Claiming Compensation for Birth Injury compensation claims
The birth of a new baby is a very special time for the whole family and especially the parents of the baby; so if things go wrong during the pregnancy or the birth, the effects can be devastating. If mother or baby is harmed due to medical negligence, a claim for personal injury compensation may be possible.
- Information about Birth Injury Claims
- Common birth injury claims
- Other types of birth injury
- Clinical Negligence after birth
- How much can I claim?
- What can I claim compensation for?
- Making a claim for compensation
- Mechanical trauma - when the baby is in an unusual delivery position or is too large to pass through the birth canal easily
- Oxygen deprivation – giving rise to a number of long term medical conditions
When we say "birth injuries" we mean any injury suffered by mother or baby.
- Cerebral Palsy – this is caused by the baby being starved of oxygen during birth, causing damage to the brain. This often causes long term physical and mental difficulties for the child. The term cerebral palsy implies the affected individual has a persistent but evolving disorder of movement and motor function secondary to there being a non progressive brain abnormality. There are three main types of cerebral palsy:
- Spastic cerebral palsy – some of the muscles in the body are tight, stiff and weak making control difficult.
- Athetoid cerebral palsy – muscle control is affected by spontaneous movements and posture is affected.
- Ataxic cerebral palsy – problems with balance, shaky movements of hands or feet and difficulty with speech.
- Erbs Palsy and other brachial plexus injuries – this is when no action has been taken to prepare an alternative delivery of a baby that is of larger than average size, and his or her shoulders become stuck. Leading to an injury. The size of the unborn baby should be monitored throughout the pregnancy to ensure that the healthcare professionals can make adequate plans for the birth. If the baby is much larger than normal and they suspect it will cause problems to a normal vaginal delivery they should prepare to carry out an episiotomy or a caesarean section.
- Umbilical cord problems
- Broken collar bone
- Ruptured placentas
- Hip Dysplasia
- Shoulder Dystocia
- Infant death / stillbirth
- Injuries to the mother during child birth
- Failure to carry out emergency caesarean section which could prevent birth injuries
Once your baby has been safely delivered you will feel relieved that the pregnancy and labour went well; however, if you discover a few months later that your baby was born with a condition which was not immediately diagnosed you will feel very let down by the medical professionals caring for you and may wish to seek legal help.
Babies who suffer birth injuries will often need expensive long term care. This may involve the parents being unable to resume work so that they can care for the child, special equipment required to adapt the child’s home and additional nursing and medical care.
Birth injury compensation claims are complex and require specialist legal advice. A specialist medical negligence solicitor can advise you on the process of making a claim, as well as guiding you through the process from start to finish.
Most children will qualify for legal aid as it is their income that is assessed and not that of the parents.
A number of factors will determine the value of your settlement:
- The type of injury and how severe the injury is
- Did you recover fully from the injury or do you have ongoing problems
- What are the long term effects on your health
- Did the injury cause you other losses such as loss of earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of earnings
- The loss of comfort/convenience/quality of life caused by your injury
- Medical care costs
- Costs involved in adapting your home to meet your new requirements as a result of your injury
- Other out of pocket expenses incurred whilst receiving medical treatment, such as travel expenses
A specialist medical negligence solicitor can assess your case and inform you about:
- How strong your case is
- The likelyhood of making a successful claim
- The amount of compensation you may receive if your claim is successful
- Pursue a claim on your behalf