What are Birth injury Claims?
Birth injury claims can arise from negligence during a pregnancy, from errors made during delivery or from a failure to provide adequate after care. As well as recovering compensation for the injuries suffered by a child and/or mother our expert medical negligence solicitors will also claim for the cost of treatment or rehabilitation, medical expenses, travel expenses, cost of care for mother/child, mother’s loss of earnings and any home adaptations or equipment that will be required as a result of the injuries sustained.
A wide range of birth complications can arise as a result of medical negligence, our solicitors will tailor our services to suit your case. Whether your claim arises from an error relating to incorrect anaesthesia dosage causing injury* or improper care of a new-born baby, we are here to assist you in making a claim for compensation.
Cerebral Palsy Claims
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of permanent movement disorders that appear in early childhood. Cerebral Palsy can occur naturally due to the brain not developing properly in the womb but can also arise due to mistakes prior to, during, or after the birth of a baby.
Medical negligence in cerebral palsy cases involves a failure to:
- Deliver the baby early enough or by Caesarean section
- Identify brain infections such as meningitis
- Maintain adequate blood sugar levels
- Monitor the baby’s heartbeat
- Respond to the umbilical cord being wrapped around the baby’s neck
Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Claims
A stillbirth is when a baby dies in the womb after 24 weeks of pregnancy. Stillbirths are devastating for parents and it is entirely natural that they will want answers as to how it could happen. Stillbirth cases often happen because the mother has diabetes or high blood pressure. In these cases it is likely that no one is at fault and it is just an unavoidable tragedy.
Stillbirth can also occur due to lack of oxygen or infection. In these cases parent’s will want to know the reasons surrounding this. There are a wide variety of things that could have went wrong, either during the delivery or throughout the pregnancy. This may include, for example, a failure to diagnose irregular symptoms in the mother or treat appropriately.
A neonatal death is when a baby dies within 28 days of birth. Neonatal death can also occur naturally. However, they can also be caused by negligence before, during or after birth such as infection, high blood pressure and placental abruption.
Erb’s Palsy Claims
Erb’s Palsy, also known as brachial plexus paralysis, is a nerve injury which affects movement of the upper limbs and is caused primarily by birth trauma. The injury most commonly occurs during delivery when a baby’s shoulder’s become stuck and excessive force is used causing injury to the baby which can range from paralysis to loss of muscle control in the upper limbs.
Medical negligence can arise in these cases if there was a failure to advise a mother on the risks of shoulder dystocia during birth, a failure to perform a caesarean section or a failure to otherwise follow the correct procedures to avoid injury to the baby during delivery.
Other Types of Birth injury Claims
- Perineal tears – this occurs naturally in some women during delivery and is most common in women who are giving birth for the first time. Negligence can occur due to misdiagnosis or a failure to provide appropriate after care which can lead to further complications.
- Nerve damage – this occurs most commonly when the pudendal nerve is stretched during childbirth causing permanent nerve damage to a mother. Negligence can arise due to mismanagement of a pregnancy or failure to advise on the benefits of assisted delivery.
- Wrongful Birth – this arises in circumstances where there is a failure to inform parents of their child being born with specific disabilities. It can also arise where a vasectomy or sterilisation procedure was unsuccessful and resulted in an unplanned pregnancy.
- Episiotomy tears – an episiotomy is a procedure which is carried out to assist child birth to avoid natural tears occurring during childbirth. Negligence can arise if an episiotomy was carried out unnecessarily or if there was a failure to provide adequate after care.
What Are The Time Limits For Making A Claim?
An adult with cerebral palsy has 3 years in Northern Ireland and 2 years in the Republic of Ireland from the age of 18 to start a claim, unless they have been assessed as never having legal capacity. However, in the case of children, the 3 year period starts from when your child turns 18 and ends when they turn 21. These limitation periods do not apply to minors, therefore, a parent can bring a claim on behalf of their child at any stage prior to them turning 18.
If your child is over 21, it may still be possible to extend this time limit if they are assessed as not having legal capacity. For example, if they are suffering from an intellectual impairment and cannot make decisions for themselves.
How We Can Help
It is difficult to envisage a more devastating situation than a child being born with serious defects or being stillborn as a result of medical negligence. At P.A.Duffy and Company our medical negligence solicitors are compassionate, professional and will fight to get our clients the compensation they deserve.
Complete an online enquiry form. We will always discuss the funding options which are available to our clients, including; Legal Aid, litigation insurance, legal expenses cover and private paying.
*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.