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Brachial plexus injury claims

Brachial plexus injuries occur when the network of nerves which send signals from the spine to the shoulder, hand and arm is damaged. These nerves serve the muscles in your shoulder, elbow, wrist and hands and give the arms their feeling. These injuries may be caused by shoulder trauma, tumours or inflammation and can result in paralysis or lack of muscle control or feeling.

Injuries to the Brachial plexus are common in high velocity road collisions involving motorcyclists because of heavy impacts to the shoulder with the road or with other vehicles.

The most severe brachial plexus injury (avulsion) results in the nerves being torn from the spine, but the most common is Neuropraxia, or ‘stretch’ injury, where the nerve is damaged but not torn. Brachial plexus injuries can also be a birth injury caused when the baby’s shoulder is stretched during its passage down the birth canal – this is known as Erb’s Palsy (Erb-Duchenne Palsy).

Although many brachial plexus injuries may heal without treatment (or improve with age in the case of infants) for most injuries, physical therapy or surgery will be necessary. Unfortunately, for the most severe injuries, there may be little or no chance of a full recovery.

Phrenic nerve damage can result in impairment of respiratory function. In such cases multiple medical experts may be involved in the management, treatment and reporting of the injury, including Neurologists, Neuro-Surgeons and Respiratory Surgeons.


Diagnosis can usually be confirmed by electromyography (EMG), (a test that is used to record the electrical activity of muscles) or nerve conduction studies (NCS), (measures how fast electrical impulses move through your nerve).

MRI scans and CAT scans can be used to provide imagery of your spinal cord and nerve roots.


If a decision is made to attempt surgical repairs the following methods can be used:

  • Nerve graft
  • Nerve transfer
  • Muscle transfer

The success of surgical repair is increased with early intervention. The general consensus is that the success rate falls after 3-6 months.

In the circumstances, if your Solicitor can obtain interim payments to meet the cost of private surgical treatment as early as possible, plus arrange appropriate rehabilitation, after discharge from hospital, this is likely to result in the best possible outcome for you.

Pain control

The management of pain, often on a daily basis, for those who have suffered a brachial plexus injury can be challenging.

The pain is often described as a crushing, burning pain.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, Tramadol, Gabapentin, Pregabalin and Amitriptyline plus TENS are all used depending upon what suits an individual best.

You must tell the DVLA if you have a brachial plexus injury.

Contact an injury compensation lawyer

If you think you have a case for a brachial plexus injury claim, call us now on 0800 316 8892 or contact us online.

Your key contacts

Lee Hart

Personal Injury Team Manager

Lee works closely with severely injured people and their families, leading them through the claims process and ensuring they get the best treatment, rehabilitation and care so that they can get their lives back on track as quickly as possible.
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