What are birth medical negligence claims?
Birth medical negligence claims include birth injuries to the mother or baby, and birth defects claims.
Birth medical negligence claims are highly complex and are notoriously hard fought by the medical practitioners and their insurance companies. However, the right birth injury lawyer will make the process as stress free as possible and can achieve excellent outcomes. We have extensive specialist experience in bringing highly complex claims for children and their parents as a result of birth injuries sustained during pregnancy, labour and delivery, as well as cases involving birth defects. For more information you can call our free advice line and speak to a specialist birth injury lawyer today.
What are birth injury claims?
Birth injury claims are usually based on acts or omissions by medical practitioners that are preventable. These types of injuries often occur just prior to or during the birth. This is also referred to as obstetric negligence, or obstetric malpractice. Obstetric injury can be caused by a variety of factors including inattentiveness, unavailability, and inexperience of medical practitioners. When this occurs, either the mother or baby can sustain serious and permanent disabilities.
For examples of birth injuries, please see commonly asked questions at the bottom of this page.
What are birth defects claims?
Birth defects usually affect the baby from the outset and are not caused by factors that occur during or after the birth. This includes babies born with genetic disorders such as Down Syndrome or Cystic Fibrosis.
Birth defects can also be caused by outside factors like the pregnant mother taking incorrectly prescribed medication, including certain antidepressant drugs and birth control medications. In these cases, the birth defects could have been prevented if the treating medical practitioner had exercised reasonable skill and care.
When an unpreventable birth defect is diagnosed early, and the parents are not financially prepared to care for a child who requires extensive medical care and assistance, sometimes with the advice of a medical practitioner, termination is considered the best option.
In cases where a medical practitioner fails to diagnose a serious birth defect prior to the baby being born, or fails to provide appropriate advice to the parents about the child’s birth defect, this can give rise to a medical negligence claim. These types of cases can arise from simple mistakes like the medical practitioner misinterpreting an ultrasound scan or failing to investigate an abnormality.
What's the claim process?
We make the claim process easy for you.
We get to know you
We'll get to know you personally, listen to your side of the story and give you free advice on your options.
We ask more questions
We'll look beyond the obvious and see if your injuries have led to other complications, to claim everything you're entitled to.
We build the evidence
Led by your lawyer, your dedicated team including hand-picked medical specialists will build strong evidence to maximise your claim.
We pursue your claim
We win over 99% of our cases and we'll fight until you receive the compensation you're entitled to and deserve.
You receive your compensation
Your compensation will be paid into your bank account.
What will it cost me?
There are no upfront costs. We’ll provide free claim advice, we’ll cover all the costs to prepare and run your case and we only get paid when you receive your compensation. Also, just like a mobile phone bill, we put a cap on our fees so there are no nasty surprises at the end of your claim. You should feel comfortable that you can speak to your lawyer any time, without worrying about the cost getting out of control.
Where can I find a medical negligence expert in my area?
Law Partners is Australia’s largest specialist medical negligence firm, and we have 25 local offices.
We have solicitors and legal teams who specialise in medical negligence claims.
To find Law Partners offices near you enter your suburb:
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If you don't live close to one of our offices we can provide free advice over the phone, and we can represent you without you having to leave your home. Call 13 15 15 speak to a specialist.
Commonly asked questions.
What are some examples of birth injuries?
Preventable causes of birth injuries usually happen during the labour and the delivery process and can lead to birth medical negligence claims. Some examples include:
- Not detecting, diagnosing or treating maternal infections.
- Improperly monitoring the baby’s wellbeing during labour to ascertain whether the baby is in distress. This is usually done through regular monitoring of the fetal heartbeat.
- Not acting in a timely manner. For example, failing to schedule and perform an urgent Caesarean delivery.
- Not administering the correct medication or administering the wrong type or amount of medication to the mother during the pregnancy, labour and delivery.
- Using or incorrectly using birth assisting tools, such as forceps or a vacuum, without the mother’s consent and without prior discussion of risks associated with birth assisting tools.
- Incorrectly or improperly pulling or twisting the baby during labour and the delivery process.
- Not reviewing pre-delivery radiological imaging and failing to take steps to prevent a difficult birth.
- Not detecting problems with the umbilical cord, such as a prolapsed umbilical cord.
- Not monitoring the size of the baby in proportion to the birth canal and the size of the mother.
- Failing to ascertain the positioning of the baby before labour and delivery.
What are some of the consequences of birth medical negligence?
In most cases birth injuries are something that an experienced medical practitioner should be able to avoid in the exercise of reasonable skill to you and your baby.
Birth injuries and birth defects can lead to numerous permanent disabilities to the baby, including:
- Brain injuries such as cerebral palsy leading to physical and intellectual disabilities.
- Erb’s palsy and associated limb problems.
- Permanent lack of strength and stamina.
- Cognitive and emotional impairment, as well as emotional and psychological problems.
- Failure to develop and thrive correctly.
- Joint dysfunction disorders.
- Physical scarring or deformity.
Birth injuries can also cause serious permanent injuries to the mother, including:
- A ruptured uterus.
- A rectovaginal fistula (a tear or hole in the wall between the vagina and anus).
- A uterus prolapse that could have been avoidable.
- Serious vaginal tears.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
In most cases involving birth injuries and birth defects there is no cure, and the disabilities can place the individuals at a greater risk of serious medical problems in the future.
What are the cost implications of birth medical negligence?
The financial cost of taking care of children who are victims of medical negligence during childbirth significantly exceeds what an average family can afford, and usually includes the cost of:
- Equipment, therapeutic aids, computing and technology
- Medical treatment, therapy and medication.
- Special needs schooling or educational programs.
- Home and vehicle modifications.
- Additional costs of holidaying and engaging in recreational activities.
Most of these expenses are recoverable from the negligent medical practitioner. In addition, you or your injured child may be entitled to birth negligence compensation for:
- Pain and suffering, which is known as non-economic loss.
- Past and future loss of earnings and superannuation.
- The cost of past and future care and assistance with personal, domestic, household and property maintenance tasks including any care and assistance provided in the past by family and friends.
- The cost of fund management, if you or the child doesn’t have the capacity to manage financial affairs.
If you’ve experienced a birth injury affecting you or your baby, or your baby has been born with a birth defect, you can call our free advice line and speak to a specialist birth injury lawyer today.