• Experienced in complex Erb's palsy cases
  • We can help you with rehabilitation
  • Offices serving all of England & Wales
  • No Win No Fee funding available

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    Our dedicated team of lawyers will strive to help you find out what went wrong during the birth and whether the brachial plexus injury could have been avoided. We work with leading medical experts in the field of obstetrics, midwifery and orthopaedics in meticulously investigating cases to achieve compensation for our clients.

    A claim is both as an opportunity to secure the future for you (and/or your family) and to throw a spotlight on vital patient safety lessons for medical institutions, avoiding further instances of substandard care.

    Helping you ascertain what happened?

    Although shoulder dystocia is not predictable, the risks of it occurring can be higher for some women (for example if the baby is known to be particularly large for dates or if the mother has gestational diabetes). As such, medical staff are under a duty to advise of all the risks in proceeding with a normal birth as against having a caesarean section so that the mother can make an informed decision on the mode of delivery.

    Shoulder dystocia is a medical emergency and all medics should have in-depth and regular training on its management so as to try to avoid the occurrence of brachial plexus injuries. Common failures include the omission of key obstetric manoeuvres to alleviate the obstruction or the application of excessive traction in trying to deliver the fetal head.

    Making an Erb’s palsy claim

    If you or your child has Erb’s Palsy you’ll doubtless have concerns about ensuring that you can manage into the future and are striving to have as best a quality of life as possible. Our experienced medical negligence team can focus quickly on the key issues in the case and proceed to instruct our trusted independent medical experts to provide their opinions on the care provided and the cause of the brachial plexus injury.

    Read our guide on what you need to know about making an Erb’s palsy compensation claim here: 

    Compensation funds to give a better quality of life

    By acting for you or your child in an Erb’s palsy claim we can help make sure that you receive compensation that could help with a better quality of life. This might be through regular physiotherapy or the support of an occupational therapist or to allow for specialist surgery to be performed privately. The compensation could also provide appliances that make day to day tasks easier, such as opening garage doors, hanging out washing or preparing food.

    “I would like to thank Paul Rumley for his excellent representation of my case. He was extremely sympathetic and compassionate and kept me well informed on all aspects. I felt very much at ease talking to him, directly or on the phone. I would highly recommend him on medical issues and would certainly come to Royds Withy King again for any future legal services”

    Mrs N. Pearson, Weston-super-Mare

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What injuries are usually suffered as a result of shoulder dystocia?

    Shoulder dystocia, if not properly managed, can cause an injury to the brachial plexus nerve. If this injury is permanent it usually results in Erb’s palsy. The nature and the extent of the Erb’s palsy will vary dependent on the nerve damage suffered. The general classification of the injury is into Groups:

    Group 1: paralysis of shoulder and biceps
    Group 2: paralysis of shoulder, biceps, and wrist extensors
    Group 3: paralysis of entire limb
    Group 4: paralysis of entire limb with temporary Horner’s sign
    Group 5: paralysis of entire limb with persistent Horner’s sign and poor recovery.

    The impact of an injury will dependent upon its severity, however it usually results in significant restriction of movement which can be detrimental to every day life, particularly if the dominant arm is affected.

    When may I or my child have a case?

    If you consider that you would not have had a vaginal birth because of risk factors or if you consider that the shoulder dystocia itself was negligently managed it is important to seek specialist legal advice.

    There is new case law which rules that if you were at increased risk of shoulder dystocia occurring during the birth then those risk factors should have been discussed with you so that you could decide whether to have a caesarean section or not. You would need to prove that you would have chosen the option of a caesarean instead of a vaginal birth by explaining the reasons for this.

    There are particular emergency obstetric manoeuvres and steps which must be undertaken when shoulder dystocia occurs; these steps will be dependant on when the birth occurred as medical knowledge and training has advanced over time. Our medical experts will fully advise on the standard of care received.

    How long will it take?

    The length of time it takes to pursue a claim is very variable and there is no fixed pathway. The progression of the case will depend on the individual circumstances of each claim and the complexities involved. It will also depend on whether the Defendant in the case admits liability at an early stage or whether the case is fought. We always seek to progress matters as quickly as possible but on average it takes 1-2 years to establish liability in the case. We will keep you fully informed and updated throughout the process.

    What does the compensation pay for?

    The compensation will provide damages for pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life (known as general damages). It will also provide compensation for specific financial losses (known as special damages). Special damages will include a claim for items such as loss of earnings, the costs of private medical treatment and surgery, adaptations to the home, physiotherapy and aids and equipment.

    How can I fund the case?

    Erb’s Palsy cases are still covered by the Legal Services Agency who provide public funding (a Legal Aid Certificate) to cover the costs of investigating and pursuing a claim. Withy King holds a franchise for Legal Aid work and can fully advise you on your funding options.


    Hear from our team

    What you need to know about Erb's palsy

    In this video, we speak to Karen Hillyer - Chair of the Erb's Palsy Group - about the causes, impact and possible treatments for Erb's palsy.

    Find out more about Erb's palsy in our guide here.

    Play/pause video button

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