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Brachial Plexus Injuries

Following a brachial plexus injury, ongoing health issues can include chronic pain, muscle weakness or paralysis, loss of sensation in the arm or hand, and muscle atrophy. In severe cases, there may be permanent disability in the affected limb, leading to difficulties in performing daily activities. Some individuals might experience joint stiffness or develop contractures, where the joints become permanently bent. Additionally, if the injury affects the autonomic nerves, there could be issues with blood flow and sweating in the affected area. Rehabilitation and physical therapy are often necessary for long-term management and recovery.

Diagram of the brachial plexus

Helpful Information

A brachial plexus injury involves damage to the network of nerves near the neck that control the muscles and sensation in the arm and hand. This injury can occur due to trauma, such as a car accident, a sports injury, or from complications during birth. Symptoms vary in severity, ranging from mild arm weakness and numbness to paralysis of the entire arm. Treatment options depend on the injury’s severity and can include physical therapy, nerve grafts, or surgery. Recovery varies, with some patients regaining full function and others experiencing long-term impairment. When brachial plexus injury is caused by negligence, there are usually strong grounds to bring a compensation claim.

What are the more serious consequences of a brachial plexus injury?

The more serious consequences include permanent arm paralysis, severe and chronic pain, and significant loss of function in the affected limb. This can lead to muscle atrophy and joint stiffness due to inactivity. In some cases, there’s a loss of sensory function, resulting in numbness or an inability to feel temperature changes and pain, which increases the risk of unintentional injury. These outcomes can significantly impact quality of life, limiting the ability to perform daily activities and work. Psychological effects, such as depression and anxiety, are also common due to the injury’s impact on lifestyle and independence.

What are the most common causes of brachial plexus injury?

The most common causes include trauma from road accidents, particularly motorcycle crashes, alongside sports injuries and falls. In newborns, it can occur due to complications during birth, such as shoulder dystocia where the baby’s shoulder becomes lodged in the birth canal. Additionally, the brachial plexus can be injured during surgical procedures, especially those involving the chest and neck areas. Less commonly, tumours or inflammation near the brachial plexus can also cause injury. Stretching or tearing of the nerves, ranging from mild to severe, results in the various symptoms associated with these injuries.

In what sort of circumstances is it possible to bring a compensation claim for a brachial plexus injury?

A compensation claim for a brachial plexus injury is possible in circumstances where the injury resulted from someone else’s negligence or a wrongful act. This includes vehicle accidents where another party is at fault, workplace injuries due to unsafe conditions or inadequate safety measures, medical malpractice, such as errors during surgery or childbirth, or injuries from violent acts. Successful claims can cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and long-term disability costs. It’s advisable to consult with an expereinced personal injury solicitor to increase the chances of winning your case.

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wears multiple hats, not only as the managing partner of one of Ireland’s leading law firms, but also as an author, speaker and an acknowledged expert in client service, innovation and marketing.

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is a seasoned solicitor with almost 20 years of experience, specialises in personal injury and medical negligence claims, focusing particularly on high-value compensation cases. His extensive litigation experience spans Circuit Court, High Court and Supreme Court levels.

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