If you or your baby suffered avoidable injuries during birth because of medical negligence or a substandard level of care, you may be eligible to make a birth injury claim for compensation.
Our specialist advisors are trained to guide you through the claims process. If you call for an initial consultation, they’ll offer free legal advice and explain your options. You’re under no obligation to proceed with a birth injury claim but we could partner you with a medical negligence solicitor on our panel if your case is strong enough. If your claim is accepted, your solicitor will manage it on a No Win, No Fee basis meaning there are no legal fees to pay unless your claim is successful.
To learn more about birth injury claims, please read on. If you’d rather speak to us straight away, please call our advice line on 0800 652 1345.
Can I claim compensation for a birth injury?
Our panel of medical negligence lawyers can only take on birth injury claims with a realistic chance of success. To check this, they will try to verify that:
- Negligence: The standard of care provided by a medical professional fell below what could have been reasonably expected; and
- Causation: You or your child were injured because of the negligent act (or lack of action).
Proving both negligence and causation is vital if your claim is to be successful. For example, if you can prove that you were injured during childbirth but you can’t prove that a negligent act occurred, your claim would not be successful. This is one of the reasons we believe claimants should take on specialist legal representation.
Our panel of solicitors has lots of experience handling medical negligence claims. They’ll use that experience and their skills to try and prove that you should be compensated if your birth injury claim is accepted.
Examples of negligence leading to birth injury claims
With the best will in the world, there are always risks associated with childbirth. As such, some birth injuries are sometimes simply unavoidable. However, if an injury is preventable but still occurs, you might be entitled to compensation for your suffering. Some examples of the types of mistakes that could lead to birth injuries include:
- Where safety procedures are not adhered to.
- Poor monitoring during labour.
- Failing to spot dangerous conditions in the baby or mother.
- Where the wrong medication is dispensed.
- Failure to spot or treat infections.
As solicitors are not medical experts, they cannot say that a medical professional has been negligent. For this reason, a process called the Bolam test is carried out. This is where an independent and suitably skilled expert (or experts) reviews what happened when you or your child were injured during childbirth. Your claim could proceed if they believe they would’ve acted differently and that the medical professional was negligent.
Examples of birth injuries to mothers
Some examples of injuries to mothers because of negligence that might result in a birth injury claim include:
- Injuries sustained following a vacuum or forceps delivery.
- Bowel or bladder injuries caused by mistakes during a Caesarean (C-section) delivery.
- Medical misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of pre-eclampsia.
- Placental abruption.
- Anaesthetic mistakes.
- Nervous shock after a traumatic delivery.
- C-section trauma.
- Missed 3rd or 4th-degree perineal tears or internal damage.
- Post-natal infections.
- Suturing errors.
This list is not conclusive but acts as a guide to some of the birth injuries you could claim compensation for. Please call if you’d like to discuss claiming for a different type of injury during birth.
Examples of birth injuries to babies
Again, we won’t list every potential childbirth injury in this section, but some of the more common injuries to babies because of negligence during delivery that could lead to a claim include:
- Brain injuries resulting from a lack of oxygen.
- Cuts, fractures or broken bones.
- Erb’s palsy.
- Cerebral palsy.
Importantly, you could be compensated if it can be shown that a midwife, doctor, nurse or anaesthetist was negligent and that your baby’s injuries were avoidable.
How much birth injury compensation can I claim?
The amount of birth injury compensation you’ll receive if your claim is successful is based upon how much suffering was endured (general damages) and any financial impact (special damages). As such, we can’t say how much compensation might be paid in your case until it has been properly assessed.
However, we can show you what birth injury compensation can cover. It includes:
- Any physical pain and suffering. This might be during labour, following treatment or ongoing pain caused by a disability.
- Psychological suffering. Such as PTSD and other psychiatric injuries.
- Loss of amenity. Where the impact on your daily life (hobbies, family events, social activities) is considered.
- Care costs. Here you could claim if you’ve had to stop working to become a carer. You could also be entitled to compensation for the cost of a professional carer. You could also claim for any lost earnings while you were caring for your child.
- Home or vehicular modifications. If your child is left disabled following a birth injury, you might need to claim for the cost of hoists or mobility aids to be fitted to your home to make life a little easier.
- Future loss of earnings. If your child’s injuries mean they are unlikely to be able to work, this could be factored into the settlement amount.
- Medical expenses. In some cases, you could claim for the cost of private remedial treatment for your birth injuries.
It is important that all of these factors are considered during the birth injury claims process. If you work with a solicitor from our panel, they’ll get a full understanding of how you or your child has suffered before filing your claim to try and make sure you are compensated fairly.[table “1” not found /]
How do I claim compensation for my child injured during birth?
If you decide to claim for an injury you’ve sustained during birth, the claims process is the same as any other injury claim. However, claiming on behalf of your child is slightly different.
To represent your child in a birth injury claim, you’ll need to become their litigation friend. This is something our panel of solicitors can help you to set up. Once you are approved, you’ll deal with everything on your child’s behalf.
Importantly, any settlement agreed will have to be reviewed by a court before it is paid. This is to ensure that your child is being compensated fairly. If the court approves the payment, it will be paid into an account managed by the Court Funds Office.
As a litigation friend, you can ask the court to release funds to support your child. For example, you could ask for a monthly payment from the fund to cover care costs or a one-off payment to pay for something that will benefit your child.
If you or your child has suffered a birth injury, please get in touch so we can review your options with you.
Can I claim compensation for a birth injury against a private healthcare provider?
It’s important to state that you could be compensated for birth injuries whether you were under NHS care or being cared for by a private healthcare provider. The claims process is very similar but your claim will be handled by an insurance company rather than NHS Resolution. Our solicitor on our panel could help you with either type of claim.
Providing proof for a birth injury compensation claim
When claiming compensation for a birth injury, providing strong proof of medical negligence can improve your chances of being compensated. As mentioned earlier, an independent medical expert will review what happened to determine whether negligence did indeed occur. You could also provide other forms of proof to show what happened and how you’ve suffered including:
- Medical records. These can be obtained by you or your solicitor to help prove what injuries were sustained.
- Correspondence. If you complain to the NHS or had any correspondence from the hospital where you or your baby were injured, you should provide copies of any responses to your solicitor. This could make it easier to understand the cause of your injuries.
- A personal statement. You will be asked to describe how you or your baby have been affected by the birth injuries. This could include dates and times that your injuries prevented you from participating in an event and any costs you’ve incurred.
- Witness statements. If your spouse or a birthing partner was present when you were giving birth, they might be asked to provide a statement of what they saw.
If your birth injury claim is handled by one of our solicitors, they’ll try to secure as much hard proof for you as possible.
Time limits for filing a birth injury claim
If you begin a birth injury claim for yourself, you’ll usually have 3-years to do so from the date you were injured. If you’re claiming for your baby, you can do so at any time before they turn 18 years old. If you don’t, they’ll have until their 21st birthday to claim themselves.
We believe it is easier to gather proof of negligence if you begin your claim as soon as possible. By making an early start to the claims process, you should reduce the risk of missing out on the compensation you might be entitled to.
How long do birth injury claims take to settle?
There is no set timeframe for birth injury medical negligence claims. If you suffered minor injuries, have fully recovered and the hospital accepts liability for your injuries, you may receive a settlement within a year.
For more complex cases such as child brain injuries, the claims process might take some years as it can take time to fully understand their prognosis. In this scenario, if liability has been accepted, your solicitor could arrange for the defendant to make interim payments before your claim is finalised to help with any ongoing costs or expenses.
No Win, No Fee birth injury claims
The thought of paying legal fees to a solicitor can be stressful and off-putting, especially in complex birth injury claims that may take a long time to be processed. However, we can reduce some of that stress because our panel of solicitors offer a No Win, No Fee service for any birth injury claim they handle.
At the start of the claims process, your solicitor will send you a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). This will show you that:
- Legal fees do not need to be paid upfront.
- You won’t pay your solicitor unless compensation is awarded.
- A success fee will be deducted from any compensation if your claim is won.
The success fee is capped at 25% of any compensation you’re paid. Your exact percentage will be clearly indicated within your copy of the CFA.
If your birth injury claim is taken on, your solicitor will aim to:
- Assess what happened by reviewing the case in detail with you.
- Collect solid proof and arrange for medical reports.
- File the claim with the defendant.
- Communicate on your behalf so that you don’t have to answer any complex legal or medical queries.
- Try to counter any objections by supplying further proof of negligence if necessary.
- Try to secure the maximum level of compensation possible for you or your child.
Start a birth injury claim today
Our specially trained advisors are ready to help if you’d like to discuss your options. Please call today on 0800 652 1345 to start the ball rolling.
During your call, we’ll provide free legal advice and could introduce you to a specialist solicitor from our team. You will only pay legal fees if your claim is won and you receive compensation for your injuries.
To discuss any queries you might have about birth injury claims, please call today, use our live chat at any time, or arrange a free consultation here.