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Medical Negligence Stillbirth Compensation Claims
Since the 1940s, improvements in maternal care have led to a marked reduction in the incidence of fetal mortality (stillbirth); however, more recently, that decline has slowed or stopped. Some 2.6 million babies die before being born each year all over the world which has led to an increase in medical negligence stillbirth compensation claims. Contact our medical negligence specialist solicitors to find out if you have grounds to make a stillbirth negligence claim.
In 2014, approximately 24,000 cases of stillbirth were reported in the UK and despite the enormous emotional burden that these deaths produce, the problem is going largely unnoticed in the society.
Losing a baby to lifeless birth (stillbirth) continues to be a sad reality for many families and seriously affects their health and general well-being. The issue becomes worse if the death was caused by medical negligence on the part of the doctor.
We understand the pain and trauma this can cause a family after experiencing what happens in a stillbirth, especially when it could have been prevented if the medical practitioner was not negligent. If your baby is born after death in the family, our team of medical negligence experts can help you with your stillbirth claims.
What is Stillbirth?
Stillbirth is the death or loss of a baby before or during delivery. A stillbirth is when the death of the child occurs between 20 weeks of pregnancy and the moment of birth (that is if the baby dies in the womb at 7months).
Both miscarriage and stillbirth describe the loss of a pregnancy, but differ based on when this loss occurs. In the UK, spontaneous abortion is generally defined as the loss of a baby before the 20th week of pregnancy, and fetal death (stillbirth) is the loss of a baby after the 20th week of pregnancy (20th week stillborn).
Stillbirth, in turn, is classified as early, late, or term.
- Early stillbirth occurs between 20 and 27 completed weeks of pregnancy.
- Late stillbirth occurs between 28 and 36 completed weeks of pregnancy.
- Stillbirth at term occurs after 37 completed weeks of pregnancy.
What can cause Stillbirth?
You may be asking questions like ‘why do stillbirths happen’? or ‘what are the reasons for stillbirth’? Let us look at what can cause stillbirth.
Stillbirth that is caused by no known reason is called “unexplained stillbirth”. Unexplained stillbirth is more likely to occur much later in the pregnancy. To try to understand why the baby died before birth, it is important to have an autopsy and other laboratory tests. Your healthcare provider can give you more information on this issue.
Stillbirths occur in families of all races, ethnic groups, and income levels, and in women of all ages. The risk of a stillbirth is higher in twin pregnancies; if you had twin baby girls or twin baby boys and in the twin pregnancy one baby died, you can make a stillbirth UK claim.
Stillbirths occur more frequently among certain groups of people, including women who:
- Are black
- Are 35 years of age or older
- Have a low socioeconomic status
- Smoke cigarettes during pregnancy
- Have certain conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity
- Have multiple pregnancies, such as triplets or quadruplets
- Have previously lost a pregnancy
This does not mean that every person who is black or older has a higher risk of losing a baby to stillbirth. It simply means that, as a general group and in comparison, more cases of stillbirth occur among all black or older mothers than among white mothers and mothers under 35 years of age.
Differences in factors such as maternal health, income, access to quality health care, stress, social and emotional support resources, and cultural aspects could explain how these factors are related to the loss of a baby due to stillbirth. More research is needed to determine the underlying cause of stillbirths in these populations.
These factors are also associated with other adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as premature birth.
After a stillbirth, you may be wondering what doctors do with stillborn babies. At this time, your doctor will be concerned about your health; but first, to help you decide what is best for you, your doctor or midwife may describe your baby to you if you wish to see and cuddle your baby.
How many babies are born stillborn?
Stillbirth affects approximately 1% of all pregnancies, and about 24,000 babies are born lifeless in the UK each year. This number is roughly the same as that of babies who die in the first year of life, and is more than 10 times greater than the number of deaths from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Thanks to advances in medical technology over the past 30 years, prenatal care (medical care during pregnancy) has improved, dramatically reducing the number of late and term stillbirths. However, the early fetal mortality rate has remained largely the same over time.
What is Stillbirth Compensation Claim?
Stillbirth compensation claim relates to when a patient or the family takes legal action against their doctor or healthcare provider who, as a result of medical negligence, oversaw the death of a fetus before or during pregnancy.
Why make a Medical Negligence Stillbirth Compensation Claim?
It is true that no amount of financial compensation can be enough to correct the fatal error made by your healthcare provider as a result of medical negligence. However, it is still very advisable to make a medical negligence stillbirth compensation claim against your healthcare provider.
Making a medical negligence stillbirth claim is very important as it will help to prevent such mistakes from happening again in future. It will also help the appropriate medical bodies to set up guidelines on the punishment to be meted out to erring professionals. Making a compensation claim for stillbirth medical negligence can also reveal to you the exact nature of the mistake made and why they were made, as the case may be.
Can I make a compensation claim for stillbirth negligence?
There are cases of stillbirth which are not preventable, but running regular tests and check-ups can help detect problems (if any). If an anomaly is found on time, the chances of keeping the baby alive will be considerably higher.
However, if your doctor failed to conduct regular check-ups and tests during pregnancy, or missed certain symptoms, or misinterpreted test results during check-ups, or failed to refer you to a consultant if your test results are unusual, or failed to treat symptoms correctly or quickly enough, then you can make a compensation claim against them.
If you fall into this category of person who has lost a baby (or babies) as a result of any of the reasons stated above, then you are qualified to make a claim for stillbirth negligence. Our expert team of medical negligence solicitors is here to help you get back a very little bit of what you have already lost.
How do I make a stillbirth compensation claim?
It is obviously very difficult to talk about the circumstances surrounding your stillbirth experience, especially in the days following the incident.
However, it is important and, as well, advisable that you try as much as you can to keep records of your experience as soon as possible, so that you can easily recall all that transpired between you and your doctor.
It is important that you keep detailed records of the quality of care given to you by your doctor, the number of tests conducted, any record of significant dates or any healthcare advice you were given.
Keep original copies of any documents that were provided to you, as this may provide substantial evidence of negligent treatment from your healthcare providers.
When all these are made available to us, we can investigate your case, obtain evidence from your medical notes and determine if you received substandard care during your pregnancy and labour.
If we find evidence of negligent treatment from your healthcare providers, then we will go ahead to make a stillbirth compensation claim on your behalf.
How long do I have to make a stillbirth compensation claim?
It is important that you know the time frame that applies to making a medical negligence claim if you were unable to claim compensation immediately after the loss of your baby.
You ultimately have three years to make your stillbirth compensation claim. These three years begin to count after the date you received negligent care during pregnancy, the date of your child’s death, or the date you became aware that your treatment was negligent.
The date of death, in most cases, is regarded as the most determining factor. However, if you discover much later that medical negligence was a contributing factor to the loss of your baby, then you have three years from that year to make a compensation claim.
No Win No Fee stillbirth compensation claim
Does insurance cover stillbirth? Well, even if this is not possible, our No Win No Fee service is designed to provide the financial cover you need for this process. Making a claim with us is absolutely risk-free, thanks to our no win no fee agreement. This funding pattern means that you will not be required to make any payment in an event that the case is lost (which is a very unlikely scenario).
Conversely, if the case is won, you will be required to pay success fees and any costs or expenses not paid for by the other side, from your compensation.
Our stillbirth claim solicitors will reach an agreement with you before starting work on your case and may need to take out a special legal protection insurance policy for you. The insurance policy pays the costs if your claim turns out unsuccessful, and ensures claiming is risk-free.
Our no win no fee medical negligence agreement means you do not have to pay anything upfront, there are no hidden charges and you will only ever pay fees from the compensation recovered.
Get the Compensation for Stillbirth
Stillbirth medical negligence claims awards are designed to ensure you receive a payout for any amount of suffering and pain you may have experienced, as well as any expenses you have had to fund as a result of the stillbirth. Many parents miss work while they come to terms with the traumatic experience, for instance, and compensation for stillbirth will cover loss of income. Mothers who have suffered physical injury can seek compensation through birth injury claims.
Additionally, stillbirth negligence claims can cover counselling expenses or any other costs you have been subject to. It is very difficult to determine the average payout for medical negligence resulting in death as the amount could vary depending on certain factors such as the reason for claiming compensation. Compensation could be as low as £4,380 for mental anguish, and as high as £95,000 for severe post-traumatic stress disorder.
What happens after a stillborn birth?
Procedural events after stillbirth can be relevant to your case and the compensation you claim.
You should be offered a post-mortem to try and determine the cause of death. If you take this option, the results can provide valuable insight into any events that contributed to the death of your baby. This insight may provide strong evidence to support a claim for medical negligence. evidence, especially if the post-mortem finds an unnatural or avoidable cause of death.
Unfortunately, families can also encounter costs associated with a stillbirth. These can be wide and varied but could include the mother’s loss of earnings during her physical recovery, as well as the cost of the child’s funeral.
It is also, unfortunately, the case that parents can go on to suffer from depression, excruciating pain during physical recovery after stillbirth, or experience other mental health challenges. The full extent of the impact of such a tragic event, both in the present and into the future, must be considered when the damage caused is being evaluated.
In the event of stillbirth due to a road accident
If the fetus has died following a road accident, you may be entitled to car accident pregnant compensation. In this case, you are expected to demonstrate the causal link between the event and the consequence: in other words, whether the death of the child occurred due to the injuries and the shock caused in the accident, or whether there may be other causes, such as for example a pre-existing illness, or – usual dispute by the insurance companies – if there was a culpable concurrence in the event by the mother.
A typical case is the failure to use the seat belt, in certain dynamics of road accidents.
In the event of stillbirth due to medical error
In the case of medical liability, the issues become considerably complicated: it is necessary to prove that the fetus was stillborn due to the work of the doctor or medical team.
This can be due to omission: for example, it can be considered professional fault for omitted or untimely ultrasound investigation, which could have prevented, with reasonable probability, the death of the fetus. Or it may be an intraoperative error during cesarean delivery, or again, an error during natural birth , which has led, for example, to a state of asphyxiation of the baby.
The positive aspect from a legal point of view, in the case of medical liability, is that which relates to the regime of proof of responsibility, which is in favor of the injured party: once the unlawful act has been demonstrated, the civil liability per malpractice medica focuses on a sort of objectification of medical fault.
That is: if the damage exists, and is the result of a “medical fact”, compensation is due, unless the doctor can prove that he has done everything “humanly possible” to avoid it.
Also with regard to the causal relationship between medical fact and injury , the discipline is quite favorable to the patient: for the civil cassation, the causal link between medical act and event does not require certainty or almost certainty that without the omitted conduct the damage would have happened, but limits itself to simply requesting the“probability”of the connection between the medical fact and the injury.
Obviously all these aspects (fact, causal link, burden of proof) should be properly evaluated by experts, before starting any civil litigation against hospitals and doctors.
Start Your Stillbirth Compensation Claims Today
When a baby is born after death in a family, it can have grave effects on the lives of the parents, especially when they find out the loss of their baby was as a result of negligence by their doctor. Hearing or reading about stillbirth stories can hurt so much, not to mention experiencing it firsthand.
It can affect them physically, mentally, psychologically, and in some cases, may affect their relationship as husband and wife. Physical injuries to the mother may lead to consequences that last a long time.
Our Medical Negligence Solicitors have many years of experience in stillbirth compensation claims. They have competently represented several clients in this area and have the expertise to give you the right legal representation you deserve.
We understand how difficult the situation has been for you and we will provide you with all the support you need while ensuring that the process is smooth and stress-free for you. Do well to contact us today as we’re dedicated to helping you oversee your stillbirth claims and get you your rightful compensation.
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Frequently Asked Question for Stillbirth Medical Negligence Claims
Can you sue for stillbirth?
The World Health Organization (WHO) and other health and safety organizations believe that most stillbirths can be prevented with adequate medical care. Yet not all are easily preventable, nor can they all be linked to some sort of serious medical mistake. You can only file a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit if a stillbirth occurred due to some form of medical negligence that another medical provider in the same situation would have avoided.
How can I prevent a stillbirth?
In order to reduce the risk of stillbirth, it is necessary that pregnant women do the following:
- Go to all your antenatal appointments. It’s important not to miss any of your antenatal appointments.
- Eat healthily and keep active.
- Stop smoking.
- Avoid alcohol in pregnancy.
- Go to sleep on your side.
- Tell your midwife about any drug use.
- Have the flu jab.
- Avoid people who are ill.
How do you get a stillborn baby out?
Stillbirth is the loss of a baby after 20 weeks of pregnancy. When a baby is 20 week stillborn, this may also be called fetal loss. A doctor may deliver the baby by giving you medicine to start labour. Or you may have a surgical procedure called D&E (dilation and evacuation).
What is the death rate for stillbirths?
Stillbirth affects about 1 in 160 births, and each year about 24,000 babies are stillborn in the UK. That is about the same number of babies that die during the first year of life and it is more than 10 times as many deaths as the number that occur from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
What is the most common cause of stillbirth?
Failure of the placenta is the most common known reason for a baby to be stillborn. About half of all stillbirths are linked to complications with the placenta. The placenta provides nutrients (food) and oxygen for the baby when he or she is growing in the womb, connecting the baby to its mother’s blood supply.