How Much Compensation Can I Claim For Stillbirth Medical Negligence?
By Mark Ainsdale. Last Updated 8th July 2021. Welcome to our guide on stillbirth negligence claims. For any expecting parents, suffering a stillbirth can be one of the most heartbreaking and distressing experiences to go through. While making a stillbirth compensation claim will not take back what has happened, it can ensure you are compensated for any wrongdoings that have taken place that caused you to lose a child. For example, if the midwife looking after you and your baby did not conduct the correct scans or failed to pick up on any signals that something was wrong with your baby, they may be responsible for the suffering you have been subjected to.
Stillbirth compensation claims are designed to ensure you receive a payout for the suffering and pain you have experienced, as well as any expenses you have had to fund due to the stillbirth. Many parents miss work while they come to terms with what has happened, for instance, and compensation for stillbirth will cover loss of income. Additionally, stillbirth negligence claims can cover counselling expenses or any other costs you have been subject to.
At Legal Expert, we have many years of experience helping parents get the compensation they deserve for the stillbirth they have suffered. We have an exceptional track record when it comes to successfully winning stillbirth negligence claims. And we pride ourselves on putting our customers first, and we always act with the highest levels of confidentiality. Find out more about making a stillbirth compensation claim below, or call us on 0800 073 8804 for more information.
Select a Section
- What Is A Stillbirth?
- The causes of stillbirths
- Stillbirth risks and risk management
- Stillbirth statistics
- Stillbirth caused by clinical negligence
- Support for parents who have suffered a stillbirth
- Stillbirth compensation case studies
- Making a complaint vs claiming compensation for stillbirth
- Stillbirth compensation amount (Updated July 2021)
- No Win No Fee stillbirth compensation
- How Legal Expert can help with stillbirth compensation claims
- Helpful Links
- Stillbirth negligence claims- FAQs
According to the NHS, stillbirth is a baby not born alive after the 24th week. Cases before 24 weeks are considered a foetal loss, or more commonly, miscarriage. Sadly, a stillbirth happens more often than many people realise, with over 3,600 cases recorded in the UK each year. Whilst most cases are due to complications with the placenta, others are due to birth defects.
What are the potential causes of stillbirths?
A low percentage of stillbirths occur due to problems with the mother’s health. But a small percentage of cases may be due to medical negligence. And that is often even more heart-breaking for the prospective parents. After all, something may have been done to ensure the safe arrival of their baby.
If you’d like to know more about stillbirth negligence claims, please call Legal Expert or read on for more information.
For a large majority of stillbirths, the baby seems otherwise healthy. Therefore, the cause can’t often be explained, which would not lead to stillbirth compensation claims, despite the traumatic situation the parents have been through. However, some stillbirths have been linked to placental complications. This means the placenta is not functioning correctly. The placenta is the organ that connects the blood supply for the baby to the mother’s birth supply while also nourishing the baby while in the womb.
A placenta that does not function correctly can be the direct cause of stillbirth. In other cases, it contributes to stillbirth because it has caused the growth of the baby to be held back. Many stillbirth organisations and charities are trying to do further research into placental causes to provide greater medical care for babies and improve the detection of placental issues.
Several other causes could lead to stillbirth negligence claims, and they include:
- Infection in the mother, which also impacts the baby.
- Pre-existing diabetes.
- A genetic physical defect in the baby.
- Obstetric cholestasis or intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP). This is a live disorder that occurs during pregnancy and is characterised by extreme itching.
- An issue with the umbilical cord. The umbilical cord is attached to the placenta and the baby’s belly button. Issues can arise if the cord becomes wrapped around the baby and becomes knotted or if it slips down through the entrance of the womb before a baby being delivered. This is known as cord prolapse.
- Pre-eclampsia. This is a condition that causes the mother to experience high blood pressure.
- Placental abruption. This happens when the placenta separates from the womb before the baby being born. This can be associated with abdominal pain and bleeding.
- Bleeding (haemorrhage) during or before labour.
It is worth noting that roughly one in ten stillbirths happens because of an infection. Numerous infections can result in stillbirths. Bacterial infection is the commonest infection type, which travels into the womb from the vagina. This includes the following:
- Haemophilus influenza
- Group B streptococcus
Other infections which may cause a stillbirth to include the following:
- Q fever
- Lyme disease
- Herpes simplex
- Parvovirus B19
If you would like to know more about stillbirth negligence claims, please continue reading. Alternatively, call Legal Expert today to speak with someone about your claim.
Several factors can increase the risk of stillbirth. While not all stillbirths are preventable, there are some things you can do to reduce the risk. This includes the following:
- Report any itching to your midwife.
- Be aware of your baby’s movements and report any concerns to your midwife immediately. When you are between 16 and 20 weeks pregnant, you will probably start to feel some movement. However, for some women, it does take a little bit longer. These movements can be a roll, swish, flutter, or kick. The number of movements will rise until you reach around the 32-week stage, after which they should stay around the same. You will become accustomed to your baby’s movements. If you detect a change in the pattern of the movements or that your baby is moving less than usual, this could be a sign that your baby is unwell. It is important to book an appointment with your midwife as soon as possible so your baby’s well-being can be assessed.
- Report vaginal bleeding to your midwife as soon as possible.
- Report any tummy pain to your midwife.
- Protect yourself against infections.
- Avoid certain foods. There are different foods you need to avoid during your pregnancy. You need to ensure that all poultry and meat is cooked through. There are also various types of cheese and fish you need to avoid. You need to stay away from other types of food, including pate, raw or partially cooked eggs, and raw shellfish.
- Make sure you are at a healthy weight before you try to get pregnant. Obesity increases the risk of stillbirth. Losing weight before you become pregnant is the best way to protect your baby’s wellbeing and your own health. You will cut your risk of all issues associated with obesity in pregnancy if you reach a healthy weight beforehand. If you are obese when you become pregnant, your GP or midwife can advise improving your health while pregnant.
- Attend all antenatal appointments so that your midwife can monitor the wellbeing and growth of your baby. During these tests, the midwife will monitor the position and growth of your baby. You will also be offered tests, including urine tests and blood tests. These are used to detect any conditions or illnesses, for example, pre-eclampsia, which may cause complications for you or your baby or cerebral palsy. This ensures that any treatment that is required can be given efficiently and promptly.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol while pregnant.
- Stop smoking.
Any of these could result in the filing of stillbirth negligence claims. Read on for further details.
The number of stillbirths in England and Wales has seen a general downward trend in recent years, which has continued in the most recent data published by the Office of National Statistics. As the graph below shows, there were 5.1 stillbirths per 1,000 births in 2011. By 2020, this had dropped to 3.9 stillbirths per 1,000 births.
The area that saw the largest decrease in the stillbirth rate in the last 10 years was the South East. In Wales, the reduction was the smallest across England and Wales; however, the stillbirth rate in 2011 was 4.3 per 1,000 births, below the average for England and Wales.
If you’d like to know more about stillbirth negligence claims and how stillbirth can be the result of clinical negligence, then our next section will be of use to you.
There is no doubt that experiencing a stillbirth is one of the most distressing experiences for anyone to go through. This is made even worse when the stillbirth happens due to clinical medical negligence. Needless to say, if this has happened, you will most certainly have grounds for a stillbirth compensation claim. If you have gone through this heart-breaking experience and you feel it could have been prevented if the medical service you provided was of a higher standard, you would be entitled to claim.
Be it an NHS trust or a private medical firm, all healthcare organisations try to uphold high standards. Nevertheless, mistakes can happen. And there are numerous ways that a medical centre could show negligence and thus hold responsibility for the stillbirth. For example, the doctor you have seen may not have had the required experience, or they could have made a mistake and missed a vital sign that may have prevented the stillbirth.
There are also cases whereby the hospital does not carry out the required tests at the speeds necessary, which means key signs are picked up on when it is too late. In fact, a Department of Health inquiry raised two years ago revealed that up to 600 babies die needlessly every year because of mistakes made by midwives and doctors. If this has happened to you, you should make a stillbirth compensation claim and get the payout you deserve.
As week as seeking information on stillbirth negligence claims, those affected by stillbirth must get the help and support they need. Our next section will provide information on support services for those affected; read on if this is of interest to you.
Several organisations provide support for parents who have suffered a stillbirth. This includes the following:
- MASS Miscarriage and Stillborn Support – MASS works to relieve the emotional distress and suffering that parents experience through the loss of a baby due to stillbirth and miscarriages.
- The Lily Mae Foundation – This charity supports parents and families that have traumatically and tragically lost a baby to neonatal death or stillbirth.
- Sands (Stillbirth & Neonatal Death Charity) – Sands is a charity that provides support throughout the United Kingdom for anyone that the death of a baby has impacted. Sands promote research to reduce the loss of babies’ lives and work to improve the care that bereaved parents receive.
- Abigail’s Footsteps – This charity helps families and midwives cope better with neonatal death and stillbirths. Abigail’s Footsteps is an actionable, influential, and powerful charity that makes a demonstrable difference in people’s lives.
- Tommy’s – Tommy’s is the biggest charity in the UK for funding research into premature birth, stillbirth, and miscarriage. Tommy’s provide information for parents-to-be to assist them so they have a healthy pregnancy and baby.
- Life After Loss – This charity provides information and support for anyone who has experienced the loss of a baby during any stage of their pregnancy.
- Cariad Angel Gowns – Cariad Angel Gowns is a unique charity that takes donated wedding gowns and transforms them into Angel burial memory packs and outfits for those who have suffered a baby lass through neonatal loss stillbirth, ectopic, or miscarriage.
For a closer look at stillbirth negligence claims cases, please read on to our next section.
There have been numerous high profile stillbirth compensation claims in the news over the years. There have also been several celebrities that have shared their stories of stillbirth. Considering it’s a topic that is often taboo in today’s modern society, these celebrities are paving the way for more open discussion on such a difficult topic. One example is Lily Allen, who experienced a stillbirth six months into her pregnancy after contracting a viral infection. Other celebrities that have experienced the devastation of stillbirth include Annie Lennox, Dawn Andrews (wife of Gary Barlow), Kelly Brook, and Amanda Holden. There have also been many compensation cases for stillbirths that have been in the news.
One couple, Chris and Wendy Pratt, were awarded compensation after NHS staff failed to notice the signs that their baby was in distress before she was stillborn at 27 weeks in April 2010. Medical negligence lawyers launched a claim against the NHS, and an undisclosed payout was reached. Their story reveals several errors on the NHS’s behalf, leading the NHS to admit that if they had correctly performed a CTG scan after the baby’s 20-week scan, it would have been born alive on the balance of probabilities.
If you’d like free legal advice around making stillbirth negligence claims, please get in touch with Legal Expert today. We’ll be happy to help.
You may be wondering whether it is better to make a complaint or a stillbirth compensation claim. The truth is that it is better to do both. You should still make a complaint to the hospital or medical authority responsible even though you will claim stillbirth compensation. Making a complaint will initiate the investigation, which can provide evidence to support your compensation claim later. Basically, it strengthens your position when you have already launched a complaint against the healthcare organisation in question.
For more information about the amounts of compensation that stillbirth negligence claims can attract, please look to our next section.
If you want to make a stillbirth compensation claim, you will be wondering how much compensation you could receive. One thing to note is that it is not possible to give you a definitive figure regarding the payout you will receive. However, we can enlighten you on the typical payout amounts for claims relating to stillbirths. This should give you a good idea regarding the compensation you could receive. Nonetheless, every case is different and is treated as such, so we calculate potential payouts accordingly. If any solicitor promises you a certain figure of money, please do not pin your hopes on this, as no one can guarantee a certain payout for any type of personal injury claim.
|Reason for claiming compensation||Typical compensation amount||Comments|
|Mental anguish|| |
|Fear of impending death/reduction in expectation of life.|
|Severe psychiatric damage||£41,675 - £88,000||In the most severe cases, the prognosis will be very poor. The person will also be suffering from a number of symptoms. For example, the stillbirth will have had a very negative impact on their relationships with friends and family, and they will be struggling to cope with work and life. There will also be a high level of future vulnerability, and it is unlikely that treatment would be very successful.|
|Moderately severe psychiatric damage||£14,500 - £41,675||For these cases, the prognosis will not be great. However, it will be a lot more optimistic than the severe category mentioned above. The same applies for the symptoms mentioned.|
|Moderate psychiatric damage||£4,450 - £14,500||For this category, the prognosis will be good. While there will be some of the symptoms that have been mentioned above, by the time the trial comes, there will be significant improvement.|
|Less severe psychiatric damage||£1,170 - £4,450||For this payment bracket, the extent to which your sleep and daily activities have been impacted will determine the payout you receive.|
|Post-traumatic stress disorder- Severe||£56,180 to £94,470||In these cases, the injured person will be unable to work and all aspects of their life will be badly affected|
|Post-traumatic stress disorder- Moderately severe||£21,730 to £56,180||Although there will be a better prognosis than in cases of severe PTSD, there will still be significant disability for the foreseeable future.|
|Post-traumatic stress disorder- Moderate||£7,680 to £21,730||In these cases the injured person will have largely recovered and any continuing effects will not be grossly disabling.|
|Post-traumatic stress disorder- Less severe||£3,710 to £7,680||Awards in this bracket will be appropriate for cases where a full recovery has been made within 2 years. Any symptoms that persist after this period will be minor.|
Read on to find out about No Win No Fee stillbirth negligence claims.
One of the main features of our service is the fact that your stillbirth compensation claim is on a No Win No Fee basis. This means that you only pay legal fees if we manage to win compensation for you successfully. If we don’t, you won’t need to pay a penny. This eliminates the start-up costs necessary for making a personal injury claim. This means that anyone can claim, irrespective of their current financial situation. This opens the door for more people to claim, and it also takes the stress out of making a claim. After all, you can have complete peace of mind knowing that there’s no huge legal bill to fund.
The No Win No Fee payment structure also means that you can find out the validity of your claim for free. After all, we won’t waste your time by taking on your stillbirth compensation claim if we do not think you have a genuine chance of compensation. We know that you are going through an incredibly difficult time at the moment, and the last thing we want to do is make the situation worse for you. This is why we promise always to give you a realistic and honest assessment regarding the strength of your case. Our payment structure makes us accountable. You know that we won’t take on your case simply to take your cash, as can be the case with other personal injury law firms.
If you are ready to make a stillbirth compensation claim or like more information, please do not hesitate to get in touch. There are several ways you can contact us here at Legal Expert. To speak to a member of our team today, please dial 0800 073 8804. You will speak to a friendly and experienced professional who will handle every call with the highest level of confidentiality. Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will discuss your potential stillbirth negligence claims as quickly as possible. You can also use the online chat feature or the contact form that is available on our website.
The process of claiming against a hospital following medical negligence can be a daunting one. Read our guide for all the information you need about this kind of claim.
This link reveals more about our No Win No Fee service, which you will experience when you make a stillbirth compensation claim through our service. Find out about various types of claims and details on how much a No Win No Fee solicitor takes and why to choose our No Win No Fee service.
This takes you to the NHS support page for stillbirths. You will find information on the various support groups available and details on the cause, prevention, and much more.
If you need to register a stillbirth, you will find all of the necessary information on this page. A stillbirth must register within 42 days at a registry office. The UK Government website provides details on who can register a stillbirth and how to go about it. Please note that if you live in Scotland, you only have 21 days.
Find out the compensation amounts you could claim for medical negligence and get free legal advice.
What is medical negligence?
Medical negligence is when the level of care from a medical staff member falls below the standard that one should expect from the profession.
How do I prove medical negligence?
To prove that you’re the victim of medical negligence, you need to show that the medical professional in question has a duty of care to you and neglect of this duty of care is the root cause.
How can medical negligence lead to stillbirth?
There are several ways that medical negligence can lead to stillbirth. Failure to perform an emergency caesarean section, misdiagnosis of a condition that posed a threat to the child and failure to perform diagnostic tests that would have provided the possibility for better treatment could all lead to a baby being stillborn.
What goes into a stillbirth negligence claim?
Claims for medical negligence will consist of special damages and general damages. General damages will cover the pain and suffering that the negligence has resulted in. In contrast, special damages will cover any financial losses you’ve experienced, such as loss of earnings or travel expenses.
How much will I receive for a medical negligence claim?
This depends on several factors. The general damages focus on the severity of your injuries (whether physical or psychological). However, special damages are different on a case-by-case basis. Make sure that you have supporting evidence for all special damages to include them in your claim.
How long do stillbirth negligence claims take to settle?
The answer to this question will vary. Some medical negligence cases may settle within a matter of months, particularly if liability isn’t in dispute. However, some cases may take much longer before resolving.
Can I claim stillbirth negligence without a solicitor?
You can claim medical negligence without a solicitor. However, medical negligence claims can be complicated and emotive, and you may find that the claims process is much easier with the representation of an expert solicitor.
Is there a cost for claiming medical negligence resulting in a stillbirth?
If you choose a personal injury solicitor to represent you and they charge you an hourly rate, this can quickly become expensive, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll receive your compensation so that you could end up out of pocket. But with Legal Expert’s No Win No Fee agreement, you never pay a penny unless you receive your compensation. And our success fee has a legal cap, so you always receive the majority of your compensation.
Thank you for reading our guide on stillbirth negligence claims.