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Alvin Wolff Jr. & Associates

Brachial Plexus Injuries

Erb's Palsy Medical Malpractice Lawyer in St. Louis


Erb’s palsy, also known as brachial palsy is a serious and sometimes permanent medical condition that occurs when a bundle of shoulder nerves called the brachial plexus are damaged during birth. Although the development of Erb’s palsy does not necessarily mean that the doctor was at fault, medical malpractice is involved in a great many cases.   


Medical Problems Caused by Erb’s Palsy


Depending on the severity of the individual case, Erb’s palsy can cause a variety of symptoms and disabilities, including:

  • Weakness of paralysis of the shoulder, arm or hand on one side of the body

  • A drooping eyelid on the opposite side of the body from the weakness or paralysis

  • Moderate to severe pain in the affected area

  • Impaired healing and frequent infections in the affected area

  • Impaired circulatory system development in the affected area

  • Impaired temperature regulation in the affected area (causing problems during cold weather´╝ë




In mild cases of Erb’s palsy, symptoms might clear up on their own after a few months. In more severe cases medication, physical therapy and/or surgery may be required. If surgery is performed during the first year of life, the baby’s prospects for radical improvement or even elimination of the condition are quite good. Beyond the child’s second birthday, however, prospects for improvement through surgery grow increasingly dim. Long-term care of Erb’s palsy victims includes medication, physical therapy and special lifestyle accommodations. Some of these expenses are not covered by most health insurance policies. Additionally, an arm injury could affect your child's ability to compete in the open labor market.

Erb’s Palsy and Medical Malpractice


Medical malpractice can cause Erb’s palsy during childbirth in the following ways:

  • The baby’s head and neck are pulled sideways as the baby passes through the mother’s birth canal

  • The baby’s shoulders are pulled beyond where they should be stretched during delivery

  • The baby’s arms are pulled too far during a breech delivery

  • Forceps are misused during delivery

  • The baby is too large for the birth canal




When to Call a Lawyer


Because of the frequency with which Erb’s palsy is caused by medical malpractice, you should contact a medical malpractice lawyer when you suspect that your baby is afflicted with it. Your lawyer can conduct an investigation to determine whether or not medical malpractice was involved.


Your baby might have Erb’s palsy if he fails to move one of his arms or hands (especially if his eyelid droops on the opposite side of his body), if his arm is bent at the elbow and held against his body, or if one of his arms “flops” whenever he is rolled from side to side. A difficult delivery makes it even more likely that Erb’s palsy was caused by medical malpractice. Of course, a formal medical diagnosis of Erb’s palsy will take guesswork completely out of the equation.


When seeking damages, you will need to make sure you obtain enough to compensate for an entire lifetime of care if the prognosis for recovery (issued by a doctor not involved in the malpractice claim) is poor, because you almost certainly won’t be able to come back for more money later.


St. Louis courts apply Missouri personal injury law, and the Missouri statue of limitations for personal injury is only two years from the date that the injury was discovered (or should have been discovered). In the case of a minor, the 18th birthday plus two years. This means that in St. Louis, you must file your case in the alloted time, otherwise the value of your child's claim will drop to zero. Even a private settlement is impossible if the malpractice insurer need not fear a personal injury lawsuit.

Don’t delay – call a St. Louis medical malpractice lawyer today if you have reason to suspect that your baby is a victim of Erb’s palsy. We're here to help. 314-584-4109