Specialist Advice On Birth Injury Claims

If you or your child has suffered an injury during birth, we can help you claim compensation

Essential Advice On Making Birth Injury Compensation Claims

This guide will provide you with information about birth injury claims and medical negligence claims. If you or your baby has been harmed unnecessarily by a breach in the duty of care owed to you by a medical professional, such as a midwife or obstetrician, you could be eligible for compensation. 

We explain when you might have valid grounds for a claim and the duty of care all healthcare professionals owe their patients. This guide also looks at what evidence could be used to support your birth injury claims, and how compensation is calculated. 

If you have any questions or would like to check your eligibility to make a birth injury compensation claim, you can contact an advisor from our team on the following details:

Birth Injury Compensation Claims

Birth Injury Compensation Claims

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When Can You Make A Birth Injury Claim?

When making a valid birth injury compensation claim, it’s important that you can establish that medical negligence has occurred. All healthcare professionals have a duty to provide care at a level reasonably expected, including doctors, midwives or surgeons. If they provide a substandard level of care, you may have grounds to begin a medical negligence claim.

Additionally, you must be able to demonstrate that any harm you suffered as a result of medical negligence was either avoidable or unnecessary.

In order to do this, you can gather evidence, such as your medical records or have an assessment from an independent medical expert. Birth injury claims that do not have supporting evidence are unlikely to be either successful or valid. 

Our specialist birth injury solicitors can assist you with gathering evidence if they are able to work with you. Contact our advisors to find out more. Otherwise, continue reading to find out more about what evidence can be used to prove medical negligence.

a baby laying on its stomach in an incubator

Different Types Of Birth Injuries To Babies

As previously stated, there are various types of birth injuries that a baby could suffer. Below, we have provided some examples and further information on the types of injuries this could include.

Cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy is a condition that affects movement and coordination. It is caused by a problem with the brain that develops before, during or soon after birth. 

You might be eligible to seek cerebral palsy compensation on behalf of your child if the condition was caused by a negligent birth. For example, if the baby temporarily did not get enough oxygen, this could have been avoided if proper monitoring was carried out during labour. 

To learn more about cerebral palsy claims click here.

Erb’s palsy

You may have questions about Erb’s palsy claims, such as what is it and when could I seek compensation?

During a difficult birth, your baby may suffer an injury to the nerves that supply movement and feeling to either arm. This is called Erb’s palsy. It can cause partial or total paralysis in the affected arm, depending on how many nerves were affected and how badly. 

Erb’s palsy compensation claims must be supported with evidence that proves this nerve damage was caused by a breach in the duty of care owed by a medical professional. If you need any assistance proving negligence caused your child’s Erb’s palsy, our birth injury solicitors could help. 

Stillbirth

Stillbirth compensation claims will need to meet the eligibility requirements. It is considered a stillbirth if the baby is born deceased after 24 completed weeks of pregnancy. 

Throughout your pregnancy, your midwife should meet the correct standard of care. For example, if the baby’s growth isn’t adequately monitored, problems that could result in stillbirth may be missed. However, not all growth problems that result in stillbirth qualify for compensation. If the baby was monitored appropriately but still died, you might not be able to claim. 

To learn more about stillbirth claims click here. 

Other Birth Injuries

Other injuries that your baby may suffer during labour and delivery include:

  • Broken bones. If your baby’s shoulders become stuck in the birth canal, they may suffer a clavicle fracture or broken arm. 
  • Nerve damage. For example, a forceps delivery may result in damage to your baby’s facial nerves. Other nerve damage may occur if the baby is stuck in the birth canal. 
  • Brain damage. If the baby experiences a lack of oxygen during the birth, a brain injury could occur. This could range in severity. 
  • Bruising and swelling. Forceps or vacuum deliveries can result in bruising and swelling to your baby, as can problems in the birth canal. 

If your baby suffered an injury during birth, to be eligible to pursue a birth injury claim on their behalf, you must be able to prove that they suffered unnecessary harm due to a medical professional breaching their duty of care.

To see whether you could make a claim on behalf of your baby, you can contact our team of advisors. Or, read on to learn more about birth injury claims.

Different Types Of Birth Injuries To Mothers

Birth injuries can affect either the child, mother or both. There are many different types of birth injuries that the mother can suffer. Below, we have provided some examples and information about the types of birth injuries a mother could suffer.

Pre-Eclampsia

Birth injuries to the mother can also occur. Pre-eclampsia is one such condition. This reduces the blood flow to the placenta. Signs of it include high blood pressure and protein in the urine. It can be picked up at antenatal appointments by monitoring blood pressure and testing urine. 

For the mother, it can cause a range of symptoms, including severe headaches and swelling, as well as more serious complications such as convulsions and stroke. In addition to the birth injury to the mother, the baby may need to be delivered early, which can mean that they aren’t fully developed, leading to complications such as breathing difficulties. 

To learn more about pregnancy negligence claims, contact an advisor from our team. 

a midwife tends to a pregnant woman

Is There A Time Limit For Birth Injury Claims?

As well as meeting the aforementioned eligibility criteria, there are certain time limits that must be adhered to when starting a medical negligence claim. Under the Limitation Act 1980, these generally are:

  • 3 years from the date you were harmed.
  • 3 years from when you first realised the harm you suffered was caused by a medical professional breaching their duty of care. Otherwise known as the date of knowledge.

However, the time limit will differ for those under the age of 18. For example, if someone was under the age of 18 when they gave birth and suffered harm, or your baby suffered a birth injury. In this instance, they will be unable to start their own claim until their 18th birthday. From this date, they will have 3 years to begin their own claim. A litigation friend could make a medical negligence claim on their behalf prior to their 18th birthday. This could be a parent or solicitor, for example.

For more information about the other exceptions that apply to birth injury claims time limit, you can contact our advisors.

How Do I Prove A Birth Injury Compensation Claim?

Evidence is necessary for proving a birth injury claim. Evidence can include, but is not limited to:

  • Maternity/handheld notes. This is a record book that your midwife put your details in at your first appointment. It should have been added to at each subsequent antenatal appointment and contain information about you and the progressing pregnancy.
  • Scan images. These can be from the regular scans you are offered as well as any private and 4D scans you may have had.
  • Witness contact details. For example, if you had a birthing coach with you while giving birth and they saw what happened, they can provide a statement at a later date.
  • Medical records. In addition to your maternity notes, your medical records can also be submitted.

You can contact our advisors today for more information on the types of evidence that could be used to help support your medical negligence claim. They may also be able to connect you with a No Win No Fee solicitor, who could assist you with gathering appropriate evidence.

Compensation Payouts In Birth Injury Claims

In birth injury claims, it is possible to receive up to two heads of claim. These heads of claim are known as general damages and special damages. 

General damages account for the pain and suffering caused by your birth injuries.

In order to estimate a potential birth injury compensation award, legal professionals may use figures from a publication called the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). This document provided guideline compensation brackets for various forms of harm. The table below shows figures from the 16th edition of the JCG. Please note that the figures below are intended as guidance only.

 

Edit
Injury Type Severity Description of Injury Minimum Compensation
Injury Resulting From Brain Damage Severe This bracket can include cases involving severe physical and cognitive disabilities due to quadriplegic cerebral palsy. £282,010 to £403,990
Other Arm Injuries Severe Severe injuries that do not require amputation, such as a serious brachial plexus injury. £96,160 to £130,930
Neck Injuries Severe (ii) Includes the brachial plexus being permanently damaged. £65,740 to £130,930
Reproductive System: Female (b) Permanent sexual dysfunction in a person with no children. May include medical complication such as multiple surgeries or ectopic pregnancies. £43,010 to £102,100
Psychiatric Damage Generally Moderately severe A more positive prognosis, but the person will still suffer with significant problems concerning daily life. £19,070 to £54,830
Psychiatric Damage Generally Moderate The person will have suffered with various problems, but improvements have been made. £5,860 to £19,070
Shoulder Injuries Severe Associated with a neck injury that involves damage to the brachial plexus which causes a serious disability. £19,200 to £48,030
Shoulder Injuries Serious The lower part of the brachial plexus has been damages and the shoulder dislocated. This causes pain and weakness of grip. £12,770 to £19,200
Injuries to the Pelvis and Hips Moderate (i) A permanent disability that is not huge despite a significantly serious injury to the pelvis or hip. £26,590 to £39,170
Injuries to the Pelvis and Hips Lesser (i) A fracture that has completely recovered in 2 years. £3,950 to £12,590

 

Special Damages In Birth Injury Claims

As well as receiving compensation for the physical injuries to you or your child, it’s also possible to claim compensation for any financial losses or expenses that you’ve either incurred or may incur in the future under special damages. Receipts, invoices or payslips can be used as evidence to demonstrate financial losses. 

Some examples of circumstances in which special damages can be claimed include but are not limited to:

  • Medical expenses, which may include all medical expenses incurred following childbirth injury incidents, such as the need for long-term care or private healthcare.
  • Travel expenses, which may include all transportation costs for travelling between the hospital and your home, between your medical negligence solicitor’s office, and all other trips related to your birth injury claim.
  • Care expenses, if you ended up requiring someone to care for you or help you with household duties due to your birth injuries.

For a free valuation of your medical negligence claim, you can contact our advisors.

A baby cries on its back in an incubator

Can I Make a No Win No Fee Birth Injury Claim?

If you decide to work with a solicitor for your birth injury claim, they may offer to represent you on a No Win No Fee basis. By offering you a form of No Win No Fee contract known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), you won’t be expected to pay anything upfront for their services. You also won’t be required to pay any ongoing fees for their work. Should your claim fail, you will not be expected to pay your solicitor for the services they provide.

However, if your medical negligence claim has a successful outcome, they will take a success fee from your awarded compensation. This amount is a legally limited percentage. 

To receive free advice and to learn more about the benefits of making a birth injury claim with the help of a No Win No Fee solicitor, you can contact our advisors.

Make A Claim Today Or Get Legal Advice

To discuss your birth injury claim, or to ask any questions that this guide may have not covered, you can contact our advisory team. They are available 24/7 and can be contacted by:

Helpful Links

Below, you can find more helpful links on a range of different claims, as well as those relating to birth injuries:

Misdiagnosis compensation claims have you been misdiagnosed?

Find out how much compensation you can claim for a misdiagnosed birth injury claim.

NHS on cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy can be caused by a brain injury that happens before, during or soon after birth, find out more.

How do I make a complaint about an NHS service?

Find out more information on how to complain to the NHS after a birth injury.

How Much Compensation Can I Claim Against a Doctor or GP?

Claiming against medical professionals can be overwhelming. Read our guide to find out if you should consider action. 

Hospital Negligence Claims

Did the negligence of hospital staff lead to your pain and suffering? Have a look at our guide to see what you could do next. 

Retained Placenta Medical Negligence Compensation Guide

Are you thinking about claiming for your injuries caused by a retained placenta? If it should have been taken care of by medical professionals, read our guide.

NHS Negligence Claims

A useful guide on claiming compensation following an incident of NHS negligence.

Birmingham Medical Negligence Solicitors

Read this guide to learn more about using out birth injury solicitors for Birmingham.

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    Meet The Team

    • Patrick Mallon

      Patrick is a Grade A solicitor having qualified in 2005. He's an an expert in accident at work and public liability claims and is currently our head of the EL/PL department. Get in touch today for free to see how we can help you.

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