Birth injury claims

new born baby - the time when a birth injury can occur or shortly after when a birth injury could happen

7 September 2021

What are birth injuries?

Birth injuries are essentially any harm caused to the mother or baby during or around the time of labour. There are many reasons why injuries may take place during pregnancy or birth. Minor birth injuries such as swelling and bruising to the mother or child are very common and will generally heal naturally within a few weeks. But sometimes, a more severe birth injury to the mother or a birth injury to the baby or other complication can be caused by mistakes or negligence by medical staff.

Have you or your baby suffered an injury during childbirth?

If you or your baby have received careless treatment or have been injured due to medical negligence during pregnancy or birth, we know how devastating it can be. The consequences can be life-changing or, in some cases, even fatal.

We know that seeking birth injury compensation will be the last thing on your mind at such a stressful and traumatic time. However, you can be sure that when you get in touch with us, we’re here to talk things through and give you the advice you need. Our Experts are fully trained to guide you through the process of making birth injury claims.

What are the main causes of birth injuries?

We all want the birth of a child to go as smoothly as possible, and although giving birth always carries risk, midwives and hospital staff should take all necessary actions to minimise the chances of you or your baby being harmed.

If they fail to do so, this could result in a birth injury to you or your baby. Some examples of clinical errors that could lead to birth injuries include:

  • Failure to recognise dangerous conditions in the mother or child.
  • Poor care during the delivery that causes birth injuries.
  • Incorrect medication or mishandling.
  • Failure to identify, prevent or treat infections – such as meningitis.

No matter what the cause, all birth injuries are extremely difficult to cope with. If you’re feeling unsure whether you’ve experienced medical negligence, we recommend that you seek a free assessment on whether you could make a birth injury claim. We have the experience to help you and will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

What are the types of birth injuries to mothers?

Birth injuries can be devastating for mothers. It’s perfectly normal to expect some recovery time after giving birth, but complications due to medical negligence can make the process much longer. In some cases, birth injuries to mothers can even be permanent.

Examples of birth injuries to mothers may include:

  • Bladder and bowel injuries caused by Caesarean (C-section) errors.
  • Birth injuries after the use of forceps or vacuum delivery.
  • Issues with suturing (stitching) and post-natal infections.
  • Placental abruption where the placenta separates early from the uterus.
  • Delay, misdiagnosis or pre-eclampsia.
  • C-section trauma.
  • Perineal tears or internal damage – if a third or fourth-degree tear was missed or wrongly treated, you may be able to make a birth injury compensation claim.
  • Nervous shock following a traumatic birth.
  • Anaesthetic errors.

After a birth injury to the mother, compensation may be claimed to help support recovery. Not only can compensation help you get back on track and cover essential costs you’re facing, but also get you the apology you deserve.

If your experience isn’t listed above, then please don’t worry. Instead, contact us and our Legal Experts will talk through your circumstances to see if we can help you.

What are the types of birth injuries to babies?

Unfortunately, birth can be extremely dangerous for the baby too. Mishandling, incorrect treatment, medication mistakes and other forms of negligence can cause harm to a baby. Some examples of birth injuries include:

  • Cerebral palsy – a condition that may take time to show itself.
  • Brain injuries.
  • Fractures or cuts.
  • Muscular injuries such as Erb’s palsy or brachial plexus.

Sadly, in some cases birth injuries can lead to stillbirth or death following birth. When you’re ready, we can offer advice and guide you through the first steps to receiving the birth injury compensation you need.

How do I make a birth injury claim?

We want to make it as easy as possible to make birth injury claims. All you need to do is give us a call for a free, confidential chat with one of our advisors.

When you speak to us, we’ll ask some questions about the treatment you received so that we can understand the best way to help you. We can usually let you know on your first phone call whether we think you can make a claim. If so, there’s never any obligation to go ahead.

If you would like to proceed, our friendly advisors will put you in touch with the right birth injury solicitor for your case. All our birth injury solicitors work to the highest of standards and will explain the process in full so you’re clear on what will happen. They’ll also speak to you about no win no fee and the costs that will be deducted if your case is successful.  

They’ll then negotiate on your behalf and keep you updated about what’s happening with your claim, leaving you with one less thing to worry about.

Is there a time limit for making birth injury claims?

Limitation periods do apply to birth injury claims. In the case of an injury to your baby, you can bring a claim any time up until their 18th birthday. If no claim is made in that period, they can make the claim themselves as a young adult in the three years between their 18th and 20th (21st in Northern Ireland) birthdays.

If your baby has suffered a birth injury that has damaged their mental capacity to an extent that it will not improve as they get older, there are no time limits for lodging a medical negligence claim.

How do I know if I can make a birth injury compensation claim?

Sometimes birth injuries to a mother or a child are immediate and obvious. Whether that harm is caused by medical negligence or not is something that investigation by the hospital concerned and/or through a birth injury compensation claim will decide.

However, some birth injuries aren’t always immediately obvious. For instance, cerebral palsy caused by deformation or injury to the brain during development or birth may not become apparent until the child has grown sufficiently for the condition – and cause – to be properly diagnosed.

How much birth injury compensation will I receive?

Many people ask how much birth injury compensation they’ll receive if their case is successful, but unfortunately there is no specific or set amount. This is because all cases are different, so the amount of compensation you are entitled to will be calculated in line with the injuries and suffering you’ve experienced.

Our birth injury experts will ask you about the severity of your birth injuries and the impact they’ve had on your life. This will allow them to calculate the damages (compensation) you should receive, including both general and special damages.

Here are some of the things that your expert will take into consideration:

  • In the first instance, birth injury compensation will cover the pain and suffering caused by the incident itself. This is called General Damages.
  • You may also need financial support to help to pay for medical equipment, treatment, medication or rehabilitation, as well as any necessary alterations to your home. These are called Special Damages.
  • You may have had to take time off work, or maybe even find a new job altogether. Your compensation could help cover the costs of lost earnings so that you can focus on your recovery or care for your child.

Aside from putting pressure on your finances, birth injuries have a serious psychological and emotional impact. They can affect all aspects of your daily life, from work and socialising to your hobbies. For this reason, your birth injury solicitor will make sure you’re covered for any impact the incident has had on you and your child’s life.

If you’d like to get an idea of the amount you could receive due to your birth injury, our compensation calculator is a great place to start. In six simple steps you can find out a guideline compensation figure.

Can claims be made against the HSE/NHS for medical negligence during childbirth cases?

Yes – if you have suffered a birth injury due to medical negligence in the last three years, we can help you make it right. Our experts will ask you about your situation and ensure that your birth injury claim proceeds as smoothly as possible.

If you’re worried that a successful claim against the HSE/NHS will take money out of the HSE/NHS budget, please don’t. Both organisations are fully insured against this type of event.

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