Birth injury compensation claims

The birth of a child should be a time of happiness, excitement and celebration. Unfortunately from time to time things go wrong often leading to devastating consequences. Sadly when negligent mistakes are made by medical professionals the result is pain, heartache and frustration for victims and their families alike.


What types of birth injury claims are there?

If negligence mistakes are made by medical professionals during the birth of a child, this could lead to injuries being sustained by either mother and/or baby. Our birth injury medical negligence specialists can provide you with the expert advice needed to determine whether you have a birth injury negligence claim or not and offer guidance on what you should do next.

Often covered under the title obstetric, birth injury claims are a wide range of issues and birth related complications. These can include:

  • Anaesthetic problems including those linked to epidurals;
  • Brachial Plexus injuries;
  • Brain damage;
  • Cerebral Palsy and birth asphyxia;
  • Congenital hip dysplasia;
  • Damage to baby because of mismanaged labour or delivery;
  • Damage to baby because of the failure to note a high risk pregnancy;
  • Erbs palsy or brachial plexus injuries;
  • Failure to detect abnormalities in foetus;
  • Failure to diagnose and treat an ectopic pregnancy;
  • Failure to recognise extent of vaginal tear;
  • Forceps delivery or ventouse delivery errors;
  • Inadequate management of pre-eclampsia;
  • Incorrectly sutured episiotomy;
  • Neonatal death;
  • Neonatal illnesses - hypoglycaemia;
  • Nerve damage;
  • Shoulder dystocia; and
  • Undiagnosed disability e.g. Down's Syndrome.

There are numerous causes that can contribute to a child birth injury, these include:

  • Abnormal presentation (breech);
  • Cephalopelvic disproportion, small maternal stature, maternal pelvic anomalies;
  • Deep transverse arrest of descent of presenting part of the fetus;
  • Fetal macrosomia;
  • Foetal anomalies;
  • Large fetal head;
  • Oligohydramnios;
  • Prima gravida;
  • Prolonged or rapid labour;
  • Use of midcavity forceps or vacuum extraction;
  • Versions and extractions; and
  • Very low birth weight infant or extreme prematurity.


If you believe that you have a birth injury negligence claim in relation to any wrong or mistreatment you received during birth, then please contact a member of our medical negligence specialist team today. We are dedicated to your best interests and can advise you on how to proceed. If after talking to us you decide not to take matters further you are under no obligation to do so and you will not be charged for our initial advice session.


What can cause a birth injury?

At Hugh James we believe in providing excellent client care by keeping clients informed at each stage of their medical negligence case. Our initial assessment of your clinical negligence claim is free of charge. If our solicitors advise that you have a potential claim for negligence compensation we will act to gather the relevant employment and medical evidence to build your case. We can help claim compensation for:

  • Excessive use of vacuum extraction;
  • Failure to detect a prolapsed umbilical cord reducing oxygen supply;
  • Failure to diagnose and treat jaundice or meningitis;
  • Failure to perform a caesarean section in the presence of foetal distress;
  • Failure to plan a caesarean section for a potentially large birth weight;
  • Failure to recognize and treat seizures following delivery;
  • Failure to respond to the mother's high blood pressure or toxaemia;
  • Improper use of delivery forceps;
  • Leaving the child in the birth canal too long causing a lack of oxygen to the brain; and
  • Not responding to changes in the foetal heart rate.


Our birth injury lawyers

Hugh James has assisted many people to claim birth injury compensation due to negligence on the part of medical professionals. There is a range of medical professionals who could be responsible for birth injuries. For example you could be eligible to make a birth injury claim as a result of midwife negligence, physician negligence, anaesthetist negligence or negligent nurses or doctors. It is down to our experience and skill that we are widely recognised as one of the country's leading medical negligence legal teams.

We have access to the best specialist medical experts to enable us to obtain evidence of past and possible future needs to ensure that you are adequately compensated for the disability you or your baby has suffered.

We treat every client with sensitivity and care, whilst aiming at the same time to deliver results including the highest financial settlement possible.

Key contact

Mari Rosser is Head of Medical Negligence. Her main area of expertise is clinical negligence; she is a member of both The Law Society’s clinical negligence panel and the referral panel for Action against Medical Accidents.

View team

Case studies

Case study 1

Hugh James medical negligence senior associate Rhian Parsons recovered £700,000 for a London mother whose child was born with spina bifida where the condition should have been diagnosed during the pregnancy. The money enabled the family to buy a house and funded equipment which the child needed.

Case study 2

Stephen Webber, head of medical and clinical negligence at Hugh James, recovered £60,000 for Cardiff parents who lost their child shortly after it was born. There was a negligent delay in delivering the baby which, if avoided, would have resulted in the baby surviving. The compensation recovered was for the bereavement award, psychiatric injuries as well as loss of earnings.


Your questions answered

Who can make a clinical negligence claim?


Our specialist medical negligence solicitors will be able to guide you through the claims process if you have been injured by health care professional.

In certain circumstances you will be able to claim on behalf of someone who doesn’t have mental capacity, a child, and if a loved one has died as result of medical negligence.


Claims for people without mental capacity

If someone is unable to manage their affairs or has trouble making sensible decision about their finances, you will be able to make a claim on their behalf.  

Claims on behalf of children

If a child or a young adult under the age of 18 has been injured as result of medical negligence, you can make a claim on their behalf.  In these instances you will be appointed as a “litigation friend”.  This is often a parent or guardian and you will have to show that you have the child’s best interest and act fairly.

If compensation is awarded to the child this will normally be paid to the court and put in an investment account so it can be accessed when the child turns 18.  When small amounts of money are involved this is usually paid to you as the litigation friend.


Fatal negligence claims

The death of a loved one is an extremely difficult and challenging time. Making a medical negligence claim will be the last thing on your mind, but if you have suffered financial loss and ongoing financial problems as a result of the death, then a solicitor may be able to help.

You should consider:

  • The financial impact.
  • The psychological implications to you and your family as a result of the death.
  • And whether seeking professional support or counselling will be of any benefit.

Time limits are in place for this area of law. These time limits can be complex and varied, however, the general limit is three years from the date the injury happened or the illness was diagnosed.

If you would like further information about making a fatal medical negligence claim, contact our team of expert solicitors for a free, no obligation, consultation.

How do I make a medical negligence claim?


We will arrange a free initial consultation to discuss the treatment in question. We will advise you thereafter whether we feel that you have a potential medical negligence claim.

The usual first step in pursuing a medical negligence claim is to obtain medical records. After that, input from a medical expert is likely to be required to assess whether the treatment provided fell below a minimum standard of care. Depending on the outcome of the initial assessment by the expert, you may need to attend an appointment to be examined.

Expert evidence will assist us in determining the strength of the medical negligence claim and the allegations of negligence which can be put forward to the health care professionals responsible.

Depending on the injury suffered, we will obtain evidence in relation to your care needs to ensure that any rehabilitation costs, home adaptations or future treatments are fully considered and included as part of your claim.

The process can be quite lengthy depending on the complexities involved with the case and the nature of the particular injury.

While we will make every effort to resolve the claim outside of court, it is possible that you may have to attend court if a resolution is not reached.

Even if court proceedings are commenced, this does not automatically mean that the claim will proceed to trial. The claim may still resolve before this time. If you do have to attend court we will be at hand to assist and support you every step of the way so as to ensure that you are prepared and comfortable with the process

How do you prove a medical negligence case?


In order to succeed in a claim for negligence, we need to prove that:

  • The doctor or other healthcare professional owed a duty to take care of the patient and not cause injury;
  • There was a breach of that duty to take care;
  • That breach of duty has caused harm to the patient; and
  • Damage or other losses have resulted from that harm.

It is usually straightforward to show that a doctor owed a duty of care to a patient. To establish whether there was a breach of that duty, it is necessary to show that the doctor’s actions fell below a minimum standard of a reasonably competent doctor in that particular field of medicine.

In addition to proving that the doctor has failed to meet the relevant standard of care, we also have to establish that this failure either directly caused the injuries alleged or significantly contributed to them.

Our specialist medical negligence team at Hugh James can provide advice and guidance regarding the test which will need to be satisfied.

We will give you an indication of the strengths and weakness of your case after having undertaken an initial free assessment.

How can our specialist solicitors help?


We have specialists who can help you investigate and pursue your case. We offer:

  • Free initial advice and guidance;
  • No win, no fee when appropriate;
  • Access to expert advice and reports on your claim;
  • Access to financial advice, together with welfare and benefits advice;
  • Access to leading barristers based nationally; and

Access to ongoing clinical rehabilitation/treatment.

Why choose us for your medical negligence claim?


Our solicitors have been top ranked by both the Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 independent legal guides for this area of the law. We are the only top ranked firm ranked in both directories for medical negligence in Wales and one of the largest practices in the UK. Our lawyers are highly experienced and can provide a wide range of specialist services.

Negligence claims can be difficult to prove so it is vital to have understanding and dedicated solicitors on your side to assist you through the process and ensure that you receive the maximum amount of compensation which you are entitled to.

  • Hugh James is one of the leading injury compensation claim firms for medical negligence in England and Wales.
  • Per annum we recover over £20 million in compensation for our clients.
  • The legal guides say “Hugh James offers true clinical negligence expertise”.
  • We have offices in London and Cardiff and can represent clients without the need for lengthy face to face meetings.
  • We have a range of qualified staff including a former midwife, qualified nurse executives, welfare benefits advisors, medical records officers and qualified social workers to ensure your case has the best possible chance of success.
  • We can advise you on all aspects of your claim, which includes social services involvement, financial advice and rehabilitation.
  • AVMA, the medical negligence charity, and the Solicitors Regulatory Authority recognise us as experts in medical negligence.

Business news, knowledge and insight