Legal teams and case managers supporting clients living with the impact of a brachial plexus injury should be aware of the many ways the injury can adversely affect the quality of a person’s life, the complications that the injury can cause an individual, and the expertise a skilled brachial plexus injury medico-legal expert can bring to a case.

The brachial plexus is a network of nerve fibres that supply the skin and muscles of the upper arm. This network of nerves send and receive the motor and sensory impulses from the spinal cord and transmit them to the arm, forearm and hand.

Most traumatic brachial plexus injuries occur when the arm or the shoulder is violently or forcefully stretched or pulled. Common examples of such traumatic events are:

  • Motorcycle collisions (most common)
  • The forceful delivery of a child
  • A fall from height
  • Motor vehicle collisions
  • Contact sports

Nontraumatic conditions resulting in severe brachial plexus injury include:

  • Tumours, which may damage these nerves either by invading these nerves or compressing them leading to disruption of electrical activity occurring at the plexus
  • Radiotherapy
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome, a group of disorders that occur when blood vessels or nerves in the space between the collarbone and first rib are compressed
  • Idiopathic neuralgic amyotrophy, a rare disorder of the peripheral nervous system

With a brachial injury, sensory and motor function of the arm may be completely or partially impaired, and the patient often experiences peripheral nerve injuries and pain. Symptoms can range in severity and can vary from being mild numbness in the limb or electric shock-like sensations in the arm to the weakness of the muscles of the upper limb. Brachial plexus injury can also result in complete paralysis of the arm.

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What kind of legal cases may require an expert in brachial plexus injury?

Medical Negligence Cases

If there is suggestion of clincal negligence or malpractice in the diagnosis, treatment, or management of a brachial plexus injury, a lawyer may need a brachial plexus expert to provide an opinion on whether the medical care provided met the standard of care expected of a medical professional, and whether any failures in care contributed to the injury.

Personal Injury or Accident Cases

In cases where a brachial plexus injury results from a personal injury, such as a motor vehicle accident, sports injury, or other types of accidents, a lawyer may need a brachial plexus injury expert witness to provide insights on the mechanism of injury, the severity of the injury, the prognosis for recovery, and the impact of the injury on the individual’s life and livelihood.

Birth Injury Cases

Injuries can occur during childbirth, particularly in cases of difficult deliveries or traumatic birth, such as shoulder dystocia. A lawyer may require a brachial plexus injury expert witness to evaluate the circumstances of the birth and provide opinions on the cause, severity, prognosis, and potential long-term effects of the brachial plexus injury.

About brachial plexus injury

How do you select a expert witness brachial plexus injury for your case?

Selecting a medical expert witness for brachial plexus injury cases is a crucial step in building a strong legal case. They can provide valuable insights and opinions based on their expertise and experience, which can help support the legal arguments and increase the chances of a successful outcome in a brachial plexus injury case.

Look for a medical expert witness who has specific expertise and experience in brachial plexus injuries. This may include their educational background, training, and years of experience in diagnosing, treating, or managing patients with brachial plexus injuries.

Consider the legal experience of the medical expert witness. Have they testified as an expert witness in previous legal cases, particularly in cases involving brachial plexus injuries? Familiarity with the legal process, rules of evidence, and courtroom procedures can be invaluable in providing effective expert testimony that withstands legal scrutiny. Look for an expert who has experience in providing expert testimony in such cases and has a proven track record of being credible and persuasive in court.

The brachial plexus injury specialists at NRC Medical Experts assess, evaluate and produce high-quality court reports and expert witness testimony to support legal teams to build the best case for your client.

What kind of neurorehabilitation is possible following brachial plexus injury?

Treatment and rehabilitation strategies for the injury depend on the cause of injury, its severity, and the type of injury that has been inflicted as well as any pre-existing medical conditions the patient may have.

Management includes nerve graft surgeries to harvest nerves from other parts of the body and transplanting them in place of the damaged nerve. Nerve transfer, nerve reconstruction, and muscle transfers are other surgical approaches that are undertaken with respect to the part of plexus that has been damaged.

Neurorehabilitation is essential to accelerate the healing process and regain normal to the near-normal functional potential of an individual.

Neuro-physiotherapy is also advised ensuring the patient keeps their joints and muscles moving, with physical therapy maintaining arm motion and avoiding the arm from becoming stiff and rigid. Occupational therapy and clinical psychology might also be recommended to the patient in order to cope the resulting impact of severe injury. Clinical psychologists come into play for maintaining the mental health of the injured patient and managing any psychological symptoms the patient may present with.

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