When a physician fails to diagnose or to properly treat a birth canal obstruction that prevents a baby’s shoulder from passing easily through a birth canal, that baby might experience a birth injury commonly known as “Erb’s Palsy”. The attorneys at The Salamati Law Firm in Los Angeles understand how these injuries happen and how they affect a child’s life. They also have the knowledge and experience to help the injured child and his or her parents to receive compensation and to get thorough treatment for an Erb’s Palsy injury when it is caused by a medical caregiver’s mistake.
A child’s birth can bring moments of both extreme joy and anxiety. The parents will be thrilled with the birth of their new son or daughter but may be equally concerned over the baby’s health and well-being following a difficult or lengthy delivery. In the vast majority of births, doctors and hospital staff provide excellent services and care. Yet even the most skilled physicians can have a lapse or a moment of inattentiveness, which results into a birth injury that temporarily or permanently impairs the baby’s health or mobility.
The Four Elements of an Erb’s Palsy Birth Injury Lawsuit in California
An attorney who represents a child that has suffered an Erb’s Palsy birth injury will seek to show that:
- The medical caregiver owed a duty of care to the injured child;
- The caregiver failed to provide services that were consistent with the prevailing medical standards of care for the given circumstances;
- The caregiver’s failure caused the injury; and
- The child’s injury caused financial losses to the child and his or her family that are reimbursable with a monetary award.
These four elements appear to be simple and straightforward, but each is subject to certain limitations that can prevent an injured baby from receiving the full award that might otherwise be merited. Financial losses associated with pain and suffering, for example, are capped at $250,000 in California.
Prevailing standards of care might be different in different communities. The cause of an injury might not be immediately apparent. In all cases, a seasoned lawyer who understands the landscape of Erb’s Palsy injuries will be best able to establish the four elements of an Erb’s Palsy birth injury case and to procure the largest possible monetary award for the injured party.
Shoulder Dystocia as Explained by an Erb’s Palsy Lawyer
“Shoulder dystocia” is the medical term for a condition where a baby’s head (or in the case of a breech birth, its body) is delivered through a birth canal but where its shoulder then becomes stuck. This might happen with larger babies, or where a delivery begins before a mother’s cervix is fully dilated. If diagnosed quickly and properly, a physician can maneuver the birth mother and baby to overcome any blockage without causing any brachial plexus disorders.
A physician who uses forceps or other forceful methods to extract the baby, however, might injure the baby’s brachial plexus nerves, which places the baby at risk of developing Erb’s Palsy. The forces applied to the baby’s shoulder during a delivery can stretch or tear the nerves in the baby’s upper arm that control movement of the arm. In most cases, this situation will be readily apparent in the limp or weak movements of one of the baby’s arms.
The majority of babies who suffer Erb’s Palsy injuries will recover fully after three or more months of therapy and possible corrective surgery. A small minority of affected babies, however, will have permanent impairment of their arm strength.
How an Erb’s Palsy Injury Lawyer Can Help
Amidst all of the emotions that accompany the birth of your child, the single most important thing to remember is that you should contact an Erb’s Palsy injury lawyer as soon as you suspect that your baby has suffered a birth injury.
Your lawyer will take care of other important matters:
- Investigating the birth and preserving records: Even with written medical records, the memories of the caregivers who were involved in the birth of your child will fade over time. Your lawyer will review and preserve all of the critical records and documents to develop the clearest and most objective description of your baby’s birth.
- Filing a case before expiration of the Statute of Limitations: In California, the general rule is that injured parties must file a negligence lawsuit within two years of the occurrence of the injury. This time period is shorter if a government agency caused the injury. Other variables, including when an injury is discovered and whether the injured party is a child, can affect this deadline as well. When you contact a lawyer soon after an injury occurs, that lawyer will make sure that your case is filed within the applicable time limits.
- Communications with insurance companies: The caregiver’s insurance carriers will likely become involved in potential professional negligence matter as soon as the matter is brought to their attention. Their best interest is to resolve the case as quickly as is possible with a low monetary settlement that many injured parties might feel pressured to accept. Your Erb’s Palsy injury lawyer will step in as your negotiator with insurance companies, and will confirm that any settlement that is offered reflects the full range of the injuries and the expenses that you will face to remedy the injuries.
- Anticipating and addressing defenses: Not every Erb’s Palsy birth injury will be cause by a caregiver’s negligence and a caregiver’s insurance carriers will likely argue that the injury was unavoidable. Diagnosing the injury and beginning treatment for it quickly can reduce the severity of the injury and the cost of medical care required to help the injured baby to regain full arm strength. An Erb’s Palsy injury lawyer will understand the sequence of birth events and will anticipate every possible defense in order to recover the greatest possible compensation for the injured baby.
Sean Salamati: Your Erb’s Palsy Lawyer in Los Angeles
The Los Angeles birth injury lawyers at the Salamati Law Firm will be your strongest advocates as you navigate the confusing medical terminology and treatment options for your baby who has suffered an Erb’s Palsy birth injury. We will give your case the full amount of respect and attention it deserves and we will work tirelessly to recover the largest award that is available to compensate you and your baby for his or her injuries. Call today for a no-cost, no-obligation case review.
Additional “Erb’s Palsy Lawsuit” Resources:
- National Institutes of Health, Erb’s Palsy: Who is to Blame and What Will Happen? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2724163/
- Mayo Clinic, Brachial plexus injury, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/brachial-plexus-injury/symptoms-causes/syc-20350235