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Types of Birth Injuries

Medical Malpractice Attorneys Serving Upstate New York

When you are expecting a baby, you trust that your doctors and nurses will do all that they can to bring your baby into the world safely and without harm. Unfortunately, errors made by health care providers can have devastating consequences. Many types of birth injuries arising out of medical negligence require expensive, long-term care. If your baby sustained a birth injury due to a health care provider’s professional negligence, you should consult the Upstate New York birth injury lawyers at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano. Birth injury lawsuits can be complicated to mount and pursue. Our skillful attorneys understand the nuances of these cases. We assist children and parents in Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, and Albany.

Types of Birth Injuries

Some common types of birth injuries include brain injuries, cerebral palsy, intracranial bleeding, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, brachial plexus injuries, Erb’s palsy, clavicle or arm fractures, kernicterus, spinal cord injuries, paraplegia and quadriplegia, shoulder dystocia, perinatal asphyxia, hydrocephalus, fetal hypoxia, and acidosis. In some cases, prompt diagnosis and treatment can make a difference in the long-term outcome. For example, a rare form of brain damage called kernicterus, which is a result of untreated jaundice, is progressive, but if it is caught and treated at an early stage, serious brain damage can be avoided.

Liability for Birth Injuries

Not every mistake made during pregnancy or labor and delivery counts as medical malpractice. To show that your doctor is liable, you will need to prove that your doctor owed your baby a duty to follow a professional standard of care, this duty was breached, the breach caused your baby’s birth injury, and actual damages were sustained because of the birth injury. For example, a birth injury attorney in Upstate New York may be able to establish liability if your doctors and nurses failed to notice signs of fetal distress caused by placental abruption, and your child suffered brain damage.

In most cases, we will need to retain an expert to provide opinions about what the professional standard of care was, how it was breached, and how it caused the birth injury sustained by your child. To determine the professional standard of care, New York courts look at what the accepted medical practices are for health care providers in the same specialty and geographic region as the defendant when confronted with similar circumstances. We will need to establish what a reasonably prudent obstetrician in Upstate New York would have done under the same circumstances. For example, a reasonably prudent obstetrician might have decided to schedule a C-section, rather than allowing a very large baby to be born through a vaginal delivery. If an obstetrician did not monitor the size of a baby and proceeded with an inadvisable vaginal delivery, this might result in shoulder dystocia. In that situation, we may be able to hold the obstetrician accountable.


If our Upstate New York birth injury attorneys can establish liability, we may be able to recover compensatory damages. The nature and amount of compensatory damages will depend on the type and extent of the birth injury.

Typically, both economic and non-economic losses are awarded once liability is established. For instance, with very severe Erb’s palsy, it may be necessary for a baby to undergo therapy. If therapy does not work, it may be necessary to perform surgery that lifts the pressure on damaged nerves in the brachial plexus or utilizes grafts. In some cases, there is a lifelong impairment despite these measures. Compensatory damages may include the costs of physical therapy, occupational therapy, medical care, and surgery, along with intangible losses like emotional distress and pain and suffering.

For another example, if your baby suffers from severe cerebral palsy and quadriplegia caused by medical negligence, they may have widespread brain damage and difficulty speaking or being understood. They may not be able to walk and may have seizures. They may need medical care, assistive devices, medication, therapies, and lifelong nursing and care. In that case, it may be possible to recover compensation for these losses.

Sometimes a baby with a birth injury dies as a result of its severity. If the birth injury or subsequent death was preventable, parents may be able to be appointed personal representatives of the baby’s estate and recover damages by bringing a wrongful death lawsuit.

Consult an Experienced Upstate New York Attorney

Birth injuries can have devastating consequences for a family, both financially and emotionally. The health care providers responsible for the harm should be held accountable for the losses arising out of their actions or omissions. If your baby suffered birth injuries due to a doctor or nurse’s medical malpractice, the birth injury lawyers at the Upstate New York firm of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano are ready to help you. 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.