Birth Injury Claims

Birth Injuries And Complications During Pregnancy

Birth injury cases are extremely complex in terms of both the legal complications involved but also because of the very stressful and emotional experience that parents and family go through. An injury can occur to the mother or the baby either before, during or shortly after birth. Injury can result from many different circumstances but common complaints are of third and fourth degree tears, skin irritation, fractured bones, brain injury and nerve damage.

With more than 700,000 successful deliveries in the UK every year, the majority of vaginal births do, thankfully, go according to plan. Nevertheless, there are sadly times when a mother suffers an injury during the course of labour. When such complications arise it can be extremely upsetting for the family, often turning what should be a happy occasion into a traumatic experience.

Mothers can sustain an injury during birth in a number of ways, some of which are unavoidable. However, there are occasions when the damage done can be attributed to the actions (or inaction) of medical staff.

Types of Birth Injury Claims

Our solicitors can help you with all types of Pregnancy related and Birth Injury Claims, whether you or your child have been affected. Types of Birth Injury Claim include:

Injury to Mother

1. Perineal Tears
Perineal tears in themselves are not always the result of medical negligence. Indeed, they are a perfectly natural occurrence during a vaginal birth, as the perineum is often not able to stretch far enough to allow the baby’s head to pass through. The extent of damage to the perineum can vary widely from mother to mother, with a first degree tear being the most minor, and a fourth degree tear being the most severe. It is with third and fourth degree tears that medical negligence claims often arise. This is because they are serious injuries that need to be quickly identified, repaired and managed. If there is a failure to do so by medical professionals, a mother will soon begin to develop complications. These can include extreme pain, anal incontinence and infection. For more information click here.

2. Episiotomy Complications
An episiotomy is a deliberate cut made to the perineum during a vaginal birth. This is done when either mother or baby is in distress, meaning it is necessary to speed up the delivery. Alternatively, it may be performed to allow an assisted delivery to take place. After the birth, the cut should be stitched back up and appropriately cared for. However, an episiotomy can lead to additional complications. This will happen if:-

  • It is not performed correctly;
  • It is poorly stitched;
  • It leads to a severe tear, which is not identified;

There may also be a case for medical negligence if the episiotomy was performed unnecessarily. For more information click here.

Injury to Child

Children who are victims of medical negligence at birth tend to suffer the worst and the impact on their lives has long-term effects. The Institute for National Statistics has revealed that of all the children who have Cerebral Palsy, around 10% sustained this condition as the result of poor medical attention during their birth. Cerebral Palsy is usually sustained as the result of the child being starved of oxygen for a period of time, which leads to irreversible brain damage. Babies delivered with too much force from medical professionals are at risk of Erb’s Palsy - a motor condition characterised by the loss of control or motion of one arm. For more information on cerebral palsy claims click here.

What are the Costs?

1stClaims does not charge you for using our service and all initial enquiries with our Solicitors are also free of charge, so rest assured, this initial step of making an enquiry will not cost you anything.

Once one of our Solicitors has assessed the merits of your enquiry they will make a judgement on the likely chances of bringing a successful claim and if the prospects are good, they will normally offer to take your case on a No Win No Fee basis. NOTE: If your case is successful your Solicitor will deduct up to a maximum of 25% of your final settlement or compensation award as payment for their fees. You can find out more about No Win No Fee arrangements and the potential costs that can be incurred by clicking here.

Find Out More

How Long Do I Have to Instruct a Solicitor?

If the Birth Injury claim is for the mother, you have three years from the date of the injury within which to make a claim. However, you need to contact one of our solicitors urgently to ensure you have the best prospects of success. Where the medical negligence involves a child, you have three years from the date of the child's 18th birthday to bring a claim. Therefore, even if the treatment was carried out many years ago, if your child is under 21 year of age they will still be able to bring a claim. Generally however, a claim has a higher chance of success if action is taken as soon after the event as possible.

How 1stClaims Can Help You

If you have suffered a birth injury and you believe it to be the fault of medical professionals, you need to speak to a legal expert as soon as possible. This is because you may well have been the victim of a substandard level of care, in which case it is vital that a specialist solicitor investigate your claim as quickly as possible. Early action will provide you with the best chances of recovering compensation for the pain and suffering you and your loved ones have experienced.

Case Study

Some of the highest payouts are made to cover the costs of the impact that medical negligence can have on a new-born baby during the birthing procedure. The Clinical Negligence Scheme for NHS Trusts revealed that a total of 604 patients were awarded compensation of £1 million or more as a result of the effects of medical negligence during childbirth.

A 10 year-old boy was awarded £7.1 million after medical blunders left him with severe brain damage from birth. A baby who was not delivered quickly enough was starved of oxygen, leaving him with severe disability, epileptic fits and requiring constant care for the rest of his life. He was awarded £9.7 million by a court to cover the costs of his care and to compensate for his injuries. However, stories such as these are just the tip of the iceberg. There are hundreds of other cases that do not make the headlines simply because the sums of money involved are much less. Despite this, these cases have a profoundly negative impact on the lives of the victims.

To return to our medical negligence home page click here.

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