Brain injury at birth compensation claims

Brain Injury at Birth Compensation Claims

For finding answers and getting justice

A brain injury at birth should never be a reality, especially when you anticipate the birth of your child to be one of the most joyous moments of your life. You trust medical professionals to guide and care for you during this important time and their oversights can lead to devastating outcomes. Whether suffering from severe or even mild brain damage, the symptoms can be debilitating and even deadly if not dealt with quickly. We recognise the sorrow and frustration you may feel. A life-altering incident due to medical negligence can be traumatic.

Switalskis' expert medical negligence solicitors can help alleviate some of your stress by guiding you through the process of making a compensation claim for brain damage at birth. Our team is made up of specialists who use their understanding of brain and birth injuries to regularly help families pursue compensation and legal justice.

If you need advice on any aspect of brain injury at birth compensation, get in touch with us today. Call us on 0800 1380 458, or contact us through our website for a free, no-obligation consultation.

How Switalskis can help you

Experiencing complications during pregnancy and delivery is challenging. When there's a pressing need to make sure the baby's delivery is safe, vital procedures can sometimes be overlooked, leading to preventable mistakes. The law requires medical professionals to provide care to a reasonable standard, and their failure to do entitles you to legal redress. We understand that negligence is not excusable - we can help you to pursue an investigation into the care provided and gain compensation.

Our dedicated solicitors can support your family following the traumatic experience of a difficult birth. We recognise the sensitivity of the matter at hand and will make sure you are paired with a solicitor you trust and feel at ease with. Using our birth injury experience, we can support you through the whole process or with any specific aspect of it.

We can also help you to make a claim for a brain injury that happened just after birth because of medical negligence. This type of brain damage is known as 'neonatal' or 'perinatal' brain damage and can be caused by the failures of medical professionals during the important period of care during which a child is especially vulnerable.

Read what our clients had to say about the help they received from Switalskis

What are the symptoms of a brain injury suffered at birth?

Recognising the symptoms of a brain injury in newborn babies is essential to getting them the care they need. These symptoms can appear in various ways, depending on the severity and type of brain injury. It's essential to remember that, while some symptoms may be visible immediately after the birth, others might only become evident as the child grows and misses developmental milestones.

Symptoms can vary greatly, but common indicators of brain damage suffered at birth include:

  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Difficulty with feeding or swallowing
  • Breathing issues
  • Abnormal muscle tone, either too rigid or too floppy
  • Developmental delays
  • Vision or hearing problems
  • Abnormal posture, balance and mobility issues
  • Challenging behaviour
  • Tendency to walk on tiptoes
  • Hip and ankle problems

If you’re concerned that your child may be suffering from one or more of these symptoms, seek medical attention as soon as possible. It may be a good idea to speak to a doctor who is independent from those involved with your child's birth to get a truly separate opinion.

What types of brain injuries can be caused at birth?

Brain injuries sustained at birth can vary in type and severity. Common types of brain injuries caused during birth include:

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)

This results from a lack of oxygen to the baby's brain, which can lead to brain cell death and may cause conditions such as cerebral palsy.

Cerebral Palsy

While not directly a brain injury in itself, can be a consequence of brain damage during birth. It affects muscle tone, movement and motor skills, affecting people who suffer from it in different ways and need lifelong medical treatment.

Periventricular leukomalacia (PVL)

This is a form of brain damage where certain areas of the brain are injured or die, often seen in premature infants.

Intraventricular haemorrhage (IVH)

This refers to bleeding into the brain's ventricular system. It’s more common in premature infants and can vary in severity.


This happens when there is bleeding between the baby's skull and the periosteum (membrane covering the bones). It often appears as a bump on the baby's head a few hours after birth.

Caput succedaneum

Caused by the pressure exerted on the baby's head during passage through the birth canal, this injury involves swelling of the soft tissues.

Subarachnoid haemorrhage

This is bleeding between the brain and the membranes that cover it, typically resulting from a traumatic delivery.

Subdural hematoma

 Caused by ruptured blood vessels in the brain's subdural space, it can result from forceful deliveries or the use of instruments like forceps, making it one of the few examples of a traumatic brain injury.


Caused when the level of glucose in the blood is lower than normal. Typically happening in the period, if left undiagnosed and untreated it can result in severe brain injury with lifelong consequences.

If you suspect a brain injury in your child, it's important to consult with medical professionals for a comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan.

What can cause a brain injury at birth?

Infant brain damage can be the result of a variety of factors, many of which revolve around complications during the pregnancy, delivery process or period. Understanding the root causes is essential not only for legal reasons but also to help reduce the chances of difficult births from happening in the future.

The following complications during birth can lead to a child's birth injury:

Oxygen deprivation (hypoxia)

One of the most common causes of brain injuries at birth, oxygen deprivation can happen if the baby's oxygen supply is stopped or reduced during delivery, perhaps due to the umbilical cord wrapping around the baby's neck, cord compression in the womb or if there's a prolonged delay in delivering the baby. Lack of oxygen can lead to conditions like cerebral palsy.

Physical trauma during delivery

The misuse of medical tools, such as forceps or vacuum extractors, can result in physical harm to the baby's head, leading to brain injuries. Additionally, if a baby is too large or the mother's birth canal is too small, it can cause pressure on the baby's head or its shoulders can become stuck.

Infections during pregnancy

If a mother develops an infection during pregnancy and it's transmitted to the baby, it can lead to inflammation of the baby's brain, known as encephalitis. This inflammation can cause permanent and severe brain damage.

Premature birth

Babies born earlier than they should have been have more delicate and vulnerable brains. This makes them more susceptible to brain injuries, especially if they experience a difficult delivery.

Blood incompatibility

 In some rare situations, a baby's blood type might be incompatible with the mother's. This can lead to a condition called Rh incompatibility, where the mother's immune system attacks the baby's red blood cells.


Babies can suffer from strokes either in the womb or shortly after birth. This might be due to blood clots in the placenta that break loose, blocking blood flow to the baby's brain.

Drugs and medications

Some medications taken during pregnancy can increase the risk of birth injuries if they interfere with the baby's development or the childbirth process.

Breech and footling deliveries

One or both feet come first, which can increase the risk of complications associated with brain injury. Such high-risk pregnancies require extra care and expertise.

Failure to proceed to caesarean section

There may be red flags on CTG trace or ultrasound that indicate the unborn baby is in distress and requires urgent delivery.

It's important to note that while some causes are preventable and might result from medical negligence, others can be unavoidable complications of the birthing process. Always consult with medical professionals if you suspect an issue or need further understanding of potential risks during childbirth.

Can I make a claim for my own brain injury suffered at birth?

If you suffered a brain injury at birth due to medical negligence and you are now an adult, you may have the right to make a claim. A solicitor can help you to understand your situation and options.

Can I make a claim on behalf of someone else for their brain injury suffered at birth?

Parents or legal guardians can make a claim on behalf of their child who has suffered brain damage due to medical negligence. Similarly, claims can be made for someone who cannot make decisions for themselves.

The process for making a brain injury at birth claim

To make a claim for brain damage sustained at birth, speak to our team of solicitors. The process is complex, but our team can make it go smoothly, providing support at each step. Typically, medical negligence claims involve the following:

Step 1: Initial consultation

In this first meeting, we’ll speak to you about the unique aspects of your traumatic birth. We’ll need to understand both the mother’s and baby’s conditions, and/or partner’s condition, the events leading up to the traumatic birth, and the profound impact it’s had on your lives. This consultation will help us form a clear picture of your situation and highlight what we need to investigate further.

Step 2: Establishing your claim

After this, we’ll investigate the circumstances surrounding the birth and medical care that led to the traumatic experience. This will involve obtaining and reviewing medical records, consulting with and instructing independent medical experts specialising in birth trauma, and investigating the care provided. Our aim will be to prove that the traumatic birth was caused by medical negligence, and then to start to work out how much compensation you might be entitled to receive.

Step 3: Notifying the defendant - letters of claim and response

Once we gather enough evidence, we’ll send a letter of claim to the healthcare professionals involved. This letter will outline the full details of the birth trauma compensation claim and the evidence supporting it. The defendant will then generally have four months to respond, allowing them time to conduct their investigation and decide whether to accept liability or not. This can often be longer, particularly with birth injury claims.

Step 4: Negotiation

After the defendant has admitted liability, our expert birth trauma solicitors will apply for a substantial interim payment and begin assessing the value of the claim. Using our extensive expertise and experience, we’ll work to secure the highest possible compensation amount for you and/or your child.

Step 5: Court proceedings (where necessary)

Most claims are settled through negotiation, resulting in a fair settlement without the need to go to court. However, if liability is denied we often have to issue court proceedings to secure a successful outcome. In rare cases, we may need to take your claim to trial. If this happens, we’ll be with you every step of the way, providing the full support and representation you need.

Step 6: Settlement and compensation

If your claim is successful, you and your child will receive compensation.

How is compensation awarded?

The award is broken down into general damages (pain, suffering and loss of amenity) and special damages (past and future losses and expenses). A large amount of the compensation will cover future losses for 24/7 care and case management. Compensation can come in the form of a lump sum payment and/or inflation-linked annual periodical payments or a combination of the two.

In addition to compensation, a formal written apology may be provided by the healthcare provider responsible, which can be of great comfort to the family, when finally, failings in care will be formally acknowledged.

If the case involves a child or an adult who lacks mental capacity, the amount of compensation awarded and how it’s to be paid must be approved by the court, even if the parties can agree on the terms of the settlement. This acts as an extra layer of protection for the benefit of the claimant and makes sure the settlement is appropriate and funds are spent responsibly and in the best interests of the victim.

How is compensation calculated?

Appropriate compensation is vital to make sure that the victim’s complex needs are met and that they have a better quality of life than they would otherwise have had. However, it is often difficult to predict how a brain injury will affect life expectancy and other outcomes in the early and later years. These questions must be carefully considered by independent experts who can assess and cost current and future needs in the following areas:

  • Care and nursing
  • Accommodation and adaptation needs
  • Case management
  • Aids and equipment
  • Assistive technology
  • Extra holiday costs
  • Vehicle and travel costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Speech and language therapy
  • Special diets
  • Professional deputy and Court of Protection fees
  • Private treatment and surgery costs

This is not an exhaustive list, but it highlights some of the factors that are taken into account

How long does it take to make a brain injury at birth claim?

Every medical negligence case is unique so it is impossible to state how long you can expect yours to take without us first assessing your circumstances. Some claims can be settled within months while others might take years, especially if the case goes to trial. This often depends on how difficult the evidence is to collect and whether the medical professionals responsible admit liability or dispute your claim.

Speak to our team today and we’ll discuss your situation and help you to understand how long your case may take to resolve.

How are brain injury at birth claims funded?

Because our lawyers and offices are accredited by the Law Society, we are among a small number of law firms in England and Wales able to offer public funding in cases where the claimant has suffered a neurological injury in utero or during the eight weeks following birth. Eligibility is based on a merits test and the victim’s own financial means (parents’ income and capital are ignored).

We can also act under a condition fee agreement (also known as no win, no fee) with legal protection insurance (known as after the event insurance) with no upfront fees to pay.

Throughout the process, your solicitor will keep in contact with you. They’ll update you on the progress, advise on the best steps forward and make sure that your needs are met. Every medical negligence case is unique, so the duration and specific steps might vary based on individual circumstances.

Contact us today and let's start your journey towards recovery together. Call us today on 0800 1380 458, or get in touch via our form.

Our Brain injury at birth compensation specialists

Photo of Suzanne Munroe
Suzanne MunroeDirector and Solicitor
Photo of Sarah Walker
Sarah WalkerDirector and Solicitor
Photo of Charlotte Reeves
Charlotte ReevesDirector and Solicitor
Photo of Kay Barnes
Kay BarnesDirector and Solicitor
Photo of David Thomas
David ThomasDirector and Chartered Legal Executive
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Why Switalskis?

At Switalskis, we advocate for justice for our clients. We understand how impactful a brain injury can be on a family and their child, and firmly believe that those who cause such issues should be held accountable. With a long-standing reputation for excellence, our team is trusted by families across the UK to handle their most sensitive cases with care and precision.

Clarity in complexity

Brain injury at birth claims can be difficult to navigate due to the stress involved, but we believe in making things straightforward for you. We can make the legal process easier by explaining legal jargon in plain English and helping you to understand what you need to do. We make sure you’re informed at every stage of your claim.

Empathy at every step

We take the time to understand you and your individual situation. Every claim is unique and we don’t say that lightly. We're able to provide guidance that resonates with your concerns and emotions. To us, you're not just another case; you're a person navigating a challenging journey, and we stand by your side.

Expertise you can trust

Trust is an essential part of any legal process. This is especially true in matters as sensitive as brain injury claims. When you work with Switalskis, you're partnering with a team that has years of expertise and a robust history of success in our field. We're committed to securing the best outcome for both you and your loved ones in the most efficient way possible.

Many of our lawyers are accredited by both the Law Society and AvMA (Action Against Medical Accidents) as recognised specialists in their field.

Championing your rights

We take the advocacy of your rights seriously. We're here to make sure your voice doesn't go unheard. Guiding you with clarity and conviction, we aim to empower you every step of the way.

We can support you in the following medical negligence situations

Find out how Switalskis can help you

Our medical negligence team is here to support you. Contact us today to simply discuss your birth or brain injury case, or to get it started. Call us on 0800 1380 458 or visit our contact page to arrange a time for us to call you back that best suits you.

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