If I make a claim for an Erb’s Palsy birth injury during birth, how much compensation is likely to be awarded?
It is not possible to estimate how much compensation can be recovered by making a claim for an Erb’s Palsy birth injury during birth on behalf of your child, as many factors can affect compensation amounts and each case must be individually assessed based on the level of disability suffered.
Erb’s Palsy can vary in severity from case to case, depending on the degree of damage caused to the brachial plexus cluster of nerves. When nerves are mildly stretched, a baby can be expected to make a full recovery, although it may take many months to do so. If a nerve is severed or badly damaged, it can lead to paralysis or partial loss of functionality in the arm. Consequently, the amount of compensation for an Erb’s Palsy birth injury that can be claimed must reflect this degree of disability, and for how long it is suffered.
It is also not possible to confirm the right to claim Erb’s Palsy compensation until a full investigation into the cause of the condition has been conducted. Both the HSE and a medical negligence* solicitor must investigate the case to establish whether the injury was preventable under the circumstances, and if doctors or nurses have been negligent. Erb’s Palsy is not always caused by the actions of hospital staff, and can simply result from a difficult birth (breech births in particular), when excessive traction is placed on the neck and shoulders of the baby during delivery, from the natural propulsive force exerted by the mother or from giving birth to a larger than average baby (macrosomia).
Because there are many causes of Erb’s Palsy, there is usually some degree of doubt about how the injury was caused. As it must be proven – ‘on the balance of probabilities’- that a birth was mismanaged (resulting in a baby suffering an avoidable injury to the brachial plexus nerves), a compensation claim for Erb’s Palsy is rarely straightforward.
Establishing and proving that a doctor, obstetrician or midwife acted negligently is usually complicated, and consequently eligibility to claim Erb’s Palsy compensation can only be determined after the facts of the case have been established and assessed by an independent specialist doctor with experience in dealing with cases of Erb’s palsy.
Erb’s Palsy birth injury claims often take many months or years to successfully resolve; although in some cases it may be possible for Erb’s Palsy birth injury claims to be settled relatively quickly if there is a considerable body of evidence against an obstetrician or midwife. However, since there is usually some doubt as to whether the injury was avoidable under the circumstances, and if an obstetrician or midwife could have realistically prevented an injury to the brachial plexus nerves, liability is not usually accepted automatically and proceedings need to be issued in order to force a resolution of a claim for an Erb’s Palsy birth injury during birth.
To start the process of recovering compensation for an Erb’s Palsy birth injury, you should contact a personal injury* solicitor as soon as possible to discuss the case. If a compensation claim for Erb’s Palsy is possible, starting the claim as soon as possible will ensure that compensation is recovered in the shortest possible time frame.