Compensation for childbirth injuries
If you or your child has been injured during childbirth due to medical negligence, we can help you make a birth injury compensation claim.
How Much Could You Claim?

Birth Injury Claims

Having a baby should be remembered as an incredible moment in life. However, if the mother or child suffers an injury during birth, the memories of the occasion can become tainted, and the lasting effects can be catastrophic.

Midwives, doctors, nurses and other medical professionals owe a duty of care to their patients. If they fail to meet their duty of care before, during or after childbirth, resulting in an injury to the mother or baby, a birth 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 032 3660 today or fill in our online claim form 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.

Can I start a birth injury compensation claim?

All medical staff, including doctors, midwives and surgeons, have a duty of care towards their patients. This duty applies whether you receive care through the NHS or the private healthcare system. Healthcare professionals must provide competent care and treatment and take all reasonable measures to prevent an injury during childbirth.

If you or your baby have suffered a birth injury, you might wonder whether you could claim compensation for your pain and suffering. The easiest way to find out if you have a valid claim is through a free consultation with a legal adviser. They will investigate your situation and take on your case if they can establish the following:

Breach of duty. This refers to a healthcare provider’s failure to meet the expected standard of care by failing to act how a competent professional would have under the same circumstances. Bodies such as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) offer guidelines for what constitutes appropriate medical care and treatment.

Causation. This refers to the link between the breach of duty and the birth injury suffered by you or your baby. If the medical staff was negligent but it did not contribute to your injury, you cannot proceed with a birth injury claim. Your solicitor will consult with medical specialists to establish causation.

Damages. To make a successful claim, you need clear evidence of the injuries you suffered and the losses you incurred as a result. Some types of evidence that could be useful in your claim include:

  • Medical records from the hospital where you gave birth
  • Photographs of any visible injuries to you or the baby
  • An independent medical assessment with a specialist
  • A formal diagnosis from a mental health professional if you suffered a psychological injury
  • Statements from friends, family or the medical staff who assisted you
  • Any correspondence with the hospital if you made a formal complaint following your injury
  • Your account of how you or your baby were affected by the injury
  • Evidence of related financial losses, such as lost wages or prescription costs

Once they have the required evidence, your solicitor will contact the defendant and inform them of your intentions to start a birth injury claim. By law, the NHS or your private healthcare provider has four months to respond to your letter of claim.

If the other side accepts liability, their insurer will pay your birth injury compensation. If they dispute the claim, your solicitor will issue court proceedings. Claims rarely go to court, but your solicitor will support you every step of the way in the unlikely event you must argue your case before a judge. According to reports from NHS Resolution, only 0.3% of all cases they handled in 2020/21 reached trial, so the odds of ending up in court are very low.

Types of birth injury negligence

Many factors can lead to a birth injury, so it can sometimes be challenging to prove that a medical professional was at fault. However, your solicitor will work hard to demonstrate that the injuries you or your baby sustained were not due to natural causes or unavoidable complications during delivery.

The birth injury solicitors we work with are highly experienced in this field. They will be able to assess the details of your case thoroughly and efficiently to determine whether a medical professional was to blame for your birth injury.

Some of the things that may go wrong during childbirth and could lead to a valid birth negligence claim include:

  • Errors in the use of forceps and stirrups
  • Misdiagnosis or non-diagnosis of complications during birth
  • Failure to identify pre-eclampsia
  • Errors in suturing and stitches
  • Errors or delays in performing a Caesarian section
  • Failing to diagnose placental abruption
  • Medication errors and mistakes when administering anaesthetic
  • Avoidable bowel or bladder injuries during C-section
  • Infections caused by poor hygiene practices
  • Failure to identify and treat a maternal infection
  • Miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death negligence

After the baby is born, tests must be carried out to ensure they have not been born with any medical conditions that require attention. Failure to conduct these tests can form the basis of a successful birth injury claim if it is later discovered that the baby was born with a medical condition.

For example, Congenital Hip Dysplasia is a genetic disorder that a baby can be born with. It is essential that all newborns are screened for this condition and that tests are carried out every six months. If a baby is born with congenital hip dysplasia and the doctors have failed to identify it, the parents could consider claiming.

Birth injuries affecting babies

At the time of birth, a baby’s body is sensitive and vulnerable to injuries. Birth trauma to any part of the body, especially the neck and the head, can lead to severe consequences for the baby and the parents.

There are many different types of birth defects and injuries which can affect babies, with some of the most common including:

  • Cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy can occur naturally but can also be due to mistakes during labour and birth. It affects a person’s ability to move and maintain posture and balance as a result of damage to the brain. This type of injury is not life-threatening but can severely impact a person’s independence and quality of life.
  • Caput succedaneum. This injury refers to swelling or bruising of the soft tissue of the baby’s scalp. It usually affects babies born with the aid of vacuum extraction and typically resolves on its own.
  • Cephalohematoma. It is usually caused when the baby’s head is forced through the birth canal. This results in the tearing of blood vessels and leads to bleeding. Infants who suffer this injury during birth are at risk of developing jaundice. It is essential to monitor a baby with cephalohematoma for any changes or complications, especially signs of infection or worsening swelling.
  • 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.
  • Erb’s palsy. This condition occurs when the brachial plexus or the nerves running to the arms and hands are damaged during the delivery. It usually happens when there is difficulty delivering the baby’s shoulder during birth and can lead to weakness and paralysis.

There are, of course, many other types of complications that may arise during birth, which could include:

  • Umbilical cord complications
  • Fractures
  • Eye infections
  • Brain damage
  • Skin irritations
  • Neonatal hypoglycaemia
  • Hip dysplasia

If your child has suffered any injury due to medical negligence, you might be able to claim compensation. Birth injury solicitors can help you start a claim against the negligent hospital and negotiate the maximum settlement possible on your behalf.

Birth injuries affecting mothers

While giving birth today is generally safer than in the past, there are still risks for both the mother and the baby. Specialised medical care is often needed to ensure things go smoothly during labour and delivery. Unfortunately, there are instances where mistakes by medical professionals lead to injuries during childbirth.

Some common birth injuries that can affect women during delivery include:

  • Vaginal tears. Medical negligence can lead to vaginal tears during childbirth through improper handling, lack of monitoring, incorrect instrument use and inadequate training. While some tears are minor, others need further medical intervention to avoid future problems.
  • Anal fissures. These may occur when the skin around the anus rips or tears due to being under excess pressure during childbirth. This type of injury can be severe and much more painful than vaginal tears.
  • Perineal tears. This injury affects the area between the vaginal opening and the anus and can cause significant pain and discomfort. Improper delivery techniques, incorrect use of instruments and other types of negligence may contribute to this injury and could be the basis of a birth injury claim.
  • Episiotomy. An episiotomy is a surgical procedure performed during childbirth. A deliberate incision is made in the perineum to enlarge the vaginal opening and facilitate the baby’s delivery. Mistakes may lead to nerve damage and excessive bleeding.
  • C-Sections. These are usually performed when a vaginal birth is not possible or is considered more dangerous. In this procedure, an incision is made in the abdominal wall to the uterus wall through which the baby is delivered. Complications may include infections, organ damage, scarring, blood clots and significant blood loss.
  • Pre-eclampsia. This complication is characterised by high blood pressure, liver and kidney damage, swelling and vision changes. Failure to manage this condition can cause severe injuries to the baby and mother and may even be fatal.
  • Infections. Infections during birth can lead to complications if not promptly treated. In some cases, they may result in extended hospital stays, increased use of antibiotics, and potential health risks for both the mother and the baby. Proper hygiene practices and medical precautions can help reduce the risk of infections during childbirth.

You might be eligible to claim birth injury compensation if you have suffered any injury due to substandard care and treatment.

How much could a birth injury compensation claim be worth?

Compensation may not be the first thing that comes to mind following a childbirth injury. Nonetheless, it is essential to start a claim if negligence on the part of healthcare professionals has caused you or your child some form of personal injury.

Every case is unique, and the compensation awarded will depend on several factors. One of the most important aspects considered when calculating how much your claim is worth is the extent of the injury suffered. In simple terms, the more significant and long-lasting the damage, the higher the amount of compensation 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 suffered or may incur. These are referred to as special damages. Based on your circumstances, your birth negligence claim could include compensation for:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional and psychological distress
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Physical and mental impairment
  • Loss of amenities and reduced quality of life
  • Loss of earnings or future earnings
  • The cost of private medical treatment and medication
  • Transport costs to and from medical appointments
  • The cost of medical equipment, care and assistance
  • Home adaptations, such as making a home wheelchair accessible

General damages are awarded based on historical cases and the guidelines published yearly by the Judicial College. Some examples of how much compensation you could receive for general damages include:

  • £2,210 to £12,770 for minor damage to the brain, with minimal effect on quality of life
  • £205,580 to £264,650 for severe brain damage leading to permanent physical and mental disabilities
  • £60,000 to £100,000 for severe injuries to internal organs
  • £1,460 to £38,850 for scarring and disfigurement
  • £264,650 to £379,100 for cerebral palsy
  • Around £46,300 for nerve damage causing temporary paraplegic paralysis
  • In the region of £4,380 for mental anguish
  • £36,770 to £122,860 for severe pelvic injuries to the mother with long-term effects on mobility

If you would like to find out more about making a birth negligence claim and the potential amount of compensation you could be entitled to, call 0800 032 3660 today to receive a free case assessment.

How can I make a birth negligence claim on behalf of my child?

Many cases of birth injury negligence affect babies. An injured person cannot start a claim before their 18th birthday, so a parent or legal guardian could claim on their behalf. If your child was injured during birth and you want to claim compensation, you must apply to the court to become their litigation friend.

Before appointing you, the court will verify that you can conduct legal proceedings fairly and competently and have no conflict of interest with the child. The claims process will follow the same steps as any other birth injury compensation claim. You will have several responsibilities, including:

  • Attend any court hearings
  • Deal with correspondence and sign legal documents
  • Provide your solicitor with evidence that might support your case
  • Make decisions about the claim
  • Consider compensation offers from the defendant
  • Pay any fees requested by the court
  • Have the child’s best interests in mind
  • Consult with birth injury lawyers and take legal advice

If you make a successful claim, you must go through an Approval Hearing in court. A judge must decide whether the settlement you received is fair and sufficient based on the available evidence. The funds will be kept in a court bank account and released to the child on their 18th birthday. Alternatively, your solicitor can help you set up a personal injury trust in your child’s name to manage the compensation awarded to them.

Time limits to start a birth injury claim

There are strict time limits you must consider if you want to make a birth injury compensation claim. If the mother suffered an injury, the time limit is typically three years from when the negligence occurred. If the damage did not become apparent until later, the countdown begins on the date of knowledge of the harm suffered.

However, if the injured mother cannot handle a case herself due to a mental impairment, a litigation friend could claim on her behalf at any time. This could be due to:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Severe sleep deprivation
  • An intellectual disability such as autism
  • A mental health disorder like schizophrenia
  • A traumatic brain injury or stroke

If the birth injury negligence has affected the baby, the three-year time limit does not begin until their 18th birthday. If nobody claimed on their behalf during this time, they have until their 21st birthday to start a claim themselves, provided they possess the mental capacity to do so.

Nonetheless, the sooner you seek legal advice, the easier it is to gather proof of negligence. Your solicitor may also be able to arrange private treatments for you and secure interim payments to help you cover any immediate financial needs. If you want to make a childbirth injury claim, call 0800 032 3660 today to speak to a solicitor and get free legal advice. Alternatively, you can request a call back by entering your details into our online claim form.

How long will it take to complete my claim?

The time it takes to process your claim will depend upon your specific circumstances. The biggest obstacle to overcome for solicitors in birth injury negligence claims is proving liability. If the NHS or private healthcare provider accepts liability and you can agree regarding compensation, your case could settle within months.

If the other side denies negligence or negotiations on the amount of compensation you should receive fail, you may have to take the case to court. In these cases, the process can be a lot more time-consuming and take several years to complete.

Your solicitor will be highly experienced in assessing cases and have excellent support from medical experts. They will help evaluate your injuries to confirm whether they were 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 you or your baby sustained, your solicitor will strive to complete your claim as swiftly as possible. They will also work hard to ensure you receive the maximum birth injury compensation you are entitled to.

Should I make a birth injury claim against the NHS?

Many victims of birth injuries are hesitant to claim against the NHS. They may feel guilty about taking legal action against those who are tasked with saving lives and worry that their claim will affect the NHS budget.

However, claiming 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 from being inflicted upon other mothers and babies in the future.

Furthermore, all claims against the NHS are handled by their specialist insurer, NHS Resolution. Every NHS Trust pays an annual premium to cover personal injuries caused by medical negligence. If you win your claim for clinical negligence, your settlement will be paid by the insurance company and will not affect the resources allocated for patient care and treatment.

No Win No Fee birth injury solicitors

The solicitors we work with will always offer you a no win no fee service if you have a valid birth negligence claim. This way, you can start legal proceedings regardless of your financial situation and without the risk of losing anything if your case is unsuccessful.

Under a conditional fee agreement, you do not have to pay your solicitor any upfront fees for their services. They will work on your case knowing they will only be paid if they secure birth injury compensation. In this case, they will receive a success fee of up to 25% of your award for pain, suffering and past financial losses. If your case fails, you do not have to pay them a single penny.

At the beginning of your case, your solicitor will also take out After the Event (ATE) insurance on your behalf. This type of legal expenses insurance will ensure you will not be left out of pocket if your claim fails. It covers all the expenditures incurred during the claims process, including:

  • The defendant’s legal costs
  • Court and counsel fees
  • Barrister fees if the case goes to trial
  • The cost of hiring experts or specialists
  • Travel expenses related to the claim
  • Other disbursements like administrative costs and medical reports

The ATE is self-insuring, and you only have to pay for the premium if you win compensation. If your claim is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay anything to anyone.

What are the benefits of choosing a medical negligence solicitor to process your claim?

We recognise the delicate nature of birth injury compensation claims. The emotional impact and distress of suffering an injury during an event that should be a profoundly joyful moment can be overwhelming. The birth injury solicitors we work with have extensive experience handling such cases and will provide compassionate advice and support at every step.

Some of the benefits of using a solicitor for your childbirth injury claim include:

  • They have expert knowledge and experience of birth injury cases
  • You will receive a no win no fee service, so you will not pay a fee if you lose your case
  • A free no-obligation case assessment where you can ask questions and receive expert advice
  • A full review of your case to understand exactly how you have suffered
  • Arrange for an independent medical exam of the injuries you are claiming for
  • Gather evidence to prove negligence and how this has affected your life
  • Focus and determination to secure you the highest possible compensation award
  • They will handle all communication on your behalf and review any settlement offers with you

If you believe you may have a claim or want to find out more about the process, call free on 0800 032 3660 or request a call back. Your solicitor will be happy to assess your case and answer any questions or concerns you may have.

* Personal injury claims are offered on a no win, no fee basis. If your claim is successful, your solicitor will receive up to 25% of your compensation as their success fee. Any additional costs, such as legal protection insurance, will be clearly explained to you by your solicitor before you decide to proceed with your claim. Termination fees may apply if you fail to cooperate with your solicitor. This includes deliberately misleading your solicitor, failing to attend scheduled medical or expert examinations, or not appearing at a required court hearing.