Erb’s palsy – making compensation claims for other birth injuries

Sadly, sometimes erb’s palsy is not the only injury suffered at birth. More often, we are seeing brain injuries occurring alongside erb’s palsy. The symptoms of these injuries sometimes do not show themselves until children are much older, very often when they are starting secondary school where they need to become more independent.

We also shouldn’t forget mum. Unfortunately, sometimes mum suffers an injury during childbirth.

We know that mothers are sometimes reluctant to talk about those because they put the claim of their children first. However, some maternal birth injuries can be life-changing and it is important that we pursue all possible claims at the same time, given that a mum almost always only has three years to bring their claim.

When you’ve sustained a maternal injury

Very often mums will suffer significant tears and other injuries as a result of the negligent treatment which results in their child suffering from erb’s palsy.

These injuries can be significant and life-changing, yet plenty of mothers don’t want to talk about them and/or don’t pursue them.

Understandably, they are more concerned about their child. However, it is important that mums feel able to discuss what happened to them during birth, and not suffer in silence.

Whilst monetary compensation may not appear to be of use at first, it can provide a range of benefits to reduce the impact of the injury. These can include paying for private remedial surgery which can sometimes be a better alternative to NHS treatment.

It’s also worth remembering that compensation can cover other losses other than for treatment. Some mothers have been known to suffer PTSD following a traumatic birth, and have had to take time off work as a result. If someone has suffered something similar as a result of negligence, loss of earnings will be taken into account for compensation claims.

When your child has sustained other injuries

When there have been difficulties during birth resulting in erb’s palsy, there is a chance that, unfortunately, the baby has also suffered from a lack of oxygen and therefore brain damage.

Brain damage can be quite subtle and hard to spot at first, but may become apparent if your child struggles to achieve normal milestones of development. Or as they progress in education and more is asked of them in terms of independent learning, they may struggle to keep up with their friends.

When bringing claims involving both erb’s palsy and brain damage, it is important that both issues are considered and investigated early on. It is important to avoid any suggestion that if a claim for erb’s palsy has been settled, this has ruled out any other claims in relation to the birth which might become apparent later on.

It is therefore crucial that if you have had an erb’s palsy claim which has been settled, and you have concerns now about your child ‘s development, that you seek specialist advice to see whether or not a further claim can be pursued for any other injuries including brain damage.

How to find the right support for you

It is important that you instruct a specialist set of clinical negligence solicitors, who have experience of erb’s palsy claims.

Even more important than that, however, is finding a solicitor you can work well with – someone who is on your wavelength. Bringing a claim is one of the most personal, emotional and (at times) stressful things that you will do. Therefore you must have someone working alongside you who you can trust and talk to freely.

In order to be sure that you have got the right person, be sure to talk to the firm you approach in some detail. This will help you to work out whether or not they match what you are looking for.

With the best will in the world, sometimes you instruct a firm of solicitors believing that they are the best people for the claim, but later on you encounter difficulties. There is no problem in swapping legal advisors – funding can always be transferred, and for specialist departments like ours any delay in switching instructions is minimised as much as possible.

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