You might be eligible to make a claim for birth injury compensation if you or your baby suffered avoidable harm because of medical negligence. Medical negligence is a term used to describe a breach of duty of care on the part of a medical professional that causes harm.
This guide will explore what criteria need to apply in order for you to make a maternity negligence claim. We will discuss how birth injury compensation is calculated and what evidence you can provide in order to support your claim. Additionally, we will discuss the benefits of No Win No Fee agreements and how working with a solicitor can ease your worries regarding the claims process.
To speak to an advisor about any questions you have about your claim, use the contact details below:
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- A Guide To Birth Injury Compensation
- When Can You Receive Birth Injury Compensation?
- Birth Injury Compensation – Top Tips When Claiming
- What Compensation Could You Receive From A Maternity Negligence Claim?
- Can You Make A No Win No Fee Hospital Negligence Claim?
- Learn More About Making A Claim For Medical Negligence
Birth injury claims could be made after a mother or baby is caused avoidable harm after a breach of duty of care in the childbirth process. All medical professionals owe a duty of care to their patients and must provide care that meets a minimum standard.
Not all instances of birth injuries will be the basis of a valid claim; childbirth, like other areas of medicine, is complex, and complications can arise even when the right care is given. Furthermore, you cannot just claim for a breach of duty of care. It must have caused you or your baby harm.
If you can prove that your or your baby’s injuries were caused due to medical negligence, you may have grounds to seek birth injury compensation. You or your baby could be harmed in a number of ways, ranging from relatively minor to serious and life-changing.
Later in this guide, we will discuss what steps you can take towards making a successful claim for medical negligence. If this guide does not answer your questions, you can call our advisors for further support.
Our team is available 24/7 to offer free legal support with no pressure to continue your claim through us.
All medical professionals are required to provide their patients with a minimum standard of care. This duty of care must be upheld to keep patients safe. The ways that midwives are expected to act is outlined by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
In order to claim birth injury compensation, you must prove that:
- You were owed a duty of care
- This duty of care was breached
- You or your baby were injured because of this
Below, we have included some examples of how a birth injury could occur:
- The medical staff helping with delivery fail to notice that the umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck. This loss of blood flow to the baby’s brain can result in cerebral palsy.
- The surgeon that performs your C-section fails to close the wound correctly, causing internal and external injuries and increasing the chance of infection.
- A midwife is distracted when helping you through vaginal birth. The baby’s nerves are compressed or stretched, resulting in Erb’s palsy.
- You’re given an epidural orally as opposed to intravenously, which is an example of a never event.
See below to understand what evidence you can provide to validate your claim. Alternatively, you can contact our advisors for support on the claims process.
When seeking birth injury compensation for maternity negligence, it is important that you gather as much evidence as possible. Some examples of valid evidence can include:
- Details of witnesses. For example, if your partner was in the birth room with you, then they could corroborate your version of events.
- Medical records that show the treatments and medical attention you received.
- Photographs of yours or your baby’s symptoms.
- A diary outlining the details of your mental and physical health during the birthing process.
The Bolam Test may be carried out as part of your claim. This is when medical professionals assess your case to determine if the correct standard of care was provided to you and your baby.
It is important to ensure that you start your claim within the time limit set out in the Limitation Act 1980. This is a general three-year time limit starting from the date you sustained injuries or from the date you connected negligence with harm.
There are some exceptions to this time limit, including when the injured person is under the age of 18. In the event that your baby sustained birth injuries as a result of negligence, a litigation friend could claim on their behalf at any point, as the time limit would be suspended. It would begin on their 18th birthday, allowing them to make a claim themselves if this has not already been done.
As well as explaining how to gather evidence, our advisors can also assist you with calculating birth injury compensation. Get in touch for free legal advice.
Payouts for birth injury settlements can consist of up to two heads of claim. The first is general damages, which compensate you for the pain and suffering you endured due to medical negligence. Both physical and psychological injuries can be compensated for under general damages.
Medical negligence solicitors use the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) to help them when calculating birth injury compensation. This publication displays compensation brackets for general damages.
We’ve included a table below highlighting some of these figures. Please note that the information in the table below is only to be used as a guide. For a personalised estimation of your claim’s value, contact our advisors today.
|Description of Injury
|£324,600 - £403,990
|Factors that could influence an award in this bracket include the presence of physical pain, residual movement and the degree of independence.
|£219,070 - £284,260
|Factors that could influence the award include the presence of pain, degree of independence and life expectancy.
|Brain Injury - Very Severe (a)
|£282,010 - £403,990
|Little or no language function and requirement for around-the-clock care.
|Brain Injury - Moderately Severe (b)
|£219,070 - £282,010
|Serious disabilities are present from injury, requiring constant professional and other care.
|Female Reproductive System (a)
|£114,900 - £170,280
|Infertility causing sexual dysfunction combined with severe depression and pain are caused alongside significant medical complications.
|Female Reproductive System (b)
|£43,010 - £102,100
|Where sexual dysfunction is likely to impact the injured person permanently.
|Neck- Severe (ii)
|£65,740 - £130,930
|Injuries in this bracket could include permanent brachial plexus damage causing loss of function in limbs.
|Shoulder - Severe (a)
|£54,830 - £115,730
|Damage to the brachial plexus that could be associated with a neck injury.
|Skeletal Injuries (a)
|£23,810 - £36,740
|Le Fort fractures to the frontal facial bones.
|Skeletal Injuries (b)
|£14,900 - £23,950
|Multiple fractures to the facial bones causing some permanent deformity.
Special Damages In Birth Injury Claims
Alongside general damages, you could also be entitled to claim special damages. This covers the financial losses you have experienced as a result of medical negligence. This could include:
- Travel costs to hospital appointments
- Care costs
- Costs of mobility aids and special home equipment
In order to claim financial losses, you must provide evidence, which can include invoices, receipts and prescriptions. For more support regarding collecting evidence for damages, reach out to our team today.
A No Win No Fee agreement allows you the benefits of legal representation without generally having to pay upfront or ongoing legal fees. Our medical negligence claim solicitors can offer their services through a form of No Win No Fee agreement known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). This kind of agreement means you aren’t usually required to pay any upfront or ongoing fees. There are also often no fees to pay your lawyer if your claim is unsuccessful.
If you’re successful in receiving birth injury compensation at the end of your claim, your solicitor take a success fee from your settlement total. This fee is legally capped so that you cannot be overcharged.
Contact our advisors today to see if you could start the claims process:
- Call 0113 460 1216
- Use the contact form to request a callback
- Message an advisor through the live chat
More of our guides are available here:
You can find more resources to help you with your claim below:
- NHS guidance on what happens at a hospital or birth centre
- Government guidance on pregnancy and birth
- Information from Mind on postnatal Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Thank you for reading our birth injury compensation guide. For more support, contact our advisors today.
Guide by Jess Aitch
Published by Fern Smith