When a child is delivered showing no signs of life and cannot be resuscitated, it is possible to claim compensation for a still birth death under certain circumstances. Although no amount of compensation can ever make up for the loss of a child, making a compensation claim for a stillborn baby will enable you to find answers to questions that otherwise may not be forthcoming.
Babies can be stillborn in the womb, or stillborn on delivery, and there are many, many reasons why a still birth can occur. When the death of your baby could have been avoided with greater care – for example if there has been a failure to diagnose or treat pre-eclampsia or a placental abruption – it is more likely that your claim for a stillborn baby will be successful.
Establishing Medical Negligence in Stillborn Baby Claims
The key element in a claim for a stillborn baby is that your baby´s death was avoidable and attributable to medical negligence. In order to establish medical negligence in stillborn baby claims, you solicitor will request access to the mother´s medical records to see whether “at the time and in the circumstances” anything could have been done to prevent your baby´s stillborn death.
In addition to looking for possible causes such as pre-eclampsia and placental abruption, your solicitor will ask a medical expert to review your medical history for any untreated infections you may have developed or possible diabetes. If medical negligence is established, your solicitor will guide you through the remaining process for claiming compensation for a still birth death as they apply in your specific circumstances.
How a Claim for a Stillborn Baby Progresses
The most frequent course of action is that your solicitor will write a “Letter of Claim” to the health authority responsible for the mother´s care. In the letter, the NHS Trust will be advised that you are claiming compensation for a still birth death and the allegations will be supported by evidence of negligence compiled by the medical expert.
What happens next depends on the NHS Trust´s response to the “Letter of Claim”. If liability for your child´s stillborn death is acknowledged, your solicitor will enter into negotiations with the NHS Litigation Authority to settle your claim. If your claim for a stillborn baby is contested, your solicitor will suggest issuing court proceedings depending on the strength of your claim. If court proceedings are issued, it is usual for an out-of-court settlement to be negotiated.
How Much Compensation for a Still Birth Death?
The settlement of compensation for a still birth death will be based around the emotional trauma you have experienced, any expenses you have incurred and whether or not an undiagnosed condition will prevent you from having children in the future. Although your stillborn child was not legally a “person”, it may also be possible to claim compensation for your bereavement.
It is important to note that no two stillborn baby claims for compensation are identical. The consequences of a still born death have different consequences for different people. Therefore it will be necessary for an assessment to be conducted to gauge the impact on your life of the loss of your baby. This may not be a pleasant experience for either parent, but is necessary to obtain an accurate assessment of your claim.
Further Information about Stillborn Baby Claims
If you would like to speak with a solicitor before making a decision about claiming compensation for a still birth death, you are invited to call our Medical Negligence Advice Bureau. One of our solicitors will be able to provide helpful and realistic advice about claiming compensation for a still birth death due to medical negligence and explain how an investigation is instigated to determine whether your child´s death could have been prevented.
There is no obligation on you to proceed with a claim for a stillborn baby once you have spoken with us, and all calls to our Medical Negligence Advice Bureau are completely confidential. You can call us at any time to have your legal questions answered, and then you can focus on recovering from your trauma while we investigate whether there is a claim for compensation for a still birth death which may be worth your while to pursue.