If your child has suffered nerve damage to their face during their delivery, or sustained an injury that results in a permanent visible scar, it may be possible to make compensation claims for facial paralysis during birth. Facial paralysis – whether temporary or permanent – is known as Bell´s Palsy, and it can be caused by the use of forceps or other delivery device when your child is born.
If the forceps or other delivery device have been used inappropriately or with unjustified force, this is considered to be medical negligence; and, even though there are treatments available to reverse the effects of facial paralysis, it will still be possible to claim compensation for Bell´s Palsy against the NHS Trust responsible for the standard of care at the hospital where your child was born.
Proof of negligence will be required to support compensation claims for facial paralysis during birth and, in order to establish that a medical practitioner failed in their duty of care, your solicitor will engage the services of an independent medical expert to investigate the circumstances of your child´s birth. Once negligence is established, you will be able to claim compensation for Bell´s Palsy on your child´s behalf.
Making Compensation Claims for Facial Paralysis during Birth
The process for making compensation claims for facial paralysis during birth starts with your solicitor sending a “Letter of Claim” to the relevant NHS Trust. The Trust has ninety days to either accept liability for your child´s injuries or contest your claim. When liability is accepted, your solicitor will negotiate an appropriate settlement of compensation for Bell´s Palsy with the NHS Litigation Authority.
When compensation claims for facial paralysis during birth are contested, your solicitor will weigh up the strength of your claim against the defence provided by the NHS Trust and advise you whether court proceedings should be issued. The issuing of court proceedings does not necessarily result in a court appearance to settle the claim, as a settlement is often negotiated once a court date is scheduled.
However, you will have to attend court as the last stage of resolving your claim. This is because settlements of compensation claims for facial paralysis during birth have to be approved by a judge to ensure that they are in the best interests of your child. This is usually a straightforward procedure during which you are likely to receive an apology from the NHS Trust for the negligence which led to your child´s injuries.
How Much Compensation for Bell´s Palsy?
How much compensation for Bell´s Palsy your child´s claim will be settled for will depend on the extent and permanence of the injury. Compensation for your child´s pain and suffering are likely to represent a significant fraction of the settlement – especially if they will have a permanent visual facial disfigurement or scar as a result of the trauma they experienced during their birth.
The significance of a permanent disfigurement or scar is that your child may grow up to have confidence issues and their quality of life may decrease. It might also be the case that their physical appearance handicaps them later in life when they apply for a job, or when they start to develop social circles. Your solicitor will account for all these factors when calculating how much compensation for Bell´s Palsy to claim.
Compensation claims for facial paralysis during birth can also account for the secondary injury sustained by a parent if they have had difficulty bonding with their child. You may have also suffered some degree of emotional trauma when your child was born, and one of the reasons for claiming compensation for Bell´s Palsy is so that the hospital improves its standard of care and another parent does not have to experience what you have.
Further Advice about Compensation Claims for Facial Paralysis during Birth
If your child has suffered nerve damage to their face during their delivery, and you would like further advice about compensation claims for facial paralysis during birth, you are invited to call our Medical Negligence Advice Bureau and discuss your child´s injury with a medical negligence solicitor.
The solicitor will be able to answer any questions you may have about claiming compensation for Bell´s Palsy and guide you through the processes of establishing negligence and claiming compensation from the NHS Trust as they apply in your child´s particular circumstances.
Please note that there is no obligation on you to proceed with compensation claims for facial paralysis during birth when you use our service, and all calls to our Medical Negligence Advice Bureau are completely confidential. Our service allows you to concentrate on caring for your child while we investigate whether there is a claim for compensation for Bell´s Palsy which may be worth your while to pursue.