Birth is a joyous occasion, but sadly, there are times when medical negligence can lead to birth injuries. These injuries can have a profound and lifelong impact on both the mother and baby.
Pursuing a birth injury claim can help provide financial support and access to necessary medical care. If you or your child have suffered from an injury at birth, the clinical negligence lawyers at Friends Legal will fight for your rights. Contact our team on 0333 3580 583 for immediate assistance.
Making Sense of Birth Negligence Claims
Birth injury claims arise when negligent medical care during pregnancy, labour, or delivery causes harm to the mother or the baby. These claims aim to hold healthcare providers accountable for their actions or inactions that led to avoidable harm.
Birth injuries can range from mild to severe and, in some tragic cases, result in stillbirth. Victims of negligence during childbirth are entitled to seek compensation for the suffering and financial losses incurred.
Should I file a complaint against the NHS?
Before making a birth negligence claim, you may consider filing a complaint against the NHS. A complaint should typically be made within six months of the incident, but no later than 12 months. You can file a complaint by yourself or with the help of Patient Advice & Support Service (PASS) in Scotland.
A complaint response can provide valuable insights into what occurred and help establish a clearer basis for any subsequent legal action. Filing a complaint can also help you receive an apology and stop the same thing from happening to someone else.
It’s important to note that you cannot make a complaint about something that is already the subject of medical negligence so, if you want to make a complaint against the NHS, this must be handled first.
Types of Injuries at Birth
Childbirth injury claims can encompass a wide range of injuries and complications. Some common examples include:
- Cerebral palsy: Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder affecting muscle control and movement. It can be caused by oxygen deprivation during birth or other negligent actions during pregnancy, labour, or delivery. Cerebral palsy negligence claims typically seek compensation to cover the cost of ongoing care, therapies, and support for the child.
- Erb’s palsy: Erb’s palsy is a condition that impacts the nerves in the upper arm, causing weakness or paralysis. It can occur when excessive force is applied during a difficult delivery, leading to nerve damage.
- Stillbirth: Losing a baby through stillbirth is a devastating experience for any family. In cases where negligent medical care contributed to the stillbirth, families may be able to make a stillbirth negligence claim.
Establishing Negligence in Birth Injury Claims
To succeed in a birth injury claim, you must establish the healthcare provider breached their duty of care and that this breach directly caused the injury. Medical professionals must provide a standard of care that’s expected of their peers in the same field. If they fail to meet this standard, it may be considered negligence.
Medical negligence in birth happens in many ways, including:
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of conditions such as pre-eclampsia
- Errors during assisted deliveries
- Medication mistakes
- Anaesthetic errors
- Failure to address complications promptly
Types of Damages in Birth Injury Claims
Compensation in birth injury claims can be divided into two categories:
General damages compensate for pain, suffering, and loss of amenity resulting from the birth injury. The amount awarded depends on the severity of the injury and its impact on the individual’s quality of life.
For example, a child with cerebral palsy may receive a higher amount of general damages due to the lifelong impact of the condition.
Special damages cover the financial losses and expenses incurred from the birth injury. These can include medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, ongoing care, therapy, adaptations to the home, loss of earnings, and future financial needs.
Special damages ensure the injured individual and their family have the necessary resources to provide the best possible care and support.
Childbirth Negligence Claims — How We Can Help
Birth injury claims can be emotionally challenging for families. At Friends Legal, we pride ourselves on providing compassionate support. We understand the sensitivity of the situation and work tirelessly to provide vital assistance throughout the process.
We can assess the viability of your claim, guide you through the legal process, and provide advice on the best course of action.
No Win, No Fee Birth Injury Lawyers
Every family deserves justice, which is why we offer a ‘No Win, No Fee’ arrangement to ensure financial concerns don’t stop you from pursuing a claim.
Timescales and Proof in Childbirth Injury Claims
Personal injury claims must be brought within three years from the date of the injury or the date of knowledge of the negligence. However, when the claim involves a child, the three-year limit starts from the child’s 18th birthday.
Building a solid case for medical negligence during childbirth requires gathering evidence. For example, medical records from the pregnancy and delivery could highlight deviations from standard prenatal or childbirth care.
Additionally, expert opinions from obstetricians or neonatologists are crucial for providing insight into whether the care met professional standards and how any negligence may have led to the injury.
Finally, witness statements from the delivery room staff and those present during the birth can offer valuable perspectives on the events.
Working with a clinical negligence lawyer experienced in birth injury claims can ensure that all necessary evidence is obtained, and the claim is presented correctly.
Birth Injury Legal Advice — Speak With Our Medical Negligence Solicitors Today
If you or someone you know has been affected by birth negligence, contact Friends Legal for a free consultation. Let our dedicated team support you through this challenging time and help you secure the compensation and justice you deserve. Call us now on 0333 3580 583 or complete the online enquiry, and we’ll get back to you at a time that suits you.