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Birth injury compensation claims

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.

How to bring a birth injury claim?

If you are dissatisfied after seeking advice from medical professionals, or you have received a response to a complaint you are not happy with, the next thing to do is to contact a specialist medical negligence solicitor. Not all children who are injured at birth are eligible for compensation, and you will need expert advice to assist you in determining whether you have a claim.

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

  • The doctor or other medical professional owed a duty to take care of the patient and/or baby 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/or baby
  • Damage or other losses have resulted from that harm

It is usually straightforward to show that a doctor or other healthcare professional 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 or medical professionals actions fell below a minimum standard of a reasonably competent doctor or medical professional in this particular field of medicine.

In addition to proving that the doctor or medical professional 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.

Who can make a birth injury claim?

Our specialist birth injury claims 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.

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.

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.

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 birth injury lawyers for a free, no obligation, consultation.

How long do you have to make a birth injury claim?

Medical negligence cases are subject to time limits, and it is best to contact a solicitor as early as possible to ensure your case can be dealt with. Generally the time limit for a medical negligence case is three years from the date the treatment took place or the date you were made aware that something had gone wrong. These rules can be extremely complex and varied, and a lawyer will be able to check which time limit applies to you after some initial investigations. In some cases time limits can be extended.

How much will my birth injury claim cost?

We strive to ensure that any funding arrangements are appropriate for the case and our client. Public funding is no longer available for medical negligence cases except in the case of children who have suffered a birth injury. Where possible we will offer a no win, no fee agreement.

There may be alternative ways of funding your case which are more appropriate, and we will advise you of this as part of our initial assessment of your case.

Why choose us for your birth injury claim?

Our birth injury 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 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 professional services.

Birth injury 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. They will try to ensure that you receive the maximum amount of compensation to 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 £30 million in medical negligence compensation for our clients.
  • We have offices in London, Cardiff, Manchester, Southampton and Plymouth 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 medical negligence claim, which includes social services involvement, financial advice and rehabilitation.
  • We are accredited by medical negligence charity Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) and regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA).
  • Find out about our firm or check out our Trustpilot reviews for further peace of mind.

Key contact

Ruth Powell


Ruth is a Partner and Head of our Clinical Negligence Department. She has exclusively practised in clinical negligence since qualifying in 1995 and has a wealth of experience in complex and high value clinical negligence claims.

Your questions asnwered

If you think that something has gone wrong during your pregnancy, labour or delivery of your baby, then you may be eligible to claim compensation. Here is a guide of what to do next:

Make a note of everything you can remember:

It may be hard to remember everything that has happened down the line but try to gather as much information as possible including appointments and check-ups, any symptoms you may have experienced and the treatment you received, and conversations you may have had along the way with medical professionals.

Seek advice from a medical professional:

If you are feeling unsettled and not entirely sure what to do next if you think something has gone wrong, then it could be best to talk to a medical professional first. They may be able to explain why a treatment perhaps didn’t go to plan or you didn’t have the same experience as others, or they may be able to reassure you that everything is actually alright and as it should be.

How to make a formal complaint:

If you do have any further concerns or are not happy with the care and treatment you have received by the NHS, then you can raise your complaint directly to the practice manager at the doctor’s surgery, or to the complaints manager at the hospital trust. Everyone who provides an NHS service in England will have their own complaints procedure. We would advise to write out or email your complaint and keep a copy of what was said. If you do not want to speak to the staff that were involved in providing the service, you can seek advice from an NHS complaints advocate; your local council will be able to tell you who the advocacy provider is in your area. Complaints should normally be made within 12 months of the incident.

Once your complaint has been received and investigated, you can then decide whether you are satisfied with the response, or still feel concerned about the treatment you have received.

The NHS encourages feedback as it is used to improve services. The most important thing is to make sure that the same mistakes don’t happen again, so sharing concerns with the NHS can result in service changes.

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
  • Undiagnosed disability e.g. Down’s Syndrome

There are numerous causes that can contribute to a childbirth 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
  • 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.

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
  • Not responding to changes in the foetal heart rate

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
  • Access to ongoing clinical rehabilitation/treatment

Next steps

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