$12.9 million dollars. That’s what a jury awarded Libby Bryson after she filed an Erb’s palsy lawsuit. The Michigan woman’s baby was diagnosed with Erb’s palsy after her doctors made a series of disastrous mistakes.
During labor on January 1, 2008, Bryson’s daughter became stuck in the birth canal. Her shoulder was caught behind Bryson’s pubic bone, a condition known as shoulder dystocia.
Shoulder dystocia is an alarming emergency. But hospitals have protocols in place to safely deal with emergencies like dystocia. This protocol is also called the standard of care. That night, the physicians at Genesys Regional Medical Center deviated from the standard of care. The result? Permanent injury to Bryson’s baby, and an Erb’s palsy lawsuit.
Was your newborn diagnosed with Erb’s palsy due to a doctor’s negligence? Contact Hampton & King today to speak with an Erb’s palsy lawyer. If you file an Erb’s palsy lawsuit right away, you may be able to win monetary damages. This compensation can pay for your child’s medical bills and more, ultimately leading to a better quality of life.
What Is Erb’s Palsy?
Erb’s Palsy is an injury to the nerves in the shoulder and arm that causes problems with muscle function. It affects the brachial plexus, a group of five nerves that connect the arm to the spine. A person with Erb’s palsy may have trouble feeling and moving their arms and hands.
Erb’s palsy is also called Erb-Duchenne paralysis, brachial plexus palsy, or brachial plexus injury.
Erb’s Palsy in Newborns
Newborns can develop Erb’s Palsy during birth. Sometimes, doctors have to move a baby’s head to the side to deliver their shoulders. If they aren’t careful, they can stretch or tear the baby’s brachial plexus. It’s more common for this to happen during a difficult vaginal birth, but it can happen during a c-section as well.
Erb’s Palsy in newborns is often referred to as brachial plexus birth palsy or obstetric brachial plexus palsy. Many times, it’s preventable. But when a doctor’s negligence causes this injury, it qualifies as medical malpractice. At that point, victims can file an Erb’s Palsy lawsuit to take legal action against the offending practitioner.
Here are several ways that a doctor’s negligence can lead to Erb’s Palsy:
- The doctor pulls too hard on the baby’s head, neck, arms, or shoulders during vaginal birth or while delivering via c-section.
- The doctor pulls the baby’s feet too much during a breech (feet-first) delivery
- Doctors use forceps or a vacuum extractor when it isn’t necessary. Or, they exert too much force when using these tools to deliver the baby.
- Poor decision making might lead to shoulder dystocia.
Some babies recover from Erb’s palsy and regain full function of their nerves. Others have permanent damage and face disabilities for life.
How Libby Bryson Won Millions in an Erb’s Palsy Lawsuit
After Bryson’s daughter was diagnosed with Erb’s Palsy, the tiny baby had to undergo multiple surgeries. Her arm is malformed, and she has to wear a brace. Years later, she still couldn’t carry out simple tasks without help. She will need physical therapy for life.
Experts say only about 4% of shoulder dystocia cases lead to Erb’s palsy. So Bryson’s doctors should have been able to prevent it from happening. But they didn’t–all because they didn’t follow protocol.
First of all, the two doctors attending to Bryson were first-year and third-year residents. They were supposed to call a senior physician as soon as they diagnosed shoulder dystocia. Instead, they both tried to rotate the baby and pull her out. They didn’t call the senior doctor until later. By the time the senior physician arrived, the attending doctors had already used too much force and delivered the baby.
Second, the attending physicians should have spoken with Bryson about performing a c-section. An expert at the trial testified that if Bryson had a C-section, there was a 96% chance that her baby wouldn’t have Erb’s palsy.
Bryson’s Erb’s palsy lawyer argued that all of these mistakes caused harm to the baby. Worst of all, each mistake could have been prevented. After a 12-day trial, the jury turned over a $12.9 million dollar verdict.
How to File an Erb’s Palsy Lawsuit
No amount of money can make up for harm done to a child. But holding negligent doctors accountable and winning compensation to pay for medical care can soften the blow.
Here’s an overview of the Erb’s palsy lawsuit process. This is a simplified version, so be sure to seek an Erb’s palsy lawyer for more details.
- Look for a Qualified Lawyer. You wouldn’t hire a plumber to fix your electrical system. Sure, both of those make repairs in houses. But each one has his specialty. Likewise, an Erb’s palsy lawyer specializes in birth injuries, and has experience with brachial plexus palsy. So that’s who you should turn to when you want to file an Erb’s palsy lawsuit.
- Schedule a Free Consultation. Some attorneys will meet with you to discuss your case for free. The goal of a consultation to establish whether your case will hold up in court or not. You can schedule a free meeting with an Erb’s palsy lawyer from Hampton & King.
- Hire an Erb’s Palsy Lawyer. If you discover you have legal grounds to file an Erb’s palsy lawsuit during your consultation, you can establish a lawyer-client relationship. It’s best to hire an Erb’s palsy lawyer who charges nothing up front. At Hampton & King, we charge a fee only if we are successful in obtaining a recovery for you.
- Establish Case Value. How much is your case worth? In other words, what is fair compensation for your child’s injuries? What are their present and future costs for treatment? Your Erb’s palsy lawyer will help you determine this amount.
- Begin the Intake Process. During this step, your legal team will help you gather evidence for your case. They will obtain your medical records and investigate whether a doctor’s negligence is to blame for your suffering.
- File Your Erb’s Palsy Lawsuit. At this point, your Erb’s palsy lawyer will file your case. The defendant, your doctor or hospital, will have about 30 days to respond.
- Begin the Discovery Phase. Both your legal team and the defendant’s will obtain evidence to defend their side. This evidence can include expert opinions, depositions from witnesses, additional medical documents, and more.
- Accept a Settlement, or Go to Trial. Sometimes, a defendant will prefer to settle out of court. This means they will pay you a determined amount. The case won’t go to trial. But what if the defendant doesn’t offer a settlement, or you refuse their settlement offer? At that point, your legal team will prepare for a trial.
Things to Consider When Filing an Erb’s Palsy Lawsuit
Thinking about suing your doctor for causing your child’s Erb’s palsy? Here are some important things to consider:
- You should file your Erb’s palsy lawsuit as soon as possible. The statute of limitations in your state determines how long you have to file. In most states, it’s two years. So you should take action as soon as your child receives a diagnosis.
- Not every Erb’s palsy lawyer works on a contingency fee basis. This means that some attorneys will charge you even if they don’t obtain compensation for you. Be sure to ask about any fees before you choose your Erb’s palsy lawyer.
- It can vary, but Erb’s palsy malpractice victims often recover large monetary amounts. The average payout for medical malpractice claims for babies under 1 month is about $1 million dollars.
Ready to fight for your child’s health and future? You don’t have to do it alone. Contact an Erb’s palsy lawyer here for a free consultation.
Erb’s Palsy Lawsuit Quick Answers
Can you sue for Erb’s palsy?
It’s very possible. Do you suspect a doctor’s negligence caused your baby’s condition? If you’re right, you may have a lawsuit on your hands. Reach out to an experienced birth injury attorney immediately to see what options you have.
Is Erb’s palsy malpractice?
Erb’s palsy can be caused by a doctor’s negligence, and often is. Was your baby seriously and negligently injured at birth, and this led to Erb’s palsy? That may be considered medical malpractice. You may be able to file a lawsuit and get compensation for the birth injury.
Can you sue for a brachial plexus injury?
If your baby receives a brachial plexus injury because of a doctor’s negligence, you may be able to sue. It may very well be malpractice. Call your attorney immediately to pursue justice and compensation for the birth injury.