What is the best way to pursue a claim for a baby injury during birth?
As a claim for a baby injury during birth could only be made if the injuries to your baby were sustained due to medical negligence, and the Injuries Board will decline any application for the assessment of medical negligence compensation submitted to them, your only option for recovering birth injury compensation for a baby is through a solicitor.
Claiming compensation for childbirth injuries through a solicitor is not as daunting as it might first appear. The process would normally involve you having an initial telephone conversation with the solicitor to explain what injuries your baby suffered, how they happened and what long-term prognosis has been offered to you.
Sometimes unavoidable injuries are sustained in the delivery of a baby – especially during emergency deliveries – and, in order to make a claim for a baby injury during birth, it has to be determined that the injuries your baby sustained were due to the negligence of somebody in the delivery theatre who failed in their duty of care.
Therefore, if the solicitor believes you are eligible to claim birth injury compensation for a baby, he or she will obtain the notes and records from before, during and after the delivery of your child, and have them reviewed by an independent medical expert to ascertain whether the injuries sustained by your baby could have been prevented ‘at the time and in the circumstances’.
If the medical expert discovers evidence of negligence, they will inform your solicitor, who will send a ‘Letter of Claim’ to the hospital; informing the hospital that you are claiming compensation for childbirth injuries and supporting the letter with the evidence of negligence compiled by the medical expert.
In the meantime, the solicitor will arrange for you (another parent or a legal guardian) to represent your child in the claim for a baby injury at birth, as it is your baby who suffered the childbirth injuries. This is a fairly simple process which would have to be done if your child had broken their arm in an avoidable accident at school and involves getting authorisation from a District Court judge.
When an admission of liability is received from the hospital for your baby´s injuries, your solicitor will then enter into negotiations to resolve the claim for birth injury compensation for a baby for an appropriate settlement based on the nature of the injuries, any long-term care requirements your baby needs and any other factors which you and the solicitor will discuss while the claim for a baby injury at birth is being prepared.
Once a settlement of compensation for childbirth injuries is agreed upon, the settlement goes before a judge for court approval, after which it is paid into court funds until your child´s eighteenth birthday. If funds are required for medical care and educational support – or to recover expenses that you have incurred in pursuing birth injury compensation for a baby – they can be accessed on application to the court.
The above procedures may vary depending on the nature of the injuries sustained by your baby at birth, and you will be advised of any variation in the above when you first speak with a solicitor. Because it is less complicated to compile a claim for a baby injury during birth when evidence of negligence is at its most recent, it is recommended that you contact a solicitor as soon as possible.