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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

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Susan Brown


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Julie Marsh


Richard Money-Kyrle headshot

Richard Money-Kyrle


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Sita Soni

Senior Associate - solicitor

Vanessa Wand photo

Vanessa Wand

Senior associate - solicitor

Tara Byrne photo

Tara Byrne

Associate - Solicitor

Rachel Makore headshot

Rachel Makore

Associate - solicitor

Alpa Rana headshot

Alpa Rana

Associate - solicitor

Fran Rothwell

Fran Rothwell

Associate solicitor

Ben Ireland headshot

Ben Ireland


Audrey Elmore headshot

Audrey Elmore

Medical records coordinator

Nicky Melville headshot

Nicky Melville

Professional support assistant

Susan Brown photo
Julie Marsh headshot
Richard Money-Kyrle headshot
Sita Soni photo
Vanessa Wand photo
Tara Byrne photo
Rachel Makore headshot
Alpa Rana headshot
Fran Rothwell
Ben Ireland headshot
Audrey Elmore headshot
Nicky Melville headshot

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

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"Julie Marsh is a first rate litigator"

Julie Marsh is a first rate litigator who adds real value to all her cases. I have always been impressed not just by her expertise as a clinical negligence lawyer but by the way she treats every client as an individual and works on their case as if it is the most important thing in the world, which to many clients it really is.

King's Counsel

"You have given fantastic support and guidance"

Boyes Turner have a great asset in Julie Marsh, she has handled my case with such professionalism and has kept me informed at every stage over the 6 years. She has given me guidance, support and that personal touch where I could ring or email at any time and she would always answer and give me answers to any questions I had. Would recommend without hesitation. Thank you

Boyes Turner Client

"I have been impressed"

Tara Byrne kept me well informed at all stages of my claim. I have been impressed with the way my case was handled, and the time scale within which a settlement was reached.”

Boyes Turner Client

"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