We can help you get the compensation you need
When a birth injury occurs as a result of medical negligence, it can be a traumatic experience for you, your child and your family. Not only do birth injuries lead to long-term health complications, they can also result in significant, long-term emotional and financial burdens.
If you were injured at birth, you may also be entitled to claim compensation for birth injuries, even if years have passed.
Compensation for a birth injury can help cover the costs of ongoing medical treatment, therapy, and other expenses related to the injury, easing the financial burden so you can focus on recovery.
A birth injury negligence claim can also be a way to hold medical professionals accountable for their actions, discover the whole truth, and help to ensure changes are made to prevent similar negligence in the future.
Your claim will be handled by a specialist solicitor who will work with you to understand the specifics of your case and explore your options for compensation.
Your solicitor will be with you every step of the way, with compassion, professionalism, and a commitment to achieving the best possible outcome for you and your child.
This article looks at the birth injury claims process, and explains the eligibility criteria for making a claim.
In this article
Birth injury claims can often be complex, and the medical and legal issues involved require specialist expertise.
We understand that the claims process can be stressful. Your solicitor will work sensitively to ensure you and your family are supported every step of the way.
Even if you are claiming for a birth injury that occurred some years ago, the prospect of claiming your rightful compensation can be daunting. If you have any questions about the birth injury claims process, please get in touch.
Call us on 0800 376 1001 or arrange a callback for a free consultation - there is absolutely no obligation to proceed with a No Win, No Fee claim.
The duty of care to mothers and infants
All health professionals owe a duty of care to their patients.
In your case, this duty may have been breached if:
- the treatment you or your child received fell below a professional standard, or,
- a medical professional acted in a way that a “responsible of doctors” would not have considered acceptable (the Bolam test)
If the duty of care owed to you or your baby was breached, you should be entitled to make a medical negligence claim.
What can cause a birth injury?
Giving birth will always involve some risks, but medical professionals must still do everything they can to minimise these risks. If these risks are not properly managed, a “clinical error” could result in harm to you or your child.
You may be able to claim compensation if you were injured as the result of a clinical error like:
- Staff failing to monitor or respond to dangerous changes in you or your baby’s health
- Delays when responding to an emergency, such as an emergency c-section
- Inadequate or incorrect care during the delivery
- Incorrect dosage of painkillers or other medication
- Wrongful administration of anaesthetics
- Staff failing to recognise and treat an infection
Birth injuries and the duty of candour
The “duty of candour” is a legal duty that paediatricians, nurses and other hospital staff owe to patients in their care.
This duty requires medical staff to be open and honest with patients when something goes wrong that has caused harm, or could cause harm in the future. This includes psychological harm, but may not include very minor physical injuries.
You should receive a written account and an apology.
The fact that harm occurred is not necessarily proof of negligence. In many cases, all staff will work to the best of their ability and an unexpected or unintended incident could still occur.
If you have any doubts as to whether health professionals failed in their “duty of candour” to you, you could make a formal complaint. Alternatively, you should speak to a specialist solicitor regarding your options.
I was injured during the birth of my child, can I claim?
Yes. If you were injured due to the negligence of a doctor, midwife, nurse, anaesthetist or another health professional, you will likely have grounds to make a compensation claim.
Birth injuries affecting the mother include:
- Perineal tear-related negligence
- Anaesthetic errors causing spinal injuries and other harm
- Bladder injuries and bowel injuries
- Pre-eclampsia-related issues
- Caesarean section trauma
- Post-natal infections
- PSTD and other psychological harm
Whatever the circumstances of your injury, if you believe you may have been harmed as the result of birth injury negligence, we can help.
My child was injured, can I claim compensation?
Yes. If a) your child was injured during your pregnancy, or before, during or after the birth, and b) the injury was caused by a medical professional’s negligence, you should be entitled to claim compensation.
Examples of birth injuries affecting an infant include:
- Cerebral palsy
- Erb’s palsy
- Brain injuries resulting from lack of oxygen
- Injuries to hearing and other senses
- Broken bones
- Cuts, bruises and scarring
The consequences of a birth injury on a child can be severe and can last a lifetime. In some cases, an injured child may require round the clock care, costly physiotherapy or home modifications.
A compensation claim may be the only way to ensure that the child receives the long-term care and support they need, and that this support remains in place in adulthood.
Who makes a claim for a child?
A parent or guardian can claim on behalf of a child, acting as a “litigation friend”. This means that they will make decisions about the case on behalf of the child, based on the advice of the solicitor acting for the child.
Can I claim for a traumatic birth or psychological harm?
Yes. Even if you have not been formally diagnosed, it may be possible to claim for any psychological harm you experienced as a result of a traumatic birth (sometimes called psychological birth trauma or PBT).
Examples of traumatic birth injury claims for psychological harm include claims relating:
- Bonding difficulties
- Postpartum depression
- Post-traumatic stress
- Anxieties about having another child or fear of childbirth
- Existing psychological issues that have been triggered or made worse by the birth trauma
Psychological injury claims always require specialist expertise and sensitivity. If you decide to make a claim, your solicitor will discuss your options with you, and they will assist you with every aspect of the claims process.
If you have, or think you may have, suffered a psychological injury as the result of birth negligence, we can help.
Contact us today for more information on 0800 376 1001 or request a callback.
I was injured as an infant, can I still claim compensation?
Injured parents or guardians can make a claim on behalf of their children until the child turns 18 years old.
In most cases, an adult who was injured as a baby then has until they are 21 years old to make a claim themselves.
Serious birth injuries can mean that an injured person may not have been able to make a compensation claim within the legal time limit. In these cases, it may be possible to apply to the courts for an extension to enable a claim to be made.
Whatever the circumstances of your birth injury, if you believe you have been the victim of medical negligence, you should speak to a solicitor about your options.
Should I claim for a birth injury?
Given the seriousness of their injuries, many people affected by medical negligence have no choice but to claim compensation. In the case of birth injuries, if the harm is less severe or short-term, you may decide not to pursue a claim.
If the birth injuries were more serious, or could permanently affect your life or the life of your child, you should speak to a solicitor regarding your options.
In many cases, patients believe that receiving an apology and a full explanation is more important than the financial compensation itself. During the birth injury claims process, your solicitor will work to ensure you get the answers you deserve.
How much compensation can I claim for a birth injury?
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the seriousness of your injury, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.
Get an accurate compensation estimate (including for multiple injuries), confirm your legal position, and check if you have a No Win, No Fee claim.
Updated December 2023
Compensation Calculator v3.04
General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).
Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.
Special damages is compensation for quantifiable financial losses you've incurred as a result of your birth injury. Compensation can include lost earnings, bonuses and overtime, lost earnings, bonuses and overtime, and any additional expenses directly related to your injury.
These damages will also cover any medical or treatment bills, such as neonatal care, physical therapy and psychological support.
Clinical negligence claims
Birth Injury injuries are usually categorised as clinical negligence. Click on the icon below for more information.
How we can help you with your medical negligence claim
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning medical negligence claims.
- Find out
if you can claim
- No obligation
to start a claim
If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee medical negligence claim, we are open:
Mon-Fri 8am-9pm, Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 9:30am-5pm
Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:
Handled with the utmost professionalism... extremely kind, courteous and empathetic.
Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor
About the author
Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.