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Erb's Palsy Attorneys in Chicago, IL

Erb’s palsy, a condition obtained during childbirth, results from the injury to certain nerves in an infant’s body. Erb’s palsy is almost always preventable with proper medical care, as it usually develops as a result of excessive force during delivery and overall medical negligence. Many children who develop this condition recover, but some are left with lasting impairments. If your child has Erb’s palsy due to nerve damage, you may need to consult a Chicago medical malpractice attorney. Thus, you have the potential to file a lawsuit and receive compensation for your damages. Learn more about how Curcio Law Offices can help you do just that. Call 312-321-1111 to schedule a consultation today.

Brachial Plexus Injury

Erb’s palsy occurs as a result of damage to the brachial plexus, a bundle of nerves running from the spine, through the neck, and down each arm. The brachial plexus is what gives the shoulder, arm, hand, and fingers sensation and allows them to move. The nerves that run lower control the hand and fingers, while those that run higher provide shoulder movement and sensation. 

Erb’s palsy is a type of injury to the brachial plexus. As such, it affects both the lower and upper arm. Injuries that occur higher in the brachial plexus may only affect the shoulder and upper arm area, while those that occur lower affect the hand and fingers. 

Signs of a Brachial Plexus Injury

Some signs that your child might has sustained a brachial plexus injury include the following:

  • Lack of reflexes in either arm
  • No movement in part or all of the arm
  • Weakness or loss of feeling in part or all of the arm
  • Minimal grip strength
  • Arm bent at the elbow and held tightly to the side 

Erb’s palsy, sometimes known as brachial plexus palsy, is a condition in which a person experiences weakness and sometimes paralysis in the muscles of the arm. While it is possible that Erb’s palsy can be naturally occurring, the injury is most often a result of complications due to childbirth. According to the National Institute of Health, Erb’s palsy is “frequently the result of trauma sustained during birth, possibly from medical malpractice.” 

This case of medical malpractice may arise when a medical professional pulls on a seemingly “stuck” baby during the process of delivery. By pulling on the infant, the doctor or nurse can damage a network of nerves called the brachial plexus. The damage to these nerves is what causes Erb’s palsy.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are federal programs that compensate individuals who meet the definition of “disabled.” Under SSI/SSDI rules, Erb’s palsy can be classified as a disability only if it is severe enough. So what makes Erb’s palsy meet the criteria for being “severe” enough? 

Erb’s palsy generally only affects one arm, and unfortunately that alone is not enough to qualify as a disability. However, if the condition occurs in both upper limbs or if it is paired with another impairment, like a soft tissue injury to an extremity, it may be considered a disability under SSI/SSDI regulations.

In order to qualify for SSI or SSDI benefits, you must have complete medical documentation to prove the disability. Medical findings, records of development and functioning of the child, and a formal diagnosis must all be provided.

Fortunately enough, Erb’s palsy is very much a treatable condition. It is often not nearly as detrimental to your child’s health as cerebral palsy, which is caused by brain damage. Most children who are diagnosed with Erb’s palsy end up making a full recovery, though it is not always guaranteed. 

To answer the question, Erb’s palsy cannot necessarily get worse, but there is a possibility that your child may not make a full recovery from it. Without receiving proper treatment and therapy, a child may carry this handicap with them for the rest of their life. In some cases, Erb’s palsy may not even be detected until months following a child’s birth. The later the palsy is caught, the less effective the treatments will be. 

As immediate treatment is the most effective in curing this condition, a delay in diagnosis could make all the difference in how your child heals. Treatment within the first four weeks of a child’s life is most effective, and through proper therapy, they can be expected to recover completely within one year’s time. However, physical therapy may only heal nerves that have been stretched. If the nerves were torn, surgery may be required. 

Yes, it is certainly possible to sue for your child’s Erb’s palsy impairment. In fact, a lawsuit may be the only way for the parents of a child with Erb’s palsy to take legal action against this very preventable birth injury. You may consider filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor or nurse who birthed your child in order to cover related medical expenses, protect others, or get closure for your child. Filing a lawsuit for Erb’s Palsy offers families a way to take back the control that was originally taken from their child. 

The compensation in a lawsuit for Erb’s palsy is based on the following:

  • Medical expenses (past and present)
    • Costs of physical therapy, surgeries, adaptive equipment, counseling, etc. 
  • Lost wages
    • If a family member needed to quit their job or take time off of work to care for the child, they may be compensated for lost wages
  • Future earnings losses
    • If the injury has limited the child’s ability to earn wages in the future
  • Pain and suffering
    • Emotional distress, loss or diminishment of the quality of life, grief, etc. 

The statute of limitations for a birth injury in Illinois grants 8 years for a lawsuit to be filed following the child’s injury. However, if the child is permanently disabled due to the birth injury, the statute of limitations extends until the child is 22 years old. This is due to the fact that some birth injuries may not be apparent until the child has matured. If you plan to sue for Erb’s palsy, you should take action as soon as possible.

Erb’s Palsy Lawsuit Compensation

The amount of compensation you are able to receive from an Erb’s palsy lawsuit simply depends. Some cases may bring in tens of thousands of dollars, while others reach as high as the millions. When it comes down to it, the amount of possible compensation is determined by a few key factors. 

The severity of the child’s birth injury is one of the most weighing factors, as well as how much it costs to treat those injuries. If the injury to the brachial plexus caused significant trauma and resulted in numerous treatments and/or operations, you can expect much more than if it were cured within a few physical therapy sessions. Having proper medical documentation of the injury is also crucial in determining the value of your case. Without it, you may receive less or even no compensation at all.

A skilled, experienced Chicago birth injury attorney such as those at Curcio Law Offices can help ensure you’re in the best position for a favorable outcome. 

Contact the Chicago Erb’s Palsy Attorneys at Curcio Law Offices

If your child has experienced a birth injury such as Erb’s palsy, you may be entitled to compensation. Located in the heart of downtown Chicago, Curcio Law Offices is dedicated to exclusively representing injured parties and their families in a wide range of personal injury matters, including birth injuries. In order to give your case the best chance it has, contact our Chicago Erb’s palsy attorneys to get started on your medical malpractice lawsuit today.