Birth Injury Claims
When injuries occur during pregnancy or birth due to the negligence of a medical professional, making a birth injury claim is an important step. These injuries can have a traumatic long-term impact on you and your child, and contacting a birth injury solicitor can help you obtain the support and compensation you deserve.
At JMW, our birth injury lawyers are experienced in helping families affected by medical negligence to make successful claims for compensation. We can provide the advice you require at each stage of the medical negligence claims process, giving you the best possible chance of a positive outcome.
JMW has helped countless families who have been through - and may still be going through - a very difficult time. We understand how complex the birth injury claims process can be, and will work to make it as stress-free as possible; we can also represent you on a no win, no fee basis to ensure there is no financial risk for you.
To speak to the experts at JMW about a birth injury compensation claim, simply call us on 0345 872 6666 or complete our online enquiry form and we will call you back to discuss the next steps to take.
How JMW Can Help
At JMW, our experienced team understands how upsetting it is for all concerned when this kind of injury occurs. Our sympathetic approach makes dealing with birth injury claims as hassle-free as possible for you in what we know is a very difficult time.
Our medical negligence team is among the most experienced in the country when it comes to helping people to secure the compensation they deserve. We have a strong track record of making successful birth injury compensation claims, and will work with you to build a robust case, backed by strong evidence.
The specialist birth injury solicitors at JMW are approachable, friendly and entirely dedicated to getting the best results for you. We will guide you through each part of the birth injury claims process and provide clear and comprehensive legal advice at all times.
We have won many multi-million pound settlements for our clients and the team, headed by leading medical negligence lawyer Eddie Jones, includes members of the Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) solicitors panel and members of the Law Society's specialist panel for clinical negligence solicitors.
Where appropriate, we are able to take on cases on a no win, no fee arrangement, which means you are not placing yourself at any risk financially should your claim prove unsuccessful. Legal aid is also available for those who are eligible.
Paula McKay's Story
How to Make a Birth Injury Claim
Our expert birth injury solicitors are experienced in dealing with difficult and personal cases in which a child, or their mother, has experienced injury due to birth trauma. By calling us, you will be able to get a free initial consultation on your situation. Our solicitors understand that this can be a difficult subject to discuss, so we promise to treat the situation professionally and with great care.
Once we have established that you have grounds for a legal case, pursuing a birth injury claim will involve several stages:
- Firstly, we gather all of the necessary evidence, including medical records and any witness statements. This will include notes from midwives, doctors, or any other medical professionals involved in the birth.
- Next, an independent medical expert assesses this evidence to ascertain whether medical negligence occurred and if it caused the birth injury. This expert opinion will form a crucial part of your case.
- Once this has been established, our birth injury solicitors work with you to prepare your claim, outlining the nature of the negligence, the resulting injury, and the impact it has had on your child’s life.
- Finally, your medical negligence claim will be submitted to the responsible party or their insurer, and negotiations will begin. Our aim is always to ensure that you, or your child, receives the maximum amount of compensation required.
Birth injury cases are often complex, but our specialist medical negligence solicitors will work to make the process as simple and stress-free as possible. The JMW team includes experts in the field and will handle all of the legal processes, while keeping you informed of the progress in an easy-to-understand way.
Types of Birth Injuries
Birth injuries can be truly devastating for all involved, often not only affecting the baby and sometimes the mother, but also creating serious consequences for all members of the family and other loved ones.
These types of injury can take many forms, and some can result in life-changing illnesses and conditions. At JMW, we support clients in making birth injury claims across a wide range of areas, including:
Many of these types of injury are extremely serious, and some - including cerebral palsy - can have a lifelong impact on the health, wellbeing and future independence of the child in question. As such, many parents claim birth injury compensation as a means of financing the care and ongoing treatment their child requires for the rest of their lives.
What are the criteria for making birth injury compensation claims?
To establish the legal grounds for a successful birth injury claim, there are generally three essential criteria that must be met:
- Negligence - you must be able to demonstrate that there was a breach of duty on the part of the medical professional or institution responsible for the birth.
- Causation - you must be able to show that this medical negligence directly led to the birth injury.
- Harm - the injury must have caused significant harm or loss, which may include physical injury, mental trauma, additional care needs or financial loss.
When medical negligence occurs during pregnancy or birth, the results are often traumatic and long-term, and those supervising the birth could be held accountable, particularly if complications were missed by those present or they failed to carry out procedures in line with their duty of care to patients. The person responsible might be the midwife, obstetrician or attending doctor. For example, you might also be able to make a claim if your midwife or doctor failed to treat you correctly or did not spot symptoms of a condition that developed during your pregnancy.
When failures of care result in a traumatic birth, the harm caused by the resulting birth injuries can be extremely serious. In the most tragic cases, it can result in stillbirth, the death of a newborn, or severe brain damage.
If you and your family have been affected by a birth injury caused by poor medical treatment, get in touch with JMW's team of expert birth injury solicitors today. We will provide you with a free initial assessment of your case and advise you on whether you have grounds to make a claim.
FAQs About Birth Injury Claims
- Can I still make a claim if the injury occurred during a home birth, or at a birth centre or private facility?
Yes, you can make a birth injury claim irrespective of where the birth took place. If negligence occurred during a home birth or in a private facility that led to a birth injury, you still have the right to claim compensation.
Making a birth injury compensation claim is most commonly associated with hospitals, but it is not restricted to this environment and can involve other settings, such as in the home and in birth centres.
Birth centres are small maternity units that aim to provide a more 'homely' and less 'clinical' atmosphere, and are sometimes preferred by women who hope to give birth without medical intervention. Typically staffed by midwives, birth centres aim to encourage calmness and help patients feel in control. As with all birthing environments, birth centres are not without risks and there is always the possibility of something going wrong - especially if a medical professional behaves negligently.
To learn more about making a birth trauma compensation claim due to a birth centre's negligence, click here.
- What is the time limit for making a birth injury claim?
In England & Wales, you typically have three years from the date of the negligent treatment or from the date you first realised the treatment may have been negligent to make a birth injury claim. However, when it comes to birth injury claims for children, these time limits don't start until the child turns 18. This means they have until their 21st birthday to make a claim.
Meanwhile, for those who don’t have mental capacity due to a brain injury or another condition, there are no statutory time limts on making a claim.
- Can I claim on behalf of a child who has suffered a birth injury?
If your child has suffered a birth injury as a result of medical negligence, their parent or legal guardian can bring a claim on their behalf by acting as a 'litigation friend'. This is necessary for children under the age of 18, who cannot legally bring a case themselves.
A litigation friend makes decisions about the legal case, and is responsible for instructing the solicitor on behalf of the child, including making decisions about the settlement of the claim. All settlements in child cases must be approved by the court to ensure they are in the best interest of the child.
Once the child reaches the age of 18, they have the right to make a claim themselves if one has not already been made on their behalf and they have mental capacity. They then have three years, until they turn 21, to bring a claim.
In cases where a child has suffered a severe birth injury that impacts their mental capacity, the three-year time limit may not apply. If they do not have the mental capacity to bring a claim themselves once they turn 18, the claim can be made on their behalf at any time, without a time limit.
- What is the NHS Early Notification Scheme?
The NHS Early Notification Scheme is an initiative designed to speed up the reporting and investigation of severe incidents occurring during childbirth. The scheme, introduced in 2017, requires NHS staff to report cases where babies are born with potential severe brain injury within 48 hours of birth.
The scheme is designed to help the NHS learn from these incidents and make changes to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. The process involves a rapid, thorough investigation of the circumstances of the birth to identify whether any aspects of care could have been managed differently.
It also provides a framework to support families affected by these incidents, and to manage compensation claims more efficiently. Speak to the birth injury lawyers at JMW, and we can advise you on whether the NHS Early Notification Scheme might be able to benefit you.
- How is compensation calculated for a birth injury claim?
How much compensation can be claimed for a birth injury will be calculated based on the severity of the injury, the impact on the child’s life, any additional care needs, loss of earnings, and any other expenses incurred as a result of the injury. This can include the cost of specialist carers, therapies, adaptations to the home, and specialist equipment.
As such, patients with the most severe birth injuries - such as lifelong cerebral palsy - may be eligible to claim a larger settlement fee to cover the cost of their lifelong needs.
Our solicitors can also help you claim compensation to cover the cost of surrogacy as a result of the negligence you have endured.
- How does the 'no win, no fee' arrangement work for birth injury claims?
A 'no win, no fee' agreement, also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) means that you are protected from having to pay any legal fees in the event that your case is unsuccessful, as long as you allow us to take out insurance for you with our recommended provider.
If your case is successful, the majority of your legal fees will be paid by the other side, with only a capped amount paid from your compensation. This will be discussed with you in detail when you decide whether you want us to take on your case.
This type of arrangement reduces the financial risk to you and allows everyone, regardless of their financial situation, to seek justice.
- How long can a birth injury claim take?
The birth injury compensation claim process is complex, and some of the cases, such as those involving brain damage, require the extensive gathering of evidence to establish a strong legal basis for the claim. As such, it can sometimes take a few years to reach final settlement of this type of case.
However, some cases may be able to be settled more quickly than this, depending on the circumstances of the case; in some instances, it may be possible to obtain interim payments to cover a child's immediate needs while the final resolution of the case is still pending. To learn more, get in touch with the specialist birth trauma solicitors at JMW for tailored advice on how long your claim might take.
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If you believe your family has suffered because of birth injury negligence, speak to the expert solicitors at JMW for help and advice about what to do next. We are passionate, professional and approachable, and can help you determine the next steps to take on your birth injury claim.