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How Much Compensation Can I Claim For Midwife Negligence Claims

If you or your baby have suffered harm as a result of midwife negligence during pregnancy, delivery or postnatally then you may be eligible to claim compensation for any losses and the pain and suffering you have experienced. Although millions of babies are delivered safely everyday, there are a number of ways in which mother and baby can suffer injury during this vulnerable time. If you wish to seek the damages you deserve then please call Legal Expert and we can allocate a highly experienced solicitor to your case.

Please read on to find our more about claiming for midwife negligence and call us when you are ready to begin your claim. We will be ready and waiting for you, call us free on 0800 073 8804.

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Your guide to Midwife Negligence Claims

Although pregnancy and birth are a very special time for parents, they can also be worrying and leave you feeling vulnerable. You expect a midwife to empower you and make you feel safer during this magical,yet slightly tense time when you are completely focused on the safe delivery of your baby. If something goes wrong in your pregnancy or during the birth of your child then the impact of this can be anything from mildly worrying right through to utterly devastating. Both the physical and psychological impact have the potential to be huge. Although you may not initially think about claiming compensation, you may decide that actually you deserve to be compensated for your pain and suffering and in fact require the money from the damages to pay for the costs which have resulted from midwife negligence. This guide covers a number of the conditions and types of harm that can result from midwife negligence. However, the lists are not exhaustive and if you have experienced any other kind of midwife negligence then please get in touch with us and we can advise you whether or not you are eligible to make a claim.

What constitutes Midwife Negligence?

Midwife negligence

Midwife negligence

The area of midwife negligence is huge and can occur during any part of your pregnancy, labour or postnatally. If your midwife behaves in a negligent way during any part of the process which directly results in unnecessary harm to either you or your baby then you may have grounds for midwife negligence claims.The following scenarios are just some ways in which you could bring a midwife negligence case.

  • If you have presented to your midwife with certain symptoms or abnormalities that should have been recognised as a potential problem, but the midwife has not carried out appropriate examinations or tests to investigate the problem further. It is the responsibility of your midwife to listen to you and examine you in order to identify any potential problem areas. It is then the midwife’s duty to investigate any potentially problematic symptoms further. Failure to do so is negligent practice.
  • If your midwife does order further tests but then fails to read the results properly, record the tests appropriately or report them properly, which leads to either a misdiagnosis or a diagnostic delay of a complication than this can also be considered negligent behaviour.
  • If a diagnosis of a potential complication is made, it is then the midwife’s duty to act upon these results and ensure that you are following the right course of treatment. If your midwife fails to take action after receiving results, or fails to advise you properly on the next steps then this is negligence by omission.
  • When you become pregnant, your midwife will talk to you about any pre-existing conditions that you may have or a family history of a condition that could impact upon your pregnancy. If you tell the midwife this information and the midwife fails to take action, despite the fact that it could cause complications further down the line then the midwife can be held responsible for this.

This is by no means an exhaustive list and there are many other scenarios in which a midwife may be held responsible for a complication which occurs, harming yourself or your baby. Midwife negligence cases cover a wide variety of situations. We understand however that it may be difficult for you to decide whether or not your midwife’s actions were negligent. That is why Legal Expert are on-hand to advise you about your rights. If you believe that you have experienced midwife negligence and have suffered harm as a result then we suggest that you seek the advice of a personal injury solicitor as soon as possible.

The rise of Midwife led births

An increasing number of women are choosing to give birth in midwife led units as opposed to a hospital delivery suite. The number of women giving birth in midwife-led units has tripled over a period of six years according to a research study. Women are free to choose where they have a baby and many mothers report that they feel more relaxed in a homely unit lead by midwives, whilst still feeling that midwife units are safe for their babies. Women choosing birthing centres are also less likely to need medical interventions during birth. It is also the case that midwifery units are cheaper for the Health Service and so often recommended by healthcare professionals.

Midwife negligence statistics

Midwives are more likely than any other health care professional to be involved in clinical negligence cases. Two thirds of compensation cases brought against the NHS in 2008-9 involved obstetric teams, and midwives were central to most of these claims. In particular failure to read cardiotocography (CTG) information was a major factor in stillbirth claims.

In 2016, £1 billion worth of damages was paid as a result of successful NHS compensation claims. Midwifery claims made up a significant number of these. There are rising concerns about the number of errors being made in childbirth, with trends suggesting that negligence costs as a result are on the rise. The largest payouts are given where babies are tragically brain damaged due to complications at birth. As a result, parents need to claim for lifelong care costs. Babies who suffer brain damage are often starved of oxygen due to a failure to properly monitor their heart rate or detect risks of reduced oxygen.

What should you do if you suffer midwife negligence leading to injury?

Although it is incredibly traumatic to suffer harm as a result of midwife negligence, it is really crucial to gather information as soon as possible. This will give you the best chance of bringing a successful midwife negligence claim. If you believe that you have been a victim of midwife negligence then you should write down all the details of the case as you understand them. If there have been witnesses to the negligence, perhaps other midwives, other clinicians or birthing partners present during the examination or birth then it is advisable to collect their details in case they are required to provide evidence at a later date. We also strongly advise that you contact a personal injury lawyer at your earliest convenience. Your lawyer will be able to advise you on the best course of action and remove some of the stress from the situation by handling the case on your behalf.

What injuries can midwife negligence cause to baby?

Here are just a few examples of the kind of harm that midwife negligence can lead to:

  • Cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a condition which affects an individual’s ability to move

and co-ordinate their muscles. It is caused by damage to the brain. One of the common causes of cerebral palsy is failure to intervene when there is an indication of foetal distress during labour. If delivery is delayed, a baby can be starved of oxygen, causing damage to the brain. This is often due to the fact that the CTG trace was interpreted incorrectly by the midwife.

Cerebral palsy can also be caused following the birth if the midwife fails to notice or diagnose hypoglycemia, jaundice or serious conditions such as meningitis. You may also be able to claim medical negligence if these conditions were diagnosed but there was a delay in treatment.

Babies who suffer brain injuries leading to cerebral palsy may never be able to live independently and will require ongoing therapy. They will also need adaptations for their home and are unlikely to be able to work. A child with cerebral palsy is likely to be highly dependent on others throughout their lives. The extent to which a child is disabled depends on the damage sustained by the brain.

  • Erb’s Palsy

Erb’s palsy is also known as brachial plexus palsy. It occurs when there is trauma to the baby’s neck during childbirth, causing damage to the nerves. This is usually caused when the baby’s shoulders become trapped in the birth canal and excessive force is used to deliver the baby. The process of becoming trapped means that the baby’s chest and cord are compressed and the baby struggles to breathe. If there is excessive traction on a baby’s neck, head or shoulders during delivery, resulting in Erb’s Palsy, then you may be able to claim compensation. You can argue that a caesarean section should have been arranged in advance following identification of a potential shoulder dystocia or that the shoulder dystocia was handled inappropriately and procedures were not adhered to.

The brachial plexus is the network of nerves that runs from neck to arm. They enable feeling and movement in the arms and hands. Although some babies will recover without intervention, others suffer permanent disability which requires ongoing treatment.

Even if a nerve is not severed and remains connected, the scar tissue involved in the healing process can still interfere with the messages that run between the nerves meaning that the messages never reach the muscles. One in ten children with this condition will require surgery to correct or improve it.

You may be able to claim compensation for Erb’s palsy if it can be proved that the midwife was negligent in recognising a particularly large baby that could be difficult to deliver, has failed to recommend a caesarean section if clinical signs suggest that that would be sensible, has failed to diagnose gestational diabetes, did not follow procedure for shoulder dystopia or has applied excessive force during labour which results in harm to the baby.

  • Brain injuries

Brain injuries at birth are usually caused when a baby is deprived of oxygen, also known as birth asphyxia. It can also occur as a result of undiagnosed or untreated jaundice or physical trauma. Just a few minutes of birth asphyxia can lead to a degree of brain damage. The brain damage that babies suffer can vary from mild to severe and depending on the injury, the level of need maybe minimal or may make them highly dependent on other people for the rest of their lives. As well as needing medical care in the hospital immediately following birth, babies with brain damage are likely to need physical therapy, speech therapy and emotional therapy for a long time to come. Although no parents or baby can ever be fully compensated for the harm that has occurred, they may find that it is a necessity to claim financial compensation to help them deal with the additional costs that they now face.

  • Fractured or broken bones

The most common bone to be broken during birth is the clavicle but other bones are vulnerable to breakage too. It may be hard to tell initially that a bone is broken but the baby will be unable to move it and will show signs of discomfort. A midwife may be held liable for broken or fractured bones if they have allowed labour to go on for too long, failed to diagnose a breech birth, failed to respond appropriately to shoulder dystocia or used excessive force to deliver the baby.

In the case of a broken clavicle there is very little treatment that can be offered other than pain relief. Other broken bones may require setting or even need surgery. Broken backs or necks are the most serious kind of fracture and will require emergency treatment. They can sadly result in a permanent disability.

  • Bells Palsy. This can be caused by a forceps delivery which is not carried out properly.

It can damage the facial nerves causing paralysis. You can claim Bell’s palsy compensation if you believe that negligence led to this condition in your baby.

What injuries can midwife negligence cause to mother?

Injuries sustained by the mother during birth can have long lasting consequences. There are a number of scenarios in which you can make midwife negligence claims. They can include:

  • Avoidable vaginal tears. Although vaginal, anal or perineal tears are not uncommon and often tricky to prevent, the severity of them can be reduced by a careful midwife. Failure to properly check for tears or give advice on appropriate treatment to ensure no other more serious conditions arise from the tear can result in compensation for a tear during labour. Tears can be caused by particularly big babies, if the second stage of labour is prolonged or if the baby’s shoulders get caught in an awkward position. If these tears are not treated properly they can lead to a number of more serious conditions including pain, anal fistulas, incontinence, infection and psychological issues.
  • Incorrect stitching after an episiotomy.
  • Harm resulting from a midwife’s failure to spot an underlying condition during the pregnancy, for example preeclampsia or gestational diabetes.

This list is not exhaustive and if you have experienced any other kind of harm as a result of a midwives negligence then please call Legal Expert today and find out whether you could be eligible to claim compensation. Remember if the midwife was negligent, compensation may be payable. If you are still unsure and wondering ‘was my midwife negligent?’, then one of our advisors will be glad to have a chat and advise you.

What are the long term effects of midwife negligence?

It goes without saying that the long-term impact of midwife negligence can be absolutely devastating for a family. To have a long awaited baby that suffers harm at the point of delivery is heartbreaking. Even relatively minor harm that occurs during childbirth as a result of midwife negligence can result in long term trauma to the mother. A difficult delivery may mean that the mother wishes never to have another child, even if they had previously wanted to do so. More serious injuries can mean that assistance and medication is required on an ongoing basis, potentially for the rest of the child’s life.

Claiming midwife negligence against the NHS

If you were treated in the NHS then you are still absolutely eligible to claim compensation. Your eligibility to claim damages extends to any negligence in midwifery practice.In fact, the NHS have their own litigation authority to deal with clinical and nonclinical claims, it is called NHS resolution. Our personal injury solicitors will be very happy to talk you through the process of midwife negligence claims.

Claiming midwife negligence against a private practice

If you have received treatment from a midwife in a private practice and you experienced harm as a result of a midwife negligence then you are eligible to claim birth negligence compensation. In order to be able to make a successful claim you need to prove liability. This is the tricky part and we strongly recommend that you seek a personal injury lawyer to help you to do this. In order to have the best chance of success in your midwife negligence claim, you should have an experienced professional on your side. This is where Legal Expert can help.

What can I claim for as part of a midwife negligence claim?

If you wish to make midwife negligence claims, the personal injury claims time limit is usually three years so we recommend that you contact a solicitor as soon as possible in order to establish blame and begin gathering evidence. Your solicitor will advise you what you can include as part of your personal injury claim. This may include:

  • General Damages – general damages are payable for the pain and suffering you have experienced as a result of midwife negligence.
  • Medical Expenses – you may be compensated for any medical expenses you have been required to pay in order to get treatment for your injury or your baby’s illness. This payment can include the cost of treatment going forward if it is a long-term condition that requires ongoing medical intervention or other types of therapy.
  • Travel Costs – if you have been out of pocket as a result of travel costs associated with the injury then you can claim these back. Remember to keep receipts to prove how much you have paid.
  • Care Claim – if you have required help at home during the time you have been recovering from your injury then care costs can be claimed as a result.
  • Loss of earnings – if you have experienced a loss of earnings due to the injury, or will continue to lose out on future earnings as a result of your injury or they need to look after your child who has been injured then you can make this claim as part of your overall midwife negligence claim.

Midwife negligence compensation claims calculator

Our personal injury claims calculator will give you an idea of how much compensation you may be entitled to receive. However whilst on midwife negligence compensation calculator can offer a rough summary, this is no substitute for speaking directly to a professional who can look at the specific details of your case. Feel free to give us a call and have a more in-depth chat with somebody who can advise you further.

Type of InjuryCompensation AmountAdditional Information
Very severe brain damage£247,206 to £354,260Little meaningful response to environment, full-time nursing care necessary.
Moderately severe brain damage£192,090 to £247,280Serious disablement and substantial dependence on others. Life expectancy may be greatly reduced full stop
Moderate brain damage£131,620 to £192,090Severe intellectual deficit and an effect on the senses with the possibility of epilepsy.
Less severe brain damage£13,430 to £37,760A good chance of recovery and normal social interaction

No Win No Fee Midwife Negligence claims

The period after you or your baby have experienced an injury during pregnancy, birth or postnatally is likely to be one of the most traumatic times in your life. You may wish to begin a personal injury claim but are worried about the stress and financial burden associated with doing so. Legal Expert offer a no win, no fee service. This means that you will not be required to make any payment upfront and won’t be subject to any hidden costs. If you are successful in your claim then our fee will be taken from this final payment. This means that you will not experience any financial burden during this very difficult time.

How Legal Expert can help you with midwife negligence claims

Here at Legal Expert, we understand that you want to receive the maximum possible compensation. We also understand that you are feeling very vulnerable and have been through a very difficult time, and may continue to do so. Therefore we do everything we can to make the claims process as straightforward and stress-free as possible. We will listen to your birth negligence stories, establish the facts and then do as much as we can without needing to trouble you unless absolutely necessary. We have many years of experience and a very friendly and helpful team who will help you in any way that they can, both with your claim and any associated queries you may have. We believe that we are the best in the business at accessing the maximum compensation and showing our clients the compassion that they deserve.

Begin a midwife negligence case today

As soon as you already to make your midwife negligence claim then give us a call on 0800 073 8804. You are also welcome to contact us via our website and we will call you back as soon as we can.

Helpful Links

Birth Complications

This NHS page shows more on complications in birth

Injury in Birth Claims

This detailed guide offers more information on childbirth claims

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