Last updated on April 11th, 2022
Pursuing a birth injury claim for compensation due to medical negligence may be the last thing on your mind. However, while compensation may not help reverse what has happened, it can help victims of medical negligence in many other ways.
In our birth injury claims guide, we’ll explain when a claim might be possible if you or your baby have suffered avoidable injuries. As we progress, we’ll explain what types of negligence could cause birth injuries, how medical negligence claims work, and what amount of compensation might be awarded.
If you are considering making a birth injury claim, we can help. We have a team of friendly advisors who will discuss your case with you during a no-obligation telephone consultation. They will also explain your legal options. Should you have grounds to proceed, we could connect you with one of our medical negligence solicitors. Our team have been helping clients make negligence claims for up to 30-years, and operate on a No Win No Fee basis.
After reading this guide, please get in touch on 0800 6524 881 if you have any questions or would like to start a birth injury claim.
Table of contents
- Eligibility To Claim Compensation For A Birth Injury
- Common Birth Injuries Caused By Medical Negligence
- Types Of Negligence That Can Result In Birth Injury Claims
- How Compensation For Birth Injury Could I Claim?
- Birth Injury Compensation Calculator
- Birth Injury Claims Time Limits
- Using A Medical Negligence Solicitor For A Birth Injury Claim
All medical professionals whether NHS or private have a duty of care towards their patient’s safety while they are caring for them. This covers doctors, surgeons, midwives, nurses, and anaesthetists. If they breach that duty of care, and you or your baby suffer an injury as a result, a birth injury claim might be possible.
You might be wondering whether you have the grounds to make a birth injury claim. Typically, you will need to show:
- Breach of duty. This is where the medical professional (or the hospital) delayed something; failed to do something; or made a mistake that other competent medical professionals in the same field would not have done in the same circumstances.
- That the injury sustained by either mother or baby was a direct result of the breach of duty.
To help determine breach of duty, the Bolam test is used in medical negligence claims. This is a peer review of the medical professional’s actions. To satisfy the test, it must be proven that the actions of the medical professional would be regarded as acceptable by a responsible panel of professionals in the same medical field. Essentially, if others would’ve acted in the same way, then the practitioner is unlikely to have breached their duty of care.
If a breach of duty is established in your birth injury claim, your medical negligence solicitor can move on to gathering evidence to help prove causation.
In this section, we have listed some of the most common injuries to mother and baby that could lead to a birth injury claim.
- Brain injuries.
- Cerebral palsy.
- Cuts and scars.
- Hip dysplasia.
- Skull, shoulder, arm, leg and collarbone fractures.
- Erb’s palsy.
- Errors in suturing.
- Perineal tears.
- Anaesthetic mistakes.
- Retained swabs.
- Pre-eclampsia mistakes.
- Wrongly performed episiotomies.
- Organ injuries caused by caesarean section.
If you would like to start a claim for injuries to yourself or on behalf of your baby, please get in touch. Our team will review your case in detail so that they can explain your legal options.
In this part of our birth injury claim guide, we have listed some examples of negligence that could result in birth injuries. Not every scenario is listed, so don’t worry if you don’t see one that you have suffered. You could still be entitled to claim. Here are a few examples:
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of pre-eclampsia.
- Avoidable injuries during a vacuum or forceps delivery.
- Medication errors.
- Mistakes when administering anaesthetic.
- Avoidable bladder or bowel injuries during surgery.
- Failure to spot dangerous medical problems.
- Hospital infections caused by poor hygiene.
If you or your baby have suffered because of medical negligence during childbirth, we could help you claim. If you let us review your case, we’ll help you decide whether you have the grounds to make a claim.
Claiming compensation for birth injuries can be tricky because it’s necessary to work out what suffering you or your child have endured and might endure in the future. Importantly, every birth injury claim is unique as compensation amounts are based on individual circumstances. While we can’t, therefore, tell you how much compensation will be awarded, we can explain what could be claimed for. This includes:
- General damages to cover pain, suffering and loss of amenity.
- Special damages to cover any costs caused by the injuries. These can include medical costs, care costs, travel expenses, lost income, future loss of earnings, and modifications to your home and vehicle (where a birth injury causes disability).
To calculate the right level of compensation, a medical assessment may be required. For some birth injuries to children, this might be an ongoing process as it can take some time to fully understand how they will be affected. In this scenario, a solicitor could ask for interim payments to be paid before the claim is settled in full. These payments could help make coping a little easier until the claim has been processed.
If you would like to know more about what could be included in your birth injury claim, please get in touch and we’ll review your case with you.
Once you have had a medical assessment, your solicitor can refer to the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) to calculate how much birth injury compensation might be awarded. The JCG lists injuries and settlement ranges based on their severity so legal professionals can look to it for guidance when settling claims. Again, the payout amount for your injuries (general damages) is just one part of the claim. Other factors will also be considered so please use our calculator for guidance only.
Due to the number of different injuries possible during childbirth, not everything is included here. Therefore, please call if you don’t see yours listed. An advisor will review your case and provide a compensation estimate for each injury.
You may already know that compensation claims are time-limited. Generally, for claims made by adults, there is a 3-year time limit. This will either be from the date you were injured or from the date you found out about your injuries.
The claims process for children is different, though. If your baby is injured during childbirth, the 3-year time limit doesn’t apply for them until they reach their 18th birthday. You can however claim on their behalf at any point before they are 18-years old. What’s more, if your child suffers an injury that means they’ll never have the mental capacity to represent themselves, the time limit will never apply and you can represent them at any point.
In either case, you will become their litigation friend if you decide to represent them. If a birth injury claim is handled in this way, a court will check any compensation offer to ensure it is fair and covers the child’s suffering both now and in the future.
If you would like us to verify how long you have to make your claim, please call our advice line today.
NHS Resolution is the body that deals with medical negligence claims on behalf of many hospital trusts. According to their figures for 2019/20, of 15,550 claims, only 0.6% needed a court trial and 71.5% were settled without court proceedings. You might, therefore, wonder why you’d need a solicitor to help with your birth injury claim?
Even where a court hearing isn’t needed, it’s important to get your claim right. If you don’t, you or your child could miss out on any compensation you’re entitled to. In some cases, that could cause lifelong problems.
If your case is taken on by a medical negligence solicitor from our team, they’ll review your case in full to ensure they understand exactly how you’ve suffered. They’ll then arrange to collect medical reports and arrange for independent specialists to review the injuries you’re claiming for.
So that you don’t have to handle complex legal or medical questions, your solicitor will shield you from all communications. Where needed, they’ll fight your corner by providing extra evidence if needed. They’ll also try to use their legal acumen to try and ensure that you or your baby are compensated fully.
If you are considering starting a birth injury claim, please do get in touch with us on 0800 6524 881. We provide a no-obligation case review along with free legal advice. If you decide to proceed, and your case is accepted, your solicitor will deal with everything on a No Win No Fee basis.
If you have any further questions on birth injury claims, please don’t fail to get in touch.