If your child is injured during their birth, this can have long-term consequences for their health and it is understandable to want to know who is responsible for any mistakes that led to their injury. Knowing who may be held responsible can also be crucial when deciding whether to make a claim for birth injury compensation.
Where your child was born in a hospital, NHS midwife unit or at home supervised by an NHS midwife, the party held responsible will be your local NHS Trust. If your child was born in a private facility or at home with the support of a private midwife, the individual facility or midwife may be legally responsible for any medical negligence that occurs.
This means that, for most people, if you decide to pursue a claim for medical negligence during childbirth, it will be your local NHS Trust who you make a claim against, rather than the specific medical staff involved in the birth.
What will happen to the medical staff involved in the birth?
Any disciplinary action taken against specific members of staff for medical negligence will be entirely separate to your claim. It is unusual for anyone to lose their job due to a single incident of negligence. However, if there has been a pattern of negligence or the errors made were so severe the staff involved could be considered a danger to others, more serious action may be taken.
Will I get an apology from the hospital or NHS trust?
Even if an NHS Trust agrees to make a settlement with you, or is ordered to do so by a judge, they will not be legally required to apologise to you. Many birth injury lawyers will push for an apology, however, in recognition of the fact that this is often of significant emotional importance to the parents.
Is it wrong to sue the NHS?
Some people worry that suing the NHS means they will be taking money away from patient care and that it is therefore wrong to make a claim against the NHS.
However, it is important to note that NHS Trusts have liability insurance to cover medical negligence claims, meaning any money secured as a settlement will not be taken from the trust’s operational budget, meaning there will be no direct impact on NHS services.
It is also worth remembering that bringing a medical negligence claim is often the most effective way to highlight problems at a hospital or specific unit within a hospital, meaning you may be reducing the likelihood of other families suffering the same experience you have.
How to make a claim for birth injury compensation
If you believe your child was injured as a result of medical negligence during their birth, you may be able to claim compensation. This can help with paying for medical care and other costs associated with the consequences of your child’s injury, ensuring they have the best chance of living a health, happy life.
It is strongly recommended to work with a solicitor specialising in birth injury claims as this can be a complicated area of law needing particular expertise to achieve the right result for your child.
A specialist birth injury claims lawyer will be able to assess the strength of your claim and offer an accurate estimate of the compensation you may be able to secure. They will also have the knowledge and skills to effectively represent you at all stages of the claims process, giving you the best chance of a fair outcome.