Childbirth Medical Negligence Claims

Have I left it too long to make childbirth medical negligence claims for a brachial plexus injury my child suffered at birth if he is already two years old?

Answer:

If your child is the injured party, he has two years from his eighteenth birthday in which to make childbirth medical negligence claims in Ireland. This is because minors – children under the age of eighteen – cannot instruct a solicitor or make claims for injury compensation in their own right by law.

Had it have been you – his mother – who had sustained an injury due to medical negligence at childbirth, you would be time-barred from making a claim for childbirth medical negligence but, as it is your son who suffered the injury, you are still in good time if you wish to claim compensation for childbirth medical negligence on his behalf.

However, before initiating a claim for childbirth medical negligence, it is important to establish that medical negligence occurred during the delivery process and that your son´s condition could have been avoided with an adequate level of care. It is also important to determine that your son´s condition is permanent, as some brachial plexus injuries heal by themselves and you would not wish your son to undergo corrective surgery unnecessarily.

In order to establish childbirth medical negligence and the permanence of your son´s injury, you should speak with a medical negligence solicitor. The solicitor will arrange for a specialist physician to review your relevant medical records and ascertain that your son´s brachial plexus injury was attributable to childbirth medical negligence.

Thereafter, the solicitor would apply to court to have you represent your son in a childbirth medical negligence claim acting as a “next friend”. The “next friend” has to be prepared to cover any financial liability should the claim for medical negligence at childbirth be unsuccessful, so your solicitor will also discuss the cost of childbirth medical negligence claims with you.

Childbirth medical negligence claims are not processed by the Injuries Board Ireland as their resolution is determined by medical opinion rather than tangible evidence and should you accept the role of “next friend”, your solicitor will prepare the strongest possible claim for medical negligence at childbirth and send it to the negligent medical practitioner who was responsible for your son´s injury.

Frequently, liability will be admitted and a settlement of compensation for childbirth medical negligence negotiated between your solicitor and the medical practitioner´s insurers; however, you will still be required to appear in court to have the settlement of childbirth medical negligence compensation to be approved by a judge.

The process of making childbirth medical negligence claims for compensation from start to finish may take over a year and therefore, in order to provide you with the funds to pay for physical therapy for your son and possible corrective surgery, it is recommended that you speak with a medical negligence solicitor at the first practical opportunity.