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 seek financial compensation so families can afford medical treatments and other related expenses, such as physical therapy and adaptive equipment.
Most people work with lawyers to file Erb’s palsy lawsuits and receive compensation. These Erb’s palsy lawyers can make the legal process easier and will work to get their clients as much compensation as possible.
Some families received million-dollar payouts from Erb’s palsy lawsuits, but individual case values can vary.
Erb’s Palsy Lawsuits and Medical Malpractice
Many Erb’s palsy lawsuits stem from medical malpractice. Medical malpractice is any type of failure on the part of doctors or other medical experts to keep their patients safe.
During a lawsuit, lawyers want to show how medical malpractice caused a baby to develop Erb’s palsy by exploring circumstances around the birth and reviewing medical records.
Doctors who use excessive force to deliver a baby may be to blame if they develop Erb’s palsy. For example, an impatient doctor may decide to pull on a baby’s head, neck, or limbs during delivery, causing the nerves in these limbs to stretch or tear.
When a significant breach in the duty of care leads to Erb’s palsy, it is important for families to take legal action and hold doctors or nurses responsible. Doctors have a duty of care to make sure their patients stay safe. A breach of this duty of care can cause preventable harm to the patient, with the medical worker directly at fault.
Why File an Erb’s Palsy Lawsuit
An Erb’s palsy lawsuit may be the only way that parents can take legal action against this often preventable birth injury.
Families may file an Erb’s palsy lawsuit to:
- Cover expenses: Erb’s palsy may require several months — or years — of treatment, and some affected by the condition need lifelong care. Financial compensation can cover past Erb’s palsy expenses and pay for future treatments.
- Get closure: Parents of children with Erb’s palsy feel distraught when they learn their child’s injury might have been prevented with proper care. If an Erb’s palsy lawsuit concludes in the family’s favor, they may be able to get some closure.
- Protect others: Successful Erb’s palsy lawsuits may warn others about the doctors who may have caused the condition, which may help keep other babies safe.
By filing Erb’s palsy lawsuits, families have been able to take back some of the control that this birth injury has stripped from their life.
How Can an Erb’s Palsy Lawsuit Help?
Successful Erb’s palsy lawsuits allow people to afford medical treatments, which can help the affected child manage their condition or heal from it completely.
Erb’s palsy lawsuits award compensation based on:
- Costs related to therapy, adaptive equipment, counseling, and more
- Lost wages if a family member had to quit their job to care for the child
- Past, present, and future medical bills (such as for surgeries, rehab, etc.)
- Other issues (such as emotional distress, pain and suffering, or loss of companionship)
Since Erb’s palsy lawsuits may allow parents and children to afford life-changing treatments, it is important to file sooner rather than later.
When Should You File an Erb’s Palsy Lawsuit?
Concerned parents should consider legal action once they determine their child developed Erb’s palsy during birth. An early start to legal proceedings addresses the problem immediately, rather than waiting around in confusion and fear.
Those looking to file a lawsuit should work with an experienced Erb’s palsy lawyer to determine the best time to file. These lawyers can help build a case early on and file it in accordance with local and state laws.
Erb’s Palsy Statute of Limitations
Most states limit the amount of time someone has to file a civil lawsuit through laws called statutes of limitations.
Most statutes of limitations allow for birth injury lawsuits 1-4 years after the injury is first discovered.
Statutes of limitations vary with each state and are also subject to change depending on updates by lawmakers. These are just some of the reasons those looking to file a lawsuit should work with an experienced attorney to determine exactly how long they have to file.
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 that is fair for both parties.
Parents can expect to provide evidence supporting their claims (such as medical documents and their personals accounts of what happened), while the doctor’s legal team does the same.
No two Erb’s palsy lawsuits are the same, though, so some variation may occur as the case reaches a conclusion.
Erb’s Palsy Lawsuit Process
Most Erb’s palsy lawsuits follow a similar set of steps, each of which plays an important role in potentially getting compensation.
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. Doctors may refuse to pay a high-sum demand letter, and since Erb’s palsy can be very expensive to treat, filing a lawsuit may be a better choice.
2. Build Your Case
If the demand letter does not work (or you decide not to send one), a lawyer can begin to build a case. Lawyers typically start by gathering the basic details of the complaint and creating a timeline of events.
Lawyers will want to know:
- When, where, and how the incident occurred
- Who is believed to be responsible
- Why the child’s Erb’s palsy could have been prevented
This information helps the lawyer explain to judges and juries at a trial why their client deserves compensation.
3. File a Lawsuit
Once the case has been built, lawyers will file the lawsuit within the court that will work best for the case.
When a lawsuit is filed, those who file the lawsuit (typically the parents of the affected child) become known as plaintiffs. Those being sued (usually the doctor who delivered the child with Erb’s palsy) become the defendants.
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. Both teams will build on existing and new evidence during this time.
During the discovery phase, lawyers will collect:
- Depositions (witness accounts from defendants, plaintiffs, and others)
- Medical records and documents
- Other relevant evidence
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
During a settlement, lawyers try to come to an agreement based on the evidence they have collected. Settlements attempt to satisfy both parties’ interests.
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. Because of these factors, Erb’s palsy settlements are very similar to cerebral palsy settlements.
Most lawyers favor settlements as they allow the case to come to a quick conclusion. However, not all lawsuits reach a settlement. These cases then progress into the trial phase.
6.Trial and Appeal
During a trial, a judge and jury hear both sides’ cases and determine a winner. If the plaintiffs lose, they will receive no 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. Keep in mind that this works both ways, so if a family wins at a trial, an appeal from the doctor might overturn their victory.
Erb’s Palsy Settlements and Trial Verdicts
Most Erb’s palsy lawsuits end in a settlement, but a few reach a trial. Most lawyers want to settle lawsuits out of court, as this may allow people to receive compensation more quickly. It also avoids the possibility that a win gets overturned through an appeal.
Conversely, trial verdicts may allow families to receive more compensation than in a settlement. Some may want the case to go to trial as a result, but this could result in a loss and no compensation at all.
Erb’s Palsy Lawsuit Settlement Amount Examples
While settlements may award less money than a trial, the amount a family receives can make a huge difference.
Here are some recent Erb’s Palsy lawsuit settlements:
- $1.5 million for a family in 2013
- $1 million for a case involving a thirteen-year-old girl
- $1.2 million for a ten-year-old girl
Erb’s palsy settlements vary with each case, so not every lawsuit will have the same case value. A lawyer may be able to estimate the value of your case as the lawsuit proceeds.
Common Questions About Erb’s Palsy Lawsuits
Concerned parents looking to file an Erb’s palsy lawsuit may have many questions. Our team has compiled some common questions — and answers — below.
How long does an Erb’s palsy lawsuit take?
Erb’s palsy lawsuits can take several months to a few years, depending on the circumstances of the case. Generally, a lawsuit that goes to trial may take longer. This is due, in part, to the fact that lawyers usually try to settle cases first, and there is typically a long waiting list to have cases heard by a judge.
For example, a lawsuit filed by a Virginia woman took a little over two years. In 2012, the woman claimed her daughter developed Erb’s palsy due to medical malpractice. The case went to trial, and she received $1 Million for her daughter’s condition in 2014.
How time-consuming is an Erb’s palsy lawsuit?
Plaintiffs may invest different amounts of time into a case. Filing an Erb’s palsy lawsuit can sometimes feel like a full-time job, but families usually feel less legal pressure when they work with an Erb’s palsy lawyer.
These lawyers do most of the legal work, allowing parents and caregivers to focus on their child’s overall health. This makes the lawsuit process easier and less time-consuming.
How much compensation could I receive?
The amount of compensation someone may receive from an Erb’s palsy lawsuit depends on the circumstances of their specific case. Some Erb’s palsy lawsuits have awarded millions of dollars to plaintiffs.
For example, parents of a child with Erb’s palsy claimed medical malpractice caused the condition, and the jury awarded them with $2 Million in 2012. The verdict was upheld after an appeal in 2013.
Consult an Erb’s palsy lawyer to see how much compensation may be available from an average case.
What factors may determine your Erb’s palsy case value?
A few different factors may impact the value of Erb’s palsy lawsuit cases.
Factors that may affect an Erb’s palsy case value include:
- How serious the child’s injury was
- How much it will cost to treat the child’s injuries
- If the lawsuit was filed within the statute of limitations
- Medical documentation of the injury or related incidents
Some case values may change over time depending on the available information. As the case moves forward, a lawyer will note these factors and how they may impact the overall value of the case.
To learn more about the lawsuit process, visit our Legal FAQ page.
Get Help Filing an Erb’s Palsy Lawsuit
Filing an Erb’s palsy lawsuit may seem challenging or downright scary to some, but it doesn’t have to be. By working with an experienced lawyer, you can file a lawsuit and hopefully receive financial compensation for your child’s injuries.
Experienced Erb’s palsy lawyers will have your best interests at heart and will 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 you explore your medical and legal options.