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Ataxic Cerebral Palsy

Syracuse Lawyers Handling Birth Injury Cases

Ataxic cerebral palsy is a developmental disorder that, like other kinds of cerebral palsy, impacts motor function. Children with ataxic cerebral palsy may have trouble with coordination and balance. The function of your child’s legs, feet, arms, hands, and speech might be altered by ataxic cerebral palsy. Generally, ataxic cerebral palsy is the result of damage to the cerebellum before or during birth. If your baby was born with ataxic cerebral palsy, you should discuss the circumstances with the experienced Syracuse cerebral palsy attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano to determine whether the medical negligence caused the injury.

Ataxic Cerebral Palsy

A baby’s cerebellum is vital to her motor function. The cerebellum regulates directives from other portions of the brain. It also affects communication, motor learning, and posture. The cerebellum can be damaged by an infection in the womb, oxygen loss caused by placental failure, fetal stroke, or head trauma in the process of giving birth. Symptoms of ataxic cerebral palsy include tremors, trouble walking, balance issues, and imprecise motor skills. Often, doctors do not diagnose ataxic cerebral palsy until a baby is at least 18 months old.

Liability for Ataxic Cerebral Palsy

You may be able to hold a healthcare provider liable when his professional negligence resulted in your baby’s ataxic cerebral palsy. You'll need to prove it's more likely than not: (1) your healthcare provider owed you and the baby a professional standard of care, (2) he failed to meet the professional standard, (3) the failure caused your baby’s ataxic cerebral palsy, and (4) you have quantifiable damages.

New York follows the locality rule. In Syracuse, the professional standard of care will be determined by looking at what reasonably prudent Syracuse healthcare providers in the same specialty as the defendant would have done when faced with similar circumstances. For instance, if a reasonably competent Syracuse obstetrician gynecologist would have ordered an emergency C-section rather than chance a traumatic birth, but your doctor tried to deliver with forceps, and as a result your baby was born with ataxic cerebral palsy, you may be able to recover damages.

You will need to show that the breach of the professional standard of care caused your baby’s ataxic cerebral palsy. There are situations in which a baby develops birth injuries, but a doctor or other provider could have done nothing else to avoid them. To draw out the causal connection, you must retain an expert to work up your case even before filing a lawsuit. In New York, your lawyers must file a certificate of merit attesting to a consultation with an expert familiar with the facts of your case and the lawyers’ belief, based on the consultation, that your birth injury lawsuit is meritorious.


Doctors may prescribe physical therapy and occupational therapy to treat ataxic cerebral palsy. In some cases, your child may require speech therapy and special education. Medication may need to be prescribed, and it can be expensive. Medical costs for children with ataxic cerebral palsy may be many times higher than the cost of providing medical care to a child without a disability. Many families do not anticipate these expenses when deciding to have a baby. A medical malpractice lawsuit may allow families to recover the substantial losses from the health care providers responsible for causing ataxic cerebral palsy. Both parents and child can also recover noneconomic losses related to ataxic cerebral palsy. These losses may include emotional distress, loss of enjoyment, and pain and suffering.

You may need to retain one or more experts on the issue of damages, particularly future losses. An economist might be able to opine, for example, on costs of future care and a baby’s lost earning ability.

Retain a Syracuse Attorney

If your baby suffered ataxic cerebral palsy and you suspect it’s because of medical malpractice, you should talk to our seasoned lawyers. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, we represent people throughout Upstate New York in Syracuse, Rochester, Watertown, Lowville, Oswego, Auburn, Canandaigua, Wampsville, Ithaca, Lyons, Oneida, Cooperstown, Utica, Elmira, Herkimer, and Binghamton. Complete DeFrancisco & Falgiatano’s online form or call us at 833-200-2000.

Client Reviews
"We were very impressed with how Jeff DeFrancisco represented us at trial and we were extremely happy when the jury found in our favor." D.M., Auburn, NY
"I suffered a serious injury as a result of medical malpractice. My husband and I retained Jeff DeFrancisco to assist us in this case. We were extremely happy with his representation and highly recommend him." Kelley R., Syracuse, NY
Since the insurance company was unwilling to settle the matter my case ultimately went to trial. At trial Jeff DeFrancisco did an absolutely amazing job by obtaining a very favorable result for me." T.H., Oneida, NY
"I highly recommend DeFrancisco & Falgiatano - Charlie represented me for a medical malpractice case. He is the best of the best. He is friendly and I am very happy with the representation he provided." Roger N., Oneida, NY