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Neonatal death and infant mortality claims

The death of a baby is a devastating time for a parent and their family, but this news can be even more distressing if something has gone wrong with the management of the birth. Every parent has a right to know what happened to their baby and our experienced team can assist parents with obtaining answers to their questions.

Neonatal death and infant mortality claims

The death of a baby is a devastating time for a parent and their family, but this news can be even more distressing if something has gone wrong with the management of the birth.

In a significant number of stillbirths and neonatal deaths nothing can be done to prevent this from happening. There are cases however, where better management during pregnancy or monitoring of the baby could have stopped the baby from dying.

Every parent has a right to know what happened to their baby and the experienced team at Freeths can assist parents with obtaining answers to their questions.

Call us on 0330 100 1014 and speak to our compassionate and understanding team or fill out our online form.

What is a neonatal death?

Neonatal death refers to the death of an infant under the age of 28 days and is classed as an early neonatal death if it occurs at the age of under seven days. Infant mortality is a term used to refer to deaths that occur in babies under the age of one.

Is a stillbirth the same as neonatal death?

A baby born after the 24th week of pregnancy and which failed to show signs of life is classed as a stillbirth, whereas an infant who suffered a neonatal death died up to one week after birth.

Seventeen babies die every day in the UK; 11 will die before they are born (stillborn) and six will die shortly after birth (neonatal death). According to Office for National Statistics figures (ONS), in 2021, the neonatal death rate was 1.4 deaths per 1,000 live births, while the stillborn rate was 4.1 per 1,000 births.

There are a variety of risk factors that can contribute to infant mortality, many of which are unpreventable. However, in some instances, medical negligence can be a contributing factor to neonatal death or stillbirth.

What can cause a stillbirth or neonatal death?

According to the ONS, risk factors that increase the chances of a baby suffering infant mortality or neonatal death include:

  • Premature birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Maternal age (under the age of 20)
  • Ethnicity

While these factors can increase the risk of infant death, they don’t necessarily mean that they are the only causes at play if an infant has died soon after birth. Poor monitoring, lack of pregnancy management and failure to provide prompt treatment can also contribute to the outcome.

Sadly, stillbirths can happen for no known reason, which is often the case for many babies who show no signs of life after birth. Contributing factors, though, can include:

  • Infection during pregnancy or labour
  • Problems with the placenta
  • Pre-eclampsia complications
  • Umbilical cord prolapse
  • Genetic conditions
  • Birth trauma

In some cases, a stillbirth could have been prevented with better monitoring, improved management of pregnancy, awareness of complications or prompt treatment during labour. If you’ve suffered the loss of a baby due to one of these reasons, you could claim compensation for a stillbirth.

Can I make a claim for infant mortality or stillbirth compensation?

You could claim compensation for the death of a baby if medical negligence meant that it could have been prevented. Every mother and baby has the right to receive the appropriate standard of care during pregnancy, labour and after delivery. If there has been a lack in this care on the part of any medical professional, you could make a stillbirth or neonatal death compensation claim.

If you’re worried about whether you have a case to be able to make a claim, our caring and empathetic team can help. We will listen to your story and experience and help you decide whether to go ahead and make a claim. We can also support you with establishing proof that the death could have been prevented.

We understand the lasting effects an infant’s death has on the parents and family and we know it might be difficult to talk about your experience. That’s why we have a team of professional and compassionate solicitors who are experts in this area and who have extensive experience in helping clients make a claim.

Reasons for making a neonatal death or stillborn claim

The decision to make a claim can be difficult. You might not wish to discuss the devastating experience when you’re suffering after the death of an infant and it can be painful to relive those memories. Only you can decide if claiming compensation for the death of a baby is the right path.

No amount of financial compensation will ever replace the loss of your child but seeking information about what happened in relation to your baby’s death, by investigating a stillbirth claim, will ensure that lessons are learned for the future.

You might choose to make a stillbirth or neonatal death medical negligence claim for a number of reasons:

  • To hold those responsible accountable for their actions and to help ensure that the same negligence is not repeated.
  • To help you move on: While making a claim won’t erase the trauma, some clients find that it helps them release emotions surrounding the experience, such as anger.
  • To help cover costs related to the loss of an infant: These could include loss of income, any therapy or other treatment needed, and any costs related to the psychological damage you might have suffered.

Will it cost to make a neonatal death or stillborn claim?

Because we take most cases on a ‘no win no fee’ agreement, it won’t cost you anything up front to make a claim. It also means there’ll be nothing to pay should your case be unsuccessful for any reason.

We also offer other ways to fund your case which can be discussed during your initial conversation with our team.

How much compensation could I get for infant mortality or neonatal death?

It’s difficult to say exactly how much you could receive in terms of a settlement fund as amounts can vary depending on each individual situation. Neonatal and stillbirth compensation claims are assessed according to a variety of factors, such as:

  • The pain and suffering endured due to medical negligence
  • Loss of earnings
  • Psychological and emotional damage

We know that placing a figure on the trauma you have suffered as a result of an infant death is not easy. That’s why each experience is treated individually and the Judicial College Guidelines are used to help reach the final compensation amount.

Get in touch

Why choose our neonatal medical negligence team?

Our infant mortality and stillborn claims experts are renowned and appreciated for their empathy and sensitivity towards parents.

We work closely with Sands (a stillbirth and neonatal death charity), which not only offers support to families who have been affected by the death of a baby but is committed to reducing the number of stillbirths in the UK. We also:

  • Offer a free initial telephone advice and a free first interview to discuss your individual situation.
  • Put you needs first – our approachable lawyers can visit you at home if you would prefer to discuss your case with us in this way.
  • Have a very successful track record of claiming compensation for medical negligence cases.
  • Have 13 offices in the UK, making it easy for you to contact us at your convenience.
  • Pride ourselves on being ranked by The Legal 500 and Chambers.
  • Have three lawyers who are members of the AvMA Panel as well as three Law Society accredited lawyers.
  • Have a showcase of awards and accreditations demonstrating our commitment to customer service.

Successful cases

Infant mortality & neonatal death FAQs


  • Thank you for the way you dealt with my case with compassion and professionalism."

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  • "The lawyers take an incredibly thorough approach to every case."

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  • "Thank you so much for all of your help and support with everything. Since our very first phone call from the hospital just after X died you have b...

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  • "Very good-quality work and high-value work; they get a lot of work locally and nationwide. Their client service is superb."

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Meet the team

Carolyn Lowe's Profile

Carolyn Lowe

Partner & Head of Clinical Negligence for the South

Karen Reynolds's Profile

Karen Reynolds

Partner & Head of Clinical Negligence for Derby, West Midlands & North West

Jane Williams's Profile

Jane Williams

Partner, Head of Medical Negligence, East Midlands & North East

Phillip McGough's Profile

Phillip McGough

Clinical Negligence Executive

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