The birth of a new baby is a very special time for parents and indeed the whole family. If things go wrong, either during the pregnancy or birth, the effects can be devastating.
If either the baby or the mother suffers an injury due to medical negligence then you will be entitled to make a claim for compensation. Contact the team for Free Consultation.
The most common birth injuries are:
Brachial Plexus birth injuries can occur when the baby’s neck , shoulder and arms are subject to excessive force during delivery. If the shoulder/neck nerves and muscles are damaged this can lead to permanent disability which can affect all aspects of daily living.
Brachial Plexus injuries are often caused during vaginal delivery when the baby becomes stuck, and attempts have to be made to quickly deliver the baby with forceps or vacuum extraction (also called the Ventouse).
Doctors and midwives will need to use certain techniques to reduce the force being applied upon the baby’s head and shoulders in order to avoid this type of injury.
Possible risk factors for Brachial Plexus/ Erb’s Palsy Birth Injuries
Types of claims that Hodge Jones Allen have dealt with:
Erb’s palsy is type of nerve injury that sadly affects one or two babies out of every one thousand births.
The injury affects the brachial plexus – which is a network of nerves which enable us to control our arms, hands and fingers.
At the time of birth (especially during an urgently required birth) the baby’s brachial plexus may be injured – usually by the head/neck area being subject to extreme force. The causes of the injury are well known and techniques have been introduced to try to avoid this type of harm.
Possible causes of Erb’s palsy
Our specialist medical negligence solicitors have over forty years’ experience of acting for mothers who have suffered an avoidable injury before or during the birth of a child. We always recognise the impact that such injuries can have, both physically and psychologically, at what is meant to be a time of great celebration.
We understand that all births are different and that some deliveries may be more difficult than others. A number of our solicitors are women and also are qualified doctors. They recognise that difficult decisions have to be made, but sometimes things can go wrong and a young mother can be left with an injury, possibly a life-changing one. This can make it very difficult to cope with a new born baby.
Childbirth is a well-studied traumatic experience for women’s bodies, yet modern medicine still has not fully understood how seriously injured , sometimes for the rest of their lives, some mothers are.
Many of the injuries suffered by mothers relate to incontinence or sexual problems – and our solicitors recognise that these are not easy matters to discuss in the context of a legal claim.
Hodge Jones & Allen will obtain the medical records for the mother and baby. We will assess these in-house – we are fortunate in that many of our solicitors are also medically qualified.
If we think the case has prospects of success, then we will take a detailed statement from you and any other witnesses who may have been present at the birth.
We will then instruct experts to assess the claim. The types of experts required vary from case to case. Their reports will establish if there is a case that can be pursued.
A birth that has not gone entirely to plan can be distressing – many mothers hope to have a perfect birth. But if things don’t go to plan it does not mean you will automatically be entitled to compensation.
To bring a successful claim for medical negligence you will need to satisfy two legal tests known as ‘breach of duty’ and ‘causation’.
To establish there has been a breach of duty you will need to show that the medical treatment you received fell below a reasonable standard. A ‘reasonable’ standard of treatment is considered to be what you would expect to receive from a reasonably competent medical professional in obstetrics/gynaecology/midwifery.
To establish causation you will need to show that the breach of duty directly caused you to suffer a physical or psychological injury that would not have otherwise happened.
Compensation for birth injury is made up of many different components.
These are awarded for the brain injury itself and the communication and mobility problems that may result from this. The maximum award for general damages according to the Judicial College guidelines is £337,700. This is awarded for severe brain injury or tetraplegia.
These are the financial losses that flow from the injury such as adaptation of accommodation, care, physiotherapy, loss of earning etc. Please refer to the comprehensive list under the FAQs at the bottom of this page.
The majority of our birth injury cases are funded by Legal Aid. Other cases are funded by way of a conditional fee agreement, more commonly known as a No Win No Fee agreement. This means there is no financial risk to you.
A baby’s right shoulder became stuck during birth and he suffered shoulder dystocia, a right brachial plexus injury and subsequent Erb’s Palsy. As the delivery was high risk there should have been a obstetrician present at the birth. If an obstetrician had been called before he was delivered, our client may well have have been delivered safely. Despite undergoing five surgical operations he was left with a shorter right upper limb and with limitation to his movement.
Settlement: A without prejudice settlement of £550,000 was achieved.
The most common type of birth injury is Cerebral Palsy.
Any injured person under 18 is considered to be a child. They are considered unable to have ‘capacity’ to conduct the claim themselves and deal directly with solicitors.
A claim involving a child is therefore conducted by a litigation friend, who acts on the child’s behalf. A litigation friend is often one of the child’s parents or a guardian, however anyone that the Court deems suitable can be a litigation friend, for example a relative or family friend, a solicitor or someone who has a lasting power of attorney.
Before a Court appoints someone as a litigation friend, it will assess whether that person meets certain criteria to ensure they can do the job properly. The Court must be satisfied that the person in question:
If you wish to apply to be a child’s litigation friend, you must file and serve a certificate of suitability. This is a form which asks you to formally consent to act as a litigation friend, and sets out your suitability for the role.
If the child reaches the age of 18 during the claim, the litigation friend’s authority to act on their behalf ceases. All the parties involved in the proceedings will need to be notified, and the former child will need to sign a statement that they intend to carry on with the proceedings.
Fill out this form and one of the team will get back to you:
Our offices are open from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 6 pm.
|Phone:||0808 231 6369|
|Fax:||020 7388 2106|
|Address:||Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors 180 North Gower Street London NW1 2NB|