Can you explain what I must do in order to make a claim for a cranial injury at birth in hospital? I suffered complications during labour and required a forceps delivery which resulted in cranial injuries to my newborn baby.
It is vital that you consult a medical negligence solicitor for legal advice about making a claim for a cranial injury at birth. Claiming compensation for cranial birth injuries can be a complex process, and the assistance of a specialist medical negligence solicitor will be required to ensure that the strongest possible claim can be prepared. It is also essential that eligibility to take legal action against the hospital is confirmed, as it is not always possible to claim for a cranial injury at birth.
An investigation of the case will be conducted by your chosen solicitor and statements will be taken from all parties involved to establish the cause of the injuries to your baby. Although it may appear that your baby suffered an injury to the cranium due to the negligence of a doctor or midwife, this may not necessarily be the case.
Cranial injuries are not always caused by excessive force exerted by an obstetrician or midwife during a forceps delivery, and are seen in natural births, albeit rarely. When they are caused during natural birth they are usually sustained by large, premature or breech babies or even from a prolonged labour. Your solicitor will need to prove ‘on the balance of probabilities’ that the injuries to your baby did not occur prior to the forceps delivery if your case is to be successful.
The fact that you required a forceps delivery suggests that the injuries to your baby could have been caused by the incorrect use of forceps or from excessive pressure exerted on your baby’s cranium. When a solicitor conducts an investigation into the suspected cranial injuries from a forceps delivery, it must be established that the injuries were preventable under the circumstances and the cranial injuries were caused by negligence by the midwife or attending obstetrician in order for cranial birth injury claims to be possible.
After the investigation of your claim for a cranial injury at birth has been conducted and your baby has been independently examined by a paediatric doctor, the case will need to be evaluated by a medical professional. When a medical professional is suspected of negligence this must always be confirmed by an expert in the field.
When presented with the circumstances under which the injury was sustained, it must be proven ‘on the balance of probabilities’ that a competent doctor or midwife could have performed the forceps delivery without causing an injury to the baby. It the injuries were unavoidable due to the nature of the birth problems, or if they are deemed to have been caused by the birth process, it will not be possible for compensation for a cranial birth injury to be recovered.
If medical negligence is confirmed, your solicitor will attempt to negotiate an appropriate settlement with the insurance company that provided the negligent third party’s liability insurance policy. When a strong claim for compensation for a cranial birth injury is presented, it may be possible for cranial birth injury claims to be settled without litigation through the courts.
If a suitable settlement of compensation for cranial birth injuries cannot be negotiated, the claim will need to go to court to be decided and your solicitor will prepare the strongest possible case to be presented to the judge and all reasonable steps will be taken to ensure that sufficient compensation is recovered to cover all aspects of the injury sustained by your child.