If your child was born with Erb’s palsy, and you suspect negligence on the part of the physician or hospital, you may be able to pursue a claim for damages with the aid of a birth injury attorney. While Erb’s palsy can correct itself, some children have to face the limitation associated with this immobilizing condition for the rest of their lives. It is advisable to work with a skilled Florida Erb’s palsy lawyer who is familiar with the local court system for help with bringing a successful claim for damages.
Understanding Erb’s Palsy
Erb’s palsy is often caused by damage to the nerves in the arms, resulting in a lack of sensation, weakness, and even partial or total paralysis. While this condition may occur naturally, it frequently stems from trauma sustained during birth and may be attributed to medical malpractice.
While children are generally delivered head-first, they can become misaligned while in the uterus and sometimes need to be delivered feet-first. This could result in undue pressure on the child’s head, neck, and shoulders, potentially resulting in ripping and tearing of delicate nerves.
Physicians can prepare for this by taking regular ultrasounds in the weeks and days leading up to delivery. A doctor’s failure to schedule a Cesarean section to reduce the risk of birth injury could constitute medical negligence.
Shoulder dystocia happens when a baby’s shoulder becomes lodged against the pelvic bone of their mother, potentially leading to a challenging delivery. The physician delivering the child needs to be trained in alleviating the issue in a timely fashion to avoid birth complications and injuries.
During complicated labor and deliveries, especially those which happen unexpectedly, physicians may become nervous that severe brain damage will occur due to insufficient oxygen and rush to deliver the child by pulling with excessive pressure. This could result in nerve damage to the shoulders, arms, and head.
Some delivery complications such as misalignment, issues pushing naturally, breech births, or alarming vital signs in the infant may require physicians to utilize extraction tools such as forceps and vacuums. These tools are placed on the head or shoulder of the infant and used to dislodge the shoulders.
Physicians should be adequately trained in the use of such tools and be able to determine when it is appropriate to use them. When used improperly, forceps and vacuums may damage the infant’s skull, resulting in nerve damage in the shoulders, arms, and neck.
Establishing Negligence in an Erb’s Palsy Case
According to Florida Statutes §766.102, an Erb’s palsy attorney in Florida must establish that a healthcare provider failed to follow the medically accepted standard of care in order to prove their negligence in malpractice claim. A successful medical negligence claim must establish the following elements:
- The healthcare provider owed the patient a legal duty of care
- This duty of care was breached by the defendant
- This negligent activity directly caused the infant’s injuries
Recoverable Compensation for a Child Born with Erb’s Palsy
Monetary damages may be awarded in cases where medical negligence is the cause of a newborn’s Erb’s palsy. These damages could cover intangible losses in addition to past and future medical costs associated with the child’s injury. A Florida lawyer representing a family in an Erb’s palsy case could help them seek compensation for:
- Corrective surgeries
- Physical therapy
- Doctor’s visits
- Medical equipment
- Pain and suffering
Time Limits for Filing a Lawsuit
FL Stat §95-11 requires potential plaintiffs to file a lawsuit within two years of discovering the injury or when they should have discovered it, or four years at the most from the time when the malpractice allegedly occurred. However, the statute provides an exception for malpractice involving a minor child under the age of eight.
Under this exception, a family may file an action two years from the date of discovery for any malpractice inflicted upon their child while they are under the age of eight. A knowledgeable attorney could help a claimant meet the statutory deadline when filing a civil lawsuit against a negligent physician.
Speak with a Florida Erb’s Palsy Attorney Today
If you have a child who is suffering from Erb’s palsy, the attorneys at Domnick Cunningham & Yaffa may be able to assist you in recovering damages for your losses. If your baby’s condition was caused by the negligence of a medical professional, a Florida’s Erb’s palsy lawyer could aggressively pursue maximum compensation on your behalf so you can focus on the health and wellbeing of your child. Please do not hesitate to contact our firm today to schedule your initial consultation.
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