Brachial Plexus Injuries

The brachial plexus refers to the nerves running between the spine and shoulders, which control the movement of muscles in the shoulders, hands, and arms. Damage to the brachial plexus can occur when a physician fails to provide adequate obstetrical care. When a brachial plexus injury occurs, the consequences are often devastating. Like all medical negligence cases, those involving brachial plexus injuries are generally complex in nature and replete with opportunities for negligent parties to avoid taking responsibility. We diligently discover the important facts, retain world-class expert witnesses, and methodically prepare brachial plexus injury cases for trial in a way that maximizes the opportunity for a verdict that provides justice for our client.

More about brachial plexus injuries…

Brachial plexus injuries during childbirth can come in several forms, including:

  • injuries that affect only the upper arm
  • injuries that affect the upper and lower arm (Erb’s palsy)
  • injuries that affect the hand (Klumpke’s palsy)

Brachial plexus nerves are most commonly injured during childbirth because:

  • the infant’s head and neck are pulled toward the side as the shoulder’s drop through the mother’s pelvis
  • a doctor or midwife has pulled on the infant’s head during a head-first delivery
  • pressure on the infant’s arms during a breech (feet-first) delivery

The following factors increase the risk for brachial plexus injury during childbirth:

  • difficulty delivering the infant’s head after the shoulder has come out (shoulder dystocia)
  • larger than average infants
  • breech delivery
  • maternal diabetes
  • short maternal stature
  • a contracted or flat pelvis

One or more of the following symptoms of brachial plexus injury may be noticeable immediately, or soon, after birth:

  • the infant does not move the upper or lower arm or hand
  • the infant’s grip is decreased
  • the infant’s arm is bent at the elbow and held close to the body

What is the difference between Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy?

Erb’s palsy occurs when the upper brachial plexus is paralyzed and usually affects the arm and shoulder. Klumpke’s palsy occurs when the lower brachial plexus is paralyzed and usually affects the hand. However, both Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy are types of brachial plexus injuries.

Erb’s Palsy

Erb’s palsy, which affects the infant’s upper and lower arm, can be categorized in four ways:

  • avulsion, which means the brachial plexus nerves are torn from the spine
  • rupture, which means the brachial plexus nerves are torn, but not where they attach to the spine
  • neuroma, which means the brachial plexus nerves have attempted to heal, but scar tissue has grown around the injury placing pressure on the injured nerve
  • neuropraxia, which means nerve conduction has been blocked without any anatomical interruption

Treatment for Erb’s palsy ranges from exercise and physical therapy to surgery.

Klumpke’s Palsy

Klumpke’s palsy, also known as Dejerine-Klumpke palsy, is an injury of the lower brachial plexus that involves the muscles of the forearm and hand, often causing paralysis of the forearm, wrist, hand and fingers. In some cases, other symptoms may accompany the impaired arm/hand functions, including eyelid drooping and pupil dilation in one eye. Unlike Erb’s palsy, Klumpke’s palsy is somewhat rare, although the two conditions do share a common cause: delivery complications arising from shoulder dystocia. However, with Klumpke’s palsy, the damage is typically permanent.  Injuries associated with Klumpke’s palsy may not respond as favorably to physical therapy and motion exercises as other brachial plexus injuries, and surgery may only be an option in certain cases. Trained medical professionals understand the risk factors for shoulder dystocia, and an experienced obstetrician can prevent most circumstances in which brachial plexus injuries occur.  However, while birth injuries may happen despite the best medical care, most instances of brachial plexus injuries can and should be prevented. If you, your child, or a loved one have experienced any of these conditions during or following child birth, we can obtain the necessary medical records and have an expert physician review the file free of charge to determine whether a doctor or other healthcare provider was negligent.

Davis Adams, LLC only represents medical malpractice victims.

$40 million in verdicts and settlements validates our commitment to doing one thing—medical malpractice litigation—and doing it well. We don’t claim to be a jack of all legal trades. In fact, to our knowledge, Davis Adams is the only law firm in Georgia that only represents victims of medical negligence. It’s all we do. And while that fact alone does not necessarily make us better than every other lawyer handling medical malpractice cases, it does mean that our focus is laser sharp on this area of the law. We are immersed in medical litigation every day, quickly spotting trends as they develop, pioneering new legal strategies and tactics to combat the ever changing insurance defense industry, and constantly discussing our clients’ cases with leading medical experts around the country. So instead of dividing our time and energy between auto accidents, business disputes and the occasional medical case, we are constantly honing our skills as medical malpractice attorneys.

The medical malpractice attorneys at Davis Adams can help, whether you are located in the Atlanta area or any other part of Georgia.

Davis Adams has two offices: one overlooking downtown Atlanta from the 33rd floor of Centennial Tower, and the other a few miles east in Decatur, Ga.—but our reach is statewide. We routinely represent clients in Macon, Savannah, Columbus, Albany and other cities from Valdosta to Dalton. Wherever you reside in Georgia, when selecting a medical malpractice attorney, we believe that choosing an expert in medical negligence cases is more important that simply hiring the closest attorney. As a client, you have one opportunity to obtain justice, and we are always honored when that chance it entrusted to us.

What is my medical malpractice case worth?

The vast majority of prospective clients we meet contact us reluctantly. Contrary to the media’s unflattering portrayal of some who file lawsuits, most of our clients are not eager to sue hospitals or doctors, and they understand that money is almost always a poor substitute for one’s health lost as result of a medical error. But the only remedy available through the civil justice system is financial compensation; it’s the only form of “justice” the law allows under these circumstances. After the discovery process has been completed and we have dissected our findings, as we prepare a case for mediation or trial we provide our client with guidance as to the fair value of his or her case. The monetary value of a case depends on the level of injury our client suffers. Injuries take many forms, including:

  • Economic damages, including:
    • Past medical bills
    • Future/projected medical expenses, including life-care plans
    • Past lost income
    • Future lost income
  • Non-economic damages, including:
    • Physical pain and suffering
    • Mental or emotional pain and suffering
    • Loss of consortium (companionship)
    • The “full value” of a life (in cases involving death as a result of a medical error)

When Davis Adams agrees to represent a medical malpractice victim, we have one simple demand of the defendants: that our client is paid fairly for what he or she has endured. We cannot, and will not, accept anything less than the full measure of justice to which our client is entitled. Often cases are settled at mediation, which allows our client to avoid the risk of trial and to end their case with some measure of certainty. Other times, mediation is unsuccessful, and we proceed to trial and ask a jury to determine our client’s compensation. More than half of our $40 million in recovered funds is the result of trial verdicts, meaning that the attorneys hired to defend doctors and hospitals know that we are fully prepared to meet them in a courtroom if the case cannot otherwise be resolved to our clients’ satisfaction.

Our philosophy: fewer cases, more personal attention, better results.

Jess Davis and Chad Adams decline to handle the vast majority of cases presented to their firm. And while it may seem counterintuitive to turn down business, Davis Adams is committed to doing outstanding, hands-on work for a limited number of catastrophically injured clients instead of employing a team of less experienced associate attorneys to churn through a high volume workload. We simply refuse to become one of those law firms at which the experienced trial lawyers only get involved in the later stages of the case, if at all. From day one, our clients have the collective time, attention, energy and experience of the seasoned medical malpractice attorneys who will be handling their case at trial, which translates to better representation and better financial recoveries. From time to time other lawyers will ask, “Wouldn’t it just be easier to hire some young associate attorneys to handle the unimportant parts of your cases?” That question represents a fundamental misunderstanding of how medical malpractice cases are won or lost, and emphasizes the importance of hiring an experienced medical negligence attorney. There are no unimportant tasks in the cases we handle; victory is always in the details and is never achieved at the maximum level without bringing to bear the full weight of our firm’s substantial medical negligence experience, dogged determination and blatant refusal to settle for less than our clients deserve.

We do not accept payment unless our client recovers money.

Davis Adams represents medical malpractice victims on a contingency basis, which means that if we do not recover money for our clients, we will not accept payment for our services. Additionally, our contingency fee, while reflective of our firm’s quality and success, is less than the 50% fee charged by some firms. We simply are not comfortable with earning a fee in a case that is equal to the recovery of our injured client, and therefore have refused to increase our fee.

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317 W. Hill St., Suite 201
Decatur, GA 30030
Phone: 404.373.8466
Fax: 404.373.8455