A quick overview of what you need to know about birth injury claims
It is every parent’s worst nightmare – that medical negligence before, during or just after birth leads to long-term damage to your child.
Cases like this are mercifully rare, but they do happen and those families who are affected suffer not only emotionally but also physically and financially. If you are in this unfortunate situation, one potential avenue that is worth exploring is the possibility of filing a birth injury claim. Here is an outline of the process to help you decide whether it is the right option for you and your family.
What is a birth injury claim?
Birth injury claims are essentially claims of medical or clinical negligence, which means that the medical care received was negligent or substandard and as a consequence someone suffered long-term damage to their health. For birth injury claims you will normally have at least until your child’s 21st birthday to pursue this option, so even if your child was injured some time ago you may still be able to go down this route. Normally these cases are resolved without having to go to court for a trial, but it is worth preparing for that eventuality.
What should I do if I am interested in pursuing a birth injury claim?
Initially you will need to get in touch with a specialist birth injury solicitor such as Diane Rostron, who can get all the details from you and help you to understand whether or not there is a realistic chance of success if you take your case forward. If there is, the solicitor will use a combination of data from the relevant medical records, your own testimony and the opinion of experts in the field to put together your case. This process can take months, after which the solicitors will contact the hospital in question for you to move things forward. After this, either a settlement will be reached or the case will go before a judge in court. In total you can expect your case to take around two years or even longer to be resolved.
How much will it cost me to make a birth injury claim?
Roughly speaking, the costs associated with such a case are broken down into the legal fees of the solicitor, legal expenses insurance, and miscellaneous costs such as fees for medical experts and court fees. Your solicitor should give you an estimate of how much your claim will cost before you decide whether to proceed, and many operate on a ‘no win, no fee’ arrangement, meaning that you do not pay your solicitor if they do not win you any compensation.
What happens if I win my case?
If you win a birth injury case, you will likely be entitled to financial compensation. The amount that you receive depends on factors such as how serious the medical error was that led to the birth injury and how severe the impact was on your child. Compensation will be considered to cover both financial losses (for example the cost of treatment and special equipment) and non-financial losses (for example pain, suffering, and lifestyle changes).