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Birth injury claims

Birth injury claims should never have to be a concern for any new parent. While the number of childbirth injury claims in the UK is dropping, even one is too high. If you or your baby has suffered an injury during childbirth, speak to our specialist team for help.

Last Updated November 8th, 2023.

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Key points for making an injury claim

The most important things to remember when making birth injury claims:

  • You can claim if your healthcare provider failed to protect you or your baby
  • You can claim against a private healthcare provider on the NHS
  • You can claim on a no win, no fee basis
  • You can generally claim for yourself for up to three years
  • You can claim on behalf of a child up until their 18th birthday

When can I make a birth injury compensation claim?

Birth injury compensation claims can be made if the mother or child suffered an injury before, during or after childbirth. The injury needs to be a result of medical negligence – that is, when your healthcare provider fails to meet the necessary standards to keep you and baby safe.

The UK is one of the safest countries in the world to give birth, but mistakes can happen. If you’ve been let down by your medical provider, our birth injury compensation claims team is ready to listen and start your no win, no fee case today.

How to make a birth injury compensation claim

To make a birth injury compensation claim, you need to start by calling the Express Solicitors birth injury medical negligence solicitors. We will give you a free consultation and assess whether we think you’ll be able to make a claim.

The birth injury claims process will vary depending on whether you’re claiming on behalf of your child or yourself.

Generally, we advise you start your claim as soon as possible. This helps us to gather accurate evidence. However, with injuries to children, you have until the date of their 18th birthday to make a claim – and some injuries don’t always show up straight away. Speak to our no win no fee solicitors about your claim today.

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Once you call, we’ll take you through our no win, no fee childbirth injury compensation process:

1. We will help you to gather evidence to support your claim, including medical records, photographs, accident records and witness statements.

2. If you wish, we can refer you to the NHS Early Notification scheme, which helps to speed up investigatory processes for babies born with brain injuries.

3. Once we have gathered your evidence, we will write a letter of claim to the NHS or your private healthcare provider. We are looking to prove two things – breach of duty, which shows the healthcare provider failed, and causation – proof of injury. By law, the NHS has four months to respond to our letter, so please keep this in mind when waiting for an answer.

4. While we are waiting, we will calculate a proposed compensation amount based on the severity of the injury, any financial losses you’ve suffered, and the long-term impacts on your life – for example, rehabilitation for your child.

5. If the healthcare provider accepts the claim, they will pay the compensation out of their insurance. For private providers, this would come out of their public liability insurance. For the NHS, this would come out of NHS Resolution – a government fund set up to protect the NHS in the event of negligence. This is paid for by individual trusts and does not impact the NHS itself.

6. If the healthcare provider disputes the claim, we will take it further. It’s very rare that you will have to go to court, but we will support you in the unlikely event that you do. You will only pay our fees if we win the case.

How to claim for medical negligence

Want to know more about claiming for medical or clinical negligence. Jargon free, we’ll explain your legal rights, letting you know everything you need to know about claiming.

How much compensation can I claim for medical negligence?

Read our medical negligence legal guides to understand your legal rights and how much compensation you may be able to claim.

How much can I claim for childbirth injury negligence?

There are no set compensation amounts for childbirth injury negligence, as it depends on who was affected and how serious their injuries are. When we calculate your birth injury claim, we are looking at two things:

  • General damages – the injury itself, including mental trauma
  • Special damages – any financial losses, such as ongoing medical care.

We’ll also look at the long-term effects on your life. While we cannot offer a set compensation amount, historical data for childbirth injuries shows the following pay-outs:

  • Mental trauma: £4,000
  • Incontinence: £75,000
  • Pelvic injuries: £11,000 to £122,000
  • Brain damage, moderate to severe: £200,000 to £380,000
  • Cerebral palsy injury claims: £15 to 25 million.

At Express Solicitors, our expert medical negligence compensation lawyers will go above and beyond to get you every penny you deserve. This can help to cover any ongoing medical costs and help get your life back on track.

How long do I have to make a birth injury claim?

You generally have three years from the date of your injury to make a claim, but we always encourage you to claim as soon as possible so that we can gather the best evidence. If your child was injured, you can claim up until the date of their 18th birthday. Alternatively, if they have the mental capacity to do so, they can claim for themselves for up to three years after their 18th birthday.

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What are birth injuries?

Birth injuries can happen to the mother or the child during childbirth. While they are relatively uncommon – 915 babies suffered a birth injury in 2015 – their effects can be devastating. If your healthcare provider was negligent and you or your baby suffered an injury, you could make a no win, no fee claim.

Childbirth injuries to the mother

Common examples of childbirth injuries to a mother in labour include:

  • Cuts, bruises, tears or abrasions
  • Damage to pelvic floor muscles
  • Fractured pelvis or broken coccyx
  • Nerve damage, leading to incontinence
  • Pelvic organ prolapse.

While some effects of childbirth are beyond the healthcare provider’s control, such as a large baby causing pelvic damage, they can control how they react to it. Medical negligence childbirth claims could be made if doctors did not act quickly enough, for example, failing to offer a caesarean, or failing to give you adequate treatment after the birth.

Childbirth injuries to baby

Childbirth injuries to babies can range from mild and short-term to long-term brain damage. In particular, the use of forceps can lead to temporary injuries. Examples of injuries to the baby during childbirth include:

  • Bruising or marks from forceps, or cuts from vacuum extraction
  • Swelling of the scalp after vacuum extraction
  • Facial paralysis after use of forceps, which may require surgery
  • Fractures or broken bones, often to the clavicle

Erb’s Palsy claims

Erb’s Palsy claims (also known as brachial plexus) refer to weakness or paralysis of muscles after a complicated birth. The child may suffer nerve damage affecting the arm. This can happen if the birth is breech and doctors fail to intervene in time. The effects are usually short-term, but you can still make a claim.

Cerebral palsy claims

Cerebral palsy claims are linked to the pregnancy, the birth, or the time shortly after the birth. In the case of childbirth, doctors may fail to notice signs of oxygen deprivation, such as the umbilical cord being wrapped around the child’s neck. You may be able to claim if your doctor does not act on this. Cerebral palsy results in life-changing brain damage, and compensation claims can amount to six figures or more.

Stillbirth claims

Stillbirth claims rarely relate to the birth itself, but rather, the pregnancy. If your healthcare provider fails to spot signs on tests or refer you to a consultant, you may be able to make a claim. Stillbirth claims cover psychological damage, funeral costs and costs of unused items for the baby.

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How are birth injury claims proved?

Birth injury claims are proved by gathering medical records that demonstrate negligence. Our birth injury solicitors may ask for an independent medical professional to review your or your baby’s case. We will make this as quick and as comfortable as possible for you.

We may also ask for witness statements, appointment records and photographs where appropriate. The NHS also has a scheme called Early Notification, which helps the investigatory process if your baby has been injured during childbirth.

How long will my birth injury claim take?

Birth injury claims can take anything from a few months to a few years. While we aim to settle your claim as soon as possible, please be aware that legal proceedings can take a lot of time, particularly for sensitive cases requiring medical evidence. By law, the NHS does not have to respond to claims for four months, so this should be a guideline minimum. We are doing everything we can to get you the largest settlement possible, and will keep you informed throughout.

Frequently asked question about birth injury claims

How long do birth injury claims take?

Birth injury claims may take years to settle, depending on the nature of the case and the seriousness or yours or your baby’s injury. We aim to settle all medical negligence claims in no longer than 18 months, but this can vary, particularly with birth injuries. For example, with injuries to children, symptoms may not always show up straight away. We will keep you informed throughout the process and may be able to arrange early compensation payments while you’re waiting.

What is considered a birth injury?

A birth injury is any kind of injury that happens to the mother or child during childbirth. Injuries to the mother can range from minor to severe, for example, bruises and tears or long-term pelvic damage. Injuries to children can be short-term or long-term, for example, short-term paralysis in the limbs, or brain damage if they have been starved of oxygen. If any of these injuries were caused by a doctor’s negligence, you could make a birth injury claim.

How long after a birth injury can you sue?

You generally have three years from the date of a birth injury to make a claim. However, if you are claiming for a child, you have up until their 18th birthday to make a claim. We generally advise you claim as soon as possible so that we can help you gather the most accurate evidence.

What is the NHS Early Notification Scheme?

The NHS Early Notification Scheme was set up to investigate brain injuries that affect children during their birth. For example, if a doctor failed to notice an umbilical cord wrapped around a baby’s neck, this could lead to oxygen deprivation and brain damage. The scheme helps to investigate the case and get answers for parents more quickly. We can guide you through your birth injury claim and throughout this investigation process.

Why choose Express’ birth injury solicitors?

At Express, our birth injury solicitors have dealt with hundreds of compensation claims just like yours, securing up to eight figures in compensation. We specialise in taking on the claims that others turn away, and will listen to your story sensitively. With more than 20 years’ experience, we’ll gather all the evidence to get you the largest settlement possible and get your family back on track.

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