Perineal Tear Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a perineal tear injury, we can help.
If your injuries were caused by the negligence of a doctor, nurse, midwife or other medical professional, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
Claiming injury compensation with a solicitor
You can make a compensation claim with the help and support of a specialist clinical negligence solicitor.
Your solicitor will ask you about what happened, and they will collect evidence to prove the negligence happened. Your solicitor will also work out how much money you can claim, based on your injuries, lost earnings and other expenses.
We can help you make a medical negligence claim on a No Win No Fee basis.
In this article
Those most at risk are women giving birth for the first time, especially where the baby is over 8lb 13oz (4kg) or the second stage of labour is very short.
Induced labour or assisted delivery (forceps or ventouse) may also increase the risk of perineal tears.
However, for many women there is no clear reason for the tear.
Can a perineal tear be avoided?
If a midwife or other healthcare professional believes a woman to be at risk of tearing her perineum an episiotomy may be performed. This involves making a cut through the vaginal wall and perineum to create more space for the baby to be delivered. Unfortunately, an episiotomy does not always prevent further tearing of the perineal skin, muscles, anal sphincter and anal mucosa, known as third or fourth-degree tears.
Treatment of perineal tears
Third and fourth degree tears require repairing by an experienced doctor who will suture the tear under epidural or spinal anaesthetic. The stitches should be dissolvable and disappear within 6 weeks. Tears that are identified and properly managed should heal well and not present further problems.
What are the complications of perineal tears?
If the wound does not heal properly there is a risk of infection. It may also continue to bleed during physical activity. The wound may be swollen and bruised for some time, affecting urination and defecation.
Stitches which fail to heal may create a risk of a fistula developing, allowing faecal matter to pass from the rectum into the vagina.
Damaged muscles around the perineum may cause severe pain in the area, including pelvic and abdominal aches. This may impact on mother and baby bonding and aggravate post-natal depression.
Sometimes haematomas occur soon after childbirth and if large, may need to be drained.
Can I claim compensation for a perineal tear?
Because perineal tears are common, many women believe them to be an unavoidable part of childbirth and are reluctant to discuss their injuries. However, it is vital that injuries to the perineum are correctly and quickly identified, and that midwives and doctors attending deliveries seek expert advice where necessary.
Where the treatment of a traumatic tear has been non-existent or inadequate the consequences may continue for years. The misery of chronic pain, incontinence and painful intercourse may also result in psychological harm.
What type of claim can I make?
For a claim to be successful it will be necessary to demonstrate that the injuries sustained were either caused by a health care professional's failure to act or that the treatment was incorrect and caused damage.
Failing to act would include not diagnosing a tear or not taking appropriate measures to prevent a tear. A healthcare professional may be found to be negligent if the wound was poorly stitched or sutured, or if the healing process was not properly monitored.
A woman with a perineal tear should be advised on the necessary aftercare of the wound to help to heal and to prevent infections.
It may be also appropriate for a woman who has sustained a third or fourth-degree perineal tear to be offered a Caesarean section for subsequent pregnancies.
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.
This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.
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 are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.
What can I claim for after an injury? (see list)
Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- Travel costs
- Costs of care
- Costs of adapting your home or car
What is the average injury compensation for an injury claim?
The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.
However, the money you would receive following an injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life and your ability to work, and on the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.
Can I claim for prescription costs?
Special damages are awarded for costs or losses incurred as a result of the perineal tear injury injury. Damages can include loss of earnings, treatment cost and any other 'out-of-pocket' expenses such as prescriptions.
Calculate my injury compensation
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an injury can be complicated.
Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.
Find out what your injury claim could be worth now:
How long does a perineal tear injury compensation claim take?
How long it can take to secure compensation for a perineal tear injury can vary significantly.
A simple uncontested medical negligence claim might be concluded in 12 to 24 months. If the cases is particularly complex, the process might take a few years. On average a medical negligence claim takes between 12 and 36 months. See more: How long will my claim take?
How else can a solicitor help me?
Your solicitor will handle your injury claim from the initial FREE case evaluation, through to the financial settlement.
Your solicitor will work with other specialists to provide caring and sensitive support and help you with:
- Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
- Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
- Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
- Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. Solicitors settle the vast majority of claims out of court.
Less than 5% of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.
Cases that do ultimately go to court are decided by a judge or magistrate, not a jury.
Even if the claim does go to court, it is very unlikely you will have to attend.
How does no win, no fee work?
No win, no fee means that your solicitor will not charge you any legal fees if your injury claim is unsuccessful. 'No win, no fee' is also called a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA'.
No win, no fee guarantee
Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is absolutely no financial risk in making an injury claim, even if you don't win your claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my injury claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, once your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.
What do I pay if I do not win my injury claim?
If your injury claim is not successful then you won't have to pay your solicitor any fees. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.
How we can help you
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.
If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open:
- 8am to 9pm weekdays
- 9am to 6pm on Saturday
- 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday
Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:
- Find out
if you can claim
- No obligation
to start a claim
Can I claim for someone else?
Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.
If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.
The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.
Will I have to visit a solicitor's office to start a claim?
No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. Personal injury claims are handled by email, post and phone.
Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.
I need the money now - what are my options?
If you are unable to work and have bills to pay, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.
An interim payment is an advance on your compensation payment. Any amount you receive in interim payments would be deducted from your final compensation payment.
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.