How to start a claim for Erb’s palsy, and what kind of compensation to expect
Anyone can make a claim for Erb’s palsy, as long as it is brought within three years of the alleged negligence or, in the case of a child, by the day before their 21st Birthday. If a child has unfortunately suffered brain damage, and so cannot deal with their own affairs, the time is unlimited to bring a claim (up to three years after their death).
How do you start a claim for Erb’s palsy?
First, you need to get funding in place (more on this in the next section of our guide). A full set of medical records is then requested – for the person injured, and also for mum if necessary. Those records are then sorted, and only once the solicitors have a full set are they sent to a medical expert to assist in finding whether or not there was negligence in the medical treatment, and if so what injury that has caused. A full witness statement of the circumstances of the pregnancy, the labour, and the birth will be taken to assist in putting what happened into context.
Whilst the process of starting a claim can seem daunting, solicitors should be there to make it as stress-free as possible.
Who are you claiming against?
Whilst we will look at the actions of the doctors and midwives involved in the birth, in fact the claim will be against the hospital trust who employed them.
Whilst it can be difficult for medical staff to have their actions criticised, the fact that the trust pays the claim makes it less personal. Therefore it should not have any impact upon the care the person injured, or their family, receives now and into the future, e.g. with further births.
There are also many stages during the claim where the defendant can admit liability and thereby reach a quicker and more amicable settlement. This benefits the injured party, and also allows the medical staff to learn from the incident and move on.
What level of compensation might someone receive for an Erb’s palsy claim?
Compensation is split into two awards – there are general damages to reflect the pain, suffering and effects upon that injured person’s everyday life. These are calculated by reference to how the particular injured person has been affected, and what their long-term prognosis is likely to be.
Basically, this element of damages is “tailor-made” to fit the impact the injuries have had upon the individual with assistance from previously decided cases.
The second element of compensation are called special damages – they are the financial losses for care, therapy, aids and equipment and possibly more long-term implications – such as an affect upon employment and earnings potential.
The aim of compensation is to put the injured person back in the position they would have been but for the Erb’s palsy. Solicitors therefore look to gain maximum compensation for clients to allow them to make the most of their lives, and to overcome any disabilities associated with Erb’s palsy and any associated injuries as much as possible.