No woman goes into a medical facility for her labor and delivery thinking that she or her baby will be harmed. Sadly, there are some instances in which the baby does get harmed. Birth injuries, including brachial palsy and cerebral palsy, can be the result of medical malpractice or negligence during the birth of the child. In those cases, claims for compensation are often forthcoming.
Brachial palsy, which is also known as Erb's palsy, occurs when the bundle of nerves in the child's spinal cord that go up the arms is damaged. This is often associated with shoulder dystocia, a condition in which the woman has difficulties delivering the child's shoulders. A difficult time delivering the shoulders can mean that excessive force is placed on the child's shoulder, head or neck during delivery.
Brachial palsy can cause the baby to hold the arm close to the body. It can leave the infant unable to move the affected arm. While it is possible that this condition will abate over time, there is also a chance that it will lead to a life-long disability for the child.
Cerebral palsy can occur for a host of reasons. One reason is that the baby didn't get adequate oxygen during labor or delivery. Another reason is if the baby is born extremely premature. In both of these cases, there might have been markers the doctor should have noticed that could have led to medical interventions that would prevent the condition. For example, if the baby is in distress, a surgical delivery might have prevented the condition from occurring.
Source: FindLaw, "Birth Injuries: Cerebral Palsy and Erbs Palsy," accessed May 20, 2016