Birth Injury Solicitors
We understand the devastating effects a birth injury can have on a family, primarily if the injury was caused by medical negligence. Our experienced birth injury solicitors can guide you through the entire legal process while you and your family recover.
What is a birth injury claim?
During the birthing process, a baby or the mother may suffer a physical injury. This is called birth trauma or birth injury and may be due to the mismanagement of the delivery or the failure to cope with a medical emergency adequately.
While these injuries can be a consequence of several causes, many are due to preventable errors and/or medical negligence on the part of obstetric doctors or midwives.
Not all birth injuries in Ireland are apparent immediately after birth. Some will not manifest for months or years after your child has been born and can be caused by genetic or teratogenic factors (smoking while pregnant, excessive drinking, diabetes, etc).
Birth injury claim types
Although cerebral palsy is the most prevalent birth injury claim, there are numerous other sorts of birth injuries, such as various degrees of brain damage, scarring, or damage suffered during assisted delivery (e.g., forceps).
Birth injuries during pregnancy
- Maternal diabetes or gestation diabetes
- Uterine rupture and placental abruption
- Wrongful birth cases
- Cerebral Palsy Claim
- Subgaleal Hematoma
- Brachial Plexus & Erb’s Palsy Claim
- Congenital Hip Dysplasia Claim
- Obstetric/ Gynaecological Claim
- Vaginal Perineal Tears Claim
- Meconium Aspiration Syndrome Claim
Birth injuries due to medical negligence
1. Injury to the baby
When discussing birth injuries caused by medical negligence, it is important to determine if the injury to the baby resulted from the negligence of a third party. Such injuries can have long-lasting medical complications for the newborn, impacting their quality of life. Some common types of birth injuries caused by medical negligence include:
- Brain damage: This can occur due to perinatal asphyxia, where the newborn does not receive enough oxygen during the birth process. Brain damage can lead to conditions such as cerebral palsy, seizures, and developmental delays.
- Hip dysplasia: Improper handling or positioning of the baby during delivery can lead to hip dysplasia, a condition where the hip joint is not properly aligned.
- Erb’s palsy: Also known as Brachial Plexus Injury, this is damage to the nerves that send signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm, and hand. It can occur when excessive force is applied during delivery, leading to weakness or paralysis in the affected arm.
- Spinal cord injuries: Improper handling of the baby during delivery can result in spinal cord injuries, which may cause permanent disability or paralysis.
- Fractures: Fractures to the collarbone, arm, or skull can occur due to excessive force or improper use of delivery instruments like forceps or vacuum extractors.
- Untreated jaundice and kernicterus: Failure to diagnose and treat jaundice in a timely manner can lead to the development of kernicterus, a rare but serious condition that affects the baby’s brain.
2. Injury to the mother
Injuries to the mother can occur before, during, or after childbirth as a result of medical negligence. Inadequate medical care can lead to various complications, including:
- Pregnancy malpractice/maternal birth injuries: Mismanagement of the pregnancy can result in complications for the mother, such as pre-eclampsia, eclampsia, or other pregnancy-related disorders.
- Complications caused by forceps delivery: Improper use of forceps during delivery can cause injuries to the mother, including vaginal tears or lacerations, pelvic injuries, or bladder and bowel injuries.
- Abnormal bleeding: Medical negligence can contribute to excessive bleeding after childbirth, leading to complications such as anemia or the need for blood transfusions.
- Ruptured uterus: Improper management of labor or failure to perform a timely cesarean section can result in a ruptured uterus, a life-threatening condition for the mother and baby.
- Nerve damage: Improper positioning or manipulation during delivery can cause nerve damage, resulting in long-term pain, numbness, or loss of function.
- Psychological complications: Medical negligence during childbirth can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for the mother, causing significant emotional distress.
Birth injury causes
Birth injuries can arise from various causes, and when they occur due to medical negligence, it further exacerbates the situation. Some common causes of birth injuries caused by medical negligence include:
- Incorrect interpretation of ultrasound results, leading to failure to identify potential complications.
- Failure to perform necessary tests and examinations during pregnancy, resulting in undiagnosed conditions or risks.
- Prescription of incorrect medication during pregnancy, which can have adverse effects on the baby.
- Inadequate monitoring of the baby’s heart rate during labor, potentially missing signs of distress.
- Improper use of forceps or other delivery instruments, causing trauma to the baby or mother.
- Delayed or improper response to emergency situations during childbirth, leading to preventable complications.
The claim process
1. Consult our birth injury solicitor
It is advisable for you to speak to an experienced team of Medical Negligence Solicitors as soon as possible if you believe that you were not provided with an adequate or appropriate level of medical care, which resulted in you sustaining an injury or illness.
2. We obtain your medical records
After the consultation with your medical negligence solicitor, he/she will request access to your medical records and engage an independent medical expert to assess your records. The purpose of engaging an independent expert is to establish whether there was any negligence on the part of the medical professional.
3. The medical negligence litigation process
Where the independent medical expert is of the professional opinion that medical negligence did occur, upon your instructions, your solicitor will commence the process of issuing legal proceedings in Court against the medical professional and/or hospital.
Statute of Limitation
The legal time limit to make a medical negligence claim is two years from the date of injury or date of knowledge that the injury or illness resulted from medical negligence. For children/minors, the time limit expires two years after their 18th birthday. You may contact a solicitor to discuss your case to advise of the Statute of Limitations applicable to your case. Learn more about the time limit in relation to your case.
Contact our team
At Coleman Legal LLP, we pride ourselves on our 30 years of collective experience as birth injury solicitors in Ireland. Medical negligence claims are a significant part of our caseload, and our team possesses exceptional experience and a deep understanding of this area. When you consult with us, we provide comprehensive advice tailored to your case, ensuring you are guided through the legal process with the utmost sensitivity and support at every step.
We understand the emotional and physical toll birth injuries can have on individuals and their families. As such, our team is committed to providing both support and sensitivity throughout the entire legal journey. Suppose you believe that you have suffered due to medical negligence. In that case, whether it’s a result of inadequate treatment, misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or any other related issues, we are here to assess your situation and determine if you have a case against another party.
Our birth injury solicitors at Coleman Legal LLP have a wealth of experience in handling a wide range of cases, including:
1. Negligently handled births
We have successfully represented clients who have suffered injuries or complications due to medical negligence during childbirth. Our team understands the intricacies of these cases and can effectively navigate the legal process to seek justice and compensation for you and your family.
2. Problems not detected during pregnancy
If you have experienced harm or adverse outcomes because medical professionals failed to identify potential issues during pregnancy, we can help. Our solicitors deeply understand the standard of care expected during prenatal examinations.
3. Failure to detect serious abnormalities pre-birth
When medical professionals have missed or misinterpreted significant abnormalities during prenatal screenings, resulting in harm to you or your child, we can provide the necessary legal support. Our team will work diligently to establish negligence and seek appropriate compensation for the consequences you have endured.
4. Errors during antenatal care
We are here to assist you if you suffer harm or adverse effects due to errors or omissions in antenatal care.
5. Injury due to medical instruments and anaesthetics or inadequate suturing
If you or your child has experienced an injury as a result of medical instruments, anesthesia administration, or inadequate suturing, our experienced birth injury solicitors are well-equipped to handle your claim. We understand the complexities involved in such cases and will fight tirelessly to secure the justice and compensation you are entitled to.
To speak with one of our dedicated solicitors, please call our toll-free number (1800)-844-104, or alternatively, you can fill out our online enquiry form. We are here to provide you with the guidance and legal representation you need during this challenging time.
Coleman Legal LLP
84 Talbot Street, Dublin 1
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Head of Client Services
Q: What is a birth injury claim in Ireland?
A: A birth injury claim is a legal action taken by a parent or child against a healthcare provider who is alleged to have caused injury to the child during pregnancy, labor, delivery, or immediately after birth. Birth injury claims are usually brought forward in cases where medical negligence is suspected.
Q: What are the common types of birth injuries?
A: Common types of birth injuries include cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, shoulder dystocia, fractures, and brain damage. These injuries can be caused by a variety of factors such as medical negligence, mismanagement during labor or delivery, or failure to detect or treat certain medical conditions.
Q: What are the causes of birth injuries in Ireland?
A: The causes of birth injuries in Ireland can be due to various factors, including medical negligence, delayed diagnosis, mismanagement during labor or delivery, and failure to detect or treat certain medical conditions. Birth injuries can also be caused by the use of medical instruments during delivery, such as forceps or vacuum extractors.
Q: What are the signs and symptoms of birth injuries?
A: Signs and symptoms of birth injuries can vary depending on the type of injury. For example, cerebral palsy may present with muscle stiffness, tremors, and difficulty with movements, while Erb’s palsy can result in limited movement or paralysis of the arm. Brain damage may lead to developmental delays, cognitive impairment, or seizures.
Q: How long do I have to make a birth injury claim in Ireland?
A: The statute of limitations for birth injury claims in Ireland is two years from the date of the injury or from the date when the injury is first discovered. Where a child has been injured during childbirth, the statute of limitation expires two years after the child’s eighteenth birthday. However, it is recommended to seek legal advice as soon as possible in order to gather evidence and build a strong case.
Q: How do I know if my child’s birth injury was caused by medical negligence?
A: To determine if your child’s birth injury was caused by medical negligence, you will need to seek legal advice and have your case evaluated by a medical expert. The expert will review medical records, gather evidence, and provide an opinion on whether medical negligence was a factor in the injury.
Q: What evidence do I need to make a birth injury claim?
A: Evidence needed to make a birth injury claim may include medical records, expert witness reports, witness statements, and financial records. Your solicitor will help you gather and present the evidence in a way that supports your case.
Q: How much compensation can I receive for a birth injury claim?
A: The amount of compensation that can be awarded for a birth injury claim will depend on the individual circumstances of the case. The new Personal Injury Guidelines provide compensation ranges based on the type and severity of the injury sustained. For example, compensation for general damages (damages for pain and suffering) for moderate brain damage can range from €200,000 to €500,000, while compensation for severe brain damage can range from €500,000 to millions of euro once special damages (damage for incurred and future out of pocket expenditure such as medical care, home adaptation, loss of potential earnings) are taken into account. Compensation for other types of birth injuries will also depend on the specific circumstances of the case.
Q: What is the process of making a birth injury claim in Ireland?
A: The process of making a birth injury claim in Ireland involves gathering evidence, submitting a claim to the healthcare provider, and negotiating a settlement. If an agreement cannot be reached, the case may proceed to court. It is recommended to seek the advice of a solicitor who specialises in medical negligence cases to guide you through the process.
Q: Do I need a solicitor to make a birth injury claim?
A: It is highly recommended to seek the advice of a solicitor who specialises in medical negligence cases to make a birth injury claim in Ireland.