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If you’ve been let down by medical professionals responsible for your maternity care, seeking redress through a birth injury compensation claim can be an effective means of securing the support that you need to get life back on track.
How long is the process likely to take? The answer depends on several factors specific to your case.
Before making a birth injury claim you must be aware that there is a time limit for when you can make claim. Generally, you have 3 years from the date of the injury to make a claim. If the injury is to a child, you have until their 18th birthday.
The first step in any successful birth injury compensation claim is establishing who is liable for the harm suffered by the mother and/or baby. The process can prove complex, as your birth injury solicitor will need to gather and assess all the available evidence, including:
Once liability is provisionally established, the claims process can be progressed to the next stage. Establishing liability in complex cases where multiple parties may be at fault for birth injuries can take years.
When the responsible parties are identified, your birth injury solicitor will send a Letter of Claim detailing the lawsuit against them, providing the opportunity to either accept or deny liability.
Should they choose to accept liability for your birth injury compensation claim, the case can progress swiftly to the settlement stage. In the event they deny responsibility, their solicitors will need to arrange a Court hearing to contest liability. This process can again take years to conclude.
Finally, once liability has been determined, the Court can proceed to calculate the damages to be awarded to the claimant. This stage of the birth injury compensation claim will likely again require input from medical specialists qualified to identify the nature and severity of the harm suffered by the defendant, and how long it is likely to persist.
Depending on the injuries sustained by the mother and/or baby, input may be required from paediatric, neurological, psychologist and long-term care specialists whose availability may be restricted. It’s worth also mentioning that this stage of the proceedings may also be contested, with the defending party bringing their own experts to Court to counter the claims made by your birth injury solicitor.
The Court will weigh the testimonies submitted by the various experts up against each other to determine what level of compensation is required to ensure the claimant can go on to enjoy as much quality of life as possible. It will need to consider any corrective surgery, medication and home-environment modifications required by the claimant to achieve this.
Unsurprisingly, the complexity of the claims being examined, and the availability of the experts required to do so can again mean that this stage of the case can require years to conclude.
It is impossible to say before a case gets underway how long a birth injury compensation claim will take. With each of the aforementioned stages potentially requiring years to conclude, it is not unreasonable to expect a timeline of around five years from the point of submitting your claim.
If you’re not unsure whether submitting a birth injury compensation claim is the right course of action for you, you can speak to a medical negligence solicitor for free initial advice and no obligation to proceed on 0800 047 3151.
Blackwater Law successfully represented the family of baby Blake in making a midwife negligence claim after the community midwife failed to notice a severe medical abnormality.