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Brachial Plexus Injuries

Upstate New York Attorneys Representing Children and Parents

The brachial plexus is the network of nerves in the hands, arms, shoulders, and chest. In a difficult delivery, it may be injured. Brachial plexus injuries can be caused by stretching, tears, or compression and may result in lost function or paralysis. Sometimes injuries affect only one part of the brachial plexus. If your baby sustained a brachial plexus injury as a result of medical negligence, you may be able to recover damages in a birth injury lawsuit. The Upstate New York birth injury lawyers at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano may be able to represent you. We handle cases in Syracuse, Rochester, Albany, Buffalo, and throughout Upstate New York.

Types of Brachial Plexus Injuries

There are different kinds of brachial plexus injuries, some of which are serious. For instance, there may be a rupture in which a nerve is torn and requires surgical repair. If there is neuroma, a nerve starts to heal, but scar tissue forms and pushes against the injured nerve, affecting nerve function; this may also require surgical treatment. With avulsion, nerve roots are torn off the spinal cord and cannot be surgically repaired; avulsion can result in difficulty breathing when there is damage to the nerve to the diaphragm. When a nerve is stretched but not torn, it might recover on its own in the baby’s first three months. The most common kind of brachial plexus injury is Erb’s palsy, which involves damage to the nerves that run to the upper arm.

Surgery and the subsequent therapies that may be needed for brachial plexus injuries can be expensive, and it may be necessary to bring a birth injury lawsuit to recover damages.

Liability for Brachial Plexus Injuries

Many brachial plexus injuries result from excessive force used by an obstetrician-gynecologist or other health care provider during the birthing process. To recover damages, you must establish each of the following elements by a preponderance of the evidence: the defendant owed the baby a professional duty of care; the defendant breached the professional standard of care; the breach caused a brachial plexus injury; and actual damages. The professional standard of care is determined by looking at what a reasonably prudent medical provider in Upstate New York would have done when faced with the same or similar circumstances.

Often, avulsion is a sign that an obstetrician-gynecologist used too much force. For example, if a child’s shoulder becomes stuck against the pelvic bone, a doctor might panic and use far too much force or misuse forceps or a vacuum extractor. Whether the doctor’s conduct is actionable will depend on the particular circumstances. An attorney will usually need to consult with an expert, such as a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist, to review the records and the facts, even before filing a complaint. Under New York law, we will need to file a certificate of merit with the complaint.


If we can establish a health care provider’s liability, we should be able to obtain compensatory damages on your baby’s behalf. These can include compensation for both economic and non-economic losses. The nature and amount of the damages depend on the extent of the disability caused by the brachial plexus injury, which can range from mild to severe and from temporary to permanent. A baby’s symptoms might include paralysis, loss of sensation, and pain or weakness. Multiple surgeries, along with physical therapy, might be necessary to overcome or reduce the severity of the disability. The costs of medical care and therapy may be recovered as economic damages.

Although it is difficult to quantify non-economic losses, a jury will try to do so; it may be possible to recover loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, and pain and suffering. Parents may face certain losses as a result of their child’s brachial plexus injury, which may be recovered as well.

Consult a Dedicated Malpractice Lawyer in Upstate New York

Sometimes brachial plexus injuries are serious. Certain injuries, such as avulsion, are strong indicators of force during delivery because the injury usually does not happen in other ways. It is important to choose an attorney who has experience bringing a birth injury lawsuit. If your baby suffered brachial plexus injuries, you should contact the attorneys at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano. Contact us at 833-200-2000 or via our online form.

Client Reviews
Mr. Falgiatano was very professional and did an incredible job when he worked with my family on our case. He met with us numerous times and was available when we called with questions. He explained the whole legal process to us and made sure we made the correct decision for my family! I could not thank Mr. Falgiatano enough and he is the only lawyer for my family! Jeff M.
Jeff Defrancisco and his team represented me after a bad fall while working on a construction site. They were always available to answer any and all questions and they genuinely cared regarding my health and were very sincere in helping me attain a settlement that far exceeded my expectations. My family and I received an amazing outcome and they are by far the best in the business. I highly recommend hiring their firm. Justin M.
I cannot thank DeFrancisco and Falgiatano enough! Charlie Falgiatano took my case and i couldn't have done it without him. I highly recommend this team of lawyers especially, Charlie. I will forever be grateful for him and because of him, all the time and effort he put into my case, my son can have a much easier life. Charlies understand, patient, kind, and one of the best people I know. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Katie C.