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Brachial Plexus Injury Lawyer

Brachial plexus birth injuries affect the function of a baby’s arms and hands. They can lead to lifelong disabilities. They often occur when a doctor performs a vaginal birth when they should have done a C-section instead. Our award-winning brachial plexus injury lawyers help parents recover financial compensation from negligent health care providers who cause these preventable injuries.

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The brachial plexus nerve network controls movement and sensation in the arm and hand. These nerves can be damaged during labor or delivery when a doctor or midwife uses inappropriate force to rotate or pull the baby during complicated births. Damage to the brachial plexus nerves can affect the function of the respective arm or hand.

Children with brachial plexus injuries may need months or years of therapy, and some are never able to restore the function of the affected arm or hand. Our compassionate brachial plexus injury lawyers help families get justice against negligent health providers. 

If your baby has suffered a brachial plexus injury, call us now at (312) 332-2872 to schedule a free case review. You may be entitled to substantial compensation.

Understanding Brachial Plexus Injuries

The brachial plexus is a network of nerves in the neck and chest connecting the nerves in the arms to the spinal cord. Each side of the body has an independent brachial plexus. These nerves control the movements of the arms and hands. When the nerves sustain damage during birth, the newborn can experience weakness, partial paralysis, or total paralysis in the corresponding arm or hand. 

Brachial plexus injuries may be temporary or permanent, depending on the extent of the damage. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons categorizes brachial plexus injuries by their severity as follows:  

  • Neuropraxia – mild stretching of the nerves that causes temporary weakness
  • Neuroma – stretched nerves with mild damage that later scars
  • Rupture – the tearing apart of the nerves
  • Avulsion – Severance of the nerve roots from the spinal cord

Any brachial plexus injury more severe than neuropraxia is unlikely to fully resolve. Brachial plexus injuries that have not healed within three months may be permanent or require surgery. Children with ruptures and avulsions may experience lifelong disabilities.

Types of Brachial Plexus Injuries

The most common type of brachial plexus injury is Erb’s palsy, which causes paralysis or weakness of the upper arm. When the nerves that control only the lower arm or hand are affected, the injury is known as Klumpke’s palsy. Total plexus palsy occurs when the entire arm is affected.

Horner’s syndrome is a severe brachial plexus injury generally associated with avulsions. It causes drooping eyelids, smaller pupils, and reduced sweat production.

What Causes Brachial Plexus Injuries in Newborns?

Brachial plexus injuries in newborns most commonly occur during complicated births when the baby becomes stuck in the birth canal. A common complication occurs when the shoulders become stuck against the pelvic bone in the birth canal after the baby is partially delivered. This condition is known as shoulder dystocia.

Shoulder dystocia often occurs when a doctor attempts a vaginal birth even though a C-section would be more appropriate, such as in the following instances: 

  • Breech presentation – the baby presents feet or buttocks first
  • Cephalopelvic distortion – the baby cannot fit through the birth canal due to a narrow pelvis or a large baby
  • Forceps injuries – when the doctor uses undue pressure while using forceps

It is not always possible to predict shoulder dystocia. It could result from complications during labor. However, experienced doctors with careful training can manage it without harming the baby. The reasonable standard of care is often to perform an emergency C-section. Any deviation from this could constitute medical malpractice.

Symptoms of Brachial Plexus Birth Injuries

The most common symptom of brachial plexus injuries is weakness or paralysis of the affected arm or hand. The early signs of brachial plexus include the following:

  • Lack of movement in one arm, especially in the shoulder or elbow
  • Lack of gripping strength
  • Apparent lack of sensation
  • Limpness of the arm
  • Unusual positioning of the arm, often bent towards the body 

Babies with mild brachial plexus injury tend to heal independently without treatment or with mild physical therapy within a few weeks or months. Children with more severe injuries may require surgery. Recovery after surgery could take 18 months or longer, and some children still cannot recover full function.

Nerves affect growth, and a child with severe brachial plexus birth injuries may experience a lower growth rate in the affected arm, resulting in a smaller arm on one side. This effect will become more noticeable as the child gets older. Children who are unable to fully recover from brachial plexus injuries will experience many difficulties, including the following:

  • Lost opportunities to participate in sports
  • Difficulties performing everyday tasks that require two hands
  • A future inability to drive
  • The emotional trauma of a physical deformity
  • Lifelong physical therapy

Parents of children with brachial plexus injuries often must invest significant dollars into physical therapy, assistive devices, and modifications to the home to accommodate the disabilities brought on by the loss of the use of the affected arm. Parents may miss work and lose wages due to the time spent attending physical therapy and providing additional care.

Living with a child with disabilities can take an emotional toll on all family members. Those disabilities may limit the child’s career opportunities when they reach adulthood. Innocent families and children shouldn’t be stuck with the financial burden of these injuries when a negligent doctor is to blame. 

Our Chicago brachial plexus injury lawyers are dedicated to holding negligent health care providers accountable and helping families recover the financial compensation they deserve.

How To Determine If Medical Negligence Was Involved in a Child's Brachial Plexus Injury

Medical negligence occurs when an injury stems from a health care provider’s failure to exercise a reasonable standard of care. Proving it requires examining whether the provider’s actions followed the established medical guidelines. This analysis requires a detailed understanding of medical procedures and terminology. 

Our knowledgeable brachial plexus injury lawyers can retrieve your medical records and review your doctor’s actions as recorded. We will also need your version of events. You can help your attorney by writing down what happened and the names of all providers involved while your memory is fresh.

With this information, we may be able to hold the following parties liable for your baby’s brachial plexus injuries:

How Levin & Perconti Can Help

When you choose our skilled Chicago birth injury lawyers, you will receive caring, personalized service from talented attorneys. They will stay in close contact with you, provide sound legal advice, and answer your calls. We will handle all the legal details, build a strong case, prove your damages, and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Our firm has been helping parents get justice against large health care organizations for over 30 years. We have grown into one of the nation’s most respected birth injury law firms, with more than $2 billion in successful case results

We are passionate about holding negligent providers accountable for the harm they cause patients. We regularly testify in the state legislature and before Congress in our ongoing effort to improve the lives of disabled children and their parents.

We have the financial resources to invest every dollar necessary to prosecute your claim. Our adversaries know who we are and that we won’t settle for less than fair compensation. You can count on us to fight for you for as long as it takes to win the compensation you deserve, even if your case goes to trial. We charge no upfront fees, and you only pay if we win.

FAQs About Brachial Plexus Injury Lawsuits

Below are answers to legal questions we commonly receive about brachial plexus injury claims.

What Is the Average Settlement for a Brachial Plexus Birth Injury Lawsuit?

Our notable brachial plexus injury lawsuit settlements and verdicts range from just over $1 million to nearly $6.7 million. However, every case is unique. Your damages will be calculated based on the severity of your child’s brachial plexus injury, whether it will cause a lifelong disability, your verifiable financial losses, and the suffering it causes you, your family, and your child.

How Much Time Do I Have To File a Brachial Plexus Birth Injury Lawsuit in Illinois?

You generally have two years to file a brachial plexus lawsuit. However, the medical malpractice statute of limitations in Illinois is complex. It is best to consult an experienced brachial plexus injury attorney as soon as possible to determine how the statute of limitations applies to you. It is important not to wait. If you miss the deadline, you can lose out on the damages you’re owed.

How Do You Determine If You Have a Valid Brachial Plexus Injury Case in Chicago, IL?

You may have a valid brachial plexus injury claim if you can establish each of the following elements of negligence:

  • The provider provided prenatal care or was present during the birth.
  • The provider breached the duty to provide a reasonable standard of care.
  • Your baby suffered a brachial plexus injury that would not otherwise have occurred.
  • The breach is the actual and proximate cause of the injury.

Our resourceful Chicago brachial plexus injury attorneys can prove the elements of negligence for you.

How Long Will a Brachial Plexus Injury Case Take To Resolve in Chicago?

A brachial plexus injury lawsuit may take several months to settle, and if the case goes to trial, it may take a year or longer to reach a conclusion. We understand how important it is to recover compensation for your ongoing costs during this difficult time, and we are committed to arresting the defendants’ stall tactics and working to recover your compensation as soon as possible.

What Types of Damages Can I Recover in a Brachial Plexus Birth Injury Lawsuit?

You may be able to recover the following types of damages in a brachial plexus lawsuit:

  • Economic damages for the parents – compensation for monetary losses, such as the cost of therapy, medical bills, assistive devices, and lost wages
  • Economic damages on behalf of the child – the child’s anticipated lifetime medical expenses after turning 18, the child’s projected lost earning capacity
  • Non-economic damages for the parents and the child – physical pain of the child, emotional distress of the parents and the child, loss of enjoyment of life, disability, and more

What Is the Cost Associated with Hiring a Brachial Plexus Injury Lawyer?

We operate on a contingency fee arrangement to ensure that financial limitations are not a barrier to justice. You pay no upfront fees, and we deduct a percentage of your compensation once we collect it. If we don’t win, you owe us nothing.

Contact Our Chicago Brachial Plexus Injury Lawyer Today For A Free Case Review

In many of the birth injury lawsuits we have handled, our clients have suffered severe brachial plexus injuries that prevent them from performing everyday tasks. If a birth injury occurs due to someone else’s negligence, the victim needs to be fairly compensated.

At Levin & Perconti, we have handled many birth-related cases, including representing victims of brachial plexus injuries. For example, our attorneys received a $6.71 million verdict for a girl who suffered bilateral brachial plexus injuries when a medical resident applied excessive force to her body during a breech delivery. This force caused nerve damage and resulted in the loss of most of the movement and strength in her left arm.

If you need help with a birth-related injury, we are here to help. Contact us today so that we can get started and discuss your options.