Erb's Palsy Compensation Claims

Erb's palsy is a serious type of birth injury resulting in nerve damage to newborn babies. It can be caused by excessive traction by a doctor or midwife when trying to deliver a baby whose shoulders have become stuck. It can also occur when an inappropriate decision to deliver a baby vaginally is made, or if the midwives and doctors delivering the baby do not carry out the correct procedures to attempt to correct the positioning of the shoulders before delivery.

If your baby has suffered due to the negligent actions of a medical professional, it is important you are able to make a claim for compensation. At JMW, we are highly experienced in successfully bringing such claims and assisting with your child's recovery.

To discuss your Erb's palsy claim with our accomplished solicitors, get in touch today. You can do so by either calling us on 0800 054 6512 or by completing our online enquiry form, allowing us to contact you at a convenient time.

Erb's Palsy Explained

Sally Leonards, a Partner in the Clinical Negligence team, explains about Erb's Palsy:

Erb's palsy is a type of brachial plexus palsy, which is a condition affecting the nerves that control the muscles in the arm and hand (the term brachial refers to the arm, while the term plexus means a bundle of nerves). The brachial plexus is located on the right and left sides of the neck above the shoulders. There are several types of brachial plexus palsy, depending on which nerves are affected.

Damage to these nerves occurs when a baby's shoulders become stuck during birth (shoulder dystocia) and traction is applied to the head in an attempt to get the baby out. This can result in bruising, stretching or tearing of the nerves in the brachial plexus.

To find out more about Erb's palsy, click on the image below to view the 'What is Erb's Palsy?' infographic.


Among the most common signs of Erb's palsy are:

  • A limp and paralysed arm
  • Lack of muscle control in the arm
  • Decrease or loss of sensation in the arm/hand
  • Lack of control of elbow or shoulder muscles


This injury often occurs as a result of a doctor or midwife panicking when the baby's shoulders get stuck, and then using excessive force to try and pull the baby out. It is understandable why this happens, as once the shoulders become stuck, the baby cannot breathe because the chest and umbilical cord are compressed in the birth canal.

Most hospitals now have a policy for dealing with shoulder dystocia, setting out clearly how it should be handled. This involves summoning senior staff, performing a large episiotomy and attempting to rotate the shoulders internally.

Treatment consists of physiotherapy, commencing soon after birth, and also, in many cases, surgery to try and correct the nerve damage. However, results can be variable.

For more information about Erb's palsy and how to find support, visit our resources page here.

Making a Claim

Erb's palsy claims are based on:

  • Failure to arrange a caesarean section where shoulder dystocia should have been foreseen
  • Failure to appropriately manage shoulder dystocia once it occurs

If your child has been harmed as a result of incompetence, you may be able to claim compensation. Legal action to obtain damages for clinical negligence is a highly specialist area of the law, so it is important that the lawyer dealing with your case has specific training and experience in this field.

What It's Like to Have Erb's Palsy

Ellie Smith is a 21-year-old blogger and student teacher who set up in 2013 as a platform to reach, connect and support other people with Erb’s palsy, as well as raise awareness. We spoke to Ellie to find out what it’s like to have the injury, gather top tips for other people who have Erb’s palsy and also discover her advice for parents of affected children. You can read what she has to say here.

A Different Way of Getting Things Done: Exercising with Erb's Palsy

Keeping fit is a massive part of everyday life for millions of people around the globe, but when living with Erb's palsy, hitting the gym can be a challenge. Thankfully, the proliferation of online communities now means that people who may have previously felt unsure about how to maintain or improve their physical health can easily find top tips and inspiration. Find out more here.

Why Choose JMW?

JMW is experienced in all types of Erb's palsy compensation claims and our solicitors are members of the specialist Law Society panel of medical negligence experts and the Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) solicitor panel.

We give free advice either personally or on the telephone to find out whether we will be able to take your case on and, if after talking to us you decide not to take matters further, you are under no obligation to do so.

What Our Clients Say

Talk to Us

If you would like to find out more about how we can help with your claim, do not hesitate to get in touch with our expert Erb’s Palsy solicitors. Doing so could not be easier, simply call us for free on 0800 054 6512 or allow us to contact you by leaving your details via our online enquiry form.


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