Birth Injury Claims
The birth of a child is often one of the most eagerly awaited events in your life. Most deliveries are uncomplicated and you leave hospital with a healthy baby, but sometimes things go wrong and the mother or baby suffers a birth injury.
The effects on a child of injuries sustained during birth can range from the very minor to those so severe as to be incompatible with life. Sometimes the effects are not obvious for some time, only becoming apparent as the child develops physically and mentally. These injuries can often leave your child requiring continuous treatment and care, as well as having a significant impact on their quality of life and opportunities.
If you or your child were injured due to negligent care by the medical team handling your birth, you may be able to claim birth injury compensation. This can help to ensure you can afford the care and support you and your child need, as well as compensating you for the emotional impact and practical issues, such as lost income.
Jobling Gowler’s team of expert birth injury solicitors have extensive experience in helping families to pursue compensation for a wide range of birth injuries. We have a strong track record of success, including securing millions of pounds in damages for our clients.
For more general information, please call 01625 614250 or email email@example.com
How to pursue birth injury compensation
If you believe you may have a case to claim birth injury compensation, the first step is to speak to a member of our team. They will be able to discuss your situation with you and advise you on whether you are likely to be able to make a successful claim.
We will then gather evidence, including medical records, witness testimony and expert testimony from independent medical professionals to establish the facts of your case, including how the care you and your child received was negligent and the impact this has had on your/your child’s health.
At this point, we will then contact the NHS Trust or other healthcare provider responsible for the negligent care you received, setting out the details of your claim and how much compensation you are seeking.
The defendant should then respond with in a maximum of four months, either accepting responsibility and offering a settlement or denying responsibility. If they accept responsibility, you can either accept their offer of settlement or refuse and we will attempt to negotiate a higher settlement where possible. If the defendant does not accept responsibility, we will then need to issue court proceedings to seek a resolution.
Before a court hearing takes place, we will normally attempt to agree a solution and financial settlement through non-confrontational means, including mediation and arbitration. Most claims can be resolved in this way, meaning the matter can be resolved faster and at lower cost to you, while allowing you to avoid the need to appear in court.
If no pre-trial settlement can be agreed, you will likely need to attend a court hearing to achieve a resolution. We will ensure you have the best possible representation in court so your case is presented effectively and you have the strongest chance of a fair outcome.
Funding a birth injury claim
For many people, the thought of finding the money to fund a medical negligence compensation claim can be off-putting. However, birth injury claims are the one type of clinical negligence claim that are still eligible for legal aid. This means, depending on your circumstances, you may be able to have some of the cost of pursuing a claim provided by the government.
We are also able to represent many of our clients on the basis of a conditional fee arrangement, commonly known as ‘no win, no fee’. With a no win, no fee birth injury claim, you only pay us if we win compensation for you and the amount you pay is based on an agreed percentage of the financial settlement. That way, there is no financial risk to you and you will get the maximum benefit from any settlement we secure.
Please get in touch for find out whether you may be eligible for legal aid or a conditional fee arrangement for your birth injury claim.
Why choose our specialist birth injury solicitors?
Jobling Gowler has a team of specialist clinical negligence solicitors with extensive experience of successfully pursuing birth injury claims under even the most complicated and challenging of circumstances.
We are accredited by the Law Society for Clinical Negligence and Personal Injuries, reflecting the strength of our expertise in these areas. We have also achieved the Law Society’s Lexcel accreditation in recognition of the excellence of our practice management and client care.
Over the years our specialist team have successfully investigated and pursued claims including:
- Cerebral palsy from lack of oxygen
- Negligence causing congenital hip dysplasia (dislocation of the hip)
- Damage from injuries caused by forceps
- Injuries to the shoulder and arm during delivery (known as “Erb’s Palsy”)
- Damage caused by failure to manage hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar)
- Jaundice in the neonatal period.
We are able to offer Legal Aid funding for claims involving brain damage at or around birth. In almost all cases no contribution is required because legal aid is assessed on your child’s assets and not yours.
Birth Injury Claims FAQs
Can I make a claim for birth injury compensation?
To make a birth injury claim, you need to show that the care you received was below medically acceptable standards. It is not enough simply to show that mistakes were made – instead, you need to be able to demonstrate that the medical staff handling the birth acted in a way no competent professional would under the same circumstances.
What is the time limit for making a birth injury claim?
If the injury is to the mother, there is usually a three-year time limit to bring a claim. This will either be dated from the time the injury occurred or the time you became aware of it (if this is later).
If the injury was to your child, they will usually have until their 21st birthday to bring a claim (or for you to bring one on their behalf while they are under 18). However, if your child does not have the mental capacity to bring a claim themselves (e.g. due to serious brain damage) there is no time limit for you to bring a claim on their behalf.
How much compensation can I claim for a birth injury?
You can claim two types of compensation for a birth injury – general damages and special damages. General damages cover non-financial losses e.g. pain and suffering or limitations to your/your child’s lifestyle. Special damages cover specific financial losses e.g. the cost of treatment or lost earnings.
How long does a birth injury case take?
Birth injury claims cannot be resolved overnight – it is important to realise that they can typically take in the region of 12-18 months to reach a settlement and it is not uncommon for claims to take more than 2 years to resolve.
Will I need to go to court to claim birth injury compensation?
In most cases, birth injury claims can be resolved without the need for a court hearing through methods such as negotiation, mediation and arbitration. However, it is possible you may need to attend court in order to achieve a settlement. If there are limitations on your ability to appear in court e.g. due to a health condition, you may be able to give evidence in writing or via video link.
Contact us about a birth injury claim today
If you or your child has suffered from a birth injury contact one of our specialist clinical negligence solicitors today who will be happy to arrange an initial free consultation.