Birth Injury Claims
Having a baby should be one of the most exciting times in your life. However, when medical mistakes are made during pregnancy or birth, the consequences can be devastating.
If you or your baby has suffered due to negligent medical treatment, our team of medical negligence solicitors could help you to get the compensation that you deserve.
Our birth injury solicitors will handle your case with empathy and care, guiding you through each step of the claims process.
Call us today on 0344 854 7000 or submit an online enquiry and we will call you back at a time that is suitable for you.
What are birth injury claims?
A birth injury claim is a claim in respect of an injury to the baby or mother due to the negligent actions of a medical professional before, during or shortly after labour.
Common childbirth injuries caused by clinical errors include:
• Failing to adequately monitor the baby and/or mother.
• Administering the incorrect medication.
• Mishandling the mother or baby.
• Negligent care during labour, leading to birth injuries to the mother or baby.
• Failure to identify or treat infections, such as meningitis or sepsis.
What birth injuries can occur during pregnancy?
Common examples of birth injuries or illnesses that can occur during pregnancy include:
• Placental abruption – this is where the placenta separates early from the uterus.
• Shoulder dystocia – this is when the baby’s shoulder gets stuck during delivery and can lead to complications for both mother and baby, which can be serious without proper medical management.
• Uterine rupture.
• Gestational diabetes.
• Issues in managing pre-eclampsia.
• Wrongful birth cases – this is when a mother would have terminated her pregnancy if she had been made aware that her unborn baby had a birth defect or would have born with severe physical or mental disabilities.
What birth injuries can occur during labour?
Birth injuries that can occur during labour include:
Injuries to the mother:
• Mistakes made during caesarean C-section that can lead to organ damage.
• Gynaecological treatment errors such as Episiotomy – second or third degree tears.
• Perineal tears – third and fourth degree.
• Retained swabs.
• Anaesthetic errors.
• Mistakes in surgically suturing tears.
• Injuries when delivering baby via forceps or ventouse delivery.
• Suturing (stitching) issues.
• Post-natal infections.
Injuries to the baby:
• Fractures to the baby’s skull, legs, arms, shoulders or collarbone during birth.
• Cerebral Palsy due to the baby suffering head and brain damage, such as hypoxic ischæmic encephalopathy caused by decreased blood and oxygen levels to the brain.
• Muscular injuries such as Erb’s palsy or brachial plexus injury.
What birth injuries can occur due to complications after the birth?
Sadly, some babies can pass away shortly after birth (infant mortality) or be born dead after 24 weeks (stillbirth). It may be possible to make a birth injury compensation claim against the hospital or Healthcare Trust responsible if they acted negligently in their care which lead to stillbirth or infant mortality.
What if my mental health has been affected by a birth injury?
A birth injury can have a significant effect on your mental health. Through making a birth negligence claim, you may be able to seek compensation that could help to pay for support and counselling that can help you to move forward with your life.
Is there a time limit for making a birth injury compensation claim?
If your baby has been injured as a result of medical negligence before, during or after birth, you can bring a claim on their behalf at any point before they turn 18.
Once your child has reached the age of 18, they have three years to make a claim on their own behalf.
If the injuries that your child has sustained during pregnancy or their birth have left them permanently mentally incapacitated, there is no time limit to making a birth negligence claim.
Can I make a birth injury claim on behalf of my child?
As explained above, it is possible to make a claim on behalf of your child up until they reach the age of 18.
It is however best to start the claims process as early as possible, as the claims process for serious injuries can take several years.
Can I get interim payments?
Medical negligence cases can be complex and consequently, it is not uncommon for cases to take several years to settle.
If you have suffered serious injuries or the long term effects of the injuries on your child’s future development are not yet determined, it may take longer for your case to conclude. During this time, you may face extra expenses such as needing to pay for medication, rehab and mobility aids to help you get back to full health.
You may also face financial losses through no longer being able to work. Due to these possible scenarios, it is possible to be awarded with interim payments until your case reaches a full conclusion.
Interim payments will be deducted from your final settlement, and will only be paid to you if the third party accepts liability.
Interim payments can be used to pay for:
• Therapy and rehabilitation.
• Private medical treatment.
• Transport costs to and from medical appointments.
• Specialist equipment.
• Cover loss of earnings.
Can I make a No Win, No Fee claim?
Our medical negligence solicitors will assess your case and if we believe it has good prospects, we will agree to take on your case under a conditional agreement. This is more commonly known as a No Win, No Fee agreement. This means that you will only pay legal fees if your claim is successful.
This is typically an agreed set percentage of your settlement and will be explained to you at the start of the claims process.
How much will my birth injury claim be worth?
It is not possible to say exactly how much compensation you may receive for your birth injury claim, as each and every case is different.
Your solicitor will quantify your claim based on the severity of your injuries and the impact that they have had on your life. The compensation that you could receive is broken down into General and Special Damages:
General Damages: This covers the physical and psychological suffering caused by the birth injury.
Special Damages: This covers any out of pocket expenses that you have incurred as a result of the negligent treatment. This includes:
- Rehabilitation treatment
- Medical expenses
- Care costs
- Home and vehicle adaptations
- Travel expenses to and from medical appointments
- Loss of earnings
Can I get access to medical treatment and rehabilitation?
The injuries that you have incurred during your pregnancy or labour may mean that you need additional medical treatment or rehabilitation to help get you back to full health.
If you decide to pursue a birthing negligence claim, your solicitor will take these needs into account when quantifying your claim. Rehabilitation falls under the Special Damages part of your claim and the cost of which is calculated as part of your settlement.
Can my child get access to medical treatment and rehabilitation?
If your child requires medical treatment and rehabilitation, our birth injury solicitors will work to get you the compensation to cover the costs of any rehabilitation, medical care and home adaptations necessary.
In some cases, these injuries can have long-term consequences. We will help you to access the care and support you need to help aid your child’s recovery and help them to live as comfortably as possible.
Can I get Legal Aid?
In some instances, Legal Aid can be used to cover the cost of legal advice if your child has suffered a serious neurological injury during pregnancy, birth or within the first 8 weeks of their life. In order to qualify for Legal Aid, the following requirements must be met:
- Your child must have less than £2500 in savings.
- There must be strong reasoning for us to investigate your case.
During your initial consultation with us, we will discuss the different funding options available and let you know if your circumstances make it possible for you to access Legal Aid. If you do qualify for Legal Aid, this will be used to cover the full costs of your legal representation if you choose to instruct us as your solicitor.