Medical Negligence*

Erb’s Palsy Disorder Claims*

Erb's Palsy is an injury that occurs when the nerves in a baby's upper arm are damaged during birth. Erb's Palsy is a form of obstetric brachial plexus disorder; the nerves in the brachial plexus give movement and feeling to the baby's arm, hand and fingers.

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A Nerve Injury

Erb’s Palsy can happen when a nerve is stretched unnaturally as the head and the shoulders pass through the birth canal. As it affects the spinal cord’s ability to send messages to the arm, the infant usually can’t move the affected shoulder or arm.

Common Types of Nerve Injury*


Compression or stretch injury causes temporary disruption of nerve conduction, yet the complete nerve stays intact. This injury will usually heal on its own.


The nerve is damaged but partially remains intact.


There is a complete nerve transection, surgical repair is probable.


The nerve is torn, a rupture injury will not heal on its own.


Avulsions are the most severe types of nerve injuries. The nerve has completely torn away from the spinal coder. The affected nerve can’t be reattached to the spinal cord.

Erb’s Palsy Symptoms

Erb’s Palsy can be identified if the baby shows weakness or cannot move the affected arm. there are a number of symptoms that parents can look for after their baby is born:

  • The infant struggles to move their arm or has pain when moving
  • The infant keeps their arm against their body with a bend at the elbow
  • The baby struggles to grip objects with their hand on the affected side
  • Impaired circulatory, muscular and nervous development
  • Arm numbness
  • Partial or full paralysis of the arm

Causes of Erb’s Palsy

Erb’s Palsy often occurs during difficult labour. The brachial plexus nerves are stretched when the baby is passing through the birth canal due to the baby’s head being turned in one direction while their arm is being pulled in the opposite direction. If the baby comes out face-first, the shoulder may be excessively pulled during birth. This is caused when the baby’s arms are pulled backward over their head so he or she can fit through the birth canal. In some cases, the baby’s shoulder may be dislocated, when excessive stretching causes a nerve injury to the brachial plexus.

Even though most Erb’s Palsy injuries occur during birth, it should be noted that Erb’s Palsy can also occur as a result of major trauma such as a physical knock or pressure to the neck during the baby’s first few months of life.

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Our helpful team

Need Help? Just Ask.

For more information and a confidential discussion on your medical negligence claim, call Elaine Hickey, Head Medical Negligence Solicitor, on +353 1 649 9900 and tell her about your medical malpractice case or reach out via email to and she can call you back.

How do I make a claim?

Once you have gathered all the relevant information in relation to your injury it is then time to move forward with your claim. It is important to use a specialist medical negligence solicitor to help you with this.

  1. Speak with a solicitor

    If you feel that you were not provided with appropriate medical treatment whilst under the care of a medical professional which resulted in injury due to the actions or in-actions of a medical professional, then speaking with a medical negligence solicitor following the injury is imperative. Medical negligence is a complex topic in Irish law. Speak to a medical negligence solicitor when bringing a claim forward. This ensures that no essential steps are missed throughout the legal process. Bringing a claim forward without having spoken to a solicitor can delay your claims procedure. A solicitor can help to determine your birth injury time limit claim.

  2. Obtain medical records

    In order to make a claim, it must be established and proven that the injury sustained was caused by the medical negligence of the doctor or medical staff tasked with either your prenatal care, pregnancy, delivery and/or aftercare. Therefore, after having spoken with you about your case, your solicitor will then request access to your medical records. At this stage, the solicitor will have your medical records assessed by an independent medical expert. This will help determine whether a surgeon or medical staff who treated you had, in fact, administered substandard medical care and if negligence was the cause of the injury and if your injuries/outcome could have been avoided if the appropriate level of medical care had been adhered to.

  3. Letter of Claim

    If the independent medical expert has concluded that medical negligence has occurred, then your solicitor will draft a Letter of Claim to the medical practitioner who treated you. A Letter of Claim will outline the nature of your case and invites the medical practitioner to settle your case. The next steps involved are heavily dependent on your case and response to your Letter of Claim and will determine whether your case will be brought to court or settled outside of court. Your solicitor will be on hand every step of the way to guide you through this process.

At Tracey Solicitors LLP, our dedicated birth and gynaecological injury solicitors have years of experience in helping parents deal with traumatic birth injury claims. We understand the injuries, both physically and emotionally, that you have suffered and have supported and helped many people in similar situations proceed with medical negligence claims in Ireland over the past 30 years.

For more information and a confidential discussion on your birth or gynaecological injury claim, phone 01 649 9900 or email to tell us about your case, where you can speak with a member of our team straight away.

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Case Settlement

If you are to proceed with an Erb’s Palsy disorder claim you may be entitled to claim compensation for the accident and added expenses, you may have incurred. These claims are called damages.

General Damages

General damages are non-financial damages such as pain and suffering and/or physical and emotional injuries following a birth injury.

Special Damages

Special damages are out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of the birth injury, for example, medical bills, added travel costs as a result of the accident (for example, travel to and from the hospital) and future care costs. Learn more about Special Damages.

What are the Legal Time Limits?

The statute of limitations are the legal time limits on how long you have to make a claim, which can vary depending on the situation. When taking into account how long medical negligence claims take, it is important to remember that medical negligence cases require certain time frames in place within which you can bring a claim. For medical negligence claims it is two years less a day following the date of the incident or two years less a day following the date that a person made the connection that their illness or injuries were a result of medical negligence. Contacting a solicitor to discuss your case will help you in determining how long you have left to make a claim.

Medical Negligence Involving Children

In an unfortunate incident where a child is subject to medical negligence, the process of making a claim differs from that of an adult. A minor may be in a position to bring a claim forward in the first two years following their 18th birthday.

Learn more about Legal Time Limits

About Tracey Solicitors LLP

We draw on more than 35 years of experience in personal injury law to provide you with expert advice and legal services.

We’re here to help you with your claim, and will work with you to ensure you understand every step of your legal journey.

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