New Jersey Infant Nerve Damage Lawyers

As a baby passes through the birth canal, its body is subject to stress and pressure. If the baby becomes stuck in the birth canal, a healthcare provider may use a forceps or vacuum extractor to assist with the delivery. The misuse of these tools can cause permanent nerve damage in newborns. “Nerve damage” refers to any kind of trauma that affects the nerves that carry information from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. Nerve damage can result in many conditions, including palsy—a paralysis of part of the body. Many birth injuries are preventable, and doctor’s must use an abundance of caution when delivering a child from a mother’s birth canal to prevent harm to a child.

If your child sustained nerve damage during childbirth, and you suspect that your health care provider is responsible, the birth injury lawyers at Shebell & Shebell may be able to help you obtain compensation for your child’s injury.

Medical negligence can result in various types of nerve damage, including:

Brachial Plexus Nerve Injuries (Including Erb’s Palsy and Klumpke’s Palsy)

Brachial plexus injuries (BPIs) involve damage to the bundle of nerves that originate near the upper spine, and transmit signals to the shoulder, neck, arms and hands. Damage may occur when the newborn’s head is forcibly pulled away from the neck or shoulder.

BPIs are one of the most common birth injuries, and usually occur because the baby became stuck during delivery and was pulled from the mother by a doctor or midwife. Improper positioning of the baby can also cause BPI, such as when a baby presents feet first in the breech position. Whenever a baby becomes stuck in the birth canal, it can be considered an obstruction of labor, also referred to as dystocia. The most common type of dystocia is shoulder dystocia, when the baby’s head appears but its shoulder is stuck inside the mother’s pelvic bone. If excessive force is used to remove a baby in this position, the brachial plexus nerves can sustain damage.

There are three types of BPI, which are characterized by the degree of paralysis experienced by the newborn. The least severe type is called neuropraxia, or “stretch BPI.” When the nerve is stretched, damage recognized early on tends to reverse after several weeks of healing. A more severe BPI is neuroma, or “rupture BPI,” which occurs when the nerve is stretched beyond its limit and torn, but remains attached to the spine. Certain less severe neuromas may be repaired by surgery to reconnect the torn nerves. The third type of BPI, called avulsion, is when the nerve is completely torn from the spinal cord. This results in complete paralysis because the spinal cord can no longer send signals to the body. Babies who suffer from avulsion BPI can have difficulty using their legs on the injured side of the body, or their growth can be stunted on the affected side.

BPIs are also classified according to the location of the damage. When a BPI occurs at the fifth, sixth and/or seventh cervical node of the spine, the injury is called Erb’s Palsy. Babies who suffer from Erb’s Palsy can have issues with their chest, shoulder, arm and thumb on the injured side of their body. When a BPI occurs at the eighth cervical node, or the first thoracic node, it is called Klumpke’s Palsy. Children who suffer from this type of BPI have mobility issues with their wrist and hand on the affected side. Finally, when the entire brachial nerve is damaged, it is referred to as a pan injury.

Brachial plexus nerve injuries are sometimes referred to as peripheral nerve damage. Aside from a traumatic assisted delivery, peripheral nerve damage can occur if a baby is exposed to toxins while in utero that effect nerve development. Another cause of peripheral nerve injury is untreated infection in the baby while the mother is pregnant.


Facial Nerve Palsy

Facial nerve palsy can be a congenital condition, or, more commonly, it is caused by the misuse of forceps. Other factors associated with the condition include: macrosomia (a large sized infant), certain birth positions and the presence of uterine fibroids in the mother.

Symptoms of facial nerve palsy include an asymmetric facial expression, difficulty feeding, difficulty closing the eyelids, speech problems and an inability to make different facial expressions, and bruising on the affected side of the face.

Facial nerve palsy is often a temporary condition that resolves of its own accord over time. However, if it is not determined to be congenital, and persists after the child reaches its first birthday, surgery may be required to repair the damage. Infants with this condition should be monitored to ensure that they are growing and developing properly. The child should also see an ophthalmologist to ensure that there are no corneal abrasions. If a child has difficulty closing his or her eyelids, eye drops and ointment may be necessary. As the child grows older, speech therapy and physical therapy are also essential for proper treatment.


Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries are very rare, and usually result from a breech delivery (involving traction to the spine or hyperextension of the newborn’s neck) or the misuse of forceps. Babies who suffer spinal cord injuries during childbirth can suffer complete paralysis, neurological problems or death.


The Birth Injury Lawyers at Shebell & Shebell Represent Victims of Nerve Damage

If you suspect that obstetric malpractice caused harm to your newborn, the qualified attorneys at Shebell & Shebell can help. We have experience in all types of birth injury actions. For a free evaluation of your claim, call us at 866-957-5237 or contact us online.




A Legacy Of Excellence

Making Communities Safer

Fighting For People

What Are People Saying About Our Attorneys?


Thomas Shebell was an A M A Z I N G attorney for our personal injury case. He made himself available to all our questions and concerns during the whole process. We were very nervous about it all and he set our fears to rest. You instantly believe in him after your first meeting. He was serious yet empathetic, had superb legal knowledge, and great judgement. His staff is also top notch. Words cannot describe how wonderful a lawyer we believe Thomas Shebell to be and would highly recommend him.
Posted by Michele on December 8

My hero, my attorney who is always there for me!

Tom Shebell has represented me and my family members in several cases. Tom is the most prepared lawyer I have ever seen, and demands respect in and outside of the court room. His staff is amazing and never makes you feel as if you are bothering them. I always feel that I am his most important client, and he always takes my call. If he is busy, I am reassured that he will get right back to me and he does. His knowledge of the law and research on your case is impecable, and will never give up until he gets the results that he feels are the best for you. Although he is the most professional attorney I have ever worked with, he refers you call him Tom (not Mr. Shebell), and I am most comfortable calling him Tommy. His cell phone is on his answering service, to comfort you and assuring you that you can reach him if necessary, no matter what. I will never retain another lawyer, unless it is a case that he cannot handle. That has never happened to me. Unfortunately, Tommy is handling a very emotional case for my family, and whenever we discuss it our meet together he is very comforting to us. For a family man, and extremely busy attorney to handle matters like this, it truly takes a special type of person, and extraordiinary human being. If anyone take my advise, Tom Shebell, III is the only attorney that should be called first, and believe me you will not make another call. As I said in my title, he is my true "hero"!
Posted by Sandi on September 17

I am Grateful I was able to have Thomas Shebell for my Lawyer

Thomas Shebell and his staff were very good to work with. They were always professional, but also very down to earth and real. I always felt that my best interest was their main concern. I was always able to call with questions and concerns and was never made to wait or to feel like I was inconveniencing anyone. I always felt that they knew instantly who I was and what was going on with my case. In the end, Thomas was able to get the best possible settlement for me. I am very grateful to have been treated like my case truly mattered to them.
Posted by Toni on March 28

Ferocious Fighter

Tom Shebell and his firm came highly recommended by several reputable people in the community. I come from a family deeply rooted in law enforcement, so I greatly appreciate that Tom grew up with the law as well, hailing from a family of highly respected attorneys. He easily grasped the complexity of my case and eased my concerns, while ferociously fighting for me. One of the moments that stands out to me the most was when I voiced a concern over possible retaliation and he said, "they're going to have come through me first." I wholeheartedly believed him then and now. There is no one else I'd want in my corner than Tom Shebell.
Posted by on February 23

A League Of His Own

Mere words cannot express my gratitude to Thomas F Shebell III. He took on a case, that other attorneys would shy away from and fought vehemently for my husband, myself and our daughter. His tenacity is only surpassed by his kindness and compassion for his clients well-being. I would recommend Mr. Shebell III to anyone who may need an attorney to guide them through a difficult time and see them through to a successful end. Many thanks again to him and his staff!!