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Developmental Delays

Syracuse Lawyers for Birth Injuries

Sometimes the full scope of birth injuries doesn’t manifest immediately after birth. It can take a while to be aware that a child is experiencing developmental delays, and it can take still more time to connect those delays with the child’s birth. Although children grow at their own pace, there are certain milestones they should hit and if they don’t meet those milestones, it’s important to check with a healthcare provider. If your child sustained developmental delays due to birth injuries, you should consult the Syracuse birth injury attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano.

Developmental Delays

Developmental delays may be outgrown, but if they persist over years, they may turn into developmental disabilities. They can occur in terms of speech and language, daily living skills, cognitive skills, social and emotional skills, and fine and gross motor skills. In some cases, they occur in more than one area. Often these issues emerge as a child ages and are not spotted at birth. Generally, when a child isn’t meeting developmental milestones, it is worth consulting with your doctor to figure out whether there is a more serious underlying issue. For instance, in the first year of life, a baby is usually able to roll over, walk while holding onto a support, understands no, can show a social smile, and learns to drink from a cup. If a baby is not meeting developmental milestones like these, you should raise the issue with his or her pediatrician.

Birth complications or injuries that can result in developmental delays include premature birth, deprivation of oxygen during labor and delivery, low birth weight, and cerebral palsy. When a child experiences physical delays, such as inability to roll over or lift the head without support after 4 months, these delays may lead to a cerebral palsy diagnosis.

Medical Malpractice

Developmental delays are not always the result of medical malpractice during pregnancy or labor and delivery, but when they are, you may be able to hold the obstetrician-gynecologist and other health care providers responsible for the harm. You’ll need to prove: (1) the defendant owed you a professional standard of care, (2) the defendant departed from the professional standard of care, (3) the departure cause harmful developmental delays, and (4) damages. The professional standard of care is determined by looking at what competent health care providers in the same specialty and geographic region would have done under similar circumstances.

Your attorney will need to retain an expert to work up the case and advise whether the claim is meritorious. Sometimes more than one expert must be retained for the case. Experts may be needed to provide testimony on what the professional standard of care was, how your doctor departed from the professional standard of care, how that departure caused or contributed to developmental delays, as well as what losses arose from the developmental delays. However, experts in other areas may also be needed. For instance, when a developmental delay is poised to turn into a developmental disability, it may be necessary to retain an economist to provide an opinion quantifying the child’s loss of earning ability based on life expectancy.


Often parents do not have enough saved to address developmental delays. Tailored interventions and full-time care can be incredibly expensive. This is why your child’s future may depend on a successful birth injury lawsuit. If you can establish liability, you may be able to recover both economic and noneconomic losses arising out of developmental delays. Economic losses can include medical bills, rehabilitation bills, therapy, and lost earning capacity. Noneconomic losses can include emotional distress, pain and suffering, and lost enjoyment of life. The nature of the developmental delays and how quickly they are expected to resolve or not resolve will affect the amount of damages.

Consult a Seasoned Birth Injury Attorney in Syracuse

If your child suffers developmental delays due to a birth injury, you should consult the seasoned attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano. We represent babies and their families in Syracuse, Rochester, and other places in Upstate New York, including in Cooperstown, Auburn, Oneida, Canandaigua, Binghamton, Lyons, Oswego, Wampsville, Watertown, Elmira, Utica, Herkimer, Ithaca, and Lowville. Contact us at 833-200-2000 or via our online form.

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