How Much Compensation Can I Claim For A Birth Injury?
By Ruth Lambert. Last Updated 29th March 2021. Welcome to our guide on birth injury claims. The birth of a child is a very emotional time for the parents. Apart from the physical stress and anxiety of childbirth, the expectant mother can require constant monitoring and special care. During the hospital stay, doctors or other staff members may fail in their duty to provide the highest standard of care. In the worst cases, this can result in injury and maternity negligence claims. Unfortunately, even the slightest medical negligence can cause birth injuries to both the mother and child. Such tragic incidents usually lead to legal proceedings against the hospital, the doctor, and the medical staff.
Many UK-based medical negligence and birth injury solicitors are helping families deal with the aftermath of such accidents. Cases have involved birth injuries that have led to long-term disabilities like cerebral palsy, partial paralysis, brain damage, and many more health conditions. Common consequences of birth injuries can include (but are not limited to):
- Erb’s palsy
- Cerebral palsy
- Paralysis or partial paralysis
- Brain damage
- Spine injuries
- Bone fractures
These situations are life-altering for both the new-born baby and the parents. In birth negligence stories such as these, seeking an expert legal opinion can be the best course of action. This guide will provide information about birth injury compensation claims to make that process easier.
Select a section:
- A guide to birth injury claims
- What is a birth injury?
- Claiming for birth injuries caused by medical negligence
- Claiming for birth injuries to the mother.
- Claiming for birth injuries to the baby.
- The link between birth injuries and cerebral palsy.
- Birth injury facts and statistics.
- Medical profession’s duty of care.
- What are the common grounds for making a birth injury negligence claims?
- Are there different types of birth injury negligence claims?
- Assessing the severity of a birth injury.
- The long-term effects of a birth injury.
- What to do if your child has suffered a birth injury?
- What can be claimed after a birth injury?
- No win no fee birth injury claims.
- How much can I claim for a birth injury?
- Compensation Table for affected body parts due to birth injuries (Updated March 2021)
- How to start a birth injury claim?
- Why choose us as your claims service provider for a birth injury claim?
- Call for free advice and to start a claim.
- Birth Injury Claims FAQs
According to information from the Birth Trauma Association, as many as 30,000 women a year feel traumatised by childbirth. This can lead to them developing symptoms similar to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. Injuries and accidents surrounding the birth of a child can be among the most serious and concerning. This guide will help all family members of birth injury victims learn more about birth injury accidents and the legal action that may follow.
The sections in this guide have been organised in such a way you can easily understand the required steps for filing for birth injury compensation. The guide begins with an explanation of birth injury and injuries caused as a result of medical negligence for the mother and the baby. After that, the guide will discuss the medical profession’s duty of care. It will also explore the circumstances in which this professional duty may have been flouted, causing damages to the baby and the mother.
By the end of this guide, those considering pregnancy medical negligence cases or birth injury claims will be better informed about their legal options.
A birth injury is a health issue sustained by either a mother or the baby during childbirth. Factors such as the doctor’s competence and experience, the medical staff’s competence, the available hospital facilities, and emergency care can affect the success of the procedure. In many cases, surgical injury to the mother during birth results in birth injuries to both the mother and the child. Cerebral palsy is one of the most common birth injuries, with brain and nerve damage closely following. In assisted deliveries, tools such as forceps have been known to cause birth defects. In extreme cases, medical negligence may cause the death of the baby due to an umbilical cord around the baby’s neck or a ruptured placenta.
Birth injuries can happen when the doctor or a medical staff fails to adhere to the highest standards of treatment procedures. Or, they fail to provide adequate medical support during childbirth. The most common reasons for such medical mistakes include inadequate monitoring of the patient, incorrect diagnosis, lack of medical experience, lack of experience in handling specialised equipment like forceps, or failing to take adequate remedial action if necessary. If you are able to demonstrate medical negligence in a legal setting, you may be able to win birth injury compensation following an accident.
Can I make a medical negligence claim after 3 years?
Clinical negligence claims usually carry a 3-year time limit. However, the limitation period for a claim runs from the date of knowledge, so it is possible to start a claim after 3 years if the effects weren’t apparent right away.
This section will be of use to anyone looking for more information on birth injury claims when the mother has suffered injury. The birth injuries more commonly associated with the mother can include fissures, vaginal tears, poor stitching after a c-section, or secondary infections caused by mismanaged post-delivery complications. In any of these situations, where negligence or liability can be demonstrated, we invite people to seek a legal opinion about the birth injury compensation. In the event of the death of the mother, a family member of the mother, a spouse, or a civil partner may wish to file a claim on their behalf.
The birth injuries associated with the new-born child can include:
- cerebral palsy.
- stuck shoulders.
- brain damage to damaged nerves.
- fractured skulls.
- death due to lack of oxygen.
The parent or close family member of the child should seek immediate legal advice about the next course of action, which could involve taking a third-party medical opinion on the matter. In cases such as these, it can be important to have a qualified legal professional working on your case, helping you to demonstrate the liability of the defendant.
If you’d like to find out more about birth injury claims or to speak to someone today about starting your claim, get in touch with our team.
Cerebral palsy is one of the conditions most commonly associated with birth injuries. The primary cause of cerebral palsy is a brain injury, which can be caused by certain actions that may occur during the delivery procedure. One of the first organs be affected by a birth injury is the child’s brain. This birth injury leads to defective brain development after birth. As a direct consequence of this brain damage, the growing child is highly likely to develop permanent disabilities in muscle movements, body balance, and posture. As a result, parents may be able to claim birth injury compensation.
In attempting to understand the problems of birth injuries, it can help to understand the statistics surrounding such accidents. The Office for National Statistic’s 2019 report on infant mortality finds that:
- The infant mortality rate in Wales and England slightly decreased from 3.9 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2017 to 3.7.
- There were a total of 2,390 infant deaths (under the age of 1) in England and Wales.
- The infant mortality rate has reduced the most for mothers aged 40 or over. Rates have gone from 5.8 deaths per 1,000 live births (2010) to 4.6 deaths per 1,000 live births.
As the graph below shows, there has been a general downward trend in regards to infant mortality since 1980.
The medical profession’s duty of care compels doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals to take maximum precautions and any necessary action to ensure that all treatment decisions, procedures, and logistics have been carried out with the patient’s welfare in mind. In the event that they have not done so, it may be that there is a medical negligence case to be made. If you want to know more on this topic, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists provides a number of resources.
When filing a legal case, the claimant must establish a valid ground for claiming medical negligence during childbirth and bringing a claim against those responsible. Reasons can include:
- General misdiagnosis – This may include any wrong diagnosis or partially wrong diagnosis leading to a birth injury.
- Anaesthesia mistakes – This may include injuries caused by incorrectly administered anaesthesia to the mother during a surgical procedure.
- Complications as a result of incorrect or surgical procedure – This may include injuries caused as a consequence of the incorrect medical or surgical procedure.
- Errors in cosmetic procedure – This may include birth injuries caused by a poorly performed surgical procedure.
- Care negligence – This may include injuries endured during postnatal care.
Being able to demonstrate one or more of the above examples of negligence will form a key part of your birth injury compensation claim.
Not all birth injury claims are the same and it is important to understand the differences between the different types of negligence claims in order to make a strong legal case. Below is an overview of the types of birth injury negligence claims:
- If the injured victim is partially responsible for the birth injury, it is a case of contributory negligence, in which a court will decide the relative proportion of responsibility shared by the victim with other guilty parties.
- In the case of vicarious liability, the hospital or medical organisation employing the doctors and staff will take the responsibility for the birth injury.
- When there is gross negligence, medical professionals violated their duty of care. In this situation, a legal proceeding will take place in a court, likely leading to licence revocation and suspension of medical professionals. In this case, the court may decide to award traumatic birth injury compensation.
If you meet with a legal professional, you will be able to discover which of the categories best suits your own birth injury compensation claim.
If your child has suffered a birth injury and you wish to initiate a legal case, one of the first things any solicitor will ask you involves describing the extent of the injury suffered by the mother, the baby, or both. This is because the severity of the injury will play a key role in the claim.
Any likely compensation claim payout will depend on the severity of the injury suffered. As we will see in a later section, the more severe an injury, the higher a payout will be. This can be taken as a firm guideline though it is not always the case. As such, diagnosing the full severity of your injury will be important. It’s one of the reasons why we offer clients the chance to have a full evaluation, which we will arrange with a local doctor. In doing so, we will be able to fully understand the severity of the injuries caused by your accident.
The long-term effects of a birth injury can remain hidden until later life. Certain conditions can remain hidden until the child reaches maturity. The adverse effects on the child’s body can manifest themselves in the various organs of the human body at different stages of life. In the most severe instances, this can include defective or malfunctioning organs. In less severe cases, it may require surgery for correction. Thus, patients are known to suffer from the effects of birth injuries in their adulthood, which can lead to anything from a physical handicap to psychological disorders or brain damage, resulting in an inability to earn a living.
Trying to determine the long-term effects of an injury will form part of the birth injury compensation claim. It is why we arrange medical evaluations for clients, hoping to fully and accurately diagnose any potential medical condition which might reveal itself in later life. In doing so, we can be sure that we are seeking the right amount of compensation.
For more details on the birth injury claims process and the steps you should take, please keep reading.
When an unfortunate incident like a birth injury happens to your close family members, it may be tough for you to handle the situation, let alone fight a legal battle. If you find yourself in such a situation, we advise the following steps:
- Seek a second medical opinion. Once you are certain that all of the immediate health concerns are rectified, it can help to seek a second opinion. If you need further evaluation, we can arrange this on your behalf.
- Organise and document any evidence you can. If you do not make notes about the evidence, you may forget crucial facts later.
- Start gathering all bills and receipts and estimating the financial losses, which may be anything from medical expenses to loss of income to expenses due to psychological trauma.
Taking the time to walk through the above process can improve your chances of filing a successful birth injury compensation claim.
In making birth injury claims, there are a number of costs, expenses, and damages you can attempt to recover. The following list includes the common types of claims, though every type may not be applicable in every case. These include:
- General damages, which may include compensation for doctor’s negligence, for medical staff negligence, and for hospital negligence
- Special damages, which may include repayment of any out-of-pocket expenses.
- Medical expenses, which may include all medical expenses incurred following birth injury incidents, such as the need for a long term care or private healthcare.
- Travel expenses, which may include all transportation costs for travelling between the hospital and client’s home, between the law office and client’s home, and all other trips related to the birth injury case.
- Funeral expenses, which may include expenses paid to cover funerals in the event of death.
With the advice of a professional legal team, you can be sure that you’re claiming the full birth injury compensation total and can maximise your payout amount.
We believe in providing our clients with the maximum financial and emotional assistance after a medical negligence incident, which may already leave you traumatised. Our Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) deal – which we call our ‘No Win No Fee’ agreement – helps to make the entire process much easier. We provide legal consultation and advice at a time when you need it most. What’s more, our client-friendly approach means that we want to help you reduce the stress, risk, and confusion so often related to a compensation claim.
The following table provides representative injury types with associated descriptions, severity, and applicable compensatory payments. Medical negligence claim settlements are settled on the individual merits of a case, so these figures are provided in a purely advisory capacity. However, you can still use this birth injury compensation calculator to provide an overview of potential settlement amounts.
|Injury Type||Severity||Minimum Compensation||Maximum Compensation||Description of Injury|
|Brain Injury||Severe||£264,650||£1,000,000 Plus||Severe disability, little (if any) response to environment and full-time care needed.|
|Brain Injury||Moderately to Severe||£205,580||£1,000,000 Plus||Severe disability with substantial dependence on others.|
|Brain Injury||Very Severe||£264,650 to||£1,000,000 Plus||Little, if any, evidence of meaningful response to environment, little or no language function, double incontinence and the need for full-time nursing care.|
|Psychiatric Damage||Severe||£51,460||£108,620||Difficulty coping and the prognosis is poor.|
|Psychiatric Damage||Moderately severe||£17,900||£51,460||Similar to above but the prognosis is more optimistic.|
|Psychiatric Damage||Moderate||£5,500||£17,900||Marked improvement with good prognosis.|
|Psychiatric Damage||Minor||£1,440||£5,500||Mental health suffered, but improved.|
|Psychiatric Damage||P.T.S.D.||£3,710||£94,470||Where P.T.S.D. was diagnosed.|
|Psychiatric Damage||Chronic pain||£19,770||£59,110||Where relevant symptoms are identified by a medical professional.|
|Internal Organs||Serious chest injuries||£29,380||£140,870||Lifelong disability, persistent pain and scarring|
|Internal Organs||Lung disease||£29,380||£127,530||Lower compensation for significant affect on working and social life. Higher for serious disability.|
|Internal Organs||Hernia||£3,180||£22,680||From uncomplicated hernias to those that cause pain even after repair.|
Though the table lists only a few health concerns – and, thus, your case is not likely to be mentioned – the table can be used to demonstrate how influential the severity of an injury is when deciding a final settlement total. This is why an accurate diagnosis is so important.
For accurate compensation claims procedures and average birth injury claims settlements, the readers of this article should use the contact information provided below to get professional advice from our legal team.
When your child has just suffered a birth injury or both the mother and the baby have suffered injuries, you may wish to take legal action. This can be a complicated process, however. It may not be an ideal time in which to familiarise yourself with the laws, regulations, and processes which can be involved in birth injury claims.
This is why we always advise clients as to the benefits of working with professionals. Medical negligence solicitors and birth injury lawyers can patiently hear your case, review the evidence, and objectively assess the merits of the claim. They will also be able to judge whether you have a strong case for birth injury compensation and be able to provide an estimate of a potential settlement amount based on previous experience.
If you call our law firm, for example, our expert legal team will know exactly how to investigate available facts. They can arrange for a third-party medical opinion when proceeding with the case. The legal team will provide not only a free consultation but will also provide legal representation during the court proceedings if you desire. If you want to begin a claim, this is the easiest, least stressful way in which to proceed.
Filing a claim for compensation can be tough. Given the already stressful circumstances surrounding any birth injury, you want a law firm who will be friendly, ethical, successful, and helpful. Our expertise and experience are evident at times like this. We have a history of working with clients in difficult circumstances and we understand how trying this can be. We offer a range of benefits to deal with this, including:
- A free legal consultation.
- Representation on a ‘No Win No Fee’ basis.
- The ability to arrange a medical evaluation with a local doctor.
- Solicitors who are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
- A strong sense of integrity and ethics.
- A desire to help.
If you are seeking the best legal assistance available, there’s only one company you need to call. Speak to our team today for more information about what sets us apart.
If you believe you have a viable claim for birth accident or birth injury compensation, you want the best legal representation. When you want the best, we’re the company for you.
You can call us at 0800 073 8804, chat with us through our website, or use the online contact form to get in touch. We’ll arrange a consultation at a time that suits you. If you want legal assistance on birth injury claims, get in touch today.
Find out how much compensation you can claim for a misdiagnosed birth injury claim.
Cerebral palsy can be caused by a brain injury that happens before, during or soon after birth, find out more.
This Citizens Advice page tells you where to start when you want to sort out a problem with an NHS hospital.
Find out more information on how to complain to the NHS after a birth injury.
Claiming against medical professionals can be overwhelming. Read our guide to find out if you should consider action.
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.
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.
What is a traumatic birth?
A traumatic birth can lead to ‘birth trauma’. The mother experiences distress. It can also be physical if the birth led to an injury.
How do you heal from birth trauma?
The NHS has a dedicated website with resources to help those who have endured birth trauma.
Is there a time limit on injury claims?
Yes. The time limit for making a claim is three years from the date of the injury, or from the date it became clear that the symptoms experienced were related to the birth injury.
How much money can you sue for pain and suffering?
This depends on the extent of the injuries experienced and how they have affected your quality of life or the quality of life of your child.
How do I calculate my personal injury claim?
Your personal injury claim will consist of the general damages, which coves the impact the injury itself has had, and special damages, which consist of any financial loss you’ve experienced as a result of the injury. Instead of calculating your own damages, you can call us to see how much your claim could be worth.
Who can make a birth injury claim?
You can make a birth injury claim for yourself if you have been injured, or you can make a birth injury on behalf of your child if they’ve been injured.
Can birth injury claims be made against a private healthcare provider?
Yes. It doesn’t matter whether you sustained your birth injury at a private or NHS hospital; if you’ve been the victim of a breach of duty of care then you’re eligible to make a claim.
How common are birth injury claims?
In 2019/20, 9% of the 11,281 clinical negligence claims that were made were related to obstetrics, according to the NHS Resolution Annual Report.
Thank you for reading our guide to birth injury claims.