Midwife negligence claims

Midwife negligence claims

For finding answers and getting justice

The birth of your child should always be a joyful occasion, and the care provided by your midwife plays a vital role in this. If a midwife fails to provide the quality of care, guidance and support that you and your baby deserve, it can lead to serious or even life-changing injuries.

If you've been harmed by a midwife's negligence and are seeking justice, get in touch with Switalskis. Our experienced team of medical negligence solicitors are here to help you claim the compensation you deserve. By making a midwife negligence claim, you can secure financial support for your whole family, and make sure that those responsible for your negligent care are held accountable.

No matter what your circumstances may be, Switalskis is here for you. We support families with compassion, dedication and unparalleled expertise, offering a beacon of hope and assurance for those navigating the aftermath of a traumatic situation.

Speak to the midwife negligence experts at Switalskis to find out more about how we can help.

Give us a call on 0800 1380 458, or contact us through our website. We'll put you in touch with an expert midwife negligence lawyer who can help you figure out the best way forward.

How Switalskis can help you

Experiencing a birth injury will always be extremely distressing, but if it's suspected that midwife negligence might have played a part, the emotional toll can be even more significant. We know that you'll be dealing with a lot of unanswered questions and feelings of vulnerability, which is why we pledge to act as a pillar of support during such times.

Here's how Switalskis can support you with midwife negligence cases:

  • We'll build the strongest possible compensation claim for you. This will be based on a review of all the relevant medical records, and consultation with leading medical experts.
  • We'll listen to your story to make sure we fully understand your situation, so we can provide advice tailored to your needs.
  • Our dedicated team of midwife negligence solicitors will break down the complexities for you and turn legal jargon into clear, understandable information.
  • We recognise that it's not just about winning cases; it's about supporting families. Whether you need counselling services, guidance on medical interventions, or advice on potential care pathways, we're here to help.
  • We offer various funding solutions, including no win, no fee claims, to make sure that financial concerns don't get in the way of your pursuit of justice.
  • You'll always remain at the centre of all the decisions about your case. We work with you, not just for you.

You can always put your full trust in Switalskis to provide educated and practical advice on medical negligence. Our team of midwife negligence solicitors includes legal experts accredited by the Law Society and AvMA (Action Against Medical Accidents) , underlining their industry-leading expertise in this area of law.

If you've been impacted by negligence in midwifery practice, let Switalskis be your trusted partner in navigating the aftermath. Speak with a midwife negligence lawyer from Switalskis today to understand how we can support and guide you.

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

What is midwife negligence?

When we think of childbirth, midwives often stand out as compassionate, skilled professionals who guide mothers through the challenges of pregnancy, labour and postnatal recovery. As in any profession, there are times when the standard of care may fall short. However, it's important to be able to understand the difference between an unfortunate outcome and negligence.

Midwife negligence refers to situations where a midwife fails to provide the standard of care expected of their position, leading to unnecessary harm or injury to the mother or baby. Every healthcare professional, including midwives, owes a duty of care to their patients. It is classed as negligence when this duty isn't upheld, and the care you receive falls below the minimum acceptable standard for a competent midwife.

Examples of midwife negligence aren't necessarily restricted to the act of childbirth itself. It can also happen during antenatal appointments, labour, delivery and postnatal care. If you or your baby have suffered harm at any of these stages, and this outcome can be directly linked to a midwife's actions or neglect, then you may have a case to claim compensation.

At Switalskis, we're here to help families understand if what they've experienced falls into this category. Get in touch with us, and we'll examine your case and advise you on whether you've been the victim of medical negligence. If you have, we can also support you to claim compensation.

Examples of negligence in midwifery

Most midwives provide exceptional care, but unfortunately, there are times when the standard of care falls below the expected level. Here are some examples of negligence in midwifery that can lead to birth injury:

  • Failure to monitor: one of the primary responsibilities of a midwife is to monitor the health and wellbeing of pregnant women and their babies during labour. Failure to track the baby's heart rate or maternal vitals can lead to complications that might otherwise have been prevented.
  • Delayed response: negligence can happen when there's a delay in responding to signs of foetal distress or maternal complications. Quick and appropriate reactions are vital in childbirth.
  • Failure to detect and address infections: it's vital to detect infections like group B streptococcus in mothers, which can be transmitted to the baby during delivery. Midwives failing to test for or treat symptoms can have serious consequences.
  • Failing to detect signs of premature labour: it is imperative that signs of premature labour are diagnosed and acted on swiftly so that steps can be taken to protect the baby from early delivery or prepare for this if delivery is unavoidable.
  • Miscommunication: not communicating vital information about the mother's health, medications or other conditions to doctors or other healthcare providers can result in poor-quality care.
  • Overlooking gestational diabetes: not testing for, or misdiagnosing gestational diabetes can lead to complications for both mother and baby.
  • Overlooking growth retardation: failing to properly monitor and assess gestational growth and refer for obstetric review if any signs of static or poor growth.
  • Failure to identify pre-eclampsia: failing to diagnose signs of pre-eclampsia (which might include raised blood pressure, proteinuria, headaches and oedema) and refer for obstetric review.
  • Neglecting to offer specialised care: if a pregnancy is deemed high risk due to the mother's age, health or other factors, and the midwife fails to refer the mother to an obstetrician, this can be seen as negligence.
  • Incorrect medication: providing the wrong medication or dosage, or not giving necessary medication at all, can lead to significant damage to mothers and their newborns.
  • Failing to identify poor feeding and hypoglycaemia in the newborn: failing to properly monitor and identify that a baby isn’t feeding postnatally, or is showing signs of hypoglycaemia, can have serious outcomes, at worst resulting in a baby collapsing and suffering brain damage.

At Switalskis, we delve into the specifics of each case, and we can advise you on whether your situation can be classed as medical negligence or not.

How long after birth are midwives responsible?

Midwives play a pivotal role not just in the delivery room, but throughout pregnancy and even after birth. They have a responsibility to care for mothers and their babies in all of the following situations:

  • Immediate postnatal care: midwives are important in the immediate aftermath of birth. During this period, they monitor both the mother and baby for signs of distress to make sure that everything is as it should be after the birth. This stage typically lasts for the first few hours after delivery.
  • Postnatal ward care: if the birth took place in a hospital or birth centre, midwives will continue to monitor the mother and baby's health, support breastfeeding, address parental concerns, and offer advice on newborn care.
  • Community midwife visits: care doesn’t stop after you are discharged from the hospital. Community midwives will often visit new mothers at home to provide support and health checks for both the baby and mother. The initial visits usually happen within the first 10 days post-birth.
  • Transition to health visitor: typically, after about 10-14 days, the midwife will formally discharge the mother and baby to the care of a health visitor. Health visitors are trained nurses or midwives who have taken additional training in community health, including child development and public health. They will oversee the baby’s health and development until school age.
  • Beyond the typical tenure: while the standard period of direct responsibility for midwives is up to two weeks post-birth, the duty of care doesn't always end immediately. If any issues or concerns were raised during their tenure and not addressed adequately, the duty of care might be extended.

If you've suffered due to midwife neglect at any of these stages, you may have grounds to make a midwife negligence compensation claim.

What health impacts can midwife negligence cause for babies and their mothers?

When midwife negligence happens, the consequences can be severe for both the newborn and the mother. Here are some examples of how negligent care can lead to babies suffering from potentially serious health problems and birth defects:

  • Hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE): this is a type of brain damage that happens when a baby's brain doesn't receive enough oxygen and blood. Delays in addressing foetal distress or providing treatment can lead to HIE, which may result in developmental problems.
  • Cerebral palsy: often stemming from brain injuries like HIE, cerebral palsy affects muscle coordination and movement. Its severity and symptoms can vary widely, and have lifelong consequences.
  • Brachial plexus injury: if a midwife uses excessive force during delivery or doesn't appropriately address a baby's positioning, it can result in damage to the bundle of nerves in the baby's shoulder. This can lead to conditions like Erb's palsy, which impacts their ability to move their arms.
  • Fractures: improper use of delivery instruments or force can result in broken bones for the baby.
  • Infections: failure to detect or treat maternal infections means they might spread to the baby, leading to life-threatening conditions like meningitis or sepsis.
  • Untreated jaundice: while jaundice is common in newborns, failure to detect or treat severe cases can lead to a condition called kernicterus, a form of brain damage.

In addition, poor midwifery care can impact the mother's health in various ways:

  • Physical injuries: this might include injuries during childbirth, third or fourth-degree tears, improperly stitched episiotomies, or a failure to properly treat any health complications that emerge post-delivery.
  • Emotional and psychological trauma: experiencing negligence can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression or feelings of guilt.
  • Complications in future pregnancies: injuries or health problems sustained during birth can lead to complications in any future pregnancies, or even infertility.
  • Long-term health issues: untreated or mismanaged conditions might result in long-lasting health problems, like chronic pain or infections.

If any of this has happened to you, it can damage your trust in medical professionals, and potentially burden you with significant costs related to additional medical treatments, therapy or time off work.

What is the midwife negligence claims process?

Starting a midwife negligence compensation claim might feel overwhelming, but we’re dedicated to making it as straightforward as possible for you. Let’s walk you through the general process of how the midwife negligence claims process works:

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 lead 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 responded, our expert birth trauma solicitors will begin negotiations. Using our extensive expertise and experience, we’ll work to establish who was at fault and secure the highest possible compensation amount for you and your family.

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, we often have to issue court proceedings to secure a result. 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’ll receive compensation. The amount will be calculated to reflect the pain and suffering you’ve been through, and any support you have used or will need in the future to overcome the trauma you experienced.

You can expect clear communication from us at every step, and we’ll make sure you’re equipped with the knowledge and guidance you need.

Is there a time limit on claiming midwife negligence compensation?

Understanding time limits is an important aspect of any legal claim, and it's no different with midwife negligence. The standard rule is that you have three years from the date of the negligence, or from the date you first became aware of the negligence to make a claim. This is known as the limitation period.

For claims involving children, the three-year limitation period doesn't begin until their 18th birthday. This means that a claim can be brought on behalf of a child at any time before they turn 18. They have until their 21st birthday to pursue the claim themselves, if they wish. This extended period is designed to protect the rights of the child, giving them plenty of time to seek compensation once they become an adult.

In cases where the child has sustained a brain injury that affects their mental capacity, the time limit may not apply at all. This allows a claim to be made at any point during their lifetime. Still, even with these exceptions, it's always advisable to start the legal process sooner rather than later. Evidence can become harder to gather over time, and moving ahead quickly will give you the best chance of success.

How much midwife negligence compensation could I claim?

The impact of midwife negligence can vary dramatically, which is why the compensation awarded in these cases will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Several factors will be considered when calculating the amount you might receive:

  • The severity of the injury - more serious and long-lasting injuries will result in higher compensation amounts
  • The financial impact of the negligence, including loss of earnings, medical expenses, ongoing care, therapy, specialist equipment, and modifications to living spaces, where necessary
  • Pain and suffering, including physical pain, emotional trauma and psychological impacts directly attributed to the clinical negligence
  • Loss of amenities, if the mother or child's quality of life has been significantly affected
  • Future prospects, if the negligence has damaged the child's likelihood of being able to live a normal life

It's essential to understand that each case is unique. Switalskis' expert team of dedicated midwife negligence solicitors will evaluate the specifics of your case and provide you with an estimate that reflects how much compensation you can realistically expect to claim.

How are midwife negligence claims funded?

We offer multiple ways of funding midwife negligence claims, making the process more accessible and less stressful for families. These include:

  • No win, no fee agreement: often referred to as a conditional fee agreement (CFA), this is the most common method of funding negligence claims. Essentially, if your case isn't successful, you won't have to pay any legal fees. If you win, a portion of the compensation will be used to cover the legal costs. This reduces the financial risk for you and makes the legal process more approachable. We'll always discuss any costs with you in advance, to prevent any unwelcome surprises later on.
  • Legal Aid: for specific types of medical negligence cases, particularly those involving severe birth injuries, Legal Aid may be available. This support will cover your legal expenses if you wouldn't otherwise have the means to pursue justice. Get in touch with us to find out if this is an option for your case.
  • Legal expenses insurance: some people have legal expenses cover as a part of their home or car insurance policies. It's worth checking your policy details, as this insurance might cover the costs of making a claim for midwife negligence.
  • Trade union funding: if you're a member of a trade union, you might receive support for legal claims, including those related to medical negligence. Reach out to your union representative for more information.

At Switalskis, we understand that discussing finances can be sensitive, especially during an emotionally challenging time. Our compassionate team is here to guide you through the funding options, helping you find the most suitable method for your circumstances.

How long do midwife negligence claims take?

On average, midwife negligence claims can take anywhere between 18 months to 3 years to conclude. However, each case is unique and several factors can influence the timescale:

  • The complexity of the case - more intricate cases with multiple medical complications or disputed facts might take longer.
  • Availability of evidence - quick access to comprehensive medical records, witness testimonies and expert opinions can speed up the process.
  • The defendant's response - if the opposing party is cooperative, it can shorten the process. On the other hand, if they refuse to accept responsibility, the case can become more drawn out.
  • The severity of the injury - cases involving severe injuries might need more time for accurate assessment of damages.
  • Court availability - sometimes, the availability of court dates affects how quickly a case progresses.

It's essential to remember that while it's beneficial for claims to be settled quickly, making sure the claim is handled comprehensively and accurately is the most important thing. At Switalskis, our aim is always to achieve the very best outcome for you, with as few unnecessary delays as possible.

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 midwife negligence claims 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?

Making a midwife negligence claim can be daunting, especially during a period that's already fraught with emotional upheaval. At Switalskis, we'll stand beside you and guide you at every turn. Here are the values that we'll bring to your case:

Clarity in complexity

Both legal and medical terminology can be complicated. Our medical negligence Claims involving midwife negligence may appear overwhelming. However, with Switalskis on your side, navigating this process becomes much simpler. We take pride in translating complicated legal language into plain English, so that you're never left in the dark. Our goal is to provide clarity, answer all your concerns, and keep you informed.

Empathy at every step

Every family, every baby, and every parent has their unique story and challenges. We take the time to genuinely listen, empathising with your anxieties and providing support that acknowledges your emotional reality. To us, you're not just another case - you're a person grappling with challenging circumstances, and we're here to support you through this.

Expertise you can trust

When dealing with a sensitive topic like midwife negligence, you deserve to know you're backed by the best. With Switalskis, you benefit from a blend of deep experience and a stellar record in successfully handling cases relating to midwife negligence and medical accidents. This means you can count on us to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your child.

Championing your rights

We're passionate about justice and making sure your voice is heard loud and clear. Not only will we help you secure the compensation you deserve, but we'll also hold those responsible to account, making sure that the right lessons are learned and preventing other families from facing similar trauma.

Choosing Switalskis means choosing a partner who understands, cares and fights relentlessly for your cause.

We can support you in the following medical negligence situations

Find out how Switalskis can help you

If you suspect that you or your baby has suffered due to midwife negligence, it's essential to act swiftly and seek justice. The experts at Switalskis are ready to guide you through every step, offering knowledgeable advice, genuine empathy and committed representation.

Reach out to Switalskis now by calling 0800 138 0458 , or get in touch via our website to confidentially discuss your situation with a legal expert in midwife negligence claims.

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