While any injury caused by a healthcare provider’s misconduct can have serious consequences for a patient, injuries suffered by mothers and newborn infants during childbirth tend to have especially dire effects. In particular, Erb’s Palsy—a debilitating condition often caused by nerve damage in the shoulder—is a life-altering and all too common result of negligence by doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals assisting with the birthing process.

If you or your child sustained this type of harm because a healthcare practitioner was reckless or careless, then pursuing legal action with a skilled birth injury attorney’s help could be vital to protecting your whole family. An Albany Erb’s palsy lawyer could explain your options during a private consultation and then work tenaciously on your behalf to seek justice for your injured child.

How Negligence Can Lead to Erb’s Palsy

Erb’s palsy—a lifelong condition characterized by weakness and loss of motor function in the arm and/or shoulder—stems from damage to the brachial plexus, which is a group of nerves connecting the spinal cord to the arm via the shoulder. There are four types of injuries that may lead to this condition, differentiated by the type of damage done to the brachial nerves:

  • Neurapraxia – a stretching of the brachial nerves that generally will heal completely with time and proper medical care
  • Neuroma – a more severe stretching of the brachial nerves that may leave permanent scar tissue on the brachial plexus, limiting movement
  • Rupture – a tearing of the brachial plexus that does not involve the nerves being torn away from the spine
  • Avulsion – the complete separation of brachial nerves from the spine

During a Cesarean section, or during a difficult childbirth where an infant’s shoulder gets caught behind their mother’s pubic bone, reckless or careless misconduct by assisting physicians may lead to the child suffering a brachial injury. This could potentially leave them with permanent and debilitating damage. In a situation like this, a seasoned Albany Erb’s palsy attorney can play a key role in identifying who specifically bears fault for harm suffered by mother and child, and then taking effective legal action against them.

Rules for Erb’s Palsy Malpractice Claims in Albany

In the interest of protecting medical professional from frivolous litigation, New York state law requires anyone intending to file suit over alleged medical malpractice to submit a “certificate of merit” either alongside their initial complaint or within 90 days of filing that complaint. As an Erb’s palsy malpractice lawyer in Albany could further explain, this certificate must affirm either that the claimant consulted with at least one qualified physician who agreed that malpractice likely occurred, or that they made a good-faith attempt to consult with at least three different physicians but were unable to do so.

It is worth noting that the typical two-year filing deadline for malpractice litigation typically does not apply to Erb’s palsy claims, since the impacted party is almost always a minor child. Instead, the claim must begin within ten years of when the alleged malpractice actually occurred and no later than the impacted child’s 18th birthday.

Speak with an Albany Erb’s Palsy Attorney for Help

No one deserves to suffer permanent harm because of a doctor’s negligence, especially not a newborn child. Unfortunately, scenarios like this play out all over New York every year. If you fail to enforce your right to demand civil restitution, you might have to bear all your financial burdens all by yourself.

Assistance is available from a knowledgeable Albany Erb’s palsy lawyer. Call our team today to schedule a case consultation.