You are likely to be eligible to make a birth injury compensation claim in Ireland when you or your child has suffered an injury during the delivery process and there is an element of negligence by one or more of the medical staff helping to bring your baby into the world.
Heavier than average babies and those born prematurely are more susceptible to injury, and nursing staff are aware that they must take greater care of these infants; however any breach of that duty of care either during or immediately after the birth may result in an avoidable injury.
Birth injuries can be minor and heal themselves over a period of time or more catastrophic when your baby does not receive sufficient oxygen before or during the delivery. This can be caused by the umbilical cord becoming trapped, the mother experiencing complications during the birth or improper handling of the baby once it is born.
Making Birth Injury Compensation Claims
Making birth injury claims is process full of mixed emotions. Inasmuch as there has been an area of negligence that has caused the injury, it is not in parents´ nature to sue their doctor (although it should be remembered that the majority of birth injury claims are settled by an insurance company or the State Claims Agency).
However, there may well be the necessity to provide additional care and special therapy for brain damaged and handicapped children, and the money has to be found to provide it. Furthermore, a child that has suffered an injury during birth may well have to live with the consequences for the remainder of their life and no amount of compensation for a birth injury can replace a normal happy childhood and the full adult life that was taken away from your baby by medical negligence.
Birth injury compensation claims can be made by parents of children who have suffered a birth injury at any time up until the child´s eighteenth birthday acting as a “next friend”. Thereafter the child has two years to make a birth injury compensation claim in their own right.
However, the process is not the same as when an innocent victim of a road traffic accident claims injury compensation, and it is recommended that as soon as you believe your child has suffered a birth injury where an element of negligence was shown by a member of the medical staff, that you contact a specialist solicitor.
We have set up a free advice service which you are welcome to call and receive practical and accurate advice. Not only will the available advice be specific to the type of injury you or your baby have suffered, but you will discover that speaking with an impartial person is far more constructive than trying to act on conflicting advice imparted by well-meaning family and friends.
Call us now on 1800 989 850 or if you cannot speak now please fill in the form on the left and we will call you back.
What You Can Expect?
It is likely that, when you call, you may also still be distraught about the injury that your child has received – especially when the potential permanency of the injury has taken a number of years to manifest.
Therefore, we will listen carefully as you describe to us the treatment that you received before, during and after the delivery of your baby, where you believe mistakes may have been made and the nature of the injuries that have been suffered.
Depending on the circumstances of your injury, we will apply for the release of your medical history so that it can be reviewed by an independent medical expert to establish whether, in the circumstances and at the time, the injuries could have been prevented had a different course of action been taken.
Should the independent expert discover evidence of medical negligence, he or she will provide your solicitor with the information they need to support a ‘Letter of Claim’ which will be sent to the individual, hospital or clinic responsible for your injuries.
No mention is made of how much compensation for a birth injury you or your child may be entitled to – indeed, the full consequences of the injury may not yet be apparent. In cases concerning catastrophic injuries, it may be possible to obtain interim payments of compensation until the birth injury compensation claim is satisfactorily resolved.
If the injuries have been sustained solely by your baby, it will be necessary to have you appointed as a ‘next friend’ to represent your child in legal action, as minors are not allowed to make birth injury claims until they reach adulthood.
Once the negligent party has responded to your solicitor´s ‘Letter of Claim’, your solicitor will discuss with you the options available to recover compensation for a birth injury and whether an acceptable settlement can be negotiated with the negligent party´s insurers or if court action will be necessary (please note that the Injuries Board will not assess birth injury claims which are related to medical negligence).
Even though a birth injury compensation claim can be made at any time up throughout your child´s youth, it is always beneficial to the success of the claim that evidence of negligence is compiled while it is at its most recent.
Our legal advisors are available to speak with you on 1800 989 850 twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and, if it is inconvenient to call us right now, please leave your details in our call-back box below and one of our team will get back to you when it is a more suitable time for you.