Since you're here, we assume that you're considering contacting New Jersey Erb's palsy attorneys about a potential claim. If that's true, there are a few things you should know about our Firm:
- We offer free, no obligation case reviews. If you think you have an Erb's palsy claim, you have nothing to lose by speaking to us about your case, and much to gain.
- We work on a contingency fee basis. If you retain us to handle your claim you pay us nothing out of pocket.
- Time is of the essence. In New Jersey, the statute of limitations for birth injuries, such as Erb's palsy, is generally two years from the date of the injury or two years from the date the injury should have been reasonably discovered.
If your baby was born with a severe injury or disability such as Erb’s palsy, the pain and fear you experience can be unthinkable.
If medical malpractice or negligence caused or contributed to your child’s injuries, your family deserves justice.
Although some children do recover from Erb’s palsy, many more require long-term treatment and care. Recovering financial compensation can provide the resources and peace-of-mind you need to care for your child’s needs.
A New Jersey Erb's palsy lawyer can help protect your legal rights and fight for the compensation you deserve.
What Is Erb’s Palsy?
Erb’s palsy, also known as Erb-Duchenne palsy or brachial plexus birth palsy, is a type of brachial plexus injury (BPI). BPIs are characterized by nerve damage in the upper portion of the spinal cord, near the neck. Other types of BPIs include neuroma, shoulder dystocia, Klumpke’s palsy, and neuropraxia.
During a difficult delivery, the baby’s neck may become excessively stretched. This can lead to nerve damage and the resulting complications. When the nerves that control movement and sensation of the upper torso become damaged, Erb’s palsy is often the result.
Babies with Erb’s palsy exhibit symptoms that include:
- Weakness of the arm,
- Numbness of the arm
- Limited motion of the arm, and
- Arm paralysis (total or partial).
One factor that increases the risk of a baby developing Erb’s palsy is a breech birth. The reason for this is that there’s a greater chance the baby’s arms will be raised and increase the pressure on nerves in the upper portion of the spinal cord. Other risk factors include the mother having gestational diabetes, a large baby and a petite mother, and the “pushing” phase of labor lasting over an hour.
Erb’s Palsy Treatment Protocols and Potential Recovery
Non-surgical treatment protocols include physical therapy and range of motion exercises.
However, many infants require surgical intervention, including nerve grafts. If complications result, your child may also need surgery to manipulate shoulder tendons or to release a joint contracture.
Even with radical surgical intervention, many children do not recover strength, feeling, or mobility in the affected arm. The affected arm may also not grow proportionally with the rest of the child’s body.
The physical and emotional impact of this condition can substantially diminish the child’s quality of life and affect him or her well through adulthood.
Can Erb’s Palsy Be Prevented?
Yes, some cases of Erb’s palsy can be prevented. If the obstetrician knows that the baby is larger than usual or in an improper position several weeks before the due date, they can make advance plans on how to handle the delivery.
The doctor should ensure the proper staff is present, and birthing instruments are used correctly. The doctor should be ready to induce labor or perform a Caesarean delivery if there are risks.
The pregnant mother’s actions can also play a role in preventing Erb’s palsy. She should try to avoid becoming diabetic. And if she has diabetes, it should be properly managed.
When Is Erb’s Palsy Malpractice?
Birth injuries can occur even when the attending medical practitioners do everything right. In many cases, however, the attending obstetrician or other members of the delivery team can make mistakes.
The most common causes of nerve damage leading to Erb’s palsy involve excessive downward pressure on the baby’s head, neck, or shoulders during birth. Excessive pulling on the baby’s arm can also lead to potentially irreversible nerve damage. If the baby is breech, pulling too hard on the feet during delivery can also increase the risk of developing Erb’s palsy.
If the doctor or another medical practitioner failed to adhere to a reasonable standard of care and your baby is diagnosed with Erb’s palsy as a result, it could indicate medical malpractice.
Do You Have a Valid Birth Injury or Erb’s Palsy Claim?
Determining if you have a valid medical malpractice or birth injury claim for Erb’s palsy poses two significant challenges.
First, unless you have an in-depth understanding of the law, it can be difficult or impossible to determine whether the doctor and delivery team treated your child in accordance with a reasonable standard of care.
The second challenge lies within the fact that parents aren’t expecting anything to go wrong during the delivery process. When a crisis does arise, they have more important priorities to focus on. Watching for indications of medical malpractice in the delivery room is unlikely to be on the mind of any parent in this scenario.
Based on the details of your case, an experienced Erb's palsy lawyer can advise you of your options for pursuing a legal claim. If so, you may be entitled to recover damages that include:
- Medical treatment and care costs to date,
- Future treatment and care costs,
- Assistive medical devices,
- Physical therapy,
- Occupational therapy,
- Speech therapy,
- Special education,
- Accessibility modifications (home and vehicle),
- Home health and respite care,
- Lost wages for the caregiver parent(s),
- Pain and suffering,
- Emotional anguish, and
- Diminished quality of life.
Our New Jersey Erb's palsy attorneys can identify all economic and non-economic damages that you and your family sustained to determine the value of your Erb’s palsy claim.
How Much is My Erb’s Palsy Case Worth?
Every case is different. There is no average settlement amount or range for Erb’s palsy cases. The amount of your possible compensation will depend on several factors.
The severity of your child’s injury is an important determining factor when calculating your case value. A mild case of Erb’s palsy will be worth less than one where your child needs lifelong medical treatment.
Your overall total damages also impact your potential settlement amount. Cases with severe injuries typically have higher medical costs, additional pain and suffering, etc., and therefore a higher damages total.
Proving liability against the medical provider is also an integral factor in determining case value. New Jersey is a modified comparative negligence state. What this means for your case is that you can be partially at fault for the injury, but your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault. If a jury determines your fault exceeds that of the medical provider, then you would be barred from recovering any compensation.
Our job is to prove that the medical provider was negligent and that your baby’s Erb’s palsy could have been prevented. The defendant’s insurance company will be trying to prove there was no malpractice or that you share fault in some way so they can reduce their potential settlement offer.
Available liability insurance may also impact your case. Liability limits in policies for medical malpractice are usually quite significant. However, when you are looking at a birth injury like Erb’s palsy that affects a child for the rest of their life, the amount of available coverage might not be enough.
Can You File an Erb’s Palsy Lawsuit?
In general, only the injured party can file a medical malpractice lawsuit in New Jersey. However, if the patient is a minor or is incapacitated, then a guardian can file on their behalf. So if you are a parent who has a young child with Erb’s palsy, you could have the legal right to file a lawsuit on behalf of your minor child.
In some birth injury cases, the at-fault party’s insurance carrier will willingly negotiate a reasonable settlement with the victims before it’s necessary to file a lawsuit. Insurance companies recognize how costly a trial can be, especially if your attorney builds a persuasive case.
However, some insurance companies will deny the medical provider had any negligence. While trials can be costly, no doctor wants any record of malpractice. You will be going up against very experienced insurance claims adjusters as well as very experienced defense lawyers.
If the insurance company denies your claim, you need a New Jersey brachial plexus injury lawyer who has experience trying these types of cases in court. O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble has decades of combined experience of trying cases. We have successfully litigated numerous medical malpractice lawsuits. In fact, we hold a record for the largest birth injury verdict in New Jersey.
How Long Do I Have to File an Erb’s Palsy Lawsuit in New Jersey?
Like other types of personal injury claims, a statute of limitations applies to medical malpractice claims. In general, you only have two years to file a lawsuit from the date of the malpractice. However, there are exceptions that may extend the filing deadline.
The first is the New Jersey “discovery rule.” This provides an exception to the clock starting on the date of the malpractice. In this situation, the countdown begins from the date you know or should know that a medical provider was negligent.
The discovery rule doesn’t mean you have an unlimited number of years and you can take your time to file. You will need to prove that you couldn’t have reasonably known about the potential cause of the injuries any earlier than two years before you filed a lawsuit.
If you are relying on the discovery rule, you need to show you used reasonable diligence to find the cause of your injuries. Otherwise, the defendants will undoubtedly ask the court to dismiss your case. The court is likely to grant their motion unless there’s another exception that might apply.
Medical malpractice cases involving a minor have a specific deadline. Typically, a child has two years to file a lawsuit once they reach their 18th birthday, unless the injury occurred at birth. Since Erb’s palsy is a birth injury, this specific exception would likely apply. You must file a lawsuit before your child’s 13th birthday.
It’s crucial you don’t miss the filing deadline; otherwise, you won’t have any right of recovery if the court dismisses your case. When you suspect medical malpractice, retain a New Jersey Erb’s palsy attorney right away. The sooner you retain us, the sooner we can start working on your case and protecting your child’s rights.
How Our Erb’s Palsy Lawyers Can Help?
You are likely wondering what we can do for you and why hiring a lawyer is necessary. One of the most important aspects of our job is to protect your family’s rights. The defendants will have their insurance company and a strong legal team on their side. By working with us, you might be able to:
- Hold the negligent medical provider responsible for injuring your baby;
- Get justice and obtain financial compensation for you and your family; and
- Help other families from going through the same experience.
Once you are represented, you no longer have to speak to the insurance company or their lawyers. We will handle all communication as well as negotiations. One of the first things the defendant’s insurance company will do is to try and get you to give a recorded statement. Their goal is to get you to admit your own fault or say that the doctor didn’t do anything wrong. You should never give a statement without legal representation.
If the insurance company tries to get you to sign a release or take a lowball settlement offer, we will be there to protect you. We will conduct a thorough independent investigation to preserve all evidence that can prove your case.
Calculating a potential value is complicated because your child will likely have a lifelong disability and may have a disfigurement. We will retain all necessary experts who can testify as to your child’s future treatment, quality of life, etc. Experts may include doctors, life care planners, vocational specialists, and educational professionals, to name a few.
How Does the Litigation Process for an Erb’s Palsy Case Work?
If the defendant is unwilling to make a reasonable settlement offer, then we will prepare to file a lawsuit. We do not need to wait until the statute of limitations is close to expiring before we file. Once a lawsuit is filed, we are free to continue negotiations with the defendant’s insurance company.
We may take formal depositions of the medical provider and any potential witnesses. We will exchange documents and certain pieces of evidence with the other side. The court may require that you attend mediation to try and resolve the case before setting a trial date.
If your case proceeds deeper in the litigation process, rest assured you have a strong legal team ready to try your case. We hold the record for litigating the highest birth injury award in a New Jersey court. We aren’t afraid to stand up to medical professionals and their legal teams.
It’s crucial to understand that just because a lawsuit is filed, it doesn’t mean the case will get to trial. We will continue to negotiate and try to get the defendant to resolve the matter. Given the serious nature of your case and the amount of assistance you and your family will need in the coming years, you don’t want to accept an offer that is worth less than your family deserves.
Contact a New Jersey Erb's Palsy Lawyer Now for Help
The New Jersey Erb’s palsy lawyers at O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble have a long history of assisting birth injury victims in their fight for justice. Visit our verdicts and settlements page, and you’ll quickly recognize the depth of our experience. We are prepared to put that experience to work for you.
Choosing the right Erb’s palsy attorney is crucial. You need someone experienced with birth injury cases. These are complex cases, and your potential settlement is directly linked with the skill and expertise of your own attorney.
Our Erb's palsy and medical malpractice attorneys in New Jersey understand the fear and uncertainty you’re facing for your child and your entire family. We are here to help. You do not have to face these challenges alone. For a no-cost, no-obligation Erb’s Palsy lawsuit consultation and case evaluation, call us at 908-928-9200 or contact our office today.
New Jersey’s largest wrongful birth verdict: failure to disclose an unborn infant's catastrophic genetic defect.
Discuss Your Case with Our Erb's Palsy Attorneys Today
Our New Jersey medical malpractice attorneys have extensive experience dealing with cases involving birth-related injuries. We have handled Erb’s palsy cases resulting in verdicts and settlements in the tens of millions for our clients. When handling an Erb’s palsy case, our lawyers consult with medical experts and life care planners to determine what it will cost to care for a person with Erb’s palsy. In addition to the child’s problems, we seek compensation for the parents’ emotional distress. Reorganizing your life and priorities to care for a disabled child you love and cherish can require emotional support. If your child has suffered the birth injury Erb’s palsy call or email us today. The initial consultation is free, confidential, and you are under no obligation. Contact us online or call at (908) 928-9200 or 1-800-586-5817.