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Maternal injury compensation claims

A mother or birthgiver can experience physical and mental health challenges throughout pregnancy, labour and during the post-natal period.

When a mother suffers a maternal injury during labour she can be left with life changing injuries which can have a considerable and ongoing effect on her mental health which can impact upon her baby and her family.

If you believe that you may have a negligence claim in relation to treatment you received during labour or delivery, then please contact a member of our medical negligence specialist team today. We are dedicated to protecting 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 are the type of maternal injuries?

Many women suffer from injuries during the course of their pregnancy and labour which can cause trauma, prolonged recovery and can affect women’s day to day quality of life. Some of the more common injuries to mothers include:

  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Bladder and bowel complications
  • Postpartum Haemorrhage (PPH)
  • Infections
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Retained placenta
  • Maternal mortality
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Child bereavement

Many women seek help for their child who might have suffered an injury but often forget the importance of their own physical and mental health. We have a wealth of resources to advise and support you.

How to bring a claim?

If you have sought advice from the medical professionals who treated you and remain dissatisfied, or you have made a complaint and are unhappy with the response you have received, the next step is to contact a specialist medical negligence solicitor.

It is important to remember that not all women who are injured during the birth of a child 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 you and/or your baby and not cause injury
  • There was a breach of that duty to take care
  • That breach of duty has caused harm to you and/or your 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 professional’s 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.

What are the time limits for brining a claim?

All 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 bringing 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.

Why choose us for your medical negligence claim?

Our medical negligence 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.

Medical 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. 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 Cardiff, London, Manchester, Plymouth and Southampton, 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 answered

Our new enquiries team will take initial details from you regarding the circumstances of your case. This will then be considered by our specialist panel of medical negligence solicitors who will provide initial advice on your claim and assign it to an appropriate solicitor or legal adviser.

The first step in all medical negligence claims is to obtain copies of your 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.

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 specific birth injury.

If public funding is not available, 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.

During labour you will be under the care of a midwife and an obstetrician and it is their responsibility to make sure that you give birth to your baby in safe environment. Giving birth is not free of risk or injury but if a medical professional makes a mistake this can lead to an avoidable injury.

Your health professional has a duty of care toward you and should perceive any risks to you or your baby and take preventative measures to avoid injury to both of. There are a number of procedures that can cause serious injury if performed negligently including:


This can be given in the wrong quantity or sited in the wrong place which can cause consciousness and unnecessary pain and stress. In extreme cases this can cause nerve injuries and even brain injuries due to a lack of oxygen.

Assisted deliveries

There are a number of procedures that can be performed to help deliver your baby. If these are not performed correctly they can lead to tears, fistulas, infections incontinence and several other significant injuries.

Caesarean sections

In certain circumstances the technique employed during a caesarean section can cause damage to nerves or blood vessel and in some cases, can damage other organs. An inappropriately delayed caesarean section can cause damage to your baby’s brain.


Sometimes the incisions or cuts to your perineum and vaginal wall can be unnecessarily made or incorrectly performed. This can result in excessive pain and bruising and in some circumstances, incontinence.

Perineal tears

These tears are common during birth, but need to be comprehensively repaired by a health professional. Improperly or incompletely repaired tears can lead to infection and cause the tear not to heal.

Placental abruption

This complication is rare but very serious and can be fatal to both mother and/or baby so it’s important that your medical professional not only identifies this potential risk as early as possible and monitors you very carefully during your labour and delivery.


Another potentially very serious condition, which if not picked up early can lead to multiple complications. Test are carried out during your antenatal appointments so that if it develops it can be treated and monitored.

If you believe that you may have a negligence claim in relation to any treatment you received during labour or delivery, then please contact a member of our medical negligence specialist team today.

Any compensation aims to improve your quality of life, whether this pays for specialist care or home adaptations. Our goal is to get you back to normality as quickly as possible. That is why we put our client’s health at the forefront of our mind when dealing with your medical negligence claim.

We will look at the compensation for your injuries as well as the financial losses you have suffered as a result of medical negligence. Compensation is made up of general and special damages.

General damages

General damages compensate you for the injury itself; the pain and suffering and loss of quality of life that has been caused by the medical negligence, past present and future.

To accurately advise you about the level of general damages you may be awarded, we will arrange for specialist reports to be obtained from various leading medical and legal authorities. They will examine you and have access to your medical records and be able to provide an accurate diagnosis and prognosis within their report. Once this evidence is in place, we will be able to notify you of how much we think your claim is going to be worth.

Special damages

Special damages are designed to compensate you for any past or future financial losses you have incurred or will incur as a direct result of the medical negligence that caused your injuries. In other words, money lost or money spent as a result of the negligence.

Past losses include:

  • Private medical treatment and rehabilitation
  • Prescription charges/medication
  • The purchase of aids and appliances
  • Loss of earnings
  • Travel expenses
  • Care costs
  • Personal belongings and clothing damaged in the accident
  • Housing adaptations

Future losses can include:

  • Future loss of earnings
  • Loss of pension
  • Accommodation costs
  • Future private medical treatment and rehabilitation
  • Care costs
  • Aids and appliances

This list is not exhaustive and we will carefully consider your situation to anticipate your potential future needs.

We suggest you start to keep a list of things you have had to pay for as a direct result of any injury caused by the negligence. We will need to prove the financial losses and documentary evidence such as wage slips, receipts and invoices will help. In addition, it may also be sensible to keep a log or brief diary of daily problems you encounter as this will help us prepare comprehensive witness statements.

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

Time limits apply in these sorts of cases. These time limits can be complex and varied, however, the general rule is that a representative of the person who has died can bring a claim within three years from the date of the death.

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.

Next steps

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