Brachial Plexus is a birth injury that occurs when a set of nerves around the shoulder are damaged. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), there are three types of this injury:
- Brachial Plexus. This type of injury usually affects and limits movement in the area of the upper arm;
- Erb’s Paralysis. This type of injury affects movement in both the upper and lower arm areas; and
- Klumpke Paralysis. This type of injury affects movement in the hand. Affected infants may also show symptoms of the disorder with drooping of the eyelid on the opposite side of the body.
While most of these birth injuries eventually correct themselves, other incidents are more severe, causing permanent injury to the child. This is particular true in situations where the nerve root completely separates from the spinal cord.
Why It Happens
The birthing process is challenging, especially when some aspect does not go as planned. Mothers and families rely on their doctors to make accurate assessments and proceed through the birth process in the safest and most appropriate manner. Unfortunately, this does not always occur and injuries can result. The following situations can cause a brachial plexus injury:
- As the infant’s shoulders pass through the birth canal, the head and neck stretch toward the shoulders, causing strain on the nerves;
- The delivering physician pulls on the infant’s shoulders while delivering the baby head first;
- During a breech delivery, which is where the baby moves through the birth canal feet first, the delivery places pressure on the baby’s arms, which are raised over the head inside the canal.
Breech deliveries and significantly large babies are at a higher risk of brachial plexus than others. Doctors should recognize these risk factors and plan for them accordingly. In many cases, a cesarean section is the most appropriate option for delivery. When doctors do not make the correct assessment, a court may find that medical malpractice occurred and award compensation to the parents for their damages.
Illinois Medical Malpractice Claim
Under Illinois law, the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice claim is two years. This time begins to run on the date that the victim discovered or reasonably should have discovered his or her injury. Regardless of when the injury is discovered, no legal action may commence once four years have passed from the date of the injurious incident.
However, if the victim was a minor under the age of 18 at the time of accident, the statute of limitations extends to eight years from the date of the injury. However, in these particular situations, no action may commence after the victim’s 22nd birthday.
The state of Illinois has no damage caps on the amount of compensation the court can award to a medical malpractice victim. Previous limitations were found unconstitutional, opening the door to unlimited damage awards for medical malpractice liability. However, the state does not allow punitive damage awards in medical malpractice matters.
Work with an Experienced Illinois Medical Malpractice Attorney
Successfully bringing a medical malpractice claim requires the presentation of technical evidence in the correct manner. The assistance of a medical malpractice attorney is vitally important. The S.A.M. LAW OFFICE, LLC provides Cook County residents with experienced and knowledgeable representation. Contact the office to discuss your child’s injuries and your legal options.