Birth Injury FAQs

What is birth negligence and how do birth injuries occur?

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
  • Fissures
  • 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

  • Congenital Hip Dysplasia – This is not initially indicative of negligence, however, if left undiagnosed and untreated it may affect joint health and development
  • Stillbirth – Where your baby is born dead after 24 weeks or more
  • Infant mortality – If a baby is born alive, but tragically passes away post birth

How can I make a birth injury claim?

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.

How do I know if I can make a birth injury claim?

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.

  1. We can analyse medical records, work out what went wrong and what could have been done to prevent any injuries and conditions from occurring.
  2. 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.
  3. If the treatment received is found to be negligent, you are entitled to claim compensation for the suffering and hardship you experienced,
  4. 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.

How long after a birth injury can I make a compensation claim?

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.

Birth injuries which result in brain damage at birth

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.

How can Hudgell Solicitors help?

We can analyse your medical records to 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 you or your child’s injuries could have been prevented had the proper care and attention been given.

If the treatment you received is found to be negligent, you are entitled to claim compensation for the suffering and hardship you experienced, and you may be eligible for further support depending on the nature of either your or your child’s condition. We understand that no amount of money can truly compensate this situation, but 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 care, therapy and special equipment you or your child may require.

Can I get legal aid for a birth injury 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

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Our experts

Chris Moore

Senior Solicitor and Joint Head of Clinical Negligence

Nicola Evans

Team Supervisor and Solicitor, Clinical Negligence

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