pursuing.

A medical malpractice attorney can help assess your situation and determine if you have a case.

Damages in Birth Injury Lawsuits

During a birth injury lawsuit, damages will be sought against the doctor or medical facility. There are two kinds of damages:

  • Compensatory Damages - Compensatory damages are damages that are sought to cover financial and material losses associated with the injury your child sustained. This could cover the cost of physical therapy and medical treatment, lost future earning due to lasting damage to the brachial plexus, and so forth.
  • Punitive Damages - Punitive damages are intended to punish the negligent party for their actions. The amount that a plaintiff receives varies, an usually depends on the egregiousness of the birth injury and the details of the case.

Contact Our Law Firm for Legal Assistance

To learn more about your legal options following an injury to your baby or infant, be sure to contact our skilled team of medical malpractice lawyers. The attorneys of Tawwater Law Firm, PLLC are here to offer legal counsel and guidance through all kinds of cases.

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