Birth Injury

Erb's Palsy

What causes Erb’s Palsy?

Erb’s Palsy, which is a complete or partial paralysis of an arm and hand, is caused by an injury to the nerves, specifically the brachial plexus, in a baby’s neck during vaginal delivery. It occurs when the baby’s head is delivered but the shoulders are too wide to pass through the birth canal and get stuck. The medical term for this is shoulder dystocia. The force that is then applied to the baby’s head to extract the shoulders can cause the nerve injury.

When to make a claim

There are generally two ways in which a clinical negligence claim for Erb’s Palsy may arise:
  • When the baby was expected to be unusually big, or a mother’s previous pregnancy had been complicated with shoulder dystocia. In these circumstances, mothers should be advised of the increased risks of shoulder dystocia and nerve injury, and the even more serious increased risks of brain injury and stillbirth, and given the option of delivery by caesarean section.
  • When excessive force or traction is applied to the baby’s head during attempts to free the shoulders from the birth canal. A delivery complicated by shoulder dystocia should be performed by a senior obstetrician and the appropriate methods used to deliver the baby safely. If there is evidence that excessive force was used, and that other methods were not deployed, there may be a claim.

What to expect

Pursuing a claim for compensation with our team of specialist birth injury lawyers first involves a free and informal discussion about what happened. We can then review the birth notes and give you our advice on your prospects of winning a claim. Medical experts would then be involved to give opinions on the case, and if supportive, we will pursue the claim on your behalf. Our aim is always to keep you at the centre of the case, achieve the answers you need, and the maximum possible compensation for your child.

Frequently Asked Questions

If your child suffers an injury from negligent medical treatment during your pregnancy, the birth or postnatally you may be entitled to make a claim.

If you are ever unsure if you have a case, it is best to contact a solicitor.

We can provide a second opinion free of charge. We have acted for many clients who have been told they don’t have a case, but by looking at the claim in a different way and with our expertise, we have gone on to be successful

All birth injury claims are different and this depends upon when a final prognosis is known and a claim can be valued.

Once we obtain an admission of liability in your case we can request an immediate payment to help with your needs and put support in place.

Erb’s Plasy medical negligence claims rarely go to court, with only a small percentage of the more complex cases ending up there. However, in the unlikely event that your case reaches court, we will be by your side throughout the process.

It is important to pursue your Erb’s Palsy claim as quickly as possible due to time limits and to also enable us to help you obtain compensation as soon as possible. This is especially the case in complex cases as the process can be lengthy.

You have to start your claim within 3-years (limitation period) from when the injury occurred or when you first became aware of any potential negligence or injury as a result. However, the time limit only begins when a child reaches 18 years of age.

There may be several options open to you to include legal aid, No Win No Fee and legal expense insurance. We can advise you on the correct funding method for you. We have designed a No Win No Fee package to protect you from paying any costs should your claim not be successful.


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Experts in birth injury claims

We have helped many families obtain substantial compensation for injuries suffered at birth, giving them financial security that has truly changed their lives for the better. Contact one of our birth injury lawyers today to see how we can help, at no cost to you.

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