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What are birth injuries?

Birth injuries are essentially any harm caused to the mother or baby during or around the time of labour. There are many reasons why injuries may take place during pregnancy or birth. Minor birth injuries such as swelling and bruising to the mother or child are very common and will generally heal naturally within a few weeks. But sometimes, a more severe birth injury or complication can be caused by mistakes or negligence by medical staff.

Have you or your baby suffered an injury during childbirth?

If you or your baby have received careless treatment or have been injured due to medical negligence during pregnancy or birth, we know how devastating it can be. The consequences can be life-changing or, in some cases, even fatal.

We know that seeking birth injury compensation will be the last thing on your mind at such a stressful and traumatic time. However, you can be sure that when you get in touch with us, we're here to talk things through and give you the advice you need. Our Legal Support Advisors are fully trained to guide you through the process of making birth injury claims.

Over the last year, we have spoken to more than 1,000 people who have suffered from pregnancy and gynaecology medical negligence. To speak to us, you can reach us for free on . Calls with us are completely confidential, and we'll do everything we can to put you at ease.

What are the main causes of birth injury?

We all want the birth of a child to go as smoothly as possible, and although giving birth always carries risk, midwives and hospital staff should take all necessary actions to minimise the chances of you or your baby being harmed.

If they fail to do so, this could result in a birth injury to you or your baby. Some examples of clinical errors that could lead to birth injuries include:

  • Failure to recognise dangerous conditions in the mother or child.
  • Poor care during the delivery that causes birth injuries.
  • Incorrect medication or mishandling.
  • Failure to identify, prevent or treat infections - such as meningitis.

No matter what the cause, all birth injuries are extremely difficult to cope with. If you're feeling unsure whether you've experienced medical negligence, we recommend that you speak to us for free advice on whether you could make a birth injury claim. We have the experience to help you and will be happy to answer any questions you may have.


What are the types of birth injuries to mothers?

Birth injuries can be devastating for mothers. It's perfectly normal to expect some recovery time after giving birth, but complications due to medical negligence can make the process much longer. In some cases, birth injuries to mothers can even be permanent.

Examples of birth injuries to mothers may include:

  • Bladder and bowel injuries caused by Caesarean (C-section) errors.
  • Birth injuries after the use of forceps or vacuum delivery.
  • Issues with suturing (stitching) and post-natal infections.
  • Placental abruption where the placenta separates early from the uterus.
  • Delay, misdiagnosis or pre-eclampsia.
  • C-section trauma.
  • Perineal tears or internal damage - if a third or fourth-degree tear was missed or wrongly treated, you may be able to make a birth injury compensation claim.
  • Nervous shock following a traumatic birth.
  • Anaesthetic errors.

After a birth injury to the mother, compensation may be claimed to help support recovery. Not only can compensation help you get back on track and cover essential costs you're facing, but also get you the apology you deserve.

If your experience isn't listed above, then please don't worry. Instead, contact us and our Legal Support Advisors will talk through your circumstances to see if we can help you.



What are the types of birth injuries to babies?

Unfortunately, birth can be extremely dangerous for the baby too. Mishandling, incorrect treatment, medication mistakes and other forms of negligence can cause harm to a baby. Some examples of birth injuries include:

  • Cerebral palsy - a condition that may take time to show itself.
  • Brain injuries.
  • Fractures or cuts.
  • Muscular injuries such as Erb's palsy or brachial plexus.

Sadly, in some cases birth injuries can lead to stillbirth or death following birth. When you're ready, we can offer advice and guide you through the first steps to receiving the birth injury compensation you need.


Has your mental health been impacted by a birth injury?

Medical negligence can not only impact you physically, but it can affect your mental health, too. After carrying out a study of 1,000 people for our Make It Right Campaign, we found that 72% of individuals suffered from a mental health issue as a direct result of their injury. Over half of the people that responded stated that their worries stemmed from the financial implications of their injury.

Video: Our research looked into the unseen impacts of accidental injury, including the impact on mental health.

If you feel that your birth injury has had an effect on your mental health, contact us today on  and we can provide you with the support you need.

Medical negligence can not only impact you physically, but it can affect your mental health, too. After carrying out a study of 1,000 people for our Make It Right Campaign, we found that 72% of individuals suffered from a mental health issue as a direct result of their injury. Over half of the people that responded stated that their worries stemmed from the financial implications of their injury.Video: Our research looked into the unseen impacts of accidental injury, including the impact on mental health.If you feel that your birth injury has had an effect on your mental health, contact us today on  and we can provide you with the support you need.

Why make birth injury claims with us?

Starting a birth injury compensation claim at such a traumatic time can be a tough choice, but we're here to help take the strain and make the situation right for you.

With more than 25 years' experience, we've helped many people in a range of medical negligence during childbirth cases. We understand the importance of making sure the process is as simple and stress-free as possible. That's why we take the time to explain each step of the process, so you know exactly what to expect. If you'd like to go ahead, we'll pass you on to one of our specialist birth injury solicitors who have the expertise and know-how to get you the right result.

We're proud that our customers have rated us as ‘Excellent' on Trustpilot, with over 18,000 reviews. You can check out some of our customers' stories to see how we've helped make it right for them.


How do I make a birth injury claim?

We want to make it as easy as possible to make birth injury claims. All you need to do is give us a call on for a free, confidential chat with one of our advisors.

When you speak to us, we'll ask some questions about the treatment you received so that we can understand the best way to help you. We can usually let you know on your first phone call whether we think you can make a claim. If so, there's never any obligation to go ahead.

If you would like to proceed, our friendly advisors will put you in touch with the right birth injury solicitor for your case. All our birth injury solicitors work to the highest of standards and will explain the process in full so you're clear on what will happen. They'll also speak to you about no win no fee and the costs that will be deducted if your case is successful.  

They'll then negotiate on your behalf and keep you updated about what's happening with your claim, leaving you with one less thing to worry about.


Is there a time limit for making birth injury claims?

Limitation periods do apply to birth injury claims. In the case of an injury to your baby, you can bring a claim any time up until their 18th birthday. If no claim is made in that period, they can make the claim themselves as a young adult in the three years between their 18th and 21st birthdays.

If your baby has suffered a birth injury that has damaged their mental capacity to an extent that it will not improve as they get older, there are no time limits for lodging a medical negligence claim.


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

Sometimes birth injuries to a mother or a child are immediate and obvious. Whether that harm is caused by medical negligence or not is something that investigation by the hospital concerned and/or through a birth injury compensation claim will decide.

However, some birth injuries aren't always immediately obvious. For instance, cerebral palsy caused by deformation or injury to the brain during development or birth may not become apparent until the child has grown sufficiently for the condition - and cause - to be properly diagnosed.

Whatever the circumstances of your birth injury experience, come and talk to us when you're ready. We'll give you the independent and clear advice that will help you to decide what next steps, if any, you'd like to take.


How common are birth injury claims?

NHS Resolution is the official body that handles medical negligence claims made by NHS patients across the UK. In its 2017/18 Annual Report, official figures show that obstetrics (medicine and surgery relating to childbirth and midwifery) accounted for:

  • 10% (1,067) of all clinical claims received.
  • 48% (£2.25 billion) of the total value of all clinical claims received.

Latest figures released in 2018 by the Royal College for Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (RCOG) show that:

  • Of the 700,000 babies born in 2016, 1,123 suffered catastrophic birth injury or worse. At 0.16% of all births, it may be a tiny proportion of the total - but that in no way lessens the dreadful impact upon the families concerned.
  • Of the 955 infants where the case provided enough information to review the quality of medical care given, RCOG judged that 674 cases - that's 71% - may have had a different outcome with different care.

You can read more about the College's findings about severe birth injuries here.


How much birth injury compensation will I receive?

Many people ask how much birth injury compensation they'll receive if their case is successful, but unfortunately there is no specific or set amount. This is because all cases are different, so the amount of compensation you are entitled to will be calculated in line with the injuries and suffering you've experienced.

Our birth injury solicitors will ask you about the severity of your birth injuries and the impact they've had on your life. This will allow them to calculate the damages (compensation) you should receive, including both general and special damages.

Here are some of the things that your solicitor will take into consideration:

  • In the first instance, birth injury compensation will cover the pain and suffering caused by the incident itself. This is called General Damages.
  • You may also need financial support to help to pay for medical equipment, treatment, medication or rehabilitation, as well as any necessary alterations to your home. These are called Special Damages.
  • You may have had to take time off work, or maybe even find a new job altogether. Your compensation could help cover the costs of lost earnings so that you can focus on your recovery or care for your child.

Aside from putting pressure on your finances, birth injuries have a serious psychological and emotional impact. They can affect all aspects of your daily life, from work and socialising to your hobbies. For this reason, your birth injury solicitor will make sure you're covered for any impact the incident has had on you and your child's life.

If you'd like to get an idea of the amount you could receive due to your birth injury, our compensation calculator is a great place to start. In six simple steps you can find out a guideline compensation figure. Should you need any help or advice, give us a call on .


Can birth injury claims be made using no win no fee?

In the vast majority of cases, our experienced medical negligence and birth injury solicitors work on a no win no fee basis.

If your claim succeeds, your solicitor will take a set portion from the overall settlement awarded to you by the other side. This will typically be an agreed fixed percentage which they'll explain to you clearly and in detail before starting work on your claim.

However, if your claim fails and your birth injury solicitor doesn't recover compensation for you, they won't charge you for the work they have done.

Your birth injury solicitor will also explain if a no win no fee arrangement is not applicable to your claim. This is a very rare circumstance and they'll always explain everything to you before incurring any costs on your behalf.

In the vast majority of cases, our experienced medical negligence and birth injury solicitors work on a no win no fee basis.If your claim succeeds, your solicitor will take a set portion from the overall settlement awarded to you by the other side. This will typically be an agreed fixed percentage which they'll explain to you clearly and in detail before starting work on your claim.However, if your claim fails and your birth injury solicitor doesn't recover compensation for you, they won't charge you for the work they have done.Your birth injury solicitor will also explain if a no win no fee arrangement is not applicable to your claim. This is a very rare circumstance and they'll always explain everything to you before incurring any costs on your behalf.

Can birth injury claims be made against a private healthcare provider?

Yes - if you have suffered a birth injury due to medical negligence in the last three years, we can help you make it right. Our legally trained advisors will ask you about your situation and ensure that your birth injury claim proceeds as smoothly as possible.

If you're worried that a successful claim against the NHS will take money out of the NHS budget, please don't. All NHS complaints including medical negligence during childbirth cases are handled by their own specialist insurer, NHS Resolution.


Can birth injury claims be made against a private healthcare provider?

If you have experienced a birth injury due to medical negligence from a private healthcare provider, you can of course make a claim. Birth injury claims must be made within three years of the incident occurring.

As stated by The General Medical Council (GMC), private medical professionals have their own liability insurance to cover any disputes where medical negligence may have taken place. This means that birth injury compensation claims against private healthcare providers work differently to those against the NHS.


Can I make a birth injury claim on behalf of my child?

If your child was injured during birth, you can make a birth injury claim on their behalf any time up until their 18th birthday. After this time, they can make a claim on their own up until three years later - when they turn 21. For example, brain conditions like cerebral palsy that affect movement and coordination will not be immediately obvious and can take time to be properly diagnosed.

In cases where the child's mental capacity has been affected, they may have longer to claim.


Can I or my child have access to long-term medical treatment and rehabilitation?

The additional medical treatment, rehabilitation or long-term care that is - or may be - needed for mother or baby in birth injury claims is called Special Damages. Should you wish to pursue a claim, the firm of approved birth injury solicitors we connect you with will assess those needs. These will form an important part of your medical negligence claim. If your claim is successful, they'll be able to make sure you receive all the assistance you need as part of your settlement.


Our customer stories

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David spoke to us when his accident left him worried about paying the bills

They took me seriously. They were very sympathetic, and it was easy talking to them.

David

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Sue called us after an accident left her struggling and we helped her to get the compensation she deserved

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Read more of our customer stories to see how we've helped people make it right.

You can speak to us in confidence on . With more than 25 years' experience of helping people who have suffered medical negligence, you can trust us to help you receive the birth injury compensation that you deserve.