Erb's Palsy

Erb’s Palsy is caused by injury to the brachial plexus, a network of nerves around the shoulder. This injury occurs when the baby’s shoulders become stuck during labor and delivery. Pulling on the baby’s head can cause these nerves to stretch or tear. Some children may require specialized care and financial compensation can be crucial to pay for this care.

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What is Erb's Palsy?

Erb’s Palsy, also known as brachial plexus palsy, is caused by injury to the network of nerves around the shoulder, called the brachial plexus.

This childbirth injury occurs during difficult deliveries, when the baby’s shoulders become stuck in the birth canal (like in cases of shoulder dystocia). In an attempt to deliver the baby, doctors may pull on the baby’s head and cause these nerves to stretch or tear, which can result in brachial plexus nerve injury or other nerve damage.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), about 1-2 in 1,000 babies has this type of injury.

In many cases, this injury may be the result of medical negligence or improper medical care.

Erb’s Palsy Symptoms

Symptoms of Erb’s Palsy are usually evident soon after birth.

  • Limp arm
  • Newborn is not moving the lower or upper arm or hand
  • Absent Moro Reflex (a normal involuntary reflex) on the affected side
  • Decreased grip on the affected side
  • Affected arm flexed (bent) at elbow and held against body

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Erb's Palsy Treatment and Prognosis

The prognosis and treatment options for Erb’s Palsy varies based on the severity of the injury.

Most babies suffer a mild stretching of the nerve and will recover within three to six months. Many injured children improve or recover by 3-4 months of age.

However, more severe cases may require treatment by specialists and physical therapy, including range-of-motion exercises. In the most severe cases, there may be a complete separation of the nerve root from the spinal cord (avulsion).

Erb’s Palsy Complications

  • Persistent cases of Erb’s Palsy may result in abnormal muscle contractions or tightening of the muscles, which may be permanent.
  • Permanent, partial or total loss of function of the affected nerves, causing paralysis of the arm or arm weakness.

Erb's Palsy Legal Options

An experienced Erb's Palsy lawyer can determine if there is a case for an Erb’s Palsy malpractice lawsuit, which may lead to a financial settlement.

While nothing can compensate for the heartache and grief you’ve experienced, we may be able to help you obtain support to help relieve some of the financial burden associated with your child’s disabilities. Birth injury lawsuits also may help prevent similar situations from happening to other children.

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Do you have additional questions? Contact our Erb's Palsy Support Team.

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Support for Erb's Palsy Families

Understandably, families of children who suffer from birth-related injuries are looking for answers. They want to know what went wrong and if it could have been prevented. Often, parents struggle with next steps and are nervous about contacting an attorney.

It’s normal to ask yourself, “Am I doing the right thing?”

It’s important during this process to trust yourself. Like many of the callers we speak to on a daily basis, most had a normal pregnancy and were expecting a healthy child at delivery — but something went wrong. They know their child isn’t okay and is not developing like other kids but are unsure of the cause.

If you are concerned about Erb’s Palsy, call Sokolove Law today at 866-562-5292 or start a free legal case review.

Author:Sokolove Law Team
Sokolove Law Team

Contributing Authors

The Sokolove Law Content Team is made up of writers, editors, and journalists. We work with case managers and attorneys to keep site information up to date and accurate. Our site has a wealth of resources available for victims of wrongdoing and their families.

Last modified: May 26, 2021

View 2 Sources
  1. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00077
  2. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Brachial-Plexus-Injuries-Information-Page