Erb’s palsy compensation claims

Erb’s palsy, also referred to as “Erb-Duchenne” palsy, can often be frightening to begin with, especially if your baby is unable to move their arm in any way. It’s important that you and your family seek legal advice as soon as possible after diagnosis, as the cause of this condition may be due to medical negligence during birth.

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Erb’s palsy claim FAQs

We understand that you may have questions about Erb’s palsy claims, and seeking legal action against negligence medical professional for negligence.

Below, we have answered some frequently asked questions in relation to Erb’s palsy and claiming compensation to give you more information. If you still have questions, simply give us a call and we will be happy to have a discussion.

What is Erb’s palsy?

Erb’s palsy is part or full paralysis of the arm due to nerve damage. Erb’s palsy can also be referred to as Brachial Plexus Paralysis or Shoulder Dystocia. This condition can be caused by trauma during birth as a result of a baby’s shoulder being stretched in the birth canal, which can cause damage to the nerves in the baby’s neck or upper arm.

Erb’s palsy affects the brachial plexus, which consists of a network of nerves found in the neck and shoulder region. It is made up of five large nerves that come out of the spinal cord between the bones in the neck (the vertebrae), pass under the collar bone (clavicle) and into the upper arm. The nerves enable the signals that allow movement and feeling to reach the arm.

Babies who suffer with Erb’s palsy often cannot move the affected shoulder or upper arm. Symptoms may include a limp arm, inability to grip with the hand affected, loss of sensory and motor function in the upper arm and numbness.

Many people who bring Erb’s palsy compensation claims after their babies are born do so due to the negligence suffered during birth. If a medical professional causes damage through negligent behaviour, and it results in this condition, the family would be eligible to file an Erb’s palsy lawsuit.  

Other Erb’s palsy risk factors may include:

  • Large babies;
  • The baby is in a breech position;
  • The birth is prolonged;
  • The mother’s pelvis may be small and cause the baby to get stuck;
  • Use of forceps;
  • The mother has already given birth to a child with Erb’s palsy previously (the condition is likely with the next birth).

What about the prognosis of Erb’s palsy?

The prognosis of Erb’s palsy depends on the severity of the injury. Some babies do recover, however children who have suffered more serious injuries may live with lifelong problems and suffer permanent problems with the affected arm.

In addition to a physical injury, the child may suffer with a psychological injury. If your child has been diagnosed with Erb’s palsy, the chances are that this occurred during the time of delivery and you may be eligible to claim compensation.

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Can I bring an Erb’s palsy claim?

If you’re a parent of a child who has Erb’s palsy, or if you’re an adult who has Erb’s palsy and is old enough to make a claim, you are eligible if the condition was caused by medical negligence during birth.

If you choose to bring a claim, our Erb’s palsy lawyers will take a detailed account from you and proceed to obtain your medical records. We have a proven track record of helping clients who have suffered at the hands of negligence medical staff.

Are Erb’s palsy claims straightforward?

This will depend on whether you can prove it was negligent behaviour that caused the Erb’s palsy. Components of these types of cases can include the following:

  • Loss of income (parent/patient);
  • Cost of therapy, such as physio, hydrotherapy, and occupational therapy;
  • Cost of additional surgery;
  • Damages for the severity of the injury.

It’s important that you seek legal advice early on so you can get an understanding of how successful your claim could be.

What’s the time limit for bringing Erb’s palsy compensation claims?

Like with most medical negligence claims, the time limit for these types of claims is three years from the date of diagnosis.

We recommend you seek legal advice early on if you believe your child has suffered as a result of medical negligence. Call us now on 0808 164 0808.

Contact our Erb’s palsy solicitors

If you or your child are suffering from this condition as a result of medical negligence, you may be eligible to bring an Erb’s palsy compensation claim. Call our Erb’s palsy solicitors today on 0808 164 0808 or request a call back, and we will get in touch with you.


In general you have three years from the date of injury or reasonable knowledge of mistreatment by a healthcare professional causing you harm to bring a compensation claim. There are some exceptions to this rule for instance where the matter involves a child in which case the child has three years from the date of their 18th birthday to bring a claim, therefore expiring on the individual’s 21st birthday. It is important to speak to a legal team as early as possible to avoid any issues with limitation dates.