We understand your tremendous sense of loss if your child has died soon after being born, and often it may seem inappropriate to discuss compensation claims for a neonatal death. However, sometimes making a medical negligence claim for the death of a child is the only way in which you will find out why the tragedy occurred, and if anything could have been done to prevent it.
Provided that medical negligence is established, compensation claims for a neonatal death enable both parents to recover compensation for the emotional trauma they have experienced as well as for the physical loss of their child. Although no amount of money will replace your son or daughter, a medical negligence claim for the death of a child will help you find closure.
Establishing Medical Negligence in Compensation Claims
In order to establish medical negligence in compensation claims for a neonatal death, a solicitor will request access to the mother´s and the child´s medical history. Both sets of records will be examined by an independent medical expert to see if the standard of care provided for mother and child fell below the standards accepted by the medical community.
If this is the case, evidence of negligence will be used to support a “Letter of Claim” to the NHS Trust responsible for standard of care received by the mother and child. The NHS Trust has twenty-one days in which to acknowledge receipt of the “Letter of Claim” and a further ninety days to conduct an investigation into the circumstances of your child´s neonatal death.
How Compensation Claims for a Neonatal Death Progress
What happens next depends on the NHS Trust´s response to the “Letter of Claim”. If liability for your child´s neonatal death is accepted, your solicitor will enter into negotiations with the NHS Litigation Authority to recover the maximum possible settlement of your medical negligence claim for the death of a child.
If liability is contested, your solicitor will discuss the option of issuing court proceedings with you. The issuing of court proceedings does not necessarily mean that you case will go to a full trial. Your solicitor will want to spare you as much heartache as possible and, if a negotiated settlement can be agreed, this would be the preferable way to settle your claim.
Settling a Medical Negligence Claim for the Death of a Child
How much compensation you will be entitled to for the neonatal death of your child depends on a number of factors. Parents are entitled to compensation for “Bereavement” – which currently stands at £12,980 in England and Wales, although there is a campaign to increase the limit – plus compensation for their emotional trauma and the recovery of any verifiable costs they have incurred.
Compensation for an emotional trauma is very difficult to quantify, and your solicitor will ask you to be evaluated by a psychiatrist in order that a professional assessment can be made. As you can imagine, this can be an unpleasant experience for everybody involved, and your solicitor will only ask you to go through the evaluation when you feel you are ready to do so.
Further Information about Claiming Compensation for a Neonatal Death
If you would like to speak with a solicitor before making a decision about making a medical negligence claim for the death of a child, you are invited to call our Medical Negligence Advice Bureau. Our solicitor will be able to provide practical and sympathetic advice about making compensation claims for a neonatal death and instigating an investigation into whether your child´s death could have been prevented.
There is no obligation on you to proceed with compensation claims for a neonatal death, and all calls to our Medical Negligence Advice Bureau are completely confidential. You can call us at any time to get the information you need, and then focus on healing from your trauma while we investigate whether there is a medical negligence claim for the death of a child which may be worth your while to pursue.