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Birth Injuries - Compensation and claims

Doctors and midwives have a duty of care to you and your baby when giving birth. Sadly, mistakes can happen that result in birth injuries due to medical negligence.
A birth injury doesn’t have to occur during labour and the delivery. It can cover pregnancy, which impacts wrongful birth, and the post-birth period if you don't receive adequate care after, leading to further complications.  
You may have a birth injury claim whether the damage was inflicted on you (the mother) and/or your child. This could be errors that cause an otherwise avoidable illness in your child or physical damage to you. Either way, it may mean you might be entitled to birth injury compensation. 
Our birth injury solicitors at Leigh Day can help with your case. 
Ready to talk? Get in touch with our birth injury lawyers to talk about your claim. Call 020 7650 1200 or 

We can visit you at home or in the hospital if required.

Types of birth injury claims

Birth injury claims cover a wide area, with differences between those affecting your baby and you. These are some of the most common birth injuries:

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a type of brain injury that can occur before, during or after birth. It affects muscle movement and motor skills, making it harder for the body to move in a coordinated manner. 
It can be unavoidable due to the brain not developing properly when growing in the womb. However, damage to a baby’s brain during or after birth can also cause it. This can be due to:
  • Asphyxiation – the brain temporarily not getting enough oxygen
  • A serious head injury
  • Brain infection – such as meningitis
  • Low blood sugar levels

Stillbirth and neonatal death

When a baby is born dead after 24 weeks of pregnancy, it is a stillbirth. If a baby dies within 28 days after birth, it is neonatal death
While these deaths can happen in healthy babies for unknown causes, some birth injuries can cause stillbirth or neonatal death, such as:
Bleeding before or during labour
Pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure)
Placental abruption
Umbilical cord problems

 Wrongful birth

There are two main types of wrongful birth claims:
  • Failure to warn of specific disabilities – The parents were not informed their child would be born with a disability. If they had known they might have terminated the pregnancy. 
  • Failed sterilisation or vasectomy – The medical procedure was unsuccessful, resulting in an unplanned pregnancy

Perineal tear injury

Perineal or vaginal tears can occur naturally during childbirth. According to research by the Royal College of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians (RCOG), around six in every 100 women giving birth for the first time experience a severe tear. The rate among women who already have children is lower. 
However, if you have experienced a perineal tear, but the injury was missed, misdiagnosed or treated incorrectly, it could be an instance of negligence.

Other birth injury claims

  • Traumatic births – About 30,000 women experience a traumatic birth in the UK each year, including physical and emotional damage. 
  • Erb’s palsy claims – Paralysis and lack of muscle control due to nerve damage caused by a misdiagnosis or mismanagement of stuck shoulders (shoulder dystocia).
  • Nerve damage – Postpartum pelvic floor changes can stretch and damage the pudendal nerve during childbirth.  
  • C-section injury to baby – This can be a delayed decision to perform a c-section, an infection, scarring or other injuries.
  • Genetic misdiagnosis – Missing a genetic diagnosis of an inherited disease or failing to do proper tests during pregnancy. Find out more about genetic misdiagnosis

Making a birth injury claim

Start your claim by contacting our expert birth injury lawyers:

They will listen to and assess your case, advising on whether you are eligible for birth injury compensation. Then they will talk you through the next steps to start making a claim, including what evidence you may need, who else you will speak to and any other requirements. These can include medical records, expert medical statements/reports and financial documents. 
Need us to come to you? Call or email and we can arrange to visit you at home or in hospital across England and Wales. 

Birth injury compensation

The amount of compensation you can claim will vary depending on the severity of your case and the type of injuries sustained. 
This money can help cover the costs resulting from your birth injury, such as:
  • Care needs for you and/or your child
  • Treatment, therapy and rehabilitation costs for you and/or your child
  • Cost of equipment
  • Home adaptations
  • Financial loss due to time off work or being unable to work again
  • Travel costs to medical appointments
  • Funeral costs following stillbirth or neonatal death
  • Compensation for emotional/mental pain and suffering

Why choose Leigh Day?

The solicitors in our London and Manchester offices have more than 30 years’ experience and success working on a variety of birth injury cases. At Leigh Day, we have represented clients seeking everything from wrongful to traumatic birth compensation. 
Partner Sarah Campbell works exclusively in clinical negligence work, with particular expertise in birth injury and maternal injury cases. Successful cases she has worked on include securing a seven-figure sum for a child who received brain damage due to mismanagement of the mother’s labour. She is a member of Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) and the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL). 
“Sarah Campbell is an 'effective and determined' partner commended for her work dealing with neurological injuries.” – Chambers and partners
Contact our birth injury solicitors by phoning 020 7650 1200 or 

Birth injury claims: FAQs

How long after birth can I make a claim?

Depending on the type of birth injury claim you wish to make, there are three different time limits:
  • For injury or traumatic birth compensation for the mother, you have three years to make a claim from the date you realise birth injury was the cause.  
  • If you a bringing a claim on behalf of your child, the three year period to start a claim starts begins from when your child turns 18 and ends when they turn 21, unless your child does not have mental capacity.  If your child does not have mental capacity, then there is no time limit to make a claim. If your child has passed away due to stillbirth or neonatal death, you have three years from the date of death to make a claim.

Who do I make my claim against?

You can make a birth injury claim against the hospital where you gave birth or against the individual doctors or midwives responsible. Whether you received care in a private or NHS hospital or healthcare facility, even for a home birth, you can still make a claim. 
Talk to a birth injury solicitor at Leigh Day, and they will advise the best person or body to bring your claim against. Find out more about whom you can claim against with our NHS complaints procedure guide

Click to read Brain injury at birth guide for parents

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