Erb’s Palsy Claims

Erb's palsy (also known as brachial plexus paralysis) is an injury to the nerves that control movement and sensation to the upper extremity of the body which can occur during a difficult birth when a baby gets stuck in the birth canal.  It can be caused by excessive force on the baby’s head during delivery, failing to deliver the baby by caesarean section or failing to carry out procedures to correctly position the baby before delivery.

Erb’s palsy can have a significant impact on the life of the child and your family.  If you are struggling with bringing up a child with Erb’s palsy, we can act on your child’s behalf in a birth injury claim.

At Jackson Lees, our medical negligence solicitors have considerable experience with birth injury claims. We are well-versed in the issues that may arise and the standards of evidence that are to be expected.

By offering legal advice on a no win, no fee basis, we support you and your loved ones through a difficult situation.

Case Study

As an example, we acted for a client whose child sustained severe Erb’s palsy at birth. We argued that the medical professionals involved in the delivery had applied excessive traction to the baby’s head, which had injured the baby’s brachial plexus nerves and had caused Erb’s palsy to her right arm.

The child was left with limited movement in her right arm, with only a 45 degree range of movement. Despite receiving considerable treatment, this partial paralysis continued. The child was left with limited use of her right arm and required ongoing care and assistance with day-to-day tasks. We argued that her injuries would affect her ability to earn a living in the future.

The child also experienced psychological difficulties and diminished confidence as a consequence of her injuries.

Following careful investigation of the medical issues, the healthcare professionals in question admitted they had breached their duty of care which had caused the child’s injuries.  After investigating the value of the case, the claim was  eventually settled for £300,000.

Related Information

Here are a few links that you might find useful:

Our People

We are independently accredited by leading legal organisations such as Action Against Medical Injuries (AvMA) and the Law Society, and can assist with a wide range of cases including those where a Brain Injury was caused during birth.

We appreciate that you will probably have many questions about your case. Please give us a call for initial advice on the best way to proceed with a claim.

Our aim is to obtain the compensation you deserve, by approaching your case in a meticulous and sensitive manner.

Find out how we can help you today. Contact our team on 0151 282 1700, or fill in our online enquiry form.


Specific FAQs

What will happen when I make a Erb's Palsy compensation claim?

If your child has suffered Erb’s palsy or another injury at birth that could have been avoided, please do not hesitate to get in touch. One of our legal advisors will be able to talk you through the various ways in which we can help.

We provide a free consultation, which will inform you of our initial assessment of your case. We will look at your claim to see if it is viable and consider the information with our in-house medical team. We can then let you know whether we can take your case on.

If you choose to pursue your medical negligence case, we will begin our investigations by gathering evidence and obtaining expert medical opinions.  If the expert evidence is supportive, this will enable us to value the case and ensure that you are fully compensated for your child’s pain and ongoing medical care.

What can compensation help with?

The symptoms and consequences of Erb’s palsy can vary dramatically. In severe cases, your child may need specialist care throughout their life. You may not yet know what long-term effects the condition may cause, but we will assess your case to ensure you have the support you need.

Compensation can help you to access:

  • Specialist medical care
  • Physiotherapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Adaptations to your home and vehicle
  • Private tutoring for your child
  • Loss of earnings

We understand that you cannot put a price on your child’s health but a successful medical negligence claim can help account for physical and emotional suffering.

Most importantly of all, a successful claim can help safeguard the future of your child. We have acted in many Medical Negligence claims involving children, and will approach your case with the care and sensitivity it deserves.

How long do I have to claim?

The time limit for personal injury claims is three years from:

  • When you first suffered the injury
  • When you became aware that you suffered an injury that could have been caused by an act or omission of another
  • When you became aware of the identity of the defendant.

You can claim on behalf of your child any time before their 18th birthday. From the age of 18, you/your child have a time limit of three years to make a clinical negligence claim.

If the injured person does not have the mental capacity to bring a claim, then the time limit won’t apply. In some cases this is obvious, but in other cases it is more complicated. If your claim is out of time, you won’t be able to pursue it. However, lodging a Claim Form at the court can protect your case from the time limit.

General FAQs

What Is Erb’s Palsy And How Is It Caused?

Erb’s palsy, or brachial plexus paralysis is damage to the brachical plexus.  This is a network of nerves that travel from the spinal cord to the shoulders, arms, wrists and fingers. 

If medical professionals use inappropriate or excessive force on the baby’s head during a delivery, it can cause bruising or stretching of the brachial plexus which can result in partial or complete paralysis.

What are the risk factors of Erb’s Palsy?

Erb’s palsy is commonly caused during a difficult birth.  If a baby’s head has been born but the shoulders becomes stuck behind the mother’s pelvic bone, this prevents the birth of the baby’s body.  This is called ‘shoulder dystocia’ and is an emergency situation because the baby is not able to breath properly.

Your midwife or doctor should acknowledge potential birth problems and may recommend a caesarean section. The risk of shoulder dystocia, leading to Erb’s palsy in a newborn can be increased by:

  • Large baby
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Excessive weight gain during pregnancy
  • A mother’s pelvic abnormalities or short stature.
  • Long labour
  • Babies in breech position
  • The use of forceps

What is the prognosis for Erb’s Palsy?

The severity of Erb's palsy can vary.  Some sufferers will make a full recovery within a year physiotherapy or through surgery.

However, occasionally, the nerves are damaged or stretched to the point where achieving full use of the affected arm is not possible. Symptoms include:

  • Inability to move, raise or bend the injured arm.
  • Stunted growth, or limb growth at an unnatural angle or position.
  • Extended healing time for subsequent injuries to the arm.
  • Pain and discomfort, ranging from none at all to severe.

What causes Klumpke's palsy?

Klumpke’s palsy is another type of brachial palsy that affects newborn babies following a difficult birth. Erb’s palsy affects the upper and lower arm whereas a Klumpke’s palsy affects the lower part of the arm and hand.

Can I claim against the NHS?

Unfortunately, medical negligence claims are often brought against the NHS. It is often advisable to use the NHS Complaints Procedure before or at the same time as investigating a potential claim. This procedure requires you to make a complaint within 12 months from the date of the incident or from the date when you first found out about the problem.