Erb’s Palsy/ Brachial Plexus Palsy

ERBS palsy is where the brachial plexus nerves at the base of the baby’s neck are injured and this is caused during birth by excessive force being applied to the head of the baby because of stuck shoulders, also known as shoulder dystocia. It occurs during the second stage of labour when the head has been delivered but the shoulders are stuck behind the mother’s pelvic bone.

There are well known risk factors for Shoulder Dystocia, such as diabetes or obesity of the mother and the baby being very large. Shoulder Dystocia can be identified during labour. Actions, which are well known to obstetricians and midwives, should be taken to try to avoid injury. Failure to identify the Shoulder Dystocia and failure to take appropriate action to manage it can result in serious injury to or death of the baby or damage to the mother including injury to the mother’s pelvis. Any such failure can result in a clinical negligence claim if it has caused injury.

Failure to identify and take appropriate action to deal with Shoulder Dystocia can cause damage to the infant’s Brachial Plexus nerves; these nerves control the shoulder muscles and so injury can result in paralysis of the arm and hand, limp arm, lack of muscle control and lack of sensation. Although many Brachial Plexus injuries resolve within a few months, a significant percentage of babies will end up with a permanent disability. Some injuries thought to be mild or temporary at birth may result in disabilities that do not completely manifest until later in life.

Types of brachial plexus injury include: 

  • Complete Brachial Plexus injury:

Involves paralysis of the whole arm. Nerve damage may also have caused Horner’s Syndrome (where eyelid nerves are damaged causing a droopy eyelid) and Torticollis

  • Erb’s Palsy:

The arm hangs by the side, turning inwards, with the forearm extended in a characteristic “Waiter’s tip” deformity. The arm cannot be lifted from the side and the elbow will not bend

  • Klumpke’s Palsy:

Involves paralysis affecting muscles of the forearm and hand, lack of mobility in the fingers and wrist and a clawed hand. Horner’s syndrome is also often present with this.

When Shoulder Dystocia is present and the infant’s head is out but its shoulders are stuck, pressure on the chest and umbilical cord can stop the infant breathing and there is great danger of the baby suffering brain damage and cerebral palsy if the situation is not resolved speedily.  

If your child has suffered from a Brachial Plexus injury or other birth injury, due to medical or midwifery negligence, we can help you claim compensation. Our team of dedicated expert clinical negligence and birth injury solicitors have an excellent record and specialise solely in complex medical negligence claims. We have many years of experience in handling complex and high value birth injury medical negligence compensation claims including Erb’s Palsy claims and Brachial Plexus injury claims. We have an excellent record and the expertise to obtain the maximum amount of damages to compensate and provide for your child’s future and to support you and your family through the process.  Your child may be entitled to compensation for the injury, for past and future care and assistance, anticipated loss of earnings, reduced earning capacity, additional travel costs and other expenses, adaptations to accommodation if required, aids and equipment, costs of any recommended medical treatment, physiotherapy and rehabilitation. 

Our team is led by Tony May, a specialist birth injury solicitor with an excellent record and with over 20 years experience and expertise in dealing with cerebral palsy claims, Erb’s palsy claims and other birth  injury compensation cases, many resulting in multi million pound settlements. 

Tony can be contacted by email on or by telephone on 01484 519999. Alternatively, you could call our team on the freephone number below.

We are members of the Law Society Clinical Negligence Panel and Action Against Medical Accidents (AVMA). We are accredited by the Legal Aid Agency and the Law Society to handle medical negligence claims. We are therefore authorised to deal with medical negligence investigations funded by Legal Aid and if you are not eligible for Legal Aid, we may be able to offer you a Conditional Fee Agreement (also known as “No Win No Fee”). 

We deal with claims countrywide. We are based at our Huddersfield office but can visit you in your home or in hospital if you are unable to attend at one of our West Yorkshire offices. If you believe that your child or a member of your family may have sustained a birth injury such as cerebral palsy or Erb’s palsy as a result of medical negligence and/or negligence by a midwife, please contact our specialist medical negligence Legal Aid and no-win-no-fee lawyers. Initial advice is always free, whether in person, on the telephone or by e-mail. 

Contact Chadwick Lawrence for free legal advice on FREE PHONE  0800 304 7382 or email: 

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