Perineal tear injury compensation claims

Mother and new born baby

Perineal tear injuries during childbirth can cause significant pain, potential surgeries, and may lead to long-term complications if improperly sewn.

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.

Can a perineal tear be avoided?

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, in some cases, there is no clear reason for the tear.

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.

Do I have an injury claim?

It should be possible to make an injury claim if:

  • you were diagnosed in the last 3 years and;
  • someone else, such as your employer, was to blame.

Even if these two points don't apply to you, you may still be able to make a claim.

To get impartial advice on whether you have a claim, speak to injury claims expert on 0800 376 1001.

A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. There is no obligation to start a claim.

How much compensation can I claim for a perineal tear?

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.

Perineal tear injury compensation calculator

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 April 2024 Compensation Calculator v3.04

General damages

General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).

Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College (judiciary.uk) and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.

How is compensation calculated if I have multiple injuries?

Special damages

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred because of your accident. In addition to paying for loss of earnings, special damages can cover any care costs and medical procedures you need, such as diagnostic blood tests, medication and pain management treatments.

Read more:

A complete list of recoverable losses in a personal injury claim

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.

No win, no fee perineal tear injury compensation claims

With no win, no fee, you can claim perineal tear injury compensation without financial risk. If your claim isn't successful, you pay nothing. If you win, you only pay a pre-agreed percentage of your compensation.

Find out more about how no win, no fee claims work

Clinical negligence claims

Perineal tear injuries are usually categorised as clinical negligence. Click on the icon below for more information.

Get expert advice now

Interested in talking to a medical negligence specialist about your claim?

  • Calls are FREE
  • Confidential consultation
  • No obligation to claim

Call 0800 376 1001

Mon-Fri 8am-9pm, Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 9:30am-5pm

or arrange a callback
Jenny Jones, Senior litigator

Author:
Jenny Jones, Senior litigator