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  • Writer's pictureAdam Funk

Understanding Brachial Plexus Injuries and the Path to Compensation Through Lawsuits

Understanding Brachial Plexus Injuries and the Path to Compensation Through Lawsuits

A joyful event like childbirth can turn into a nightmare if your child suffers a birth injury. Brachial plexus injuries,affecting the nerves that control the arm and hand, are a serious complication that can have lifelong consequences. If you suspect medical negligence caused your child's brachial plexus injury, a lawsuit might be necessary to secure the compensation they deserve.

What is a Brachial Plexus Injury?

The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that originates in the spinal cord and travels down the neck to the shoulder,arm, and hand. These nerves are responsible for movement and sensation in the arm. During a difficult delivery, excessive force on the head or neck can stretch or tear these nerves, resulting in a brachial plexus injury.

Types of Brachial Plexus Injuries

The severity of a brachial plexus injury depends on the extent of nerve damage. Here are the main classifications:

  • Erb's Palsy: This most common type affects the upper arm, causing weakness and limited movement in the shoulder, elbow, and wrist.

  • Klumpke-Dejerine Palsy: This affects the lower arm and hand, leading to weakness and paralysis in the wrist,hand, and fingers.

  • Burnham's Injury: This rare type involves damage to all the nerves of the brachial plexus, resulting in complete paralysis of the arm.

Signs and Symptoms of Brachial Plexus Injury in Newborns

  • Weakness or paralysis in one arm or hand

  • Lack of movement in the affected arm

  • Abnormal positioning of the arm

  • Floppy arm

  • Muscle weakness

  • Reflex differences between the arms

  • Difficulty grasping objects

Causes of Brachial Plexus Injuries

Most brachial plexus injuries occur during childbirth, particularly in breech presentations (when the baby emerges feet first) or deliveries with shoulder dystocia (when the baby's shoulder gets stuck in the birth canal). Other potential causes include:

  • Excessive use of forceps or vacuum during delivery

  • Failure to order a C-section in high-risk pregnancies

  • Delayed recognition of shoulder dystocia

Medical Malpractice and Brachial Plexus Injuries

While some brachial plexus injuries are unavoidable complications of difficult deliveries, others might be caused by medical negligence. Here are some red flags that could indicate malpractice:

  • Failure to properly assess risk factors for shoulder dystocia, such as large babies, mothers with gestational diabetes,or breech presentations.

  • Improper use of forceps or vacuum during delivery, leading to excessive traction on the baby's head and neck.

  • Delay in performing a C-section when necessary.

The Legal Path for Brachial Plexus Injury Lawsuits

If you believe your child's brachial plexus injury was caused by medical malpractice, you might have grounds for a lawsuit. Here's a simplified overview of the legal process:

  1. Consultation with a Medical Malpractice Attorney: An experienced attorney will review your child's medical records, investigate the circumstances surrounding the birth, and consult with medical experts to determine if malpractice is a possibility.

  2. Building Your Case: If your attorney believes you have a strong case, they will gather evidence, including medical records, expert witness testimonies, and birth documentation, to demonstrate the doctor's negligence and the connection to your child's injury.

  3. Negotiation or Lawsuit: Often, attorneys attempt to negotiate a fair settlement with the healthcare provider's insurance company to avoid a lengthy trial. However, if a settlement cannot be reached, your attorney will file a lawsuit to present your case in court.

  4. Compensation: If your lawsuit is successful, you might be awarded compensation for:

  • Medical expenses related to the brachial plexus injury, including ongoing therapy, surgery, and medication.

  • Lost future wages due to the disability.

  • Pain and suffering your child endures.

  • Emotional distress experienced by your family.

Why Choose a Personal Injury Lawyer for Your Brachial Plexus Injury Case?

Brachial plexus injury lawsuits are complex. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can:

  • Thoroughly investigate the cause of your child's injury and build a strong case.

  • Negotiate a fair settlement that covers your child's current and future needs.

  • Represent you effectively in court if necessary.

Finding Hope Through Legal Action

While a lawsuit cannot undo the damage caused by a brachial plexus injury, it can help secure the financial resources your child needs for a lifetime of treatment and care. This compensation can provide some peace of mind amidst a difficult situation.

Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult with a qualified medical malpractice attorney to discuss your specific situation.

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