Everything you need to know about stillbirth claims

Losing a baby as a result of a stillbirth is devastating and traumatic. Stillbirth incidents occur in one in every 250 births in England according to the NHS.

Some stillbirths cannot be explained, nor prevented. These incidents may have occurred because of complications such as the baby having a genetic physical defect, complications with the placenta, or a haemorrhage suffered during labour or a premature birth.

For some families, medical negligence has led to their baby being stillborn.

Stillbirth compensation following medical negligence

Preventable medical errors can sometimes be the cause of a baby being stillborn.

Some of the medical mistakes that can lead to an avoidable stillbirth include:

• Medical staff failing to carefully monitor mother and baby throughout a pregnancy and birth
• Failings in providing timely diagnosis and medical intervention when needed
• Failing to escalate to more senior medical professionals when appropriate

Preventable stillbirths in Shropshire

A recent report published following an extensive review into the maternity services delivered at the Princess Royal Hospital, in Telford, and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, in Shropshire, has sadly exposed a significant number of stillbirths could have been avoided.

The review, led by midwife Donna Ockenden, identified a culture at these hospitals prioritising natural births resulting in patients’ lives being placed at risk.

Reported as the biggest maternity scandal in NHS history, the investigation looked at incidents over a 20-year period and a dangerous culture priding itself on having the lowest number of c-sections in the country.

Will the Ockenden review into the Shropshire maternity services stop stillbirth incidents?

The review looked into more than 1,800 cases and found that around 300 babies died or suffered permanent injuries as a result of poor medical care in the county.

The findings and recommendations will be used as a blueprint to improve maternity services in hospitals throughout England however, the issues are complex and require significant investment in staff and training.

It will be some time before patient safety can be guaranteed in all maternity units in England. The Ockenden report sadly echoes the findings of investigations in other regions highlighting that the culture in hospitals needs to change to reduce the risks for mothers and babies.

The grieving process following a stillbirth

For the families affected by a stillbirth, it is natural to feel shocked and experience denial. Feelings of despair are deepened when it is suspected that medical negligence caused a family’s loss.

A stillbirth is a deeply traumatic experience. The trauma felt is compounded with feelings of guilt and anger when it is realised that it could have been prevented.

The grieving process is personal and takes time. Grief looks different for each person and the loss of a baby will evoke a rollercoaster of mixed emotions.

Seeking the right support is important and may include counselling and legal representation. An empathetic network of family, friends and other families who have been through the same experience should also be maintained.

Feelings of anger after stillbirths

Feeling angry after a pregnancy ends in a stillbirth is normal. Having the right support from family, friends and charities such as Sands is essential and can help ease the grieving process a little.

Talking about what happened and sharing the experience with other families who have suffered the same loss, can provide some comfort and lessen feelings of being alone.

For some families, channelling the anger felt following the loss of a baby to pursue justice, helps to make sense of what has happened.

Understanding the circumstances that led to a stillbirth

Needing answers to explain why a baby has been stillborn is every parent’s right. In most cases, these very sad events are unavoidable and due to medical issues that could not be foreseen nor treated.

For some families, their baby’s stillbirth could have been avoided. If it is suspected that the death of a baby could have been prevented with better medical care, contacting a stillbirth claims solicitor could be the best option if the hospital involved fails to be transparent.

Stillbirths leading to a serious case review

Hospitals should investigate what happened when a pregnancy ends in a stillbirth in order to understand the circumstances and explain to parents the reason for their sad loss.

When adequate answers are not provided, it adds to the suffering experienced by families. It is also grossly unfair to leave parents wondering why they were unable to return from hospital with a healthy newborn.

Having answers may help ease some of the pain following a stillbirth

Knowing the facts can help provide some closure. It does not take away the pain of losing a child. Answers can provide some peace and enable parents to at least explain the circumstances of their child’s stillbirth to family, friends and their other children.

Some stillbirths could have been avoided had medical staff provided adequate antenatal management and monitoring.

The lack of recognition that a baby is showing poor growth during a pregnancy or diagnosing placental issues in a timely manner, can sadly lead to avoidable stillbirths.

What to do if a hospital does not explain the reason for a stillbirth

If the hospital involved does not provide an adequate explanation for a baby’s death, or parents suspect it was due to medical negligence,  stillbirth compensation can be pursued.

Specialist birth injury lawyers work with independent medical experts to get to the truth of what happened following a serious incident resulting in a baby being stillborn.

Stillbirth compensation claim

Losing a baby is devastating. Parents may be unable to return to work, or normal life, for a period as they try to come to terms with their loss.

The pain and suffering can be intolerable and will take time to heal. Stillbirth compensation claims can help families by providing the answers that they need.

If it is discovered that their baby died unnecessarily, compensation can be sought for their suffering and also for any costs incurred as a result of their loss.

This may include loss of earnings if they could not return to work for a period because of their bereavement.

The cost of starting a stillbirth claim

Instructing specialist solicitors to pursue a claim following what is believed to be a stillbirth caused by medical negligence, will cost nothing unless a claim is won.

Working on a no win no fee basis means that families have access to justice. A birth injury solicitor will investigate what happened during a pregnancy and birth to get to the truth.

Investigating the death of a baby

Lawyers will work with independent medical professionals to assess your medical records and will advise whether your baby’s stillbirth may have been avoided.

If they believe that medical negligence could have been the cause, they will forensically investigate every detail to prove this.

When a baby dies, or is left significantly injured due to medical negligence, the law places the burden of proof on the family making instructing a solicitor essential.

Going to court while pursuing a stillbirth claim

A good solicitor will avoid your claim getting to court where possible. If a claim cannot be resolved with an out of court settlement, the right solicitor will be with you every step of the way.

Making a claim can feel daunting, however, with the right specialist solicitor on your side, the legal process will feel less traumatic.

Taking the legal route is the best chance of finding out what really happened. If a hospital is not forthcoming with satisfactory details, or has simply explained the incident as ‘one of those things’, instructing specialist solicitors is recommended.

Get the answers you need about stillbirth claims

It is natural to have several questions about the legal process. For some, contacting a solicitor may feel daunting. It shouldn’t be if you contact the right team.

Understand the step-by-step process of making a claim by reading our FAQs page. The team of specialists at Diane Rostron are happy to explain any queries that you may have throughout the legal process.

Choosing the right stillbirth compensation claims solicitor for your family

There are a number of stillbirth compensation specialist law firms in England and Wales. As every family is different, so are solicitors’ firms.

Choosing the right one for your family is important as you will be sharing a very personal loss and reliving what happened through the claims process.

Taking your time to research the right law firm for your family means that you have the best chance of gaining the answers and compensation that you deserve.

Some of the criteria to consider when deciding on which solicitor is right for you may include:

Specialism – does the firm specialise in these types of medically complex claims?

Size of practice – will a large national firm provide you with an accessible solicitor, or would you be more comfortable with a smaller law firm that can provide a more personal service?

Response to query – how a law firm responds to your initial query is a good indication of the service that will follow. A timely, empathetic, and personable response via a method and time that is convenient for you, is a good indicator of the quality of the service that you will receive.

Track record – does the firm have examples of recently concluded stillbirth compensation claims and ongoing cases similar to yours?

Relationships with independent medical experts – birth injury claims are medically complex. Proving that a baby’s stillbirth could have been prevented with better medical care requires specialist medical expertise – a solicitor cannot win a claim without having existing relationships with the right medical experts.

Listening to other families before choosing a stillbirth compensation claims solicitor

There is no better way to find out more about a solicitor than listening to previous and current clients.

Instructing a law firm to represent your family in such a delicate matter means that selecting the right team for you is critical.

Hearing the experience of their clients is the greatest indicator of whether they will be the right specialists for you.

Why you should start a stillbirth compensation claim

The purpose of pursuing a stillbirth claim is to provide families with the answers that they may not have been given by the hospital involved.

Understanding exactly what happened, and why, means that families can have some peace and are able to explain their loss to their other children, wider family and friends.

Starting a stillbirth claim also means that families can be compensated for their suffering and financial losses following the death of their baby.

Should you sue the NHS?

It is understandable to feel hesitant about suing the NHS, particularly as it is widely reported that the National Health Service is underfunded.

The government has a compensation budget allocated to medical negligence claims. Families who have suffered the pain and trauma of losing a baby to a stillbirth that could have been prevented are entitled to be compensated.

The compensation is for the pain and suffering caused and any financial losses experienced as a result of the serious incident.

Do family and friends have to know that a stillbirth compensation claim is being pursued?

You may have read the headlines about the compensation payouts made when the NHS has failed to provide safe medical care.

For some families, sharing their stories with others and talking to the media helps to highlight serious issues at hospitals to avoid other families suffering in the same way.

In circumstances when an inquest into a baby’s death takes place, it is highly likely that journalists will be in attendance to report on the findings. A good solicitor will support you through this and can talk to the media on your behalf.

Why you should choose Diane Rostron for stillbirth compensation claims

Diane Rostron is known for empathy, unwavering commitment, and a forensic approach to getting to the truth for families impacted by a serious birth injury.

The long-established team work with leading barristers and medical experts and have been winning compensation for families for more than 25 years.

Recognised as a leading birth injury solicitor

Diane Rostron is recognised in Legal 500 as one of the leading medical negligence solicitors in England and Wales.

The team is ranked side by side with significantly larger specialist law firms. The difference at Diane Rostron is the personal service that clients receive.

The team has extensive experience in stillbirth compensation claims.

The Legal 500 – The Clients Guide to Law Firms

How to start a stillbirth compensation claim

The first step in starting your stillbirth claim is one click away. Provide some brief details about what happened, when and in which hospital, and a member of our birth injury team will be in touch.

If we believe that your child’s stillbirth may have been avoided, we will apply for your medical records.

There are no legal fees to pay unless we win your stillbirth compensation claim.

The stillbirth compensation claims process is not easy

Birth injury claims are medically complex, and it requires a dedicated team of true medical and legal experts to reveal what really happened.

The process is not easy of course. However, your solicitor will be there to explain and answer any questions you may have to make it as stress free as possible.

NHS approach to stillbirth compensation claims

Sometimes a hospital believed to be responsible for an avoidable stillbirth makes an admission soon after a solicitor gets in touch.

The reality, however, is that in most cases this sadly does not happen. Stillbirth claims are hard fought by NHS solicitors.

Having the right legal team on your side from the start will help to ease some of the upset that will likely be caused as the hospital involved may initially deny any wrongdoing.

Time limits on claiming stillbirth compensation

There are legal time limits to making a stillbirth claim. Families have three years from the date of the incident, or the date when it was suspected that the stillbirth could have been a result of medical negligence, to start a claim.

Instructing the right solicitor from the beginning is therefore critical to avoid running out of time and losing the right to stillbirth compensation.

Start your stillbirth compensation claim today and get the answers that you need

Grieving the loss of a baby without the detailed answers to explain why it happened increases the suffering and trauma felt by families.

Every parent has a right to know what happened to their child. If the hospital believed to be responsible has not been transparent, nor provided a satisfactory explanation, taking legal action is the only way to get to the truth.

Contact Diane Rostron to start your stillbirth compensation claim

Contact the specialist birth injury team at Diane Rostron today to pursue stillbirth compensation.

The team will contact you at a time that is convenient to discuss what happened and will advise whether you may have a claim for compensation.

They will be with you every step of the way until they obtain the answers and compensation that you need.

We fight for families, and we win.

Contact Diane Rostron

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