A midwife has to undergo many years of training before they’re allowed to be responsible for delivering of a baby. Thousands of babies are born each year in the UK and their delivery can be relatively smooth and without complications. However, some births don’t go as well and can lead to either the mother or baby suffering injuries. If it can be shown that midwife negligence led to avoidable injuries being sustained, then it might be possible to claim compensation for any suffering caused to either mother, baby or both. Throughout this guide, we’ll look at what things you could be claimed and when the midwife might be liable as well as what type of birthing injuries could lead to a claim.
Accident Claims UK offer free legal advice to anybody considering a claim. We also provide a no obligation assessment of your case. If you can show that the case is strong enough to be won, you could use one of our No Fee No Win solicitors to represent you.
If you already know that you’d like to begin a claim for midwife negligence, then please call us on 0800 073 8801 today. Alternatively, if you’d rather find out more about claiming midwife negligence compensation before calling, please continue reading.
Select A Section
- A Guide To Claims For Medical Negligence By A Midwife
- What Is Negligence By A Midwife?
- Midwife Birth Negligence Claim Statistics
- Erbs Or Cerebral Palsy Caused By Midwife Negligence
- Still-Births Caused By Midwife Negligence
- Pre-Eclampsia Caused By Midwife Negligence
- Ectopic Pregnancies Due To Negligence By A Midwife
- Kernicterus Caused By Midwife Negligence
- Maternal Or Gestational Diabetes Caused By Midwife Negligence
- Midwife Medical Negligence Personal Injury Claims Calculator
- Special Damages In Midwife Negligence Compensation Claims
- No Win No Fee Claims For Negligence By A Midwife
- Why Choose Us For Your Medical Negligence Case?
- Start Your Midwife Negligence Claim
- Medical Resources
A Guide To Claims For Medical Negligence By A Midwife
When you attend the maternity unit of your local hospital, you have to put your trust in the doctors, nurses and midwives responsible for delivering your baby. Every person involved with the delivery has a duty of care towards you and your child, if they’re negligent and cause either of you to suffer harm, you could be entitled to claim compensation by filing a negligence claim against the party responsible.
In this guide, we’re going to review a number of different injuries that could lead to a midwife negligence claim.
If you’re claiming for injuries to yourself, the personal injury claims time limit is usually 3-years from the date of sustaining the injury. However, if you’re claiming on behalf of your child, you can do so at any point before they turn 18 years of age. In cases where the child suffers serious brain damage which means they won’t ever be able to claim on their own, the time limit doesn’t apply. In fact, some claims may be settled many years after the negligence occurred to ensure the impact of the child’s injuries are fully understood. It might be possible for interim payments to be made while the claim is being assessed in these circumstances.
Claiming for birth injuries is likely to be quite traumatic for you. Therefore, our team will act compassionately and at a speed that suits you. When you’ve read our guide in full, if you have any questions, please ask. Remember that we provide free legal advice about the claims process and will not put any pressure on you at all.
What Is Negligence By A Midwife?
To make a successful claim for midwife negligence, you’ll need to prove a number of things:
- That the midwife acted below the level that you could reasonably expect of a competent midwife. This is known as breach of duty
- You or your child were made ill, were injured or suffered pain
- And that the pain and suffering was caused by the breach of duty. This is known as causation
Essentially, causation and breach of duty must be proven to claim compensation. That means, if a midwife was negligent but there was no adverse effect on mother or baby, then a claim wouldn’t be possible.
Midwife Birth Negligence Claim Statistics
Over the coming sections, we’re going to look at different injuries that could be caused by obstetric negligence. Before we do, let’s look at some statistics regarding birth injuries cause by a midwife that could lead to a medical negligence claim.
At the Royal College of Midwives annual conference in 2009, the claims director for the NHS Litigation Authority (now NHS Resolution) suggested that nearly two thirds of all its compensation payments were due to obstetric claims. Those figures seem even higher when he went on to say that they made up about 20% of all claims they handled for the 2008-2009 period.
The high cost of claims involving birth injuries could be because when brain injuries occur, the compensation would typically have to cover the cost of caring for the child for the rest of their life.
Erbs Or Cerebral Palsy Caused By Midwife Negligence
Two injuries that could be caused in difficult labours are Erbs palsy and Cerebral palsy. While they have similar names, they are completely different injuries and result in a baby suffering different issues.
Erbs palsy is an injury caused when the head or arm is pulled during delivery. It can affect one to five nerves responsible for feeling and movement in the arm (or brachial plexus). The chance of recovery would depend on the nature of the injury. If the nerves are just bruised, the injury could heal completely but it could take up to a year. In rarer cases, the child might be left with loss of function in an arm for the rest of their life.
Cerebral palsy is the name given to a number of different conditions which affect a child for the whole of their life. It’s caused by brain damage that occurs before, during or after labour. There are a number of reasons why cerebral palsy can occur including infections, bleeding in the baby’s brain and asphyxiation due to a lack of oxygen to the brain.
Claims could be possible for either of the health issues it if can be shown that a midwife or doctor failed to spot a problem occurring and didn’t react accordingly. For instance, if a problem is spotted during delivery, a midwife or doctor might react by speeding up the delivery in an attempt to ensure the baby’s safety. However, if the problem wasn’t spotted, or it took a long time to spot and the baby suffered as a consequence, then a medical negligence claim may be possible.
Still-Births Caused By Midwife Negligence
A stillbirth is the most traumatic thing to happen to any parent and something they’ll probably never fully recover from. There are many reasons why this could happen including genetic defects, umbilical cord problems, placenta problems and infections.
What can make a stillbirth even harder to bear, is when it’s found that a doctor or midwife may have been able to prevent it had they acted differently. Proving that is the case can be extremely challenging.
If you believe that a stillbirth was caused by your midwife’s negligence, please get in touch. We’ll act compassionately and work in a way which suits you. We’ll always be honest with you about the chances of any claim being successful.
Pre-Eclampsia Caused By Midwife Negligence
The exact cause of pre-eclampsia is not known but it’s thought to be caused by a problem with the placenta. The symptoms which could indicate pre-eclampsia are hypertension (high blood pressure), or protein found in the urine.
If pre-eclampsia is suspected, the only way to treat it, is to deliver the baby. Therefore, a doctor will usually send you for tests at a hospital and you’ll be monitored until it’s safe for your baby to be born.
In many cases, pre-eclampsia doesn’t cause any adverse medical problems for mother or baby. However, if it develops into eclampsia then it can lead to seizures which could endanger the life of both parent and child. Therefore, if your pre-eclampsia wasn’t diagnosed, or monitoring wasn’t undertaken, you could claim for any injuries sustained as a result of this type of medical negligence on the part of a responsible party.
Ectopic Pregnancies Due To Negligence By A Midwife
An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilised egg settles outside of the womb rather than inside it. When this happens, unfortunately, there’s no way to save the pregnancy. There are medications or surgical procedures used to remove the egg which allows the mother to recover.
You may be able to claim compensation for an ectopic pregnancy for any pain or suffering caused when a doctor or midwife failed to diagnose your condition even though you presented with the correct symptoms. An ectopic pregnancy will usually be confirmed by undergoing a scan.
Kernicterus Caused By Midwife Negligence
Kernicterus is preventable brain damage that can occur in babies with jaundice. The condition is caused when a chemical called bilirubin builds up in the blood and when the level of bilirubin isn’t reduced, jaundice can develop into kernicterus leading to brain damage.
If your child has suffered kernicterus, it may be possible to claim compensation if the midwife or doctor failed to diagnose the problem. The symptoms that could indicate kernicterus are when the jaundice spreads from the face to other parts of the body. When doctors check for bilirubin, if the levels are too high, treatment should begin to reduce the levels. If this doesn’t happen and jaundice turns to kernicterus, then you could be eligible to claim for medical negligence against the responsible party.
Maternal Or Gestational Diabetes Caused By Midwife Negligence
The final condition we’re going to look at is gestational diabetes which is when a high level of glucose develops during pregnancy. It happens when the mother’s body can’t produce enough insulin to meet extra demands during pregnancy.
In many cases, gestational diabetes won’t cause problems for mother or baby. However, it can lead to the baby growing larger than normal, premature birth, pre-eclampsia, jaundice in the baby or, in rare cases stillbirth.
As with the other conditions listed, if your midwife or doctor failed to spot the symptoms of gestational diabetes, or failed to treat it properly, you could claim for any suffering caused as a result.
Midwife Medical Negligence Personal Injury Claims Calculator
When we are asked to claim midwife negligence compensation, we’re often asked how much could be awarded. In reality, it’s impossible to say. That’s because every claim is unique. Every child is affected differently and will suffer different levels of injury. Therefore, the exact amount you may receive won’t be known until your solicitor has gathered all of the medical evidence to support your case.
What we can do is show you the personal injury compensation table below. It shows some example figures for certain injuries that could be sustained in childbirth.
|Brain Damage||Very severe||£264,650 to £379,100||Includes cases where quadriplegic cerebral palsy leads to sever cognitive and physical disabilities.|
|Brain Damage||Moderately Severe||£205,580 to £264,650||Where a very serious disability is sustained and the patient is susbstantially dependent on others. Professional or other care will be required constantly.|
|Brain Damage||Moderate||£140,870 to £205,580||Where sight, speech and senses are affected and there's a significant risk of epiliepsy. There will also be a severe intellectual defecit.|
|Brain Damage||Moderate||£85,150 to £140,870||The intellectual defecit in this bracket will be classed as moderate to modest. There will be some risk of epilepsy and the ability to work will either be impossible or greatly reduced.|
|Brain Damage||Moderate||£40,410 to £85,150||In these cases memory and concentration will be affected. Work ability might be reduced when there is a small risk of epilepsy.|
|Brain Damage||Less severe||£14,380 to £40,410||This bracket covers brain injuries where a good recovery is made and the victim will have a normal social life and be able to work.|
The figures are taken from a legal document called the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) which includes guide compensation amounts for different injuries. Although our table contains compensation for different brain injuries, the JCG covers most potential injuries. It’s important to note that this is just one part of a claim. We’ll look at other things you could claim for in the next section.
Personal injury claims are settled based on the severity of the injury. Therefore, it’s really important that your solicitor can demonstrate exactly how you or your child have suffered. Our solicitors ask for each case to be assessed by independent doctors. This allows us to fully understand the impact of the injuries. It also means we can try and ensure the correct level of compensation is paid when a claim is settled.
Special Damages In Midwife Negligence Compensation Claims
In the previous section, the compensation table showed compensation amounts paid out as general damages. This is the compensation that’s awarded for loss of amenity, pain and suffering caused by injuries. The other part of any personal injury claim is known as special damages.
Special damages are awarded as compensation for financial losses linked to your injuries. They are awarded to make sure you’re no worse off, financially, than you were before the clinical negligence occurred. Some special damages you could claim for include:
- Home Adaptations
If your child has been left with a disability following the midwife negligence, you might need to make changes to allow a wheelchair to manoeuvre around the house. You might also need to fit hoists to aid lifting the child into bed or an accessible wet room. In these cases, it could be possible to claim for the cost of adapting the home back
- Care Costs
If you need to pay for a professional carer, you could ask for the fees back. If you’ve had to quit work to care for your child, you could claim for your time back too
- Medical Costs
You could include the costs of any medications not supplied for free in your claim. It may also be possible to claim for medical equipment such as wheelchairs that are required as the result of any birth injuries
- Travelling Costs
You could ask for the cost of travelling in your claim too. This could include the cost of travelling to and from hospitals and GP surgeries. It might also be used to cover the cost of specialised transport requirements
No Win No Fee Claims For Negligence By A Midwife
We know that many potential claimants worry about the cost of hiring a medical negligence lawyer. It’s our belief that anybody who’s suffered due to midwife negligence should be able to claim compensation without worrying about the costs of doing so. Therefore, our solicitors work on a No Win No Fee basis for any claim they handle.
After you’ve had an initial assessment of your claim, a solicitor will consider it to make sure there’s a chance compensation could be awarded. If they believe there is then they’ll offer you a Conditional Fee Agreement (or CFA) to sign. This is a legal contract between you both which explains that you don’t have to pay the solicitor’s fees unless you win compensation.
Also, within the CFA, you’ll find information on the success fee payable when compensation is awarded. So that you don’t have to send any funds to pay the fee, the solicitor will deduct it from the compensation before it’s paid to you.
We believe that No Win No Fee services relieve a lot of stress when claiming. They certainly reduce the financial risk which, we believe, allows more people to begin a claim for the compensation they could be entitled to.
Why Choose Us For Your Medical Negligence Case?
We’d really like the opportunity to help you begin your claim for medical negligence by a midwife. We hope that, through this guide, you can see the level of commitment we have to securing compensation on your behalf. Here are some of the reasons we think you should use Accident Claims UK:
- We operate our claims line 24-hours a day, 7-days a week
- Our advisers provide free legal advice and a no obligation assessment of any claim
- We never put you under any pressure to proceed should you not wish to pursue a claim
- Our team of personal injury lawyers have been working in the claims industry for up to 30 years
- You’ll be kept updated throughout your claim
- Our solicitors always try to work as swiftly as possible to ensure they’re not the cause of any hold ups
- Finally, the solicitors always try to gain the maximum compensation payment that is warranted by your injuries
Start Your Midwife Negligence Claim
You’ve reached the end of this guide about claiming for medical negligence during childbirth. We hope that you’ve found the information helpful and have decided whether to make a claim or not. If you are going to, we hope you’ll choose Accident Claims UK to help you. If that’s the case, you can contact us by:
- Calling our specially trained advisers on 0800 073 8801
- Emailing details of your claim to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Connecting to an adviser via live chat
- Or, to request a call back at a suitable time, please complete our online enquiry form
Our advisers appreciate that going over what’s happened will be traumatic for you. Therefore, they’ll happily offer a no obligation assessment of your claim at your pace and without pressuring you to proceed. If they think you’ve got a strong case, one of our No Win No Fee solicitors could take on your claim. You can call our claims line 24-hours a day, 7-days a week so please do so whenever it’s most convenient for you.
Thanks for reading our guide about claiming for suffering caused by midwife negligence. To help you further, here are some more of our guides as well as information from external sources.
Cerebral Palsy – Information from the NHS on the symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment of cerebral palsy.
The Nursing And Midwifery Council – The regulator of nursing and midwifery in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Congenital Hip Dysplasia – Information from the NHS on how hip dysplasia is diagnosed and treated.
Hospital Negligence Claims – Guidance on how a personal injury solicitor can help with medical malpractice in hospital claims.
Stillbirth Negligence Claims – This guide explains when you could claim if negligence by a midwife led to the stillbirth of your child.
Birth Injury Claims – Information on the different types of birth injuries a medical negligence solicitor could help you make.
Article by BH