How Do I Claim Compensation For A Birth Injury

How Do I Claim Compensation For A Birth Injury?

Most women giving birth today expect to leave hospital safe and sound with a healthy baby. Modern medicine has led us into a false sense of security when it comes to childbirth. We all know that pregnancy and labour were highly dangerous in the past, but surely nothing catastrophic happens nowadays? If only this were true. 

Unfortunately, scores of women and infants suffer birth injuries every year. Midwives and obstetricians usually provide exemplary care; however, due to NHS staff shortages, underfunding, and human error, mistakes happen and the consequences can be devastating.

If you or your baby have suffered a birth injury due to medical negligence, you may be able to claim compensation. 

What is a birth injury?

Birth injuries are injuries caused to a mother and/or infant before, during, or soon after labour. Examples of injuries that can affect the mother include:

  • Perineal trauma
  • Haemorrhage
  • Infection
  • Ruptured uterus
  • Prolapsed uterus
  • Broken pelvis
  • Pre-eclampsia

Babies can also suffer a range of birth injuries, including:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Oxygen starvation (Anoxia or Hypoxia)
  • Brain injury
  • Broken bones
  • Infection
  • Erbs palsy, also known as shoulder dystocia
  • Stillbirth

Some are minor and leave no lasting ill-effects. Others are lifechanging for mother and/or child, resulting in the need for a lifetime of care and medical treatments. In between are the moderate injuries that affect the patient’s quality of life and cause pain and suffering for a period of time. In the latter two scenarios, making a claim for birth injury compensation provides not only a way to access money and rehabilitation, but also the ability to get an explanation for what went wrong.

How do I prove that negligence caused a birth injury?

If you believe you may have suffered negligent care or treatment during pregnancy and/or labour, or shortly after your baby was born, you will need to prove, on the balance of probabilities, that:

  • You were owed you a duty of care by the healthcare professional (the NHS Trust is normally the Defendant in such cases),
  • The duty owed to you was breached, and
  • The breach resulted in you and/or your baby’s personal injury.

Your Birth Injury Solicitor will examine you and/or your child’s medical records, talk to witnesses, and, most importantly, listen to your story in order to establish whether a birth injury claim exists.

If your Solicitor agrees that your care/treatment fell below the standard normally expected of a competent healthcare professional operating in similar circumstances, they will often instruct an expert in midwifery and/or obstetrics to write a detailed report to present to the Court on the likely cause of your injuries and your prognosis. The latter is particularly important when it comes to calculating the amount of damages to award should you win your case.

How long do birth injury claims take?

Claims involving moderate birth injuries can take anything from 12-24 months to conclude. Catastrophic birth injury claims, such as severe cerebral palsy, can take 36 months or more. This is because award settlements in such cases can run to millions of pounds and the evidence can be extremely complex.

Because these types of cases can take a long time, it is crucial that you choose a Birth Injuries Solicitor who you feel comfortable with. You need to feel confident that you can speak openly about your worries and frustrations and that they are by your side, fighting for a positive result. It is important to note that results do not mean only the final settlement. If you or your baby require urgent medical care and rehabilitation, your Solicitor will initially focus on getting a care plan in place and interim payments to fund the treatment required to increase the chances of recovery.

How do I pay for a Solicitor in a birth injury claim?

If you or your baby have suffered a birth injury, money is likely to be a key concern for you and your family, especially if you have had to take extended time off work and/or pay for medical treatment. If, having had an initial discussion, your Birth Injury Solicitor believes your claim has a good chance of success, they are likely to take your case on a No Win, No Fee basis. This means that if you lose your case, you will not be charged legal fees, although you may have to pay for any disbursements (expenses relating to your case).

Wrapping up

Over the past decade the sometimes shocking state of neo-natal and maternity care in England and Wales has been laid bare. One newspaper recently provided a concise summary of the situation to date:

“When it comes to neo-natal and maternity care, in the past decade alone the Ockenden review of the Shropshire maternity scandal (March 2022) revealed a “them and us” culture at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust between midwives and other staff, to the detriment of mothers and babies. A review by Dr Bill Kirkup (October 2022) of serious failings in maternity care at East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust found women in labour were treated with “callousness” and “cruelty”, while trust chiefs appeared to play down problems. The Morecambe Bay report (March 2015) exposed a “lethal mix” of failings at almost every level in the maternity unit at Furness General Hospital in Cumbria. And an independent review of failings in maternity services at Nottingham University Hospitals, commissioned this year, is expected to uncover the biggest maternity scandal in NHS history.”

The above statement confirms that if you or your baby have suffered a birth injury through negligent care, you are far from alone. What matters now is you get the support you need to make a compensation claim so you can fund the rehabilitation and care you and/or your child needs. In addition, bringing a compensation claim can get you answers as to what caused you or your baby’s injuries, and/or an apology from the NHS Trust concerned.

Our team has decades of combined experience in successfully advising and representing clients in birth injury claims. We are sympathetic, understanding, and are here to help you every step of the way.

Call us on 01 625 667166 today to discuss your claim.


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