How long will an Erb’s palsy case take?

We set out some detail about how you go about starting a claim in section one of this guide.

As you may know, there is a lot of work involved to make sure investigations made on behalf of the injured person are full and thorough. Though this sometimes will take more time than you might hope, we always ensure that our clients are informed every step of the way on what is happening and if there is a delay why that is.

Sometimes it is beneficial to take slightly longer to conclude a claim, to ensure full compensation is secured for the injured person.

How long will a typical Erb’s palsy case take?

Getting in the medical records, having them sorted to ensure they are a full set (and so chasing up any missing or better copy records) and getting all of the factual witness evidence together can take 6-9 months.

It is therefore unlikely that solicitors would have a first expert report confirming whether or not there has been negligence, and if so what injury that caused, until the end of the first year after being fully instructed (and funded).

Thereafter, assuming there is evidence to support a claim, an initial letter of claim will be sent to the defendant. This will invite them to admit liability for the case, and the defendant will have four months to reply.

If the defendant admits liability, judgement will be entered at court and then your solicitors will move onto instructing experts to look at the long-term prognosis of the injury. This is the time when they will assess the overall value of the claim with a view to settling it.

With an admission of liability, it is possible that a claim can be completed within 2 ½ years, subject to any changes, as detailed below.

Is there anything in particular that can change the timescales of an Erb’s palsy case?

If the defendant does not admit liability, there is likely to be a first set of court proceedings to decide that issue.

It is therefore likely to take another year – or just under 2 ½ years in total – to get to a position where it is proven that the injury occurred as a result of negligent medical treatment. Thereafter the process set out above of looking at valuing the claim will then take approximately a further year or 18 months.

The process can be delayed if it is not yet possible to predict the long-term outcome for the child – for example if they are very young. Waiting can also help to identify those children who might have suffered subtle brain damage at the same time as their Erb’s palsy which we refer to in the following section of this guide here.

The most important issue is to settle the claim only once everyone is sure that they understand the impact of the Erb’s palsy (and any other associated injury such as brain damage) upon the individual. This ensures they are as fully compensated as possible and therefore have the money they need to make the most of their future.

Read the next section: claiming for other birth injuries >>

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