Birth Injury and Maternity Compensation Claims

Negligence during maternity care and birth can be devastating for mothers, babies and their loved ones. Our medical negligence solicitors support families by claiming compensation for birth and maternity injuries, providing practical advice and helping you to get the answers and support you need.

The majority of pregnancies and births happen without any complications or issues, however, mistakes and negligence can happen. When something does go wrong, it can have serious and lasting implications, and so if you or your child has been injured during maternity care, you may be able to claim compensation.

What counts as birth negligence?

Birth negligence can be broadly defined as sub-standard care (this could be a mistake) provided by health professionals, such as midwives or doctors, that causes their patients avoidable harm.

Common mistakes during maternity care or birth include failing to carry out or misinterpreting scans which leads to failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis of conditions that will affect the pregnancy/labour, not communicating risks and options to mothers (informed consent) and neglecting to act on reduced movement of the baby.

Birth negligence not only impacts the mother and baby physically, but it can take a toll on their mental and financial wellbeing long after the incident.

Our medical negligence solicitors can not only help you to get answers and seek compensation; we work with external experts, from barristers and medical experts to charities, to ensure your case is in the best possible hands.

If you or your baby have been left needing specialist care, our birth injury solicitors can recommend rehabilitation and recovery specialists, as well as counselling services.

Blog | Avoidable deaths? Programme investigates ‘inadequate’ maternity care at Gloucestershire Hospitals

Why choose Barcan+Kirby’s birth injury solicitors?

Our medical negligence solicitors are proud to be ranked by Chambers and Partners UK. The team also holds a top-tier ranking in Legal 500.

Three members of our clinical negligence claims team are also individually ranked in Chambers and Partners UK.

The department occupies an important niche in Bristol – good value without cutting corners.

Legal 500

The team dealing with my case has made an incredibly stressful process bearable, and collaborated well to ensure I had the best chance of success.

– Legal 500

Our experienced medical negligence claims team is headed up by panel members of Action Against Medical Accidents (AvMA), the charity for patient safety and justice, and the Law Society’s Clinical Negligence Accreditation Scheme.

Our clinical negligence lawyers work with clients across the UK from our offices across Bristol and South Gloucestershire. We have proven expertise in a number of areas, from cancer misdiagnosis to cauda equina syndrome and delayed diagnosis claims.

We pride ourselves on providing sensitive advice and support to clients during what can be one of the most stressful and emotional times in their lives. From the moment you first get in contact, our solicitors will take the time to listen to what has happened to you or your baby, and guide you through the process.

The majority of medical negligence claims can be resolved without the need for you to go to court. This is because claims can be resolved via a pre-trial settlement and can also be settled at any time up to a trial. This means there are potential opportunities to secure compensation faster, at a lower cost and with significantly less stress.

Case study | £1.9m for child with erb’s palsy after a failure in communication

How do I know if I can claim for a birth injury?

If you or your baby have suffered an injury that’s a result of medical negligence, you may be able to claim compensation. If you or your baby has been injured due to avoidable mistakes by health professionals during or after birth, you should get in touch with our specialist lawyers as soon as possible.

Our birth injury solicitors have helped families claim for a wide range of birth and maternal injuries including:

  • Cerebral palsy as a result of a brain injury to baby
  • Stillbirth and neonatal death
  • Nerve injuries, including erb’s palsy
  • Missed ectopic pregnancy
  • Wrongful birth
  • Undiagnosed or misdiagnosed perineal tears
  • Failure to appropriately repair tears
  • Post-partum incontinence as the result of a birth injury
  • Pregnancy and/or birth-related blood clots
  • Psychiatric injuries as the result of a birth or maternity injury
  • Other serious birth injuries

Case study | Negligently repaired third-degree perineal tear leads to continence issues

What causes birth and maternity injuries?

Many birth injuries can be avoided by medical staff acting quickly, accurate and timely diagnosis, proper monitoring of the baby and/or mother, and the correct use of birthing tools such as forceps or quick decision making in delivering the baby via caesarean section.

Some of the main causes of maternity injuries include:

  • Failure to identify the progression of labour
  • Failure to identify that the baby is in distress
  • Deprivation of oxygen to the baby during labour
  • Baby’s shoulder getting stuck during labour (shoulder dystocia)
  • Mismanagement of small or large for gestational age babies
  • Mismanagement of maternal conditions such as high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia
  • Decisions about the mode and timing of delivery, e.g. whether an induction or C-section should have been brought forward
  • Mismanagement of infection (such as Group B Strep or chorioamnionitis)
  • Difficulties with the placenta
  • Surgical errors, retained surgical swabs and instruments
  • Retained tissue leading to infection, for example, after a C-section
  • Failure to identify and/or provide adequate information about fetal abnormalities
  • Incorrect management of an instrumental delivery (using a ventouse and/or forceps)

Case study | Misdiagnosed perineal tear leads to £380,000 award

How can I start a birth injury claim?

Birth injuries are usually identified at the time of, or shortly after, birth. However, sometimes injuries are not discovered until the baby is a few months, or even years old, for example, if their parents think they seem to be hitting their milestones quite late.

If you or your child has suffered a birth injury as a result of medical negligence, our specialist birth injury solicitors are here to help. When you first speak to us, a member of our team will listen to and take note of your account of what happened. We will then explain the claims process to you and give an honest evaluation of whether we think your claim merits further investigation, and discuss the various options for funding your birth injury claim.

Our team will then take the necessary steps to build your negligence claim, including obtaining medical records and witness statements. Once we are satisfied with those findings, we will send a letter of claim to the defendant, i.e. the NHS Trust or private hospital. Depending on the defendant’s response, we will discuss settlement options with you and, if needed, start court proceedings.

How long do I have to make a birth injury claim?

As with all medical negligence claims, birth injury claims must be issued within three years of the negligent treatment, or within three years of you knowing of potential negligence.

There are exceptions for adults who lack mental capacity and children. Our birth injury lawyers will talk through your options and how it works.

Contact our birth injury solicitors

If you or your baby have suffered from negligent maternity care, our birth injury lawyers are here to help. We work with families all over England and Wales from our offices across Bristol, in Bedminster, Bishopston, Bristol city centre, Kingswood and Thornbury.

For an initial, no-obligation chat, call us on 0117 325 2929 or fill out our online enquiry form.


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    • "Thank you for explaining [everything] so clearly."
      AnonMedical Negligence Client
    • "I cannot recommend Barcan+Kirby Solicitors highly enough, especially Fiona Dabell.

      Fiona took my case on in April 2019. I found her extremely professional, very empathetic, honest, and supportive at all times, and kept me informed and updated throughout.

      When I dealt with Fiona she made me feel like I was her only client (obviously this is not the situation).

      This is a measure of her dedication to her clientele. I am immensely grateful for the settlement she achieved for me. I am going to miss the regular contact we had as Fiona has been a pillar of support over the last three years, especially through the difficult times.

      I can’t thank Fiona enough."
      AnonMedical Negligence Client
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      AnonMedical Negligence Client
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      Chambers and Partners 2023
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      Chambers and Partners 2023