Medical Negligence

Birth Injuries – are your family eligible for compensation ?

By October 19, 2022 No Comments
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While the majority of births in Ireland are often the happiest moments of their lives for new parents in Ireland, it is an unfortunate reality that some mothers or babies may suffer a physical injury during the birthing process, or shortly after.

If you or your child suffered an injury during birth as the result of medical negligence, then you may be entitled to compensation.

What are birth injuries?

Birth injuries are often due to mismanagement during delivery or a failure by the medical team to adequately respond to any emergencies that arise while the mother is giving birth, or immediately after. While these injuries can be the result of a variety of factors, it is all too common that they occur due to preventable errors by nurses, midwives, or obstetric doctors.

Some of the most common types of birth injuries for either the baby or the mother include Cerebral Palsy, deprivation of oxygen (Hypoxia), bone fractures, pelvic damage, as well as further tears or lacerations, and even wrongful death.

What are the causes of birth injuries?

Although the causes of birth injuries are diverse, often times they are the result of an improper action taken during the course of pregnancy or delivery. In many cases of medical negligence, birth injuries can happen when a medical professional fails to perform their duties to the required standard and makes an error during the delivery of the baby, such as a failure to adequately monitor or respond timely to abnormal health conditions.

If, for example, low blood sugar is not detected on time, this can lead to serious issues with the birth and health of the baby. The irregular heartbeat of a newborn baby, if not picked up on quickly, can also be cause for concern if the appropriate action is not taken quickly.

Assisted deliveries, such as an emergency caesarean section, are another common cause of birth injuries which can result in inadvertent lacerations and/or bowel or bladder injuries to the mother.

Who can make a compensation claim for a birth injury?

Birth injuries fall under the category of medical negligence when compensation is being sought. Claims in such instances can be made by the child or the mother who were injured, either physically or psychologically, during the birthing process.

Fathers are also entitled to seek compensation if they have been impacted psychologically by the trauma of their partner’s and/or child’s birth injury.

Are their time limits when seeking birth injury compensation?

As mentioned in a previous blog post about time limits for injury claims, the general rule is that you have two years from the date of the incident which caused the injury to launch your claim. This two-year period commences from the date you knew, or should have known, that the injury occurred. While this will often be the date of the incident itself, the symptoms of an injury may not start to present until some time after the initial event.

In the case of minors seeking compensation, an injury compensation claim may be made on their behalf by a parent or guardian up until their 18th birthday. However, if the minor has reached the age of 18 and a claim still has not been made for their injury, then they must do so within the two intervening years leading up to their 20th birthday.

Should I contact a solicitor?

It is strongly advised that you seek the help of a solicitor if you believe that you or your baby has suffered a birth injury.

A solicitor with the relevant knowledge of Irish law and experience with birth injury claims will help to ensure that the claims process is made as smooth as possible during what is no doubt a difficult time for both you and your family.

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*

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