A guide to birth injury compensation claims

Taking legal action is often a last resort, however, for families affected by suspected medical negligence, birth injury compensation claims are the only way to ensure that their child’s complex needs are met.

UK law in relation to medical errors is fault based. This means that families who suspect that their child’s significant injuries could have been prevented are responsible for proving this before being able to access much needed funding.

This sadly leaves those affected by serious medical mistakes during the birth of their child with no option other than pursuing birth injury compensation.

Birth injuries leading to brain damage

When medical staff fail to properly monitor both mother and baby throughout a pregnancy and birth, and fail to provide timely medical care that is appropriate to the individual situation, catastrophic injuries can occur.

A baby is at its most vulnerable during this period and critical errors can result in catastrophic injuries such as brain damage.

Oxygen deprivation suffered before, during or just after a child’s birth

When a child has experienced a significant incident such as oxygen deprivation, or a traumatic head injury, the resulting brain damage can mean extensive physical and psychological disabilities.

The impact of brain damage will irreversibly change the course of the child’s life. Pursuing compensation cannot change or reverse what has happened, but it will ensure that the child’s wide-ranging needs can be met.

Can birth injury compensation claims be avoided?

 Children who have suffered irreversible injuries such as brain damage at birth have complex needs requiring costly ongoing specialist therapies, equipment, support from carers and other lifelong needs.

Birth injury compensation claims are worth £multi-million to reflect the extensive needs of children left significantly disabled as a result of errors that should not have happened.

Trying to manage without the help of funding that a child in these circumstances is entitled to, will not only be detrimental to the quality of their lives, but that of their family.

Can financial support be accessed without birth injury compensation claims?

Families can access some support via the NHS or the benefits system however, this will not adequately meet the lifelong needs of a child following a serious birth injury.

The birth injury claims process ensures that the right level of compensation is secured to fully meet the physical and emotional support needs of a child both in the short and long term.

Can parents benefit from birth injuries compensation claims?

 This type of compensation solely considers the needs of the affected child. For parents, and siblings, the peace of mind of knowing that a child’s needs will be fully met helps to relieve some of the associated stress and pressure.

Birth injuries compensation claims are calculated based on the specific needs of the child. This carefully considers the support they will need for the rest of their lives.

Clients tell us of the relief that this gives them knowing that their child will have their needs met when they are no longer able to provide any support.

The worry that siblings will have to take over the role of parents in the future is also alleviated when the appropriate level of birth injuries compensation is secured.

How much does it cost to pursue birth injuries compensation?

Taking legal action can seem daunting, not least for the expectation that it will be expensive and beyond the means of most families’ finances. In the majority of cases, a claim will be pursued on a ‘no win, no fee basis’.

What this means is that there are no legal costs for families to pay until, and unless, their case has been won.

How long does it take for a birth injury compensation claim?

These claims are complex and require both legal specialists and independent medical experts to forensically go through a mother and baby’s medical notes to provide a clear picture of what happened.

These claims can take several years before a full settlement is reached due to the complexity of proving both what led to an injury, and evidence-based proof that it could have been prevented.

Starting your birth injury compensation claim

 The first step to starting a birth injury compensation claim is quick and easy. Simply provide a brief summary of when the birth injury occurred and at which hospital. Any information you have about what happened, why you believe your child’s significant birth injury could have been prevented, and how this has affected them to date, will be very useful.

If the hospital has invited you to a meeting and / or an investigation has taken place, please also provide these details to our team.

A member of our specialist birth injury claim team will contact you at your specified time to discuss whether they believe that you may have a birth injury claim for compensation.

Applying for medical records if a birth injury compensation claim is to be pursued

Our team of specialists will be in touch with the hospital believed to be responsible for your child’s avoidable birth injury to request a copy of your medical records.

This may take several months as there may be delays in receiving a response, or as often unfortunately happens, the medical notes received may be incomplete.

In this instance, there is some going back and forth with the hospital until every detail requested has been provided.

Can a birth injury compensation claim be pursued if medical records are missing?

The birth injury claims process is not without its obstacles. We often face the challenge of medical records being returned with missing notes. Another sadly common occurrence is incidents when medical information detailing a pregnancy and what happened during the labour have been altered.

Our medical and legal experts can still identify what should have happened, and what did not happen, leading to a child’s significant birth injury.

What are the causes of an avoidable birth injury?

A birth injury leading to permanent disabilities, including cerebral palsy, may have been avoided with the appropriate level of monitoring throughout a pregnancy and birth.

An irreversible injury may have been caused following avoidable delays in medical intervention. A serious incident may not have occurred if mother and baby were cared for by staff of the appropriate level of seniority required for the circumstances.

Having the right birth injury lawyers on your side

There are any number of factors that could lead to devastating consequences. Often, there are multiple errors that have led to a child being born with severe disabilities.

The right team of solicitors will meticulously consider the minute-by-minute details of the care provided to both mother and baby throughout a pregnancy and delivery of the baby.

Is there a time limit on pursuing birth injury compensation claims?

Catastrophic birth injuries often result in the loss of mental capacity. This means that the affected child cannot make decisions or manage independent living in the future.

When an injury has resulted in the loss of mental capacity there is no time limit on pursuing a claim for compensation.

Starting a birth injury compensation claim when the child is now an adult can still make a substantial difference to the quality of their lives.

Is it worth pursuing a birth injury claim if the child is now an adult?

 Serious birth injuries often lead to the loss of mental capacity. In these situations, there is no time limit on pursuing compensation for the affected individual.

If it is successfully proved that their disabilities were caused at birth and that the incident could have been prevented with better medical care, compensation can be won.

A specialist solicitor will include past care costs within the compensation calculation so past losses can be recovered and the individual’s current, and future needs can be fully met.

Making the decision to pursue compensation for a birth injury

 Sometimes babies are born with severe disabilities that were unavoidable. In some cases, this may be due to genetic abnormalities or other circumstances that could not have been prevented, or foreseen, with better medical care.

Proving that a birth injury leading to irreversible disabilities was caused as a result of medical negligence is complex and requires specialist expertise.

If there are any doubts about the information provided by medical staff, or if there are too many unanswered questions explaining what has led to a child having permanent, and significant injuries from birth, it is worth instructing a solicitor.

Taking the first steps to making a birth injury compensation claim

Birth injury compensation claims specialist law firms offer years of expertise. They will ask the appropriate questions before advising whether you may have a claim.

Medical records are then obtained, and further advice will be given with regards to whether a birth injury may have been avoided.

Starting a birth injuries compensation claim when in doubt

As law firms only recoup the extensive costs involved in pursuing a birth injury claim when any compensation monies are won, it is in their interest to only pursue cases that they believe were a result of medical errors.

Families who suspect that their child was injured due to medical negligence should therefore not worry that they may be wrong in their suspicions or be concerned about wasting birth injury lawyers’ time.

Avoiding the costly mistake of choosing the wrong birth injury lawyers

Although – in most cases – pursuing a birth injury compensation claim will not cost families anything in legal fees unless successful, instructing the wrong solicitor will cost families dearly in terms of valuable wasted time in their child’s development.

Birth injury claims are robustly defended by the NHS Trusts believed to be responsible. The legal process can take many years depending on the complexity of the circumstances leading to an injury, and the complexity of the injury itself.

When a solicitor fails to reach a positive conclusion

Choosing the wrong birth injury lawyers with insufficient expertise in this complicated area of law could mean several wasted years.

A claim could be dropped due to ‘insufficient evidence’ or what they consider a low probability of winning the claim when in fact, they do not have the detailed knowledge required to win the case.

Can you instruct more than one birth injury solicitor?

A birth injury claim can only be pursued by one firm of birth injury solicitors however, if you are unhappy with the advice being given, or the progress of your claim, you can instruct a new lawyer to take over your claim.

You can also instruct a specialist birth injury solicitor if your claim has been dropped by a previous firm and they have advised that there is insufficient proof in their opinion or that there is a low chance of success.

Our team of birth injury experts have taken on several cases following recent and historic incidents when previous leading law firms have failed to reach a positive outcome.

Starting a birth injury claim before a full diagnosis of need

It may take several years before a full diagnosis can be given, for example if cerebral palsy is suspected, to determine the child’s lifelong support needs.

Waiting until a full diagnosis can be determined will provide an accurate picture of their needs as they grow. This facilitates an accurate, and detailed, breakdown of the cost of supporting every aspect of their needs for the rest of their lives.

Calculating the full cost of care following a significant birth injury

Undervalued, or miscalculated, compensation cannot be revisited after a claim has been settled. This means that it is critical for the right amount to be agreed to realistically meet a child’s needs as they grow and more support needs become apparent.

A birth injury compensation claim can be started before a full diagnosis can be given so families should not delay making a claim.

 Meeting an injured child’s needs during the legal process

A good firm of birth injury solicitors understands that meeting a child’s complex needs as early on in their development as possible is critical.

While families pursue a birth injury compensation claim, interim payments can be secured to ensure that the short and medium term needs of the child can be afforded.

Birth injuries compensation also means that families can pay for quality services that are right for their child and avoid long NHS waiting lists or having no access to specialist support.

Interim compensation payments can help families before a birth injury claim is settled

A high quality firm of lawyers will secure a substantial interim payment to support a child’s immediate and medium-term needs so families do not have to wait until a claim is fully concluded before they can access the funds that their child is entitled to.

Instructing specialists with a proven track record of success means that birth injury compensation can be accessed sooner.

Support network following a birth injury

It is important for the wellbeing of the whole family to have a good support network following a birth injury.

Managing a child’s complex needs will be demanding and relentless. Families can feel isolated without a good support network of family and friends.

Connecting with other families who are supporting a child with significant disabilities and hearing their stories and journey can help.

We hear parents tell us of their guilt that they are unable to be the parent they wanted to be to their other children as their injured child requires significant input and support.

Compensation for a birth injury will help take some of the time pressure off. The cost of support from carers is calculated in appropriate circumstances giving parents the time back to be more of the parent they wish to be to all of their children.

What do other families affected by a birth injury say about the legal process?

It is useful to talk and hear from other families who know what life is like managing the needs of a child following a serious injury at birth.

Only they truly understand the ripple effect of the trauma caused after a birth injury on the entire family.

Listening to their experience of the legal process, and hearing the outcome of their birth injury compensation claim, will help to answer some of the questions about what to expect.

What to expect from a solicitor

For some families, starting a birth injury compensation claim may be their first experience of the legal system.

A good firm of solicitors will understand the full impact that a birth injury has on the entire family.

Having the right legal experts representing you during the claims process means that you will not only be expertly guided through the legalities and complicated medical evidence, but that you will also be supported emotionally throughout.

Pursuing a claim when justice feels impossible

Making a claim for compensation can be a tough journey for families. For many living with the daily challenge of supporting a child with additional needs, the emotional and physical toll is hard enough.

Some families will feel defeated after being told by the hospital believed to be responsible that nothing could have been done to avoid the injury.

It is perfectly natural to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of a legal battle.

The human touch during the claim process

 Instructing the right team of legal experts will help to alleviate some of the associated anxiety. A law firm offering years of expertise in this complicated, and robustly defended area, will offer support above and beyond legal representation.

Treating families with empathy, and providing emotional support throughout the legal process, is a marker of a solicitor who truly understands the human cost following a serious incident at birth.

Can family members make a claim for compensation?

 Birth injury claims focus on the needs of the child. In some circumstances however, other family members can claim for compensation.

An example would be if the traumatic circumstances of the birth has led to the parent(s) or wider family members suffering with PTSD.

Why is Diane Rostron highly recommended for birth injury claims?

Diane Rostron and her team of both legal, and medical birth injury specialists, offer in excess of 25 years’ experience.

The team are parents and understand the value of family. Having represented dozens of families in successful £multi-million birth injury claims, this team of birth injury solicitors fiercely pursue claims – and win.

What makes Diane Rostron different from other law firms?

 Families are treated as individuals by the Diane Rostron team. Every case is unique, and every family is provided with a friendly, personable and empathic approach from the start, and throughout, their birth injury claim.

The team relish a challenge and have often taken on and won cases when one, sometimes two, previous specialist birth injury law firms have given up.

Raising the voice of affected families for improved maternity care

When families are left feeling that they do not have a voice, and that they are fighting a system that is not supportive, Diane Rostron speaks on their behalf campaigning for improved maternity care.

The team pursue claims against the most difficult circumstances. Medical notes are sometimes lost by the NHS Trust believed to be responsible for a serious incident.

In some instances, the critical details of the medical care provided are altered. It is not uncommon for some NHS Trusts to simply be obstructive through the claims process.

A forensic approach to birth injury claims

With decades of experience of dealing with NHS Trusts, across England and Wales, to pursue answers and justice for families affected by a significant injury at birth, the team at Diane Rostron leave no stone unturned.

Our team will find the answers to explain what happened, when and why to give you the peace of mind and justice that you deserve.

What happens after a birth injury compensation claim has been settled?

These types of claims run into millions of pounds if the injury has resulted in a child having complex, lifelong needs.

Given the size of these settlements, a financial deputy must be appointed to ensure that the compensation is spent in accordance with what has been identified as the child’s needs.

At Diane Rostron, we act as financial deputy for a number of clients taking the burden of reporting spending to the Court of Protection from the family.

This provides peace of mind that the compensation will indeed meet the vulnerable child’s lifelong needs and allows families to focus on their child, as they should.

Start your birth injury compensation claim today.

Contact Diane Rostron

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Start Your Brain Injury At Birth Claim Now

If you suspect that your child suffered a preventable brain injury at birth, we can help. You can contact our team of medical and legal brain injury experts for a free initial consultation by calling 01253 766 559 or completing the form below.