Stillbirth Compensation Claims

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Stillbirth Compensation Claims

Stillbirths are devastating, taking a huge psychological toll on parents. This is especially true when stillbirth or neonatal death is shown to have been avoidable if not for the negligence of a medical professional.

In such instances, parents should claim compensation for their suffering and take action to reduce the chances of such traumatic events from happening in future. The medical negligence team at JMW is sympathetic and professional, and has the experience needed to help you to pursue your stillbirth compensation claim at what can be a very difficult time. 

We understand how traumatic it can be to lose a baby in this way, and how daunting the medical negligence claims process may appear. As such, our expert clinical negligence team is dedicated to providing sensitive and supportive legal representation, guiding you through each step of the process to ensure you achieve the best possible outcome.

To discuss your situation with our team today, and to find out more about making a stillbirth negligence claim, call us on 0345 872 6666, or complete our online enquiry form to arrange a call back at your convenience. Our medical negligence solicitors can handle cases via a no win, no fee agreement.

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What Our Clients Say

How JMW Can Help

Like any legal process, claims for stillbirth compensation can be complex, and so it is essential that you have a solicitor who is highly experienced in the field of medical negligence law - such as those at JMW. These cases are often strongly contested, and it takes the skill of a specialist solicitor to help you to succeed in your case.

The team at JMW has dealt with many cases of this type and we pride ourselves on securing the right outcome by taking the right approach.

Led by the highly regarded solicitor Eddie Jones, our medical negligence team includes members of the Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) solicitors panel and the Law Society's specialist panel for clinical negligence solicitors.

While making a claim can help compensate families financially, it can also help in other ways. For instance, many families want to find the answers that might have been denied to them at the time of their ordeal, and to attempt to ensure that no other mothers and fathers-to-be suffer the same loss in the future. Finding out the truth can never bring back a lost child, but it can at least provide closure and help bereaved parents come to terms with what has happened.

Adam and Hayley's story

In this video, Adam and Hayley explain how JMW helped them after making a stillbirth compensation claim for the avoidable death of their first son Joshua, and the difference we made to their lives.

Case Studies

We have worked with countless families to help them recover compensation for stillbirths and neonatal deaths caused by negligent treatment. Take a look at some of these stillbirth compensation stories below to learn more about how JMW's support has made a real difference to their lives:

When can I make a stillbirth compensation claim?

Not all stillbirths are caused by negligent care, but when a baby dies, parents have a right to know that everything was done correctly to try and avoid the child's death. Providing parents with support and explanations in such circumstances is a basic requirement of good practice.

If you believe that your child's death was the result of substandard care, you may be able to make a medical negligence claim. Examples of common grounds for stillbirth medical negligence claims include:

  • Delays in delivery that cause oxygen deprivation 
  • Infections being missed or misdiagnosed during pregnancy
  • Errors made when performing an emergency caesarean section, leading to the death of the child
  • Inadequate monitoring of your baby's general condition during your pregnancy - for example, failure to properly monitor the baby's heartbeat, growth or movement
  • Failures in antenatal risk management - for example, not recording the birth as high-risk when it ought to have been
  • Substandard referral practices during pregnancy, meaning the mother was not referred for essential tests or check-ups
  • Communication issues, resulting in the mother failing to receive the guidance they needed

One particular area of concern is that some parents attend hospital with a strong instinct that something is wrong, and find that their worries are not taken seriously enough. If things do go wrong, they will likely feel guilty for not being more persistent in ensuring their doubts were acted upon immediately. That guilt can be made worse when investigations into the circumstances of their child's death reveal that they would have had a healthy baby if appropriate action had been taken.

All of these factors can result in parents experiencing serious psychological consequences, including post-traumatic stress disorder, in the wake of a stillbirth. This can be made more difficult if they learn that the death of their baby was avoidable, or a consequence of medical negligence.

All reports on stillbirth have highlighted the need to improve communication between parents and their doctors or midwives. Many mothers are aware of the normal patterns of movement and growth of their baby, and if there are concerns, these should be heard and investigated by those responsible for their care. Poor communication is another common factor in medical negligence cases relating to stillbirth.

What is the stillbirth compensation claims process?

If you have reason to believe that your child's death was the result of medical negligence, JMW can help you make a stillbirth or neonatal death compensation claim. We will help by investigating the circumstances of your child's death to provide evidence that negligent care was responsible for your loss.

Here is how the process works:

  • Contact JMW as soon as possible to set up a free initial consultation to discuss the particulars of your case. We will explain everything you need to know and advise you on whether you have a strong case
  • We will gather evidence to support your claim, reviewing medical records and documentation, while also gathering opinions from independent medical experts. Using this, we will be able to construct a strong case for stillbirth negligence
  • We will attempt to reach a settlement that you can agree is fair and reasonable. Most stillbirth negligence cases we handle are settled out of court, meaning the case can be brought to as swift and stress-free a conclusion as possible
  • If a settlement cannot be reached, or the medical professional or organisation denies responsibility, we will begin court proceedings, and will represent you each step of the way to give you the best chance of getting the compensation you deserve

We handle stillbirth compensation claims on a no win, no fee basis, meaning that legal fees will only be paid when your claim is successful. Also known as a conditional fee agreement, a no win, no fee arrangement ensures that stillbirth negligence claims can be made at no financial risk to the bereaved family.

How Much Medical Negligence Stillbirth Compensation Can I Claim?

For stillbirth cases, your compensation amount will be calculated to take into account the lasting practical and psychological impact of the loss on you and your family. To calculate how much compensation for stillbirth will be reasonable, your legal team will assess your specific needs and circumstances, and the specialist support services you may need to access.

We understand that no amount of money can truly compensate for the loss of a child. However, compensation claims are intended to provide financial support for the emotional distress, psychological trauma, and any medical expenses incurred due to negligence.

Factors that can influence the amount of compensation include:

  • Pain and suffering - this includes both physical pain and emotional distress suffered by you due to the stillbirth.
  • Psychiatric injury - if you experience psychiatric conditions such as depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the stillbirth, this can be factored into the compensation. This includes any therapy or counselling costs.
  • Medical expenses - any costs related to the pregnancy, delivery, and any subsequent treatment can be claimed, as well as the travel costs associated with attending appointments.
  • Loss of earnings - if you had to take time off work or were unable to work due to the emotional impact of the stillbirth, you may be able to claim for loss of earnings.
  • Funeral expenses - the costs of the child's funeral can also be included in the claim.

Additionally, stillbirth negligence claims can play a key role in helping you understand why a stillbirth happened, and obtain an apology from those responsible. This can provide you and your family with closure, and lead to changes that will prevent the same mistakes from being made again in future.

Given the complex nature of these cases, make sure to consult with a legal professional who specialises in medical negligence. At JMW, we have a team of experienced solicitors who can provide sensitive and expert advice to help you navigate this difficult process.

Support Following Stillbirth

A stillbirth is one of the most traumatic and devastating experiences a family can go through. Not only does this result in the loss of a new baby, but the event can also be damaging to the mother's health, potentially leaving her with physical and psychological injury.

Many people who have experienced a stillbirth are left with ongoing problems such as depression and isolation; when stillbirths are connected to medical negligence cases, it can cause women to lose faith in the medical profession and be unsure where to turn for expert support.

This is why there are a number of stillbirth and neonatal death charity organisations that exist to help women and their families. Run by individuals with first-hand experience of the devastation of stillbirth, they offer support, campaign for better care and promote the need for research.

JMW has helped many women to successfully challenge poor care through stillbirth negligence claims, and we advise our clients to speak to these organisations in their time of need. Here is some information about their vital work:

Sands (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society)

Sands is a charity that has been helping women and their families come to terms with the death of their babies for 25 years, and offers emotional support and practical help. Many of those who provide advice have lost a baby themselves, and so understand only too well the psychological trauma it causes. Sands has made great strides in improving the care provided to parents immediately following a stillbirth, as it recognises its importance in helping them to cope long-term.

The Sands website is a valuable source of information to guide women and families through the many challenging stages they face following a stillbirth.

Sands operates a national helpline for anyone affected by stillbirth, whether it has happened recently or many years ago. As well as helping parents whose baby has died, the helpline is open to any other family members who may have been affected. Callers can discuss their experience in confidence with a sympathetic ear and can also find out about local Sands support groups and counselling services they can access.

The helpline number is 020 7436 5882 and is open from 9.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday, and also between 6pm and 10pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Sands also has a network of 90 local groups nationwide that offer community-based support to families who have suffered a stillbirth.

The Birth Trauma Association (BTA)

The Birth Trauma Association (BTA) exists to help people who have been traumatised by childbirth, and stillbirth can be one reason for this trauma. The organisation was set up by mothers whose aim is to help other women who have suffered a traumatic birth and are finding it difficult to cope with the psychiatric injury. The BTA tackles three main areas - raising awareness of birth trauma, working to prevent it and supporting families in need.

The BTA website has a wealth of information about birth trauma and how to cope, as well as the real-life experiences of women who have experienced it. The organisation has a network of volunteers who have experienced a traumatic birth and can be contacted by email by anyone in need of support from someone who understands what they are going through. As well as women, fathers and partners who have also been traumatised by a birth are a key target of the BTA's support and there is a dedicated page on their website that contains real-life stories.

Anyone who is suffering from the impact of stillbirth should seek help as soon as possible and many clients of JMW have found these organisations a huge source of support. The advice and emotional support they provide can help women and their families to begin to cope with their devastation and the earlier this begins, the better the long-term outcome will be.


What causes stillbirth?

Stillbirth is the death of a baby before or during a birth after 24 weeks of pregnancy. Every year in the UK, around four babies in every 1,000 are stillborn. The most common causes of stillbirth are:

  • A genetic physical defect in the child
  • Placental abruption, where the placenta comes away from the wall of the uterus
  • High blood pressure - this is often an issue for women with pre-eclampsia, a condition that is known to cause high blood pressure during the second half of pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Reduced oxygen levels to the baby (either while in the uterus or during birth)
  • Infections affecting the child or the mother
  • Umbilical cord problems, such as knotting that stops the baby from receiving nutrients, or the cord wrapping around the foetus in the womb

Even if these conditions do not lead to stillbirth, they can still be highly dangerous for mother and child, potentially leading to brain injury or other forms of birth injuries.

Sometimes, the cause of death is clear, and good information about the underlying condition is available. However, often there is no satisfactory explanation. A significant proportion of stillbirths are unexplained, occurring in otherwise healthy babies.

However, doctors and midwives are responsible for carrying out appropriate assessment throughout pregnancy to ensure that any foreseeable problems are identified, especially for common and well-known risks like high blood pressure and placental abruption. If inadequate antenatal monitoring was a factor in your baby's death, you may be able to make a stillbirth medical negligence claim.

What can compensation pay for?

Your stillbirth compensation amount will be calculated to take into account the lasting practical and psychological impact of your loss on you and your family. How much compensation you will receive will depend on your specific needs and circumstances, and the specialist support services you may need to access.

Making a stillbirth compensation claim can help you to pay for the following:

  • Therapy or counselling costs
  • Travel costs associated with attending appointments
  • Lost wages from time taken off work
  • Childcare costs
  • Funeral costs

Additionally, stillbirth negligence claims can play a key role in helping you understand why a stillbirth happened, and obtain an apology from those responsible. This can provide you and your family with closure, and lead to changes that will prevent the same mistakes from being made again in future.

How long do I have to make a stillbirth compensation claim?

As with most types of medical negligence, personal injury or birth compensation claims, there is a three-year time limit on making stillbirth negligence claims. This will be calculated either from the day you received the negligent care, or when you discovered that negligent treatment was responsible for the stillbirth.

If you are planning to make a claim for stillbirth medical negligence, it is advisable to speak to a solicitor as soon as possible, in order to start building your case immediately.

What is the difference between stillbirth and neonatal death?

Stillbirth and neonatal death are both tragic events, but they refer to different time periods in a baby's development and early life.

  • Stillbirth specifically refers to the death of a baby in the womb after 24 weeks of pregnancy, meaning the baby died during the pregnancy or during labour, but before birth. The mother still has to go through the birth process to deliver the baby. Note that the definition of stillbirth can vary slightly between different countries and regions, particularly regarding the gestational age at which a loss is classified as a stillbirth.
  • Neonatal death refers to the death of a baby within the first 28 days of life. This period is further divided into early neonatal death, which occurs in the first seven days of life, and late neonatal death, which occurs between seven and 28 days of life. Neonatal deaths can occur due to a variety of reasons, including complications during birth, prematurity and genetic conditions.

Both stillbirths and neonatal deaths can be incredibly traumatic for the parents and families involved. Support and care from healthcare professionals, as well as counselling and support groups, can be crucial during this difficult time.

What should medical staff do to prevent stillbirths?

Medical staff have a responsibility to take all of the steps necessary to minimise the potential risk of stillbirths. These include:

  1. Prenatal care - regular prenatal checkups are essential to monitor the health of both the mother and the baby. These checkups can help identify any potential issues early and allow for timely intervention.
  2. Monitoring foetal health - medical staff should closely monitor the health of the foetus. This includes regular monitoring of the baby's heart rate and movement, as well as growth and development. Tools such as ultrasounds can be used to monitor foetal health.
  3. Identifying and managing risk factors - medical staff should work with expectant mothers to manage any potential risk factors for stillbirth, which may involve lifestyle changes, medication or additional monitoring.
  4. Educating expectant mothers - medical staff should educate expectant mothers about the signs of potential problems, such as reduced foetal movement. Mothers should be encouraged to seek medical attention immediately if they notice any changes or have any concerns.
  5. Safe delivery practices - when it comes to delivery, medical staff should follow safe and appropriate practices. This includes closely monitoring the mother and baby during labour and being prepared to intervene if any complications arise.
  6. Addressing complications promptly - if complications arise during pregnancy or labour, it is crucial that medical staff respond promptly and appropriately. This might involve performing a caesarean section or using other interventions to ensure the safety of the mother and baby.

By following these steps, medical staff can help to reduce the risk of stillbirth. If it can be proven that these steps were not taken, and this contributed to a stillbirth or neonatal death, then the family in question may have grounds to make a medical negligence claim.

What steps should parents take if they suspect medical negligence in a stillbirth case?

If you suspect medical negligence in a stillbirth case, they should take appropriate steps to ensure their concerns are addressed and they have everything they need to support the stillbirth claims process. Here are the steps you should consider:

  • Seek medical records - the first step is to request a complete copy of all medical records related to the pregnancy and childbirth. These records are vital evidence if a negligence claim is pursued. They can provide a detailed account of the care provided and may highlight any areas where the standard of care was not met.
  • Document everything - you should write down everything they remember about the pregnancy and the care you received. This should include dates, names of healthcare professionals and any specific incidents or conversations that stand out. This personal account can provide valuable context to the medical records and help identify any discrepancies or areas of concern.
  • Contact a legal professional - if you believe you have a case for medical negligence, you should contact a solicitor who specialises in this area. A medical negligence solicitor can provide advice on whether a valid claim exists, guide parents through the legal process, and help gather the necessary evidence for a claim.

The circumstances surrounding different stillbirth claims are unique, and the steps required may vary. However, these general steps provide a starting point if you suspect medical negligence in a stillbirth case.

Talk to Us

To speak to a solicitor about your concerns with how medical professionals handled the care of you and your child, or if you think there is evidence of clinical negligence in your case, call us today on 0345 872 6666, or complete our online enquiry form to start your stillbirth claim. We are able to take cases on a no win, no fee basis. 

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