Did The Birth Of Your Baby Go To Plan?
Posted on 6th April 2020
This is, of course, not the question you want to be asking after a long pregnancy and the exhausting delivery process, however, it is a question that some parents have to ask.
The maternity and birth process are punctuated by various appointments, checks, scans and plans. At the same time, it is unpredictable, busy and no two people are the same. MG Legal, your Medical Negligence Solicitor in Longridge, has acted for numerous parents following treatment that has not gone to plan.
What can go wrong?
The unfortunate laundry list of things that can go wrong includes, for mothers; perineal tears, wrongly performed or repaired episiotomies, fissures, leaving surgical items internally following a Caesarean Section, anaesthetic errors and errors in managing conditions such as pre-eclampsia. For your baby the issues can be even more serious; cerebral palsy, brain damage, fractures, cuts or scars, hip dysplasia and sadly, death.
How do I know if something has gone wrong?
Medical practitioners owe you a duty of candour, in other words if something has gone wrong, they are duty bound to tell you and advise upon the potential consequences. Should you believe something has gone wrong, we recommend that you speak to your midwife, gynaecologist, registrar, GP or health visitor and if necessary, follow their instructions for further investigation or treatment.
Some conditions may not come to light immediately and it can be a year or two before certain conditions, such as cerebral palsy can definitively be diagnosed.
Are there deadlines?
MG Legal, your Medical Negligence Solicitor in Longridge, will always look to the Limitation Act 1980 at the start of your claim. In the case of an injury to an adult, you have three years from the date of the injury or, if the injury is not readily apparent, the date you become aware of the injury. By the end of this three-year period, you must either have settled your claim or issued proceedings in the County Court to protect it from being statute barred under the Limitation Act 1980.
For children, their parents or another suitable adult has until their 18th birthday to pursue the claim, after which the child themselves becomes an adult and they have until their 21st birthday.
Should I make a complaint first?
This is entirely up to you, sometimes a complaint can yield helpful information that will then support your claim. Sometimes, a complaint will simply be a waiting game of a few months until you receive a non-committal letter from the hospital saying they have taken your concerns on board. A complaint will not, provided you state the facts clearly, not affect any claim you might bring.
Should I seek legal advice before seeing a medical practitioner?
No, always put your health and that of your family first. Any legal process, including the medical evidencing process, will include a review of any medical records and so it will, one way or another, make its way into the report of an independent expert.
What can a claim include?
Claims can include a variety of damages, indeed the process is intended to ensure that, so far as it possible, you are not disadvantaged as a result of any injuries. Naturally, no settlement can turn back time and undo any damage and so there will be an award to compensate for the injury itself, plus a further award to cover the cost of any treatment, care and future needs.
For more straightforward injuries, there might be a modest award for the injury and a small sum of other losses such as, say, travel and parking costs, medication costs and lost earnings. For more serious injuries such as brain damage, there will be a larger award, plus likely a much large award for future losses including lifetime care, home adaptations and any specialist equipment that might be needed.
Until we have comprehensive medical evidence, it is difficult to say what scale of damages would be appropriate. However, for a rough guide, we can refer to the Judicial Studies Board Guidelines, a reference book used by Solicitors, Barristers and Judges alike, based on recent Court awards for all conceivable types of injury. A serious injury to the pelvic area of the mother, resulting in loss of bladder control, bowel control and sexual dysfunction, plus difficulties in delivering future children could attract an award in excess of £100,000.00. Lesser injuries of this type start at around £10,000.00.
Damage to your reproductive system, with associated serious surgical scarring resulting in complete infertility can attract an award in excess of £100,000.00. The lesser bracket for these injuries, generally resulting in failure to diagnose ectopic pregnancy, again resulting in infertility has a range of awards from £28,000.00 to £90,000.00. Even if all else goes to plan, your baby is delivered safely and the only effect is infertility, the award can reach a level of £28,000.00 or so.
For issues relating to your child, given their condition could be lifelong, requiring specialist care and equipment, awards are of such a large range that it is difficult to predict. Awards can, routinely, reach levels of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of pounds, however, these sums are to fund full time care and equipment and so, this is not so much compensation as a provision for allow the child to live as good a quality of life as possible.
Purely as human beings, we want your award to be as small as possible as this means the injury is less severe. At the same time, we will ensure that your award is absolutely fair and if the injury is severe and life-changing, all possible future needs are covered.
How do I make a claim?
Contact MG Legal, your Medical Negligence Solicitor in Longridge, to discuss your case. We will handle your claim professionally but personably and ensure you have absolute faith in our services. We would initially ask to obtain copies of your medical records and a version of events from you. After review of your notes, we would return to you and advise whether we believe you have a case or not. All of this investigative work is carried out free of charge.
If we believe there is an element of negligence on the part of the medical staff, we would provide a copy of our Conditional Fee Agreement (no win, no fee agreement) and to progress the claim on that basis to a conclusion.
MG Legal – Your Local Solicitors
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