Children are a blessing. However, giving birth to an injured child can be a crushing moment for any mother or family. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) notes that at least 7 out of 1,000 children are born with some form of birth injury. For parents who can prove that the injuries are not a result of genetic predisposition, they often turn to an experienced brachial plexus injury lawyer, especially when the congenital disability involves damaged nerves around the shoulders and along the neck, running from the spinal cord.
But how prevalent is this birth injury and why should you seek a legal remedy for indemnification? Here is a quick guide on brachial plexus injury, prevalent types, risk factors, and the benefits of getting an attorney to file your lawsuit. Keep reading to learn more.
What is Brachial Plexus Injury?
The brachial plexus consists of nerve networks that transmit signals from the spinal cord to muscles around the shoulder, arm, and neck region. An extreme stretch, compression, or tear in these nerve networks might cause trauma and result in a brachial plexus injury.
The signs and symptoms of this condition vary with the degree of injury, but the most common include:
- Arm weakness or numbness
- Severe neck pain
- Occasional burners and stingers
- General body weakness
The main cause of brachial plexus in children is difficult births. For instance, a baby’s shoulder muscles might be wedged within the birth canal, causing the nerves within to stretch or tear. On the other hand, the condition can be caused by trauma, contact sports, or cancer treatments in adults.
Prevalent Types of Brachial Plexus Injury
There are four prevalent types of brachial plexus injury conditions, including:
Erb’s palsy: This is the most common form of brachial plexus injury, accounting for nearly 50% of all reported cases. The condition affects the nerves around the C5 and C6 sections of the spinal cord.
Extended Erb’s palsy: This condition that results from birth complications is not that common, and accounts for nearly 20% of reported brachial plexus injuries. It affects the C7 section of the spinal cord.
Klumpke’s palsy: This condition is rare and only represents 1% of reported brachial plexus injuries. The effects of these injuries are limited to forearm and hand muscles, as well as C8 to T1 sections of the spinal cord.
Total plexus injury: This is the most devastating brachial plexus injury condition that damages nerve networks of the whole hand, all the way from the neck region to the fingers. Typically, it paralyzes the nerves between the C5 and T1 sections of the spinal cord.
Risk Factors for Birth Injuries
Various factors increase the risk of prevalent birth injuries, such as:
A mother’s condition, such as dystocia), which is typically hard labor can result in birth injuries. For example, a mother might have a wrongly shaped pelvis that might not guarantee a safe birth. Such pelvises increase the risks of strangulation, which can bruise the nerves around the neck muscles. Also, this condition can lead to oxygen deprivation, a prevalent risk factor for birth injuries.
Other maternal conditions that can result in birth injuries include prolonged labor. A mother who stays in labor for too long can hurt the baby’s neck, shoulders, or arms. The child might also be deprived of oxygen if they take too long to be safely delivered and inhale their first breath.
Some birth injuries may not be a result of medical negligence, but the infant’s conditions. For instance, babies that weigh over 8 pounds typically undergo a prolonged and difficult birth process, which exposes them to physical abrasions around the neck and shoulder. The same applies to infants with abnormal fetal position, such as a leg coming out first instead of the head.
Another infant condition that can result in a birth injury is prematurity. A premature infant is highly likely to suffer an injury during birth due to underdeveloped muscles and nervous systems.
External factors, such as medical malpractice can cause physical abrasion to the infant that results in birth injuries with long-term effects. The doctor may cause physical injuries through outright negligence or by using wrong tools, such as forceps, or uncalled-for delivery methods (depending on the situation), such as vacuum extraction. Parents to children who suffered such risks can hire a local brachial plexus injury lawyer to file a lawsuit and get compensation.
Why You Should Hire a Seasoned Brachial Plexus Attorney
Birth injuries are unfortunate. However, due to the above-mentioned risk factors, some mothers often find themselves in difficult positions, especially when they know that it’s the doctor’s negligence that is the reason why their infants may not play and enjoy seamless mobility like other children. Fortunately, an experienced brachial plexus attorney can help you maneuver legal pitfalls and get justice for your child.
That said here are the benefits of retaining a brachial plexus injury lawyer:
Injury Extent and Long-Term Effects Evaluation
Working with an attorney will help you get access to specialized diagnoses to determine the type of brachial plexus injury that the baby is suffering from. This approach will help you determine whether you have a strong malpractice lawsuit that warrants compensation.
At the same time, the attorney will help analyze the long-term effects of the injury to calculate the right amount of compensation. It’s worth noting that most birth injuries require ongoing or future medical expenses, such as treatment surgeries or 24/7 childcare if the victim is rendered immobile.
Recover Your Expenses
An attorney can help you recover various costs associated with the birth injury in question, such as lost income, medical bills, or any other out-of-pocket expense catalyzed by the condition. Compensation for emotional and physical pain to the child and family might also be awarded.
Contingency Legal Fee
Typically, brachial plexus injury lawyers work on a contingency fee, meaning that you don’t get to pay anything until they win your case in court, or at least negotiate for fair compensation. With this in mind, there is no other compelling reason for not filing the case, especially if you believe it’s due to medical malpractice.
It is the prayer of every mother and family to have a bouncy baby. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
Don’t suffer emotional and physical trauma in silence. Reach out to a certified brachial plexus attorney and seek justice for your baby today.