What is an Erb's palsy lawsuit?
An Erb’s palsy lawsuit is a form of legal action brought by parents or other family members of children affected by the condition. These lawsuits are typically filed against doctors or hospitals since Erb’s palsy usually stems from preventable nerve damage during birth.
Erb’s palsy lawsuits can help families get financial compensation to afford medical treatments and other related expenses, such as physical therapy and adaptive equipment.
Most people work with lawyers to file lawsuits and receive compensation. Erb’s palsy lawyers can make the legal process easier and will work to get their clients as much compensation as possible.
Some families have received million-dollar payouts from Erb’s palsy lawsuits, but individual case values can vary.
Erb’s palsy and medical malpractice
Many birth injury cases such as Erb's palsy stem from medical malpractice, which is any type of failure on the part of medical personnel to keep their patients safe. Doctors who use excessive force during delivery may be to blame if the child develops Erb’s palsy. For example, if a doctor pulls on a baby’s head, neck, or limbs during delivery, it can cause the nerves to stretch or tear.
During a lawsuit, lawyers need to prove that medical professionals did not uphold a high standard of care during childbirth, resulting in a birth injury.
When a significant breach in the duty of care leads to Erb’s palsy, it is important for families to take legal action. Negligent care can cause preventable and irreversible harm to the mother and child.
Why file an Erb’s palsy lawsuit?
Filing a lawsuit can help parents take legal action against those responsible for their child’s preventable brachial plexus injury. Taking legal action can award families with financial compensation to pay for their child’s treatment.
Erb’s palsy lawsuits award compensation based on:
- Costs related to therapy, adaptive equipment, counseling, surgery, and more
- Lost wages if a family member had to quit their job to care for the child
- Other issues such as emotional distress, pain and suffering, or loss of companionship
Brachial plexus lawsuits can also bring families a sense of closure. Parents of children with Erb’s palsy feel distraught when they learn their child’s injury might have been prevented with proper care. A family may feel a sense of justice if the lawsuit concludes in their favor.
Successful lawsuits can also keep other children safe by bringing attention to the medical professionals who were responsible for preventable birth injuries.
By filing lawsuits, families have been able to take back some of the control that this birth injury has stripped from their life.
Erb's palsy settlements and trial verdicts
Most Erb’s palsy lawsuits end in a settlement and do not reach trial. Most lawyers want to settle lawsuits out of court, as this typically allows their clients to receive compensation more quickly. It also avoids the possibility that a win gets overturned through an appeal.
Trial verdicts may allow families to receive more compensation than in a settlement. That said, if the judge or jury does not rule in your favor, you likely will not be awarded any compensation at all.
Average Erb's palsy lawsuit settlement amounts
The compensation received from a settlement can greatly relieve the financial burden for families affected by Erb’s palsy. It is important to note that each Erb’s palsy case is different, so settlement amounts may vary.
Recent Erb’s palsy lawsuit settlements include:
- $1.2 million for a family from Florida
- $1.2 million for a family from South Carolina
- $1 million for a family from New Jersey
- $950,000 for a family from New Jersey
- $825,000 for a family from New York
- $750,000 for a family from Washington D.C.
- $500,000 for a family from Michigan
- $500,000 for a family from South Carolina
Erb’s palsy settlements vary with each case, so not every lawsuit will have the same case value. The value of your case can depend on the severity of your child’s injury and estimated future medical costs. Experienced attorneys will work to maximize the amount of compensation your family may be awarded.
When should you file an Erb's palsy lawsuit?
You should consider legal action and contact a law firm as soon as possible if your child developed a preventable brachial plexus injury during childbirth. Since brachial plexus lawsuits may allow parents and children to afford life-changing treatments, it is important to file sooner rather than later.
An early start to legal proceedings addresses the problem immediately and can help your family obtain financial compensation as soon as possible to pay for your child’s treatment.
Work with a brachial plexus attorney to determine the best time to file your lawsuit. Experienced birth injury attorneys can help build your case early on and file in accordance with local and state laws.
Erb's palsy statute of limitations
Most states have a law called a statute of limitations. This law sets a limited amount of time an individual has to file a civil lawsuit. Statutes of limitations vary with each state and are also subject to change depending on updates by lawmakers.
For this reason, it’s important to work with an experienced lawyer who knows the statute of limitations in your state. If the deadline passes, you may lose your right to sue for your child’s injury.
What to expect in an Erb's palsy lawsuit
In an Erb’s palsy lawsuit, both legal teams present their cases and try to come to an agreement through mediation. Both sides will provide evidence supporting their claims, such as medical documents and personal accounts of the events during childbirth.
Each case should start out with a free consultation with an experienced lawyer. The attorney-client relationship will then begin. Although each case is different, most Erb’s palsy lawsuits follow a similar set of steps in the legal process.
1. Send a demand letter
Before officially filing a lawsuit, a lawyer may file a demand letter. A demand letter seeks financial compensation from a doctor’s attorney or insurance company.
Demand letters usually are only useful when the case involves a small amount of money. Since Erb’s palsy treatment can be costly, doctors may refuse to pay a large amount requested in a demand letter.
2. Build your case
If the other party rejects the requests of the demand letter or you decide not to send one, your lawyer can begin to build your case. Lawyers typically start by gathering the basic details of the complaint to create a timeline of events.
Lawyers will want to know:
- When, where, and how the incident occurred
- Who is believed to be responsible for the injury
- How the child’s brachial plexus palsy could have been prevented
This information helps the birth injury lawyer explain to the defendants, judges, and/or jury why their client deserves compensation.
3. File a lawsuit
Once the case has been built, lawyers will file the lawsuit within the jurisdiction that will work best for the case.
When a lawsuit is filed, the party who filed the lawsuit (typically the parents of the affected child) becomes known as the plaintiffs. The party being sued (usually the medical professional who delivered the child with Erb’s palsy) becomes the defendant.
Once filed and accepted by the court, the defendants receive a copy of the lawsuit and must respond within a specified number of days — or the plaintiffs win the case automatically.
4. Discovery phase
After the defendants respond, both legal teams develop arguments for their cases during the discovery phase.
During the discovery phase, personal injury lawyers will collect:
- Depositions (witness accounts from defendants, plaintiffs, and others)
- Medical records and documents
- Photographs of affected arm
- Other relevant evidence
The plaintiff's lawyer will need to prove any signs of injury caused by medical malpractice such as shoulder dystocia (baby's shoulders getting stuck in pubic bone or birth canal). They also must identify any risk factors ignored by doctors that caused the child's injury, such as breech delivery or the use of forceps.
Once the lawyers have gathered all the necessary evidence, they will present their findings to each other and try to work toward a conclusion.
5. Negotiating a settlement
Based on the evidence they have collected, lawyers will try to reach a settlement, which is designed to satisfy the interests of both parties. Neither side is declared a “winner” or “loser” in an Erb’s palsy settlement. Instead, the plaintiffs receive a lump sum of money and the lawsuit comes to an end.
Most lawyers favor settlements as they allow the case to come to a quick conclusion. However, not all lawsuits reach a settlement and instead result in a trial.
6. Trial and appeal
During a trial, a judge and jury listen to both parties’ arguments and determine a winner. If the plaintiffs lose, they will not receive compensation at all.
In some cases, the losing side can overturn the verdict through an appeal. During an appeal, a higher-level court reviews the earlier decision and makes a new judgment.
Get help filing your brachial plexus lawsuit today
Filing a lawsuit may seem intimidating — but it doesn’t have to be. Experienced lawyers will have your best interests at heart and work to get you and your family as much compensation as possible.
To learn more about Erb’s palsy lawsuits, get a free case review today. Our team is standing by to help your family and answer your questions.