Maternity Negligence Lawyers
Medical Negligence At Childbirth
Maternity Negligence Lawyers
Pregnancy and childbirth can be challenging but even more so if you or your child suffers due to maternity negligence. Mistakes made during maternity care can sometimes even result in devastating and life-altering consequences.
If you, your child or a loved one has suffered due to maternity or pregnancy negligence, our expert and empathetic maternity lawyers could help you to make a claim.
To speak to one of our team, with no obligation to proceed, call us on 0330 100 1014 or:
- What is maternity negligence?
- Consequences of maternity negligence
- Common injuries due to maternity or pregnancy negligence
- How can we help?
- What our clients say
- Can I make a maternity negligence claim?
- Why should I make a maternity negligence claim?
- How can I fund my maternity or pregnancy negligence claim?
- How much compensation am I likely to receive?
- Why choose Freeths’ maternity negligence team?
- Contact our experts
- Our maternity negligence cases
- Maternity negligence FAQs
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Maternity Negligence Claims
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Poor care by maternity professionals can sometimes result in injuries to the child or mother, or both, that could have otherwise been avoided. This is known as maternity negligence. Injuries and complications can range in severity from mild to serious and, in some tragic circumstances, severe disabilities or even death. Consequences for the victim and their family can be life-altering.
Maternity medical negligence can happen at birth or during a pregnancy. It can occur just before, during or after the birth or at any time while the mother is pregnant.
Fortunately, most pregnancies and births proceed with no complications but, sadly, in some circumstances, maternity negligence can and does happen. According to the latest NHS Resolution Annual report, there were 1,243 obstetrics (maternity-related) claims in 2021/22 which equated to 12% of all clinical negligence claims. Shockingly, maternity negligence claims also made up 60% (equal to £6,033.4 million) of the entire payout bill.
Consequences of maternity negligence
Substandard care from a medical maternity professional such as a doctor, midwife, radiographer or nurse might relate to the monitoring of a mother and baby, treatment provided or the delivery itself. Such consequences can include:
- Undiagnosed or misdiagnosed conditions or infections
- Undetected abnormalities
- Failure to recognise potential birth complications
- Incorrect use of forceps or ventouse
- Failed sterilisation
- Failure to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy
Whatever the reason for maternity negligence, we could help you to make a claim. Get in touch with us on 0330 100 1014 or contact us online >
Common injuries due to maternity or pregnancy negligence
Whilst there are a range of injuries and complications that can occur due to maternity negligence, there are some common examples that can affect a mother or child.
Injuries to the mother
While vaginal tears are the most common injury that mothers are likely to suffer from during childbirth, there are other potential consequences including:
- Tears during childbirth
- Ruptured uterus and placenta
- Retained instruments or swabs
- Retained placenta
- Unmanaged pre-eclampsia
- Organ injuries after caesarean section
- Psychological trauma
- Injuries to the mother can also include, albeit rare, brain injuries and even death. The main causes of such severe injuries and fatalities are severe bleeding, infection and pre-eclampsia. However, these complications can usually be prevented with proper management and monitoring.
Injuries to the child
- Cerebral palsy
- Erb’s palsy
- Birth defects
- Brain injuries
- Hip injuries
- Stillbirth or neonatal death
It is important to remember that these lists are not exhaustive and, if you, your child or a loved one has suffered any type of injury or complication due to maternity negligence, we could help.
How can we help?
We understand that pregnancy and birth injuries and complications, such as those listed above, can have devastating physical and emotional effects that can often last for the rest of your life. We also know that talking to someone about your experience can be difficult. That’s why we have a team of professional, friendly and empathetic experts who will listen to your story and help you to decide whether to proceed with a maternity negligence claim.
We can let you know whether we think that you have a case that is likely to result in being awarded compensation and we will not pressurise you to go ahead if you do not feel ready to do so. Your initial chat will involve our maternity lawyers understanding the details of your situation and you will be under no obligation to proceed.
If you feel ready to take the initial step, call our compassionate team on 0330 100 1014.
“Thanks and appreciation to you once again for many years of work and support for us all”
“We will be forever grateful for what you have done for us”
“I really want to say how fantastic you and your team have been. I have been overwhelmed at times at your kindness and compassion when dealing with myself and our family. You have made the worst situations bearable by how you have treated us all and I am forever grateful to you for this. I have trusted you implicitly and knew that any advice given was to be trusted 100%.”
“We cannot express our gratitude enough for all your hard work and perseverance over the last few years. It will never undo the pain and suffering our daughter has had to endure or the continued struggle she will face on a daily basis but at least we have closure and can now look forward as a family. We will be forever thankful for the voice you gave our daughter in this injustice.”
While we cannot say for sure whether you will be able to make a claim without knowing the details of your experience, if you, your child or a loved one suffered from pregnancy or birth complications as a result of negligence, you could have a case.
Obstetric healthcare professionals have a duty of care to provide patients with a competent standard of antenatal, labour, delivery, postnatal and neonatal care. That means that every member of staff involved during a patient’s pregnancy, throughout childbirth and immediately afterwards, has an obligation to provide the right support, care, advice and treatment (sometimes referred to as standards for competence).
If there has been a lack of care which has resulted in avoidable suffering, you could make a maternity negligence claim. To be successful, there will need to be evidence that the medical professional failed in their duties and that the injury was as a direct result of the lack of proper care.
Our team can help to establish proof that there was a lack of duty of care. We also work with professional and experienced independent medical experts who can advise on whether they believe your case to be as a result of negligent care.
Why should I make a maternity negligence claim?
Having been through a traumatic experience, many people are in two minds about whether to try to claim compensation. We know that no amount of settlement fund will make your suffering easier, and some consequences will last a lifetime regardless.
However, the money that you could receive for making a medical negligence childbirth or pregnancy claim could help you to rebuild your life and move forward. It could also help to cover costs related to:
- Care (for yourself or child)
- Loss of income
- Hospital or medical appointment travel
- Any necessary home adaptions
- Aids and equipment
However, making a maternity negligence claim is not just about getting the compensation that you deserve. It can also help to highlight breaches in standards of care to prevent the same situation from occurring again in the future. It can also raise awareness of such shortcomings and identify areas that need additional training or resources, such as hospital maternity departments or community hubs.
Get in touch on 0330 100 1014 to speak with one of our team or, if you prefer, you can contact us online >
How can I fund my maternity or pregnancy negligence claim?
There are a range of ways in which you can fund your maternity negligence claim but most cases are taken on a conditional fee, ‘no win no fee’ basis. This means that you will only pay for our services if your claim is successful. There will be nothing to pay if, for any reason, you don’t win your claim.
A member of our team will talk you through the funding details during your first call.
How much compensation am I likely to receive?
Any compensation awarded for maternity negligence will depend on various factors such as the injury suffered, the severity, the impact that it has had on your, your child’s or a loved one’s life and any financial consequences. As all cases are different, we’re unable to say exactly how much you could receive before talking to you.
Compensation for maternity negligence cases is divided between general damages and special damages. General damages consist of a fixed sum, related to your suffering, whereas special damages encompass other aspects such as lifestyle and finances. Maternity lawyers will use Judicial College guidelines to calculate an average amount that could be awarded as a settlement figure for general damages. Part of a settlement sum also involves covering the costs of any private treatment, such as counselling, that may be needed.
Our expert and professional team of maternity negligence lawyers have years of experience in representing a range of clients in pregnancy and birth injury claims.
- Our team are empathetic, understanding and trustworthy and can provide expert and compassionate advice.
- We are ranked as a leading company by The Legal 500 and Chambers. We are also proud to hold a variety of awards and accreditations for our consistent high standard of service.
- We have three lawyers who are members of the AvMA Panel as well as three Law Society accredited lawyers.
- We have 13 offices in major cities across the UK, so it is easy to find a local team near you.
- We work with local communities and charities to make a positive difference to the lives of young people, accident victims and those who are disadvantaged. We also mentor law students across the country.
- We are honest and friendly and strive to understand the individual needs of all of our clients.
With our extensive experience and expertise, we have successfully claimed compensation for a range of clients:
- We recently concluded a birth injury case where the hospital admitted liability, with the claim being settled for £25.3 million.
- A settlement of £15.8 million was recovered for a client who suffered significant injuries at birth.
- A sum of £175,000 was awarded to a mother who sadly delivered a still born daughter as a result of negligent care during her pregnancy and labour.
- We acted on the behalf of a Claimant who received negligent care from a consultant while in utero during the pregnancy. At a scan, polyhydramnios and reduced growth was noted but the mother was not made aware of any issues. This led to the Claimant suffering a brain injury, which could have been avoided with the right treatment, including early delivery. The settlement subsequently reached seven figures. This case was particularly significant in that it rested on the issue of consent as brought about in the Montgomery case of 1999.
- We represented a client who suffered with whole body dyskinetic/spastic cerebral palsy (GMFCS Level V). We argued that the Defendant Trust failed to appropriately monitor the Claimant by way of CTG (cardiotocograph) and as a result, the diagnosis of foetal bradycardia was delayed. There were also further delays in contacting the obstetrician, transferring the mother to the operating theatre and performing an instrumental delivery. These failures led to the Claimant suffering severe cerebral palsy. The case went to trial after the Defendant’s denial of liability where it was found that had the Claimant been born 10 minutes earlier, they would have sustained mild damage as opposed to severe damage. Settlement was reached in the sum of £8 million.
- We were instructed on behalf of a family who sadly suffered the stillbirth of their child. Having previously been through a stillbirth, future pregnancies were to be considered high risk, therefore warranting obstetric surveillance. When the Claimant noticed reduced foetal movements, she contacted the pregnancy assessment unit and was advised to attend. No assessment of the Claimant took place until 45 minutes after arrival. During the assessment, the Claimant advised there had been no movements felt for an hour. She was advised to wait as the ward was busy and she would be called for monitoring as soon as possible. It was not until 3 ½ hours later that monitoring took place, by which stage no foetal heartrate could be located and sadly intrauterine foetal death was confirmed. Our client claimed that had assessment and monitoring taken place within the appropriate timeframes then a CTG would have been sufficiently abnormal to warrant urgent obstetric review leading to early delivery. The Claimant was deeply affected by the trauma and suffered a psychiatric injury. The trauma also led to her having to change profession and she felt no longer able to go through future pregnancies. Admissions were made by the Defendant and settlement was reached in the sum of £45,000.
- We settled a sum of more than £5m on behalf of a 12-year-old girl who suffered profound brain injuries due to lack of oxygen at birth. She was awarded a lump sum of compensation of £2.3 million, and then an annual sum of £120,000 up to age 19 and £175,500 thereafter for life to pay for costs of providing care.
- A total of £5 million, comprising of a lump sum together with yearly payments for life, was awarded for an 8-year-old boy who suffered severe brain damage at birth due to negligent medical care at Luton and Dunstable Hospital. He has cerebral palsy and requires 24-hour care. The monies will go towards his future care and an adapted home.
- A settlement of over £6 million (capitalised) was awarded for a boy suffering from severe cerebral palsy as a result of the mismanagement of his mother’s labour.
- We secured a settlement worth in excess of £23 million (including annual payments) for a young child who suffered global development delay and behavioural difficulties as a result of brain damage due to oxygen deprivation at birth. The sum will go towards providing for life-long care, professional deputyship, accommodation, therapies and support.
Are there any time limits on making a maternity negligence claim?
Generally, negligence claims must be brought within three years of the date of injury or from the date on which you became aware that the injury was caused by medical error. However, in the case of children, they have up to three years from the date of their 18th birthday to make a claim. If a person lacks mental capacity then there is no time limit.
Can I claim on behalf of someone else?
All claims are different and it is difficult to put a specific time on the process. However, our expert team aim to make proceedings as smooth as possible and will explain each step along the way. They can give you more of an idea on the timeline during your first call.
Can you take my claim on a 'no win no fee' basis?
We can take most claims on a ‘no win no fee’ basis which means that, should your maternity negligence claim be unsuccessful, you will not need to pay anything. You will only pay a fee if you are awarded compensation. Our team can also discus other funding options with you.
Will I have to go to court?
Most maternity negligence cases are settled without the need to go to court. Our experts will work to get the best possible outcome without having to go to court. We also work with highly experienced barristers whom we may instruct to help to take forward your claim.
However, some cases do end up going to court but, if this happens, you can be assured that we will explain everything to you and ensure that you understand what will happen during proceedings.
What are the chances of me winning my maternity negligence claim?
This will depend on your individual case and the details around it. While we are unable to offer a guarantee that you will win your case, our team will be able to tell you during your initial call whether we think that you have a chance of being successful. You can then decide whether you wish to proceed with your claim.
We offer a free initial telephone call where we can discuss your case, a free first interview and even a home visit if you’d prefer. Get in touch on 03301 001014 or:
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Contact: 03301 001 014