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When a baby is injured during a difficult birth, it can be hard for parents to distinguish swift, emergency action from negligent care. One of the rare but disabling injuries that can be caused by excessive force or incorrect handling of an obstructed labour is brachial plexus nerve damage, also known as Erb’s palsy. 

For over 30 years Boyes Turner’s birth injury lawyers have recovered the highest compensation awards to help clients affected by paralysis, weakness and restricted movement from Erb’s palsy manage their condition and lead active and rewarding lives.

Recent cases include:

  • £1.4 million settlement for a young woman who suffered a brachial plexus injury at birth as a result of the midwife using excessive force to deliver her when the birth was obstructed by shoulder dystocia. Our client’s case had originally been investigated by another firm of solicitors when she was six years old. They had valued the claim at £6,000 and discontinued their investigations because they thought it too difficult to prove. 14 years later, as a young adult, when she instructed Boyes Turner’s clinical negligence team to investigate her claim, we secured an admission of liability from the defendant hospital and £1.4 million compensation for our client.
  • Admission of liability for a two-year-old girl who suffered a brachial plexus injury and Erb’s palsy as a result of negligent maternity care during her mother’s pregnancy, labour and delivery. As a large baby with a predicted birthweight of 4.7kg, our client and her mother were at increased risk of the birth being obstructed by shoulder dystocia. When shoulder dystocia occurred, instead of using standard manoeuvres to deliver the baby safely, the registrar used forceful pulling to achieve a forceps delivery. We secured an admission of liability and interim payment to meet our client’s needs until she reaches an age where her future needs and the value of her claim can be properly assessed.
  • £300,000 compensation for a boy who has been left with Erb's Palsy and a weakened left arm as a result of negligent maternity care during his obstructed delivery. The maternity team failed to carry out the correct manoeuvres to deliver him safely when his birth was obstructed by shoulder dystocia. The hospital accepted liability (fault) for the claim and, once our client’s future disability and needs could be properly assessed, we were able to negotiate settlement.

What is Erb’s palsy?

Erb’s palsy is one of several names given to the disabling condition which follows injury to the brachial plexus nerves. It is also known as brachial plexus nerve injury, brachial plexus paralysis or Erb-Duchenne palsy. It can occur during a difficult or obstructed delivery when the baby’s brachial plexus nerves which give movement or feeling to an arm are stretched, bruised or torn by excessive traction (pulling) on the baby’s head, causing weakness or paralysis in the arm.

The severity and duration of the child’s disability depends on the type of nerve damage but can range from mild and short-term to lifelong and severe.

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What is the brachial plexus?

The brachial plexus is a network of five nerves:

  • the four lower cervical nerves (C5, C6, C7 and C8);
  • the first thoracic nerve (T1)

The brachial plexus nerves run down the spinal cord and emerge from between the vertebrae (bones of the spine) in the neck, passing under the collarbone to form the major nerves of the arm. These nerves give movement and feeling to the arm by conducting signals from the spinal cord to the muscles and skin of the chest, shoulder, arm, and hand.

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What maternity mistakes lead to compensation claims for Erb’s palsy?

Boyes Turner have helped recover compensation for clients affected by Erb’s palsy after:

  • unnecessary traction (pulling) and force has been applied to the baby during delivery;
  • failure to follow the protocol and recommended manoeuvres for shoulder dystocia;
  • hospital failure to take into account the baby’s weight and size before delivery:
  • failure to anticipate and plan for the risk of shoulder dystocia;
  • failure to perform a caesarean section if there are clinical indications to do so;
  • failure to counsel the mother of a large baby about the risks of Erb’s palsy and plan an appropriate method of delivery;
  • failure to recognise and treat maternal diabetes.
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My child has Erb’s palsy - will they be able to live and work independently?

Brachial plexus nerve injury, or Erb’s palsy, can leave the child with permanent physical impairments, such as restricted movement of the shoulder and arm, paralysis or weakness of the arm and reduced grip strength in the hand on the affected side. Living with Erb’s palsy makes everything more difficult, whether at home, at school or at work, and affects the individual’s ability to participate in some sports and leisure activities.  

Every client’s abilities, circumstances and impairments will be unique. We work closely with each client, their family and our experts to understand their injury and the restrictions that their disability imposes on their life, so that they receive compensation which eases their hardship and meets their needs.

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How does Boyes Turner help clients with brachial plexus nerve injury/Erb’s palsy?

Boyes Turner’s childbirth injury specialists are experts in securing top-level compensation payments for clients with Erb’s palsy from maternity errors at birth. Our clients benefit from the best settlements as a result of our extensive experience of successful claims.

We understand the causes and lifelong effects of brachial plexus nerve injury and the way Erb’s palsy affects our clients’ lives. Our careful, thorough and personalised valuation of each client’s disability enables us to claim and achieve the compensation that will maximise their independence and enable them to live life to the full.

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How much compensation can I claim for Erb’s palsy or brachial plexus nerve injury?

Boyes Turner have helped clients with permanent Erb’s palsy disability from maternity mistakes recover compensation for:

  • the cost of therapies, such as:
    • physiotherapy;
    • occupational therapy (OT);
    • psychological counselling;
  • specialist aids and equipment;
  • adapted vehicles;
  • care and assistance;
  • adapted accommodation;
  • replacement of loss of earnings;
  • private medical care, such as surgery;
  • assistive technology;
  • special educational assistance.
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Meet your team

Susan Brown

Partner

Richard Money-Kyrle

Partner

Julie Marsh

Senior associate - solicitor

Vanessa Wand

Senior associate - solicitor

Rachel Makore

Associate - solicitor

Alpa Rana

Associate - solicitor

Fran Rothwell

Associate solicitor

Sita Soni

Associate - solicitor

Tara Byrne

Solicitor

Ben Ireland

Solicitor

Audrey Elmore

Medical records coordinator

Aimee Gaston

Trainee Solicitor

Nicky Melville

Professional support assistant

What causes Erb’s palsy during childbirth?

What are the different types of Erb's palsy injuries?

What are the effects of Erb’s Palsy?

Who is at risk of Erb’s palsy?
What are the treatments for Erb's Palsy?

How much compensation can you get for medical negligence?

How to make a medical negligence claim?

How long do medical negligence claims take?

How to fund a medical negligence claim?

How can you prove medical negligence?
Is there a time limit for claiming medical negligence compensation?
Will I need to go to court to claim medical negligence compensation?

Erbs palsy cases

Awards & Accreditations

Our teams have been nationally recognised over the past decade for their dedication and commitment to securing maximum compensation for our clients

What our clients say

Our clients constantly recognize us as the most experienced, professional, efficient and supportive

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"Very Professional "

Boyes Turner helped me through one of the toughest times in my life. They were very professional whilst remaining friendly. At times the process was emotionally tough but they were very patient with me and went through everything with me until I understood it. I cannot recommend them enough. 

Boyes Turner Client

"We cannot thank Susan and her team at Boyes Turner enough"

Words cannot express how grateful we are to Susan and her team for the level of commitment and dedication shown to our family during a time which would be difficult for anyone. Susan demonstrates a calm professional manner which helped us to feel at ease. Her level of knowledge has proven to be the best in the field and we fully recommend her to anyone seeking to investigate birth injury claims. You can be confident that Susan and her team will scrutinise the medical notes thoroughly and will keep you well informed throughout the process. We are very pleased with the outcome of our child’s case and know that her work has resulted in justice being achieved. Our family will now be able to move forward in the knowledge that the finances are securely in place for our child to receive a suitable care package, purchase equipment and receive necessary lifelong therapy. We cannot thank Susan and her team at Boyes Turner enough.

Boyes Turner Client

"I would like to say a huge thank you to Fran Rothwell"

I would like to say a huge thank you to Fran Rothwell for the exceptional work that she has carried out on my behalf. She is knowledgeable, efficient and has great attention to detail.Fran has kept me informed throughout the entire process and has been a great support to me, always being at the end of the phone, or on an email, whenever I needed her. She truly wants the best for her client and is passionate about getting justice. Fran also has a kind and compassionate nature and takes her time to explain what is going on in a clear and simple way. This has been extremely helpful to me during a difficult time.It is certainly reassuring having such strong women behind me.

Boyes Turner Client

"The journey with Julie was interesting! "

From a speculative inquiry to a life changing award, the journey with Julie Marsh was interesting. Julie kept me informed along the way explaining exactly what was going on and more importantly why. The team that was assembled certainly knew their stuff which meant I got all the necessary support to keep going. Thank you all. 

Kevin Ridsdale

"Successfully negotiated a full and fair compensation"

Boyes Turner staff were always helpful and quick to respond. Communicating from the other side of the world presented no problems. Boyes Turner secured generous early interim payments that allowed me to continue my (non-funded) medical treatment that otherwise I could never have afforded. My Boyes Turner solicitor successfully negotiated a full and fair compensation and continuation of funding for future medical treatment and associated costs giving me great peace of mind. Thank you so much Annabelle! I would recommend Boyes Turner solicitors. They are professional, courteous and helpful. 

Brian