How do I make a birth injury claim for compensation?
We investigate a potential birth injury claim by obtaining the medical records and then seek to obtain independent medical expert evidence on the care provided. It is on their evidence that a case would be based on.
We would then need to discuss the birth injury with the Defendant(s) to seek their views on the care provided. Sometimes they accept medical negligence at birth on their part, but sometimes this is denied. Depending on the stance they take determines the further steps that may be needed.
What is the time limit for birth injury claims?
There is a time limit of three years to make a claim for compensation. This is taken from the date the injury occurs, or when someone ought to reasonably know of that injury occurring if that is later.
Children have three years from their 18th birthday to make a claim, if the injury happened whilst they were a child. Sometimes, there is no time limit at all, if for example the injury causes significant brain damage so it can be said the person “lacks capacity”. With cases involving a death, the time limit is three years from the date of the death.
How long will my claim take?
This will depend upon a number of factors, including the nature of the injuries, the number of experts that may be required and the stance of the Defendant(s). On average, cases involving birth injury to the mother will take around three years to complete. However, if a Defendant makes early admissions of negligence, then the claim can conclude much sooner. With cases involving an injury to a child, these cases will often take longer, as it is not until the child is much older that the full extent of the injury becomes clear.
Will I need to go to court?
Whilst it is possible that we would have to issue Court proceedings, most cases are resolved without the need to go to a Trial, which would be a final hearing. This is because most cases, even in the Court process, are resolved through negotiation.
What do I have to pay you?
There are various funding options available in medical negligence cases. We can discuss these with you to see what is available and what would be appropriate.
Legal Aid is still available, but only in limited circumstances of brain injury occurring to a child either during birth or shortly after.
Our Lincoln office is one of the three solicitors’ firms in Lincoln who provide legal aid for medical negligence cases. Find out more on our legal aid page.
What is my claim worth?
Birth injury compensation depends on numerous factors, including:
•The nature and extent of the injuries caused by the negligence;
•The financial impact the injuries have on you/your loved ones both now and in the future;
•The risk of further complications;
•Whether any pre-existing problems are involved;
•Whether or not further medical treatment, operations or long-term care or treatment are required
Will I have to attend any meetings with my solicitor in person?
It is our preferred option to meet with you face to face, but we live in a busy digital age, which along with geographical location, work and other commitments allows us to discuss your claim by telephone, video calls and email. It can also extend to sending you all the relevant documents that need reviewing, completing and signing by post, email or other electronic means. So, we do not necessarily need to meet face to face regularly or at all.
Can I make a claim on behalf of a child?
Yes. For injuries to minor children, they are not able instruct us themselves, and therefore require something called a Litigation Friend to act on their behalf. This is typically a close family member. The Litigation Friend instructs us and makes decisions on the case on the child’s behalf. If a settlement is achieved, that sum would need to be approved by the Court to ensure it is in the child’s best interests.
Why choose us?
Jonathan Baker is accredited to the Law Society's Clinical Negligence Accreditation Scheme, which covers all work undertaken by solicitors and suitably qualified Chartered Legal Executives arising out of any act of negligence, breach of contract and/or statutory duty as a result of which the victim has sustained injuries in the course of medical or dental care.
The need for this scheme is for victims of negligence. As a member we have shown, to the satisfaction of the Law Society that we have and will maintain a high level of knowledge, skills, experience and practice in the area of clinical negligence. Keen to do more, we also work with various charities across the sector, whether through our association with Forces Law or directly as a firm.
Claiming for medical negligence at birth
If you’re unsure about your eligibility to claim compensation for a birth injury, speak to one of our medical negligence experts for a free consultation.
To succeed in making a birth injury claim, it has to be proved that the treatment provided fell below a “reasonable” standard of care and also that this treatment caused an injury and in some cases financial loss and/or expense which would otherwise have been avoidable.
What is a birth injury?
It’s only natural that childbirth comes with risks; however it is the responsibility of the doctors, nurses, midwives and other medical staff to ensure they try to minimise the chances of you or your baby being harmed. Failure to do so could result in a birth injury.
Any injury to mother or baby that happens immediately before, during, or after delivery is considered a birth injury.
If mother or child was injured at birth and a medical mistake is to blame, you could be entitled to receive compensation.
What can cause a birth injury?
There are many ways in which a birth injury may be caused to mother or child, and no matter the level of injury all birthing traumas can be difficult to cope with.
Some examples of clinical negligence which may result in a birthing medical error are:
- Substandard care during labour and/or the delivery that causes birth injuries;
- Delay/failure to undergo a C-section
- Incorrect diagnosis or a failure/delay in recognising dangerous conditions for the mother or child;
- Inadequate monitoring of parent and child
- Incorrect medication or mishandling
- Failing to identify, prevent or treat infections – i.e. meningitis
Please note, the information on this page is not meant to be a substitute for advice provided by a doctor. Always consult with an appropriate professional for specific advice related to your situation