Birth Injury Claims
Having a baby should be remembered as one of the most special and wonderful moments in a parent’s life. However, if an injury is caused to the mother or child during birth, the memories of the occasion can become tainted, and the lasting effects can be severe or even fatal.
Midwives, doctors, nurses and other medical professionals owe a duty of care to their patients. If a member of the medical staff fail to meet their duty of care before, during or after childbirth and it results in an injury to the mother or baby, a medical negligence claim may be possible.
Solicitors have vast experience in helping the victims of birth related injuries make successful compensation claims. They provide a 100% No Win No Fee service and promise to fight your corner to secure the highest possible compensation on your behalf.
To find out if you have a valid birth injury claim, call 0800 678 1410 today to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation. After discussing what has happened and how it has affected you or your child, your solicitor will be able to confirm if you may have a valid case. They will also answer any questions you may have and explain how the claims process works and what they have to offer.
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Types of Birth Injury Negligence
There are a huge variety of reasons why an injury might be sustained during birth, and it can sometimes be a complex undertaking to prove that a medical professional was at fault. However, your solicitor will work hard to demonstrate that the injuries that you or your baby sustained were not due to natural causes or the complications that were unavoidable during the birth of your child. The solicitors we work with are highly experienced in this field, and pride themselves on being able to assess the details of a case thoroughly and efficiently to determine whether a medical professional was to blame for your birth injury.
Some of the common causes of birth injuries that may result in successful compensation claims include:
- Errors in the use of forceps and stirrups
- Misdiagnosis or non-diagnosis of complications during birth
- Errors in suturing and stitches
- Errors or delays in performing a cesarian section
After the baby is born, it is essential that tests are carried out to ensure that the baby has not been born with any medical conditions that require attention. If tests are not conducted and if it is found at a later stage that the baby was born with a particular condition, it can form the basis of a successful birth injury claim.
Congenital Hip Dysplasia is a condition which is believed to be genetic that a baby can be born with. It is essential that all newborn babies are screened for this condition and tests carried out every six months. If a baby is born with congenital hip dysplasia and the doctors have failed to identify it, the parents can consider making a claim for clinical negligence.
Birth Injuries Affecting Babies
At the time of birth, a baby’s body is particularly sensitive and vulnerable to injuries. Birth trauma or injuries to any part of the body, especially the neck and the head, can lead to serious consequences for the baby, as well as for the parents.
There are many different types of birth injuries which can affect babies, with some of the most common including:
- Cerebral palsy – cerebral palsy can occur naturally, but can also be caused due to mistakes during the birth process. Cerebral palsy affects a person’s ability to move and maintain posture and balance as a result of damage to the brain occurring before childbirth, during or soon afterwards. This type of injury is not considered life-threatening but can have a huge impact on a person’s independence and quality of life.
- Caput succedaneum – this includes swelling or bruising of the soft tissue of the baby’s scalp. This type of injury usually affects babies who are born with the aid of vacuum extraction.
- Cephalohematoma – this is usually caused when the baby’s head is forced through the birth canal. This results in tearing of blood vessels and leads to bleeding. Infants who suffer this injury during birth are at a risk of developing jaundice.
- Facial paralysis – this can occur when the baby’s facial nerves are injured as a result of applying pressure to the face or due to the use of forceps during delivery.
- Brachial palsy – this occurs when the brachial plexus or the nerves running to the arms and hands are injured during the delivery. This usually happens when there is difficulty delivering the baby’s shoulder during birth.
There are of course many other types of complications that may arise during birth, which could include:
- Erb’s palsy
- Umbilical cord complications
- Eye infections
- Brain damage
- Skin irritations
- Neonatal hypoglycemia
- Hip dysplasia
Birth Injuries Affecting Mothers
Although giving birth today is a lot safer than it used to be, the childbirth process can still be risky for the mother as well as for the baby. During a woman’s labour and delivery, it is usually necessary for her to receive care from specialist medical professionals to ensure that things go right. Unfortunately, there are cases where negligence on the part of medical experts causes the mother to suffer injuries during labour or delivery.
Some of the most common birth injuries that can affect a woman at the time of delivery include:
- Vaginal tears – this type of birth injury usually occurs as a result of delivering a large baby or with more complicated births such as where the baby is delivered back to back. These situations can result in tears of the skin and muscles near the vagina. Although this type of injury is common during childbirth, it can cause problems later on if it goes unnoticed or if the tear has not been stitched properly.
- Anal Fissures – this occurs when the skin around the anus rips or tears as a result of applying excess pressure during childbirth. This type of injury can be very painful and even more severe than vaginal tears.
- Episiotomy – this is a surgical incision which helps enlarge the vagina to assist in the birth process. Episiotomy is used in a number of childbirth cases, often to try to avoid vaginal tears. If the procedure is not carried out properly, it can result in rectal problems and excessive bleeding.
- C-Sections – these are usually performed when a vaginal birth is not possible or considered more dangerous due to the circumstances. In this procedure, an incision is made in the woman’s abdominal wall through to the uterus wall. Women who undergo caesarian sections are at a risk of uterine infections and excessive bleeding.
- Pre-eclampsia – this occurs during pregnancy and failure to manage this condition can cause death or serious injuries to the baby as well as the mother. Symptoms of pre-eclampsia include high blood pressure, weight gain, change in vision, headaches, swelling and high levels of protein in the urine.
- Infections – infections can occur at birth and if they are not treated on time, they can become serious and require a longer stay in the hospital. Infections during birth can be reduced if medical staff, doctors and nurses wash their hands before and after treating patients.
Compensation for pregnancy and birth injuries
Compensation may not be the first thing that comes to mind following a birth injury, but it is important to make a claim if negligence on the part of healthcare professionals has caused you or your child some form of personal injury.
One of the most important factors that is considered at the time of calculating compensation for a birth injury claim is the extent of the injury that is suffered. In simple terms, the more significant and long lasting an injury is, the higher the amount of compensation awarded is likely to be.
In addition to an award for the pain and suffering caused, known as general damages, a medical negligence claim will also cover any financial losses you have or may incur. These are referred to as special damages, and can cover the following:
- loss of earnings or future earnings
- the cost of medical treatment and medication
- transport costs
- home adaptation costs, such as making a home wheelchair accessible
If you would like to find out more about making a claim and the potential amount of compensation you could be entitled to, call 0800 678 1410 today to arrange a free case assessment.
How long will it take to complete my claim?
The amount of time that it takes to process your claim will depend upon your individual circumstances. The biggest obstacle to overcome for solicitors in birth injury compensation claims is proving liability. If the NHS or responsible healthcare provider accept liability and an agreement can be reached regarding compensation, it should be possible to complete your case within a matter of months.
If liability is denied or negotiations on the amount of compensation you should receive fail to reach an agreement, the case may be taken to court. In these cases the process can be a lot more time consuming and can take well over a year to complete.
Your solicitor will be highly experienced in assessing cases and have excellent support from medical experts. It is these experts who will help to evaluate your injuries to confirm whether they are deemed as a natural occurrence or due to the negligence of a doctor, midwife or nurse responsible for your care during the birth of your child.
Once they have established liability and the severity of the injuries sustained by you or your baby, your solicitor will strive to complete your claim as swiftly as possible. They will also work hard to ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to.
Should I make a claim against the NHS?
We recognise that many victims of birth injuries are hesitant to make a claim against the NHS, as they may feel guilty about making a claim against those who are tasked with saving lives. However, making a claim for compensation is not only your legal right, but it enables hospitals and staff to evaluate vulnerabilities in their practices and improve their standards. As well as receiving justice for you and your child, this can also help to prevent similar mistakes and injuries being inflicted upon other mothers and babies in the future.
What are the benefits of choosing a solicitor to process your claim?
We recognise the delicate nature of birth injury claims. We appreciate that the shock and stress of suffering an injury during an event that should be remembered as one of the most significantly blissful occasions in a person’s life can be overwhelmingly traumatic.
Some of the benefits of using a solicitor for your medical negligence claim include:
- Medical negligence solicitors with expert knowledge and experience of birth injury cases
- A No Win, No Fee service, so you won’t pay a fee if you lose your case
- A free no-obligation case assessment where you can ask questions and receive expert advice on your case.
- Focus and determination to secure you the highest possible compensation award
If you believe you may have a claim, or just want to find out more about the process, call free on 0800 678 1410 or request a call back below. Your solicitor will be happy to assess your case and answer any questions or concerns you may have.