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Erb's Palsy

Upstate New York Lawyers Representing Victims of Birth Injuries

Erb’s palsy is a brachial plexus injury in which damage is done to the nerves that control arm motions. Mobility is affected because muscles are turned inward. Erb’s palsy may develop if a baby’s neck is unduly stretched as their shoulders and head move through the birth canal. It can be frightening for a parent to see that a child’s arm is limp as a result of Erb’s palsy. However, the severity of Erb’s palsy varies, and children require various kinds of treatment for the condition. Serious cases may call for grafting surgery. If your child developed Erb’s palsy that was caused by medical malpractice, you may be able to recover damages. You should consult the Upstate New York birth injury lawyers at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano about your case. We assist children and parents in the areas around Syracuse, Rochester, Albany, and Buffalo.

Erb’s Palsy

Erb’s palsy affects the part of the brachial plexus between the neck bones and the arm. It disrupts communication in the nerves that serve the arms. Erb’s palsy can develop because a nerve is torn, stretched, or otherwise damaged. The severity of the damage will determine how much the condition affects a child’s life. Sometimes only physical therapy is needed. However, if there is neuroma or a rupture in that part of the brachial plexus, physical therapy or surgery may be needed to improve movement and sensation. Neuroma involves serious stretching of the nerve that leaves a scar, while a rupture tears the nerve and may require grafting a nerve from a healthy muscle. The most severe Erb’s palsy involves avulsion, in which the nerve is ripped away from the spinal cord, and it is not possible to reattach, so the arm is left completely motionless.


To establish liability for Erb’s palsy, your attorney will need to prove that your health care provider owed your baby a professional duty of care, departed from the professional standard of care, and caused Erb’s palsy. In New York, the professional standard of care depends on what other providers in the same specialty and geographic area would have done under the same circumstances.

Although it can be challenging to fully predict the birth process, a reasonable obstetrician-gynecologist will try to take measures to avoid prolonged birth or the kind of difficult birth that requires the use of forceps, vacuum extraction, or other forceful delivery. The chances of Erb’s palsy are increased if there is shoulder dystocia. Erb’s palsy may be a result of a major trauma during delivery or a result of a breech birth, in which an infant is pulled out by the feet and there is stretching or tearing of the part of the brachial plexus that controls the arms. Avulsion is usually a result of very forceful pulling and twisting of a baby during delivery. However, Erb’s palsy can also be a result of major trauma during the first few months of a baby’s life, and we must retain an expert to review your case, even before filing it.


Babies with severe Erb’s palsy may need treatment by a team of specialists, including physical therapists, orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, neurologists, and occupational therapists. These specialists can work together to put together a comprehensive plan. Losses stemming from Erb’s palsy depend on its severity, including the kind of treatment that is needed for it. Through a birth injury lawsuit, you might be able to recover economic losses like the costs of surgical and non-surgical treatments and out-of-pocket costs. Non-economic losses like pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and mental anguish may also be recovered. A parent’s losses due to a baby’s Erb’s palsy may also be recovered.

Consult a Knowledgeable Upstate New York Attorney After a Birth Injury

Many Erb’s palsy cases can be cleared up with treatment. The earlier that treatment is given, the more likely that it is to clear up. Unfortunately, many families do not have enough saved in case their baby is born with a birth injury. Both surgical and non-surgical treatments can be expensive, and sometimes specialists call for both. If your baby suffers from Erb’s palsy, you should contact the experienced birth injury attorneys at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano to discuss your situation. Contact our Upstate New York firm 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.