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Most births happen without incident, and the parents are soon heading home with their healthy and happy new baby. But, sadly, even the most straightforward of births can go wrong if the medical professionals in charge fail to take proper care of the mother and baby.
Negligent care can occur in the lead up to, during or immediately after giving birth and can result in severe, life-changing physical and mental trauma.
It is the responsibility of those caring for you to recognise and manage risks effectively during and after childbirth. While some maternal injuries can occur during delivery, serious injuries that are preventable and negligent mistakes are unacceptable.
Every parent has the right to expect a good quality of antenatal care from nurses, midwives, doctors, and other healthcare staff. If this does not happen, you may be able to make a compensation claim.
Our specialist team of birth injury solicitors have many years of experience helping families who have experienced a poor standard of care during childbirth resulting in severe injuries to the mother.
We have the expertise to help you obtain the answers you seek about what happened and why and will give you the specialist legal advice you need to make a successful medical negligence claim.
Our Expertise with Maternal Birth Injury Claims
We understand it can be difficult talking about your birth injury. It’s a sensitive and emotional subject. That’s why our specialist birth injury solicitors will handle your claim with the utmost sympathy, professionalism, and care.
There is a wide range of birth injuries to mothers that can happen. Our expert team can help you make a compensation claim for injuries and procedures that can cause serious medical problems, including:
- Mismanaged pregnancy complications – such as pre-eclampsia, causing high blood pressure which can, in turn, lead to a stroke, fits, HELLP syndrome (blood, liver and/or blood pressure problems) or organ failure.
- Mismanaged maternal (gestational) diabetes – if there is a delay in diagnosis or the condition is not adequately attended to by healthcare professionals, it can cause serious consequences not just for the mother but also potentially lead to miscarriages or birth defects in the heart and brain of the baby.
- Placental abruption – during some pregnancies, the placenta can become prematurely detached from the womb, posing a significant health risk to both mother and child. Where medical staff fail to act promptly and effectively, the mother can sustain massive blood loss or damage to vital organs – she may even require a hysterectomy.
- Mismanaged labour – complications can occur following a prolonged active second stage of labour (lasting longer than 30 minutes), including pudendal neuralgia and ongoing problems with significant pain, pelvic floor weakness or urinary and faecal incontinence.
- Mismanaged episiotomy – where doctors anticipate a problematic birth, they perform a surgical cut (episiotomy) at the opening of the vagina to ease the baby’s passage. Injuries can occur either because of a delay in performing the procedure – which can result in vaginal and / or perineal (third-degree and fourth-degree) tears causing severe damage resulting in long-term urinary and faecal incontinence – or if the procedure is incorrectly performed.
- Mismanaged forceps / Ventouse delivery – It is not uncommon for women who are struggling with a “spontaneous” delivery to be assisted through the use of forceps or a ventouse instrument (an “assisted delivery”). Where the healthcare professional operating the forceps or ventouse is not sufficiently trained or not paying adequate attention, genital tears or damage to the bladder or uterus can occur.
- Mistakes during a caesarean section – this can include damage to vital organs, failure to remove surgical implements or swabs or negligent stitching.
- Maternal sepsis – failure to diagnose a urinary tract infection (UTI), pneumonia or influenza can lead to septicaemia (blood poisoning), which can then be passed to the baby and with severe complications for the mother.
- Retention of products of conception (RPOC) – when placental or foetal tissue is left in the uterus after miscarriage, termination, or delivery, this can result in significant discomfort, heavy bleeding, infection, and severe longer-term consequences.
- Stillbirth – Not all stillbirths are preventable, but there are circumstances where there have been inadequate monitoring or treatment during pregnancy which can cause or contribute to a stillbirth sadly occurring.
Some women who have experienced a traumatic birth can suffer postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Symptoms include hyper-vigilance, intrusive memories, flashbacks, severe emotional distress, irritability, trouble sleeping and nightmares.
Our birth injury lawyers can also help if your baby is negligently injured during labour and birth.
Some examples of birth injuries to babies we can help with include:
- Brain and Head injury (including skull fracture)
- Cerebral Palsy
- Erb’s palsy (brachial plexus injuries)
- Broken bones – such as fractured clavicle (or fractured collarbone), broken legs or broken arms
- Lack of oxygen
- Neonatal infections (such as Group B strep)
If you want to make a compensation claim for an injury your baby sustained during childbirth, please visit our birth injury claims page.
How birth injury compensation can help
We understand that it can be daunting making the decision to make a birth injury compensation claim, but our expert team is here to help.
We understand that it may be difficult to talk about your injuries. We are good listeners and sensitive to how your life has been affected in different ways. We are here to support you as well as advise you. Our specialist birth injury lawyers will work hard on your behalf to secure maximum compensation for your pain and suffering and to ensure you have access to the expert treatment and rehabilitation you need to get your life back on track.
Compensation for birth injuries to mothers is calculated differently depending on your specific situation and the extent of your injury, but successful claims tend to include compensation for:
- Any pain and suffering and the impact on your quality of life
- Loss of earnings (including future loss of earnings) and pension
- Cost of private medical treatment
- Rehabilitation and specialist therapy expenses
- Any necessary home and vehicle adaptations including specialist equipment
- Costs of care and household assistance
- Travel expenses for hospital appointments
How making a birth injury claim works
Book a free initial consultation with our expert birth injury solicitors
If you would like to claim compensation for a birth injury you’ve sustained during childbirth, get in touch with our expert medical negligence team for a FREE initial consultation.
Our expert birth injury lawyers will ask you what happened during your labour and the birth of your baby, talk through all the details with you and will work out if you’ll be able to make a successful birth injury claim.
No Win No Fee birth injury compensation claims
We offer No Win No Fee funding, which means there is no financial risk to you or any hidden, unexpected costs. In the highly unlikely event, your birth injury claim is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay a penny. Find out more information about No Win No Fee.
Investigating your birth injury claim
Our expert birth injury lawyers will investigate your claim thoroughly. We will gather the evidence needed to build a strong case for you and your family.
Our team will gather the documentary and witness evidence needed and work with leading independent medical experts and barristers to help prove your birth injury case.
Working out how much birth injury compensation you are owed
The value of your birth injury claim is calculated using several factors, including:
- General damages – the severity and extent of your birth injury, illness, pain and suffering, and the impact on your day-to-day life.
- Special damages – the financial cost including any loss of earnings, medication and treatment expenses, your rehabilitation costs, any childcare costs, travel expenses to hospital appointments, house and vehicle adaptations, and any specialist equipment needed.
Find out more about how we calculate compensation.
Time limits for birth injury claims
You must make a claim within three years of the date of your injury or from the time you found out that negligent treatment caused your injury.
It’s vital you get in touch with us as soon as possible so that we can investigate your birth injury case for you.
If you are claiming for a mother who has tragically died due to a birth injury, you have three years to make a claim from the date of their death.
Settling a birth injury claim out of court
We settle most birth injury claims out of court. If your medical negligence case must go to court, our expert birth injury solicitors will support you throughout the process.
Taking your birth injury claim to court
If we do have to issue court proceedings (for example, because no settlement agreement is reached informally), we will guide you through the process and ensure you understand what is happening each step of the way.
In many birth injury cases, the claims settle before the official court hearing date. For the small minority that does not, there is nothing to worry about. We will instruct a specialist barrister to represent you at the final hearing, and our expert solicitor will be with you to support you on the day.
Frequently Asked Questions about birth injury to mother claims
What is a maternal birth injury?
A maternal birth injury is any harm that is caused to a mother during or around the time of labour and childbirth. Minor injuries such as swelling, bruising and small tears are quite common and usually heal quickly. But severe injuries can be caused by negligent medical care for a variety of reasons and there is a wide range of different types of injury. Examples include bladder or bowel damage, placental abruption, misdiagnosis, or delays in diagnosis of pre-eclampsia and uterine rupture.
Who is responsible for my birth injury?
Your midwife, nurse or doctor has a legal duty of care to protect you from harm during childbirth and to ensure you receive prompt and effective treatment if anything goes wrong. If you suffer a serious injury, it may be because the healthcare provider looking after you during labour and childbirth or in the early days following the birth was not of a competent enough standard. It’s vital to speak to a specialist birth injury solicitor who can listen to what happened to you and advise you appropriately.
How do I make a birth injury claim if I’m harmed during childbirth?
Birth injury claims can be complex. That’s why it’s essential to speak to a specialist birth injury solicitor who has the experience and expertise to advise you on making a potential claim. Our expert team are experienced in handling birth injury claims and will support you with compassion and care. We are on hand to give you all the legal advice you need. You can call us at any time on Freephone 0800 884 0777 or email email@example.com.
Why should I make a birth injury claim?
If you’ve sustained a serious birth injury, it is likely that you are experiencing psychological as well as physical trauma. You may have severe injuries which will require treatment and support for the rest of your life. If your injury was caused by negligent medical care, we can secure compensation to make your life easier. We work with case managers, physiotherapists, and support providers to ensure your specific needs are met. Our solicitors can also help you get answers and find out why your birth injury happened. This will ensure crucial lessons are learnt and help prevent the same avoidable mistakes from happening to other mothers.
How much compensation will I get for my birth injury?
No two birth injury compensation claims are the same, and the amount of damages you receive depends on the severity of your birth injury and the impact on your quality of life. Our expert birth injury lawyers will gather the evidence required to calculate the amount of compensation you should receive. For a free initial consultation, call our birth injury team on Freephone 0800 884 0777 or online for a free, no-obligation chat.
Can I make a claim if my partner died during childbirth?
Tragically, severe birth injuries can lead to death if medical professionals make negligent errors or fail to diagnose or monitor the situation correctly. Some maternal deaths are completely preventable which means that depending on the circumstances, you have every right to make a birth injury claim following their death. We have experience helping families make fatal birth injury claims.
We can also provide support and represent you during the inquest into your loved one’s death. Learn more about how we can help with inquests.
Can I still claim if my baby has died due to a birth injury?
Yes, if your baby sadly died due to a birth injury and someone else was to blame, you may be able to make a claim on behalf of their estate. Find out more about fatal injury claims.
I’m not happy with my law firm. Can you take over from my current solicitor?
If your current law firm is not giving you the service and support you need during your birth injury compensation claim, you are entitled to change solicitors.