Welcome to our guide on birth injury claims. During maternity, labour and after a child is born, the medical professionals will have a duty of care to ensure you are treated with the correct standard of care. In fact, they have a legal duty of care to try and keep both mother and baby as safe as possible.
Births can be both very exciting and scary for expectant parents. Very often things going wrong is not usually what an expectant mum will focus on. But what if something was to go wrong during the birth of a child? What if both the mother and baby suffered injuries that could have been prevented? In this guide, we’ll explain how birth injury claims work, the circumstances in which you might be able to claim and how much compensation could be awarded.
If you are considering making a compensation claim, Advice.co.uk can help you start the process. We supply free legal advice during a no-obligation telephone consultation. Where a claim has strong enough grounds, we could ask a medical negligence solicitor from our panel to review it. If they agree to work for you, they’ll provide their service on a No Win No Fee basis.
To start your claim straight away, please feel free to call us on 0161 696 9685. Otherwise, to learn more about making a claim for a birth injury caused by negligence, please continue reading.
Select A Section
- A Guide On Making Birth Injury Claims
- Calculating Compensation For Birth Injury Claims
- Types Of Medical Negligence Damages
- What Are Birth Injuries?
- Duty Of Care During Childbirth
- What Could Cause A Preventable Birth Injury?
- Types Of Birth Injury Claims
- Birth Injuries Which Could Affect Babies
- Birth Injuries Which Could Affect Mothers
- Psychological Trauma Caused By Birth Injuries
- Getting Support After A Preventable Birth Injury?
- Make A No Win No Fee Birth Injury Claim
- Talk To Our Team
- Where To Learn More
- Birth Injury Statistics
- FAQs On Birth Injury Claims
A Guide On Making Birth Injury Claims
Birth injury claims may be possible if you or your baby have suffered an avoidable injury. The claim could be for avoidable harm caused during maternity care, labour or post-natal care. To be entitled to seek damages, you’ll need evidence to show that a medical professional of the same standard would not have caused the harm you or your child suffered.
Not all mistakes will mean a compensation claim is possible. Medical negligence claims can be complex that is why we always advise using a medical professional to support your case. During labour, both child and mum may experience injuries that could not have been avoided that have happened during the process of delivery. In this guide, we are looking at birth injuries that should have been prevented and are a result of substandard care in which another medical professional would have not caused.
The idea of claiming against the NHS may not appeal to you, but any settlement that’s agreed could support you during your recovery. It could also help with long-term suffering too. For instance, if a baby is left disabled following medical negligence during the birth, the cost of adapting your home or vehicle can be expensive. Not all claims will be against the NHS some expectant mothers choose to use private facilities in which case claims will be made against individual companies or doctors.
We believe that the best chance of receiving the correct level of compensation comes from having a medical negligence solicitor on your side. That’s because they can use their legal skills to ensure the correct evidence is supplied to help prove what caused the birth injury. Furthermore, with the benefit of their experience, it should be easier to ensure all aspects of your suffering are considered within the claim.
Calculating Compensation For Birth Injury Claims
We are now going to show some example compensation figures for different injuries. It is important to state that no two cases are the same. Therefore, these figures should only be used as guidance at this point. If your case is taken on by a medical negligence lawyer from our panel, they’ll use medical experts to ascertain the full extent of your suffering.
Our compensation table is based on amounts listed in the Judicial College Guidelines. This is something that legal professionals and courts may refer to in order to help them determine suitable compensation levels.
|Birth Injury||Severity||Settlement||Additional Comments|
|Brain Damage||Very Severe||£264,650 to £379,100||This compensation bracket includes quadriplegic cerebral palsy that results in severe physical and cognitive disabilities.|
|Brain Damage (i)||Moderate||£140,870 to £205,580||Where there is an effect on sight, senses and speech, a risk or epilepsy and severe intellectual deficit.|
|Brain Damage||Less Severe||£14,380 to £40,410||Although the claimant will make a good recovery, some issues might remain. For instance, there may be concentration problems and poor memory.|
|Neck||Severe||£61,710 to £122,860||Examples in this category include permanent brachial plexus damage or the loss of function in one or more limbs.|
|Psychiatric Damage||Moderately Severe||£17,900 to £51,460||Cases of traumatic birth or stillbirth caused by negligence often fall into this category.|
During the claims process, a medical assessment will be needed to understand how you or your baby have been injured. They will be conducted by a medical expert who is independent of your case. Due to the complexity of some birth injuries to babies, this may need to happen on more than one occasion.
During the medical assessment, the specialist will ask questions so that they can understand how you’ve been affected. They’ll also refer to medical notes and may examine any injuries too.
When they have concluded their review, the specialist will write a report. This will show what impact your injuries have had. It will also explain the medical prognosis for the future too. This report will then be referred to alongside the guidelines provided by the Judicial College in order for your claim to be valued.
Most medical negligence law firms can arrange appointments locally to reduce the amount of travelling that’s required. If you would like to know more about the medical assessment, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.
Types Of Medical Negligence Damages
In the last section, we looked at compensation that’s paid to cover the pain, suffering and loss of amenity caused by your injuries. However, there may also be a financial impact on you because of the injuries. If that’s the case, special damages could also be included in your claim. Special damages are designed to leave you in the financial position you would’ve been in had you not been injured.
Special damages claims can include:
- Care costs. In some cases, permanent care may be required for some time. If that happens, the cost of a professional carer could be claimed. Also, for shorter-term care, you could claim for the time a friend spent supporting you with daily tasks during your recovery.
- Medical costs. You may be left out of pocket if you need to pay for medication or services not provided by the NHS. If that’s the case, you could factor those costs into your claim.
- Travel costs. When you need to visit a GP surgery, hospital or other medical facilities for treatment, you could end up paying for fuel, parking or public transport. Therefore, these costs could be claimed back.
- Lost income. There may be the need to claim back money you’ve lost because your injuries stopped you from working. In some cases where there are long-term complications, you might need to request future lost income, too.
- Adaptations to vehicles or your home. As we have mentioned briefly already, you might need to modify your home or vehicle to help you cope with disabilities caused by birth injuries. If that’s the case, the associated costs could be claimed back.
What Are Birth Injuries?
There are many ways in which mothers or babies can be injured during childbirth. Instances of bruising and tears may occur naturally and be unavoidable. However, where they happen, they should be spotted and treated.
If an injury that you’ve sustained during childbirth was avoidable and caused by the negligence of a medical professional, it may mean the team treating you are liable. We’ll provide some examples of these later on. Essentially, if the medical professional who was caring for you did something or failed to do something that caused your avoidable injuries, then the service they should have been providing may have been comprised.
As every birth is different, a panel of medical professionals may need to review whether they’d have done anything differently to the defendant in the same set of circumstances. This is known as the Bolam test. If they find that they would have acted in a different way than the medical professional that treated you, then you could win your legal action and be compensated.
Duty Of Care During Childbirth
All medical professionals have a duty to consider the welfare of you and your baby whilst caring for you. This means they should use appropriate equipment and processes when treating you and take suitable precautions when necessary. They should provide a level of care that meets the standard of their profession.
What duty of care do midwives have?
The Standards of conduct, performance and ethics for nurses and midwives explains that midwives should:
- Make the care of patients their first concern.
- Offer a high standard of care and practice at all times.
- Be honest, open and act with integrity.
What Could Cause A Preventable Birth Injury?
While every new mother would prefer if their birth were straightforward and risk-free, this isn’t always the case. However, the medical professionals who care for you should take precautions and necessary action to try and prevent injuries.
Some of the errors that could cause birth injuries can include:
- Using the wrong medication or handling it incorrectly.
- Failure to spot dangerous or serious problems in the mother or baby.
- Poor levels of care during delivery leading to injuries.
- Failure to spot and treat infections like meningitis..
If you believe that you or your child suffered a birth injury because a doctor or midwife neglected their duty of care to you, please get in touch. We’ll review your case with you and could connect you to a No Win No Fee medical negligence solicitor.
Types Of Birth Injury Claims
Generally, there are two different types of medical negligence claims regarding birth injuries. These are:
- Vicarious liability. In these cases, the claim would be against the NHS trust, clinical commissioning group or another party that employs the medical professional who has been negligent.
- Gross negligence. This is where the medical professional who treated you has violated their duty of care towards you. As well as a compensation claim, court proceedings may be taken against the individual who could lose their licence to practice.
For free legal advice on what basis your claim should be made on, please speak to us today. Our helpful and friendly advisors are on hand to listen to the details of your case and may be able to connect you with a specialist solicitor.
Birth Injuries Which Could Affect Babies
During labour, incorrect handling, medication errors and incorrect treatment administered could all result in your baby being injured. The types of injuries that could occur include:
- Brain injuries.
- Cerebral palsy.
- Cuts, fractures and excessive bruising.
- Erb’s palsy and brachial plexus injuries.
In serious cases, medical negligence during labour could result in stillbirth or the death of your baby after birth. If you need our advice on claiming any type of injury to your child, please get in touch. We know it may be hard to discuss your case with a stranger, but our team will act with compassion and at a speed that suits you.
Birth Injuries Which Could Affect Mothers
While it is quite normal for mothers to need recovery time after birth, that process can be complicated greatly if medical negligence causes them to suffer birth injuries. Some examples of injuries to mothers that could happen due to negligence include:
- Suffering caused by a negligent misdiagnosis or delay in spotting pre-eclampsia.
- Cutting into internal organs during a C-section
- Problems caused by suturing, including infections.
- Bowel or bladder problems resulting from C-section errors.
- Anaesthetic errors.
- Afterbirth left behind which cause an infection
- Nervous shock after a traumatic birth.
These are just examples of the types of birth injuries that could result from negligent care. Remember, to make a successful claim, you must prove that you suffered negligent treatment which directly leads to an avoidable injury that another medical professional of the same standard would not have caused.
For help starting the claims process, please get in touch with our team today. If your claim is accepted, a solicitor from our panel could use a medical expert to review your medical records and your treatment to ascertain whether negligence has occurred.
Psychological Trauma Caused By Birth Injuries
Medical or clinical negligence doesn’t just affect you physically. It could also result in psychological injuries too. In some cases, psychological injuries can be included in birth injury claims.
If an expectant mother had a very traumatic birth that has left her and the child with severe injuries that could have very well been avoided then there is the risk of the mother suffering mentally as a consequence. Claims may also be possible for birth trauma. This is a term used for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following birth.
Please get in touch if you’ve suffered a psychological injury because of negligence during childbirth. Our team could help you start the process of getting the compensation you deserve for the unnecessary suffering you have experienced.
Getting Support After A Preventable Birth Injury?
Following a preventable birth injury, you may need support with daily activities. For instance, you may be unable to cook and clean for yourself. You might need to hire someone to come and help you with the tasks you’re unable to do alone.
In a successful medical negligence claim under the Head of Loss known as special damages, you can claim for the cost of care you needed. Under special damages, you can also recover the cost of medical care, rehabilitation and any home adaptations.
Make A No Win No Fee Birth Injury Claim
The prospect of making a birth injury claim can seem quite daunting. That’s especially true if you’re worried about the cost of employing a solicitor. However, some medical negligence solicitors provide a No Win No Fee service. As a result, if your claim is accepted, you’ll get access to a specialist who’ll represent you without needing any upfront costs to do so.
At the start of your claim, the solicitor will need to check the chances of success in your case. If they agree to act on your behalf, their costs will be funded by a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). In essence, this contract sets out that you don’t need to pay your solicitor unless they win compensation for you. It means you won’t be asked to pay your solicitor anything while the claim is ongoing or before it begins.
Where a successful outcome is achieved, your solicitor will deduct a success fee from your compensation. This is a fixed percentage of your compensation award that is agreed upon before your claim begins. Importantly, to stop you from being overcharged, success fees are capped.
Talk To Our Team
Thank you for visiting Advice.co.uk today. We hope that our guide on compensation payouts in birth injury claims has been helpful. If you would like to start the claims process with us, please get in touch. To do so, you can:
- Call us directly on 0161 696 9685 so that a specialist can review your case.
- Arrange for a call back at a convenient time using our online enquiry form.
- Discuss your case online in our free live chat service.
We provide telephone consultations to all potential claimants. During the call, you will be given free advice on your options. While there’s no obligation to continue, we can offer to connect you with a medical negligence solicitor. Should they accept your case, they will be funded using a No Win No Fee basis.
Where To Learn More
We are going to use this section to provide links to some additional resources for you. Should you need anything further to help with your claim, please let us know.
Care Quality Commission Inspections – Here, you can search for the latest reports relating to hospital inspections.
The Birth Trauma Association – A charity that supports women who suffer birth trauma.
Labour And Birth – An NHS webpage about the stages of labour and how your baby is monitored.
GP Negligence Claims – This guide shows how you could claim damages for suffering caused by a negligent GP.
Proving Clinical Negligence – A useful article that looks at how you prove liability in medical negligence claims.
Surgical Negligence – Details of mistakes in surgery that could lead to a compensation claim.
Birth Injury Statistics
In its annual report for 2017/18, NHS Resolution revealed that clinical negligence claims relating to obstetrics accounted for 10% of all claims. However, the value of those claims accounted for 48% of the total value. That may be due to the fact that payments for serious birth injuries may need to account for the life-long care of the claimant in some cases.
In a report by the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, figures show that there were 854 babies born in 2016 with severe brain injuries.
FAQs On Birth Injury Claims
We have reached the end of this article on claiming birth injuries caused by medical negligence. In this final section, we have answered some common questions relating to birth injuries.
How are neonatal injuries prevented?
Medical professionals should ensure that they practice at the correct level.
What could be the long-term effects of a birth injury?
In babies, some birth injuries can result in long-term problems. They can include cerebral palsy, seizures and epilepsy, cerebral palsy and developmental problems.
How are birth injuries and birth defects different?
Birth injuries usually happen during delivery. Birth defects are structural changes diagnosed at birth.
What are common types of birth injuries?
- Wrongly performed Episiotomies,
- Perineal tears,
- Retained swabs
- Cuts to your baby,
- Cerebral palsy,
- Erb’s palsy, and
- Anaesthetic errors.
Thank you for reading our guide on birth injury claims.
Guide by TE
Published by NS