By Jo Anderson. Last Updated 6th February 2024. In this guide, we cover birth injury claims and birth injury compensation. We’ll explain the different forms of medical negligence in childbirth that could occur and also discuss how a birth injury compensation calculator works.
Making birth injury negligence claims can seem complex, but we are here to help. On this page you will find a full and detailed guide to making a compensation claim for a birth injury, it covers birth injuries to both the mother and the baby, and outlines to process of making a successful compensation claim. We also cover the benefits of claiming with a No Win No Fee solicitor.
According to the NHS, whether you choose a home birth or hospital birth, giving birth is generally safe and doctors and midwives assist you well. Birth injuries due to medical negligence can still occur though. If you or your child were injured during the birthing process, due to clinical negligence, you could thinking of bringing a claim for birth injury compensation.
You can contact our team of advisors on the phone or online if you would like advice or assistance with a birth injury claims. To reach us, you can call us on 0800 073 8801 or you can contact us online by using the 24/7 live chat feature included on our website. You can, alternatively, use our call back form.
Select a Section:
- Birth Injury Compensation Calculator – How Much Could I Receive?
- Eligibility Criteria For Birth Injury Compensation Claims
- Birth Injuries Suffered By The Mother
- Birth Injuries To The Child
- What Evidence Can Support Birth Injury Claims?
- Birth Injury Compensation Claims And No Win No Fee Solicitors
- Useful Links Relating To Birth Injury Claims
Compensation for successful birth injury compensation claims could consist of general and special damages. General damages will compensate you or your baby for the unnecessary harm endured due to a medical professional, such as a midwife, breaching their duty of care.
A birth injury compensation calculator could help you gain a clearer idea of how much you may be able to receive in compensation. Alternatively, you could refer to the table that we have created below using figures from the 16th edition of the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG).
Those calculating general damages for your claim may refer to this document for guidance, as it contains compensation guidelines for different forms of harm.
Please note that this table should only be used for guidance and that the first entry has not been taken from the JCG.
|Multiple serious injuries or illness with special damages.
|Compensation for several injuries or illnesses that are serious plus special damages for loss of earnings, medical expenses etc.
|Up to £500,000+
|Moderately severe brain damage (b)
|The person will be seriously disabled and will depend on others due to physical and cognitive disabilities.
|£219,070 to £282,010
|Severe pelvis and hip injury (i)
|Severe pelvis fractures with a ruptured bladder and the blower back joint is dislocated.
|£78,400 to £130,930
|Moderate pelvis and hip injury (i)
|Despite suffering from a significant pelvis or hip injury, the person will not suffer a permanent disability and the future risk is not great.
|£26,590 to £39,170
|Arm injury (b)
|Fractures to one or both forearms causing a permanent residual disability.
|£39,170 to £59,860
|Moderately severe psychiatric damage (b)
|The person will suffer with serious issues coping with their daily life. However, they will have an optimistic prognosis.
|£19,070 to £54,830
|Moderate post-traumatic stress disorder. (c)
|The person will have largely recovered after suffering with various issues.
|£8,180 to £23,150
|Serious shoulder injury (b)
|Dislocation of the shoulder with the lower part of the brachial plexus suffering damage.
|£12,770 to £19,200
Special damages is the head of claim that compensates you for financial losses you have experienced due to the medical negligence. These could include:
- Care costs if you have needed care at home.
- Loss of income from time taken off work to recover.
- Travel expenses, from trips to your solicitor or medical appointments.
- Medical expenses, such as prescription fees.
You need to prove that these costs were directly caused by the unnecessary harm that you or your baby suffered.
For a free valuation of your case, or to ask questions such as, ‘What is the average birth injury settlement in the UK?’ you can contact our advisors.
Every medical professional has a duty of care to their patients. This means that the care they provide must meet a minimum standard, and the patient should not come to avoidable harm. You can find more information on the standard of care expected from medical professionals through the General Medical Council or the NHS Constitution.
To be eligible to make a birth injury compensation claim, you must be able to meet the following criteria:
- A medical professional, such as a doctor or nurse, must have owed you a duty of care.
- They breached their duty of care.
- Due to this breach, you or your baby suffered unnecessary harm.
However, it is important to note that in some instances, you or your baby may suffer harm, but a medical professional did not breach their duty of care. For example, in certain cases, a doctor may need to dislocate or break a baby’s shoulder in order to deliver them safely. In this instance, you might not be able to make a claim.
To see if you could be eligible to make a birth injury negligence claim, you can contact our advisors.
How Long Do I Have To Claim For A Birth Injury?
If you are eligible to make a medical negligence claim for birth injury compensation, you will only have a limited amount of time to do so. Generally, you will have three years to start a medical negligence claim from the date you were unnecessarily harmed or the date of knowledge. This is when you first reasonably became aware of the medical negligence. This time limit is set out by the Limitation Act 1980.
However, there are some exceptions to this time limit. For example, if the baby was injured during birth, or the mother was under the age of 18 when they suffered a birth injury, they would be unable to make their own claim until their 18th birthday. From this date, they would then have three years to begin legal proceedings. Alternatively, while the time limit is paused, a litigation friend could start the claiming procedure on their behalf.
Those who lack the mental capacity to begin their own legal proceedings would have the time limit suspended. During this suspension period, a litigation friend could claim on their behalf. If no claim has been started, and the person regains this required mental capacity, they would have three years to start their own claim from the date of recovery.
To learn more about how long you might have to file your claim, please contact an advisor.
Of the two possible outcomes of medical negligence in such a case, injury to a mother during birth is usually the less serious. Typical injuries that the mother will sustain during childbirth are:
- Cuts, bruises and abrasions – that are the result of a difficult and prolonged birth.
- Damage to the muscles of the pelvic floor – including sprains and tears. These are painful injuries; however, they do heal fully fairly rapidly.
- Perineal tears – these are minute rips and tears in the tissue of the vagina. They can be very painful but heal quickly.
- Fractured pelvis – a serious injury, which will leave the mother immobile whilst the fracture heals.
You can read our separate guide on birth injury to the mother negligence claims for more insight into these particular kind of claims. You can also read our case study guide covering medical negligence payouts for a misdiagnosed tear after childbirth.
Psychological Injuries Suffered By The Mother
When you look at the injuries a mother could suffer in childbirth, you may be considering searching the physical injuries into a birth injury compensation calculator or medical negligence compensation calculator.
However, you should remember that a mother could also claim for psychological injuries too. If you suffered psychological harm, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or anxiety, for example, you could receive compensation for this too.
In some cases, your psychological injuries may be more severe than your physical injuries.
When a child is injured during childbirth, the consequences can be catastrophic. In the most serious cases, resulting in death or the loss of the infant having any chance of leading a normal life, injuries could be:
- Shoulder dystocia – a fairly rare injury, which happens when the baby’s head and shoulders get wedged behind the mother’s pelvic bone. This can result in fractures to the collarbone, shoulders and arms of the baby.
- Klumpke’s palsy – this occurs when the baby’s arm is hurt during childbirth, with the nerves of the arm being damaged, leaving the lower arm, wrist or fingers paralysed.
- Erb’s palsy – this occurs when the baby’s arms are hurt during childbirth, with the nerves of the arm being damaged, leading to loss of feeling, functionality or total paralysis of the entire arm.
- Brain injuries – these are generally the most serious of all childbirth injuries. They can be caused by either trauma to the head, or oxygen starvation during the birthing process. This also includes conditions such as cerebral palsy.
If you or your baby were injured during childbirth, call Accident Claims UK on the number at the bottom of this page, to find out if you can claim birth injury compensation.
All medical negligence claims, including for a birth injury, must be supported with compelling evidence. This needs to prove liability for the injuries you or your baby suffered.
Examples of evidence that might be helpful when making birth injury claims include:
- Maternity notes. These may also be called handheld notes. They will be added to at each appointment, and you’ll be advised to carry them with you everywhere. They will contain information about your pregnancy and how it is developing.
- Medical records. These can illustrate what medical treatment you or your baby required for the birth injuries.
- Witness contact details. If you brought a friend or family member along to any antenatal appointments or if they were at the birth trauma, you can make a note of their contact details. Statements regarding the incident could be collected from them at a later date.
- Copies of any scans you had while pregnant. These may show if there was a problem with the pregnancy that you weren’t told about prior to giving birth.
If you have any questions regarding what other evidence you could collect to support your birth injury compensation claim, please get in touch with a member of our advisory team.
Before starting your medical negligence claim, you might want to consider the benefits of using legal aid for birth injury claims. Our birth injury solicitors have years of experience handling birth injury claims. They could help you with gathering evidence and putting together a solid case. Additionally, if one of our solicitors believes that you may be eligible for compensation, they could offer to represent you with a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), which is a type of No Win No Fee agreement.
Generally, when claiming on a No Win No Fee basis, you are not expected to pay your solicitor anything upfront or during the process of your claim for their legal services You are also usually not expected to pay them if the case fails. However, if the claim is successful, you will pay your solicitor a success fee. This is taken from you compensation as a percentage is capped by law.
Do not hesitate to contact one of our advisors today if you have any questions about working with a solicitor who can offer a No Win No Fee agreement. Our team is available 24 hours a day to answer your questions and offer you free legal advice. After discussing your case, there is no obligation to start a claim with us. To contact our team you can:
- Call us on 0800 073 8801
- Use our call-back form
- Reach us on our live chat that’s available 24/7
Below, you can learn more about medical negligence claims:
- Learn all about medical negligence claims here
- Learn everything you need to know about birth injury claims here
- This guide talks you through stillbirth claims
- Learn all about Cerebral Palsy claims here
Thank you for reading our guide to using a birth injury compensation calculator.