Steps to Making a Birth Injury Claim
Giving birth should be an exciting and life-changing experience, but if the mother or baby suffers injuries at this time, there are widespread consequences to be considered. There are always numerous ways for a medical procedure to be carried out that are deemed acceptable so it can be tricky to prove negligence.
Common birth injuries claimed by the mother include vaginal and perineal tears, incompetent suturing, infections, pre-eclampsia mismanagement, and psychological injury resulting from witnessing the substandard treatment of her baby. The injuries suffered by the child can have lifelong mental and physical effects that can require modifications to the home, special schooling, medical equipment, specialist childcare, and bespoke transport. Common birth injuries include cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, Brachial Plexus palsy, facial paralysis, spinal injuries, and brain damage.
First Things First
It is important to review the circumstances surrounding the birth and, if you suspect that injuries have arisen as a result of negligence, you need to contact an injury lawyer with experience and expertise in this area. Filing this claim is a lengthy process but considering the financial, emotional, and physical losses sustained, it is necessary to take the required steps. You need to be able to prove that the mother or child’s treatment involved negligence on the part of the hospital or clinician concerned and that this negligent treatment resulted in injury, loss, or damage.
Make a Formal Complaint
It is advisable to make a formal complaint to the hospital or clinician under their internal complaints procedures. This will also assist in supplying details of the incident to your chosen representation.
There are often disagreements between experts about what causes certain birth injuries, and adverse outcomes do not always point to negligence, since there are always unforeseeable incidents. Make sure you have all your medical records in chronological order. You may need a court order to have these released. These will then be submitted for an independent medical opinion. Most often this will include an obstetrician and pediatric neurologist. There will then be a conference with these experts and counsel to identify the issues and difficulties concerning the case.
You need to compile an accurate and comprehensive written statement recording what you were told and what occurred. Also, compile a list of all the names and contact details of relevant medical staff and other potential eyewitnesses. All medical bills, invoices, and other related expenses will also be submitted. A schedule of loss and expense will be prepared to identify all expenses to date as well as those projected for the future. Depending on the severity of the injury there could be serious financial implications long-term for mother or child.
Moving to Court
A letter of claim will be sent to the hospital or clinician and this will then commence court proceedings. There will be further conferences and reports filed and a split trial may be ordered. This is to allow the cost of the proceedings to not interfere with the trial with concerning liability and causation. A trial date may be set but the majority of cases are resolved by negotiation. This is a much quicker way to conclude the case if your lawyer advises you to take the settlement. They have your best interests in mind.
Any claim can be complex and stressful, especially after the birth of a child, so you must seek the best possible advice and make decisions from there on how to proceed. The health and well-being of your child and family are at risk so make sure you follow the right steps and choose wisely.