Birth Injury Compensation Claims
Negligent care during pregnancy and birth can have a lifelong impact on mothers, babies and their families. At Hudgell Solicitors, we have supported hundreds of families affected by birth negligence, providing them with expert legal support to question and challenge the care provided, and secure damages to compensate for the impact it has on their lives.
Whilst the majority of pregnancies and births happen end without any health issues, when something does go wrong it can be incredibly serious, and often the most costly in terms of harm done.
Parents can find themselves returning home without their new-born child. Others return home with a baby in need of lifelong, round-the-clock care. Mothers can also suffer physical and psychological injuries too.
When this happens, families have questions and deserve full answers. If avoidable errors have been the cause, they are also entitled to compensation and support.
In cases of children left with lifelong injury, such as erbs palsy or cerebral palsy, we are proud at Hudgell Solicitors to be able to help families access continued specialist assessments, vital support networks and suitable equipment and medical care to provide a child with the best chance of living a rewarding and happy life.
Our Birth Injury Experts
What is Birth Negligence?
Birth negligence essentially means mistakes made by health professionals which should not happen.
Common mistakes seen by our team include maternity staff failing to carry out tests quickly enough during pregnancy, misinterpreting scans leading to an incorrect diagnosis and inappropriate treatment, failure to act upon reduced foetal movements and failure to take appropriate action when a mother’s blood pressure has been at dangerous levels.
Communication issues can also often be a contributory factor to things going wrong, and we see far too many cases where mothers and their partners feel their concerns have not been listened to early enough, or that they have been ignored completely.
Birth negligence can have a huge psychological impact on all involved, as well as the physical suffering caused. It can affect relationships, work, health and mental well-being.
In situations like this, when questions need to be asked, our team of specialists can provide a key supporting role to parents and families.
Often, we are told we have been the first people to really listen.
The Hudgell Promise
When we take on any case, we want you to feel reassured and confident in every aspect of your claim. That’s why we offer a service that puts your needs over and above anything else.
Making Birth Injury Claims with Hudgell
Apart from the legal process, there are no other means for families to obtain compensation when serious injuries are caused due to negligent medical care.
At Hudgell Solicitors, our team of solicitors has extensive experience of handling birth injury claims and our clients often praise us for the sympathetic and understanding approach we take, alongside a determination to ensure we hold people to account and get the answers people need.
A successful birth negligence claim can provide vital access to therapy and counselling for parents.
Payments can also be secured to ensure immediate steps can be taken to maximise a child’s potential if they have suffered injuries at birth which will affect them long term, including therapy, specialist equipment, accommodation and care.
We are passionate about making a positive impact on the lives of not only those who turn to us but also others too, and our work often leads to changes being made and extra training being provided on maternity wards, meaning your case could help prevent a similar tragedy happening to another family in the future.
If you, or your child, have been affected adversely in any way during pregnancy, childbirth, or in the immediate aftercare period, our team of expert birth injury lawyers and solicitors are here to support you through this difficult time.
You can call us for a confidential discussion of your current situation or arrange a meeting to suit you via our online form.
Do I qualify for a Birth Injury claim?
Hudgell Solicitors has a highly-experienced legal team which is supported by our own in-house medical experts – including a registered midwife – meaning we are able to fully assess cases and the standard of treatment provided.
Many people come to us with lots of unanswered questions as they have been left suspecting that issues or complications during pregnancy and birth may have been the result of negligence.
Our first involvement is to listen to those questions, provide some expert initial free advice and to discuss whether you want to start a birth negligence claim.
There is no commitment when contacting us, but it will enable our lawyers to assess whether your case can be taken forward and inform you what the next steps will be.
Should we feel we can pursue a compensation claim on your behalf, a specialist medical negligence lawyer will be assigned and dedicated to supporting you through your case.
They will explain, in plain, non-legal language, what is likely to be needed from you at each stage of the process, including what evidence and information will need to be obtained.
Should a case not be pursued, our discussions will always remain entirely confidential.
How to make a Birth Injury claim?
If you, your partner or your child has been affected adversely in any way during pregnancy, labour, childbirth or in the immediate aftercare period, whether that was under NHS or private care, our birth injury solicitors and lawyers are here to listen to your experience and provide you with support.
Your lawyer will discuss potential ways of funding your claim from the onset, including our ‘no win no fee’ arrangement which enables people to pursue legal action without paying any money up front.
Under this agreement, you will only pay for our legal expertise should we win your case. The payment will be an agreed percentage of your damages settlement.
Our representation sees us;
- Carry out initial fact-finding by discussing with you what happened, what went wrong and the impact it has had on your life.
- Inform the healthcare provider of our investigation into the care they provided, requesting relevant medical records and details of examinations and treatment.
- Seek independent medical opinion to determine whether a mother or child’s injuries could and should have been prevented, had the proper care and attention been given.
- Make a decision, based on evidence gathered, as to whether we are in a position to make an official claim for damages to compensate for the suffering and hardship caused.
- Should admissions of negligence be secured, consider an application for interim payments to cover the cost of any immediate needs for a child and family.
- Seek to negotiate a compensation settlement out of court which reflects the injury and loss caused, including damages to cover any future care and assistance required.
Whilst we understand that no amount of money can truly compensate people in many cases relating serious injury, especially in cases where lives are lost, it can provide crucial financial support that helps many families access any additional ongoing care, therapy and special equipment that a mother or child may require.
Our legal expertise can bring about change which makes the most difficult days that bit easier.
How much compensation is expected for a Birth Injury claim?
Compensation for birth injury can range vastly dependent upon the severity of the injury and loss suffered.
In cases relating to children suffering life-long injuries such as Cerebral Palsy or Erbs’ Palsy, damages can be awarded into many millions of pounds, as this money is required to cover the cost of round-the-clock care and home adaptations needed.
Damages are ultimately awarded help to support families through difficult times without the added worry of the financial implications of additional medical care or other costs. These can include:
- Damages for the pain and suffering caused to the mother or child due to a doctor/medical staff member’s negligence.
- Funding for required care, equipment or household adjustments.
- Medical expenses incurred through seeking specialist healthcare to deal with the injuries or afflictions following a birth injury.
- Loss of earnings for you or a loved one acting as a carer due to the injuries sustained.
- Funeral expenses in the event a patient (mother or child) dying due to birth negligence.
Our dedicated medical negligence solicitors and lawyers are have vast experience in valuing claims, ensuring a case will be built for you which reflects the severity of the situation, and the financial support you need.
How much will my claim cost?
All birth negligence cases taken on by Hudgell Solicitors are handled on a no win no fee basis. This means that you will not have to pay any money up front and there will be no financial risk if your case is unsuccessful. If your case is successful, you will only be expected to pay a contribution to your solicitor’s fees once the case has been resolved.
We also offer Legal Aid funding for certain types of medical negligence compensation claims (usually involving children who have a neurological injury that has resulted in severe disability, which has been sustained either through pregnancy, during the birth or the first eight weeks of the child’s life).Find out more
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- Birth negligence can take many forms. For example, mistakes made during routine procedures and monitoring failures can mean that an unborn child’s health deteriorates at a frightening speed.
- Whilst the vast majority of pregnancies and births take place without any issues, it can be very serious when something does go wrong.
- The definition of a ‘birth injury’ is any injury suffered by the mother or their baby during the three stages of childbirth.
- As a mother, you might experience a wide variety of complications that range in severity. It may be that you were left unattended during labour. Regardless of their impact, an injury to mother during birth which was as the result of improper treatment or care may mean you are entitled to birth injury compensation and private care.
Examples of cases where birth injury compensation claims may be possible because of issues during pregnancy
- Maternal diabetes or gestational diabetes
- Errors in managing pre-eclampsia
- Uterine rupture
- Placental abruption
- Wrongful birth cases, where a mother would have terminated her pregnancy had she known about a birth defect rather than give birth to a child with severe physical or mental disabilities.
Types of birth injury claims we deal with when problems occurred during labour
- Episiotomy – Second or third degree tears
- Forceps delivery or Ventouse delivery
- Perineal tears – third and fourth degree
- Wrongly performed Episiotomies
- Mistakes in surgically suturing tears or an Episiotomy
- Mistakes in caesarean procedures (e.g. damage to organs)
- Retained swabs
- Anaesthetic errors
- Fractures to the skull, legs, arm, shoulder or collarbone of baby
- Cuts and scars to baby
- Cerebral Palsy
- Erb’s Palsy or Brachial Plexus Injuries
Examples of cases where a birth injury claim may be possible because of complications after the birth
- If you or your child have been affected adversely in any way during childbirth or in the immediate aftercare period, our team of expert birth injury lawyers and solicitors are here to support you through this difficult time.
- The next step for you is to get in touch and discuss your case with us. We operate under a no win, no fee policy – meaning that getting in touch to discuss your situation won’t cost you a thing and could significantly improve your situation.
- Public Funding (sometimes known as Legal Aid) may also be available for child cases. We will carry out a full assessment to see if an application for funding is appropriate.
- We’ll help alleviate your concerns and will always speak to you and write to you in plain, straightforward English.
- Our team of expert child birth injury solicitors have vast experience of dealing with complex birth injury claims.
- The following four-step process is used by us when assessing whether you can make a birth trauma claim or birth error claim.
- We can analyse medical records, work out what went wrong and what could have been done to prevent any injuries and conditions from occurring.
- We can then arrange for an independent medical examination to determine whether a mother or child’s injuries could have been prevented – had the proper care and attention been given.
- If the treatment received is found to be negligent, you are entitled to claim compensation for the suffering and hardship you experienced,
- You may be eligible for further support depending on the nature of either your or your child’s condition.
- Whilst we understand that no amount of money can truly compensate this situation, it can provide crucial financial support that helps you recoup any funds you may be owed, such as lost earnings or support costs. It can also help you access any additional ongoing care, therapy and special equipment that a mother or child may require.
- As is the case with most clinical negligence claims, the time limit is three years from when you suffered an injury because of medical errors – or the date when you first learned your injuries were because of medical negligence. If a child is involved, claims can be made any time up until the age of 21 because the three-year time limit starts once they turn 18.
Cerebral Palsy claims
- Cerebral palsy, a brain injury caused by lack of oxygen to the baby during delivery, is most commonly caused by the failure to recognise a child’s vital signs becoming abnormal and subsequently failing to accelerate the birth.
- When assisting with a delivery, medical staff may inadvertently use excessive force or fail to carry out a caesarean section when one is clearly needed. This may result in a child being born with serious neurological damage.
- Although not every case of cerebral palsy in childbirth is a result of medical negligence, you can find out more information about cerebral palsy, its symptoms and how to make a birth injury claim by clicking here to see our Cerebral Palsy Lawyers page.
Erb’s Palsy claims or Brachial Plexus injury claims
- Shoulder Dystocia leading to Erb’s Palsy occurs when inadequate plans for birth are made by healthcare professionals relating to the size of an unborn baby and its delivery method.
- If a baby is expected to be larger than normal, which may cause problems during a normal vaginal delivery, preparations should be made to carry out a caesarean section or an episiotomy.
- If no action is taken and baby is large, their shoulders may end up being stuck during vaginal delivery, which is extremely dangerous and can lead to death.
- Sometimes this can happen and baby’s shoulders are freed, but the trauma sustained in vaginal delivery leads to nerve injury and the possibility of an arm or hand being paralysed.
- If you think this has happened to you or someone you know, get in touch and discuss whether you may be eligible to make a birth injury compensation claim.
- Or click here for more information about Erb’s palsy, its symptoms and how our specialist Erb’s Palsy Solicitors will help to process your claim.
- Only accredited specialists in birth injury claims have a legal aid franchise which allows them to represent families when a child suffers a neurological injury before, during or no later than 8 weeks from birth, through the public purse. Hudgell Solicitors are proud to be one of only a small number of firms to offer this service so we can ensure families are not left out of pocket when seeking the compensation and support they will require, often for the rest of their child’s life.
- Personal insurance cover so there’s no financial risk to you in pursuing a claim
- Whatever the outcome of your case, you won’t have to pay a penny (provided that you fully assist us with your claim) other than an agreed percentage of your damages
- Every birth injury case involving a child will be assessed for public funding eligibility
Why do I need a birth injury lawyer?
Our team has a strong track record of holding healthcare professionals to account when things go wrong. Birth injury claims are often contested by NHS Trusts, which can be unwilling to hold their hands up to errors, preventing families from accessing financial support and from rebuilding their lives. Not only is our team dedicated to working around the clock to establish the facts and hold trusts accountable, but we have also campaigned for change, joining forces with mother and baby charity Baby Lifeline to highlight continued maternity failings in the UK and the need for greater investment into training.
- Provide a compassionate and understanding service tailored to your situation.
- Help you gain access to support services to help make the best possible recovery following a traumatic birth injury.
- Seek interim compensation payments where possible to pay for medical equipment, rehabilitation, surgery, accommodation or assisted care, to help families start rebuilding their lives as soon as possible.
- Help you plan for any long term care needs required for you or your child to support independent living.