Birth injuries tragically do happen to mothers and babies during childbirth or pregnancy. Pregnancy should be a joyful time, but when hindered by clinical negligence it can be traumatic and stressful. At Anthony Collins Solicitors, we fully understand the complex legal and medical issues that are involved in such claims and provide important support to you through a very difficult time.
We will handle your birth injury case with sensitivity and ensure you are not only provided with the best expert advice but also the best support possible to alleviate any further stress.
When does childbirth become a medical negligence claim?
Sadly, it is a fact that both mothers and babies are injured during pregnancy or childbirth.
We have experience of handling cases where a mother has suffered injuries including:
- anaesthetic errors;
- injuries to organs from caesarean section;
- mistakes during episiotomies;
- perineal tears;
- errors in managing infection and retained swabs.
Injuries to babies during labour or delivery can be catastrophic and we specialise in representing families who have suffered very serious injuries such as these.
Often these will be issues with:
- The failure to perform cardiotocographies (CTGs) to monitor the baby’s heartbeat;
- Errors using forceps or ventouse;
- Delays in performing a caesarean section;
- Failure to observe and monitor CTGs correctly;
- Errors in managing caesarean sections.
These types of situations can result in the baby being starved of oxygen or other difficulties that result in permanent injury, such as brain damage. As such, complex birth injury claims can arise; for example, cerebral palsy. Sometimes, it can be many years after the birth before a child is diagnosed with a brain injury, and that can be the first time a parent may suspect this may have been due to medical negligence.
Who can make a birth injury claim?
The individual person suffering the birth injury can make a claim, which will be either the mother or the baby. If the baby is the injured individual, it will be an adult parent or guardian who will instruct the solicitor acting as the child’s litigation friend.
How do I make a birth injury claim?
At Anthony Collins Solicitors we follow a step-by-step process when completing a compensation claim for birth or pregnancy-related injuries. However, each case we work on is unique to the individual; therefore, at times this structure can vary. Our compensation timeline is designed to give an indication of the process of a compensation claim from start to finish.
How common are birth injury claims?
Of the many hundreds of thousands of babies born each year, only a very small percentage will be injured at birth. However, those birth injuries can be devastating - causing catastrophic, life-changing effects on an entire family. In many cases, the injury will mean the baby will need life-long care, support, equipment, and adapted accommodation - relying on others for all their activities of daily living.
At Anthony Collins Solicitors, we have extensive experience working with birth injury or pregnancy-related claims. A few examples of case studies include:
- Brain damage caused by negligence at birth
- Critical delay during delivery results in brain damage
- Birth Injury leaves client severely disabled
Can I make a birth injury claim on behalf of my child?
Yes. A person under the age of 18 years cannot in law bring their own claim, and as such requires a ‘Litigation Friend’. In most cases it is usual for a parent to be the litigation friend; that person will make decisions in the claim on behalf of the child.
Is there a time limit on making birth injury claims?
A child who has suffered a birth injury has three years from the date of their 18th birthday - that being the age of maturity - in which to bring a claim. Their birth injury claim, therefore, must have either settled or court proceedings have been issued before the child/adult reaches their 21st birthday.
This gives the parents or guardians of the injured child a choice, at the time of the injury, as to whether to put in a claim immediately (and have any compensation awarded to the child placed in a court fund until the child reaches the age of 18) or to wait until the child reaches the age of maturity and let them make their own decision as to whether to pursue a claim for compensation for the injuries they sustained as a child.
Equally, in some cases, it is not until a child reaches their early teenage years that a full and proper assessment of life-long needs can be made. In those cases, the litigation is likely to have started many years previously and is then suspended, pending being able to fully assess life-long needs and abilities. We will seek an interim payment to help during this period.
For a child whose brain injury means on reaching 18 years of age they do not gain mental capacity, there is no time limit for making a birth injury compensation claim. However, there are risks with delaying starting a claim for too long, in some cases, witnesses cannot be traced or suitable experts cannot be identified.
Supporting you in getting the justice you deserve
If we can help, we will talk to you about the best way forward for you, including funding options open to you. We are also happy to talk to you on a no-obligation basis if you already have a solicitor but would like a second opinion or you are unhappy.
If it helps, we can meet you at home or a neutral venue regardless of where you live. If you choose to instruct us, you will be represented by a solicitor who will be your contact from day one, right the way through to the conclusion, keeping you updated throughout.
Medical or clinical negligence can be a difficult thing to move on from, especially when it is not your fault - and it can be life-changing. You can rest assured you would be in the best possible hands. Whatever your case, please contact us and we will work with you to help you get the justice you deserve.
We would like to say a huge thank you for the care, attention and professionalism that you showed us throughout his time as our solicitor. You were very sensitive to our needs and the dedicated support from you, and your team has helped us focus during a very protracted process, reassuring us that the right result would eventually come.Mr and Mrs R.
Anthony Collins Solicitors provided me a very friendly and professional service. They were very sensitive to my feelings in dealing with the case. Thanks to them, we achieved a settlement out of the court, and after two years I finally feel like some justice has been achieved for my beautiful little girl.Anonymous.
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