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Birth Injury Compensation Claims

If you, or your child, have suffered as a result of sub-standard medical care during pregnancy or in labour, it can have a devastating impact on the quality of life for both of you. If you have a grievance with the doctors or midwives handling your child’s birth, you may be eligible to instigate a birth injury compensation claim.

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Helpful Information

The following information is provided to help you ascertain your rights in relation to birth injuries.

You may also find our resources sections for mothers and children useful too.

Time limits in the context of injuries at birth

In birth injury cases, the statute of limitations varies significantly from other personal injury claims. Children with birth injuries have extended periods to explore their cases, unlike parents who have a two-year window from the injury date. This discrepancy allows for thorough investigation into potential claims, especially as birth injuries can affect both mother and child, leading to physical and psychological damages. Mothers might experience physical harm from improper delivery management or psychological trauma from witnessing their child’s injury, potentially leading to a nervous shock claim. Similarly, fathers witnessing such events may suffer psychological trauma, qualifying for nervous shock claims if they’re physically close to the incident. These claims must be filed within two years of the injury.

For children suffering brain injuries during delivery, the statute of limitations doesn’t apply until they reach adulthood, giving them until age 20 to file a claim. This accounts for both mental impairments and injuries without immediate developmental impact. It’s crucial to monitor a child’s development for signs of injury-related deficits, which may not be apparent until they miss significant developmental milestones. Hence, parents may delay investigating potential substandard birth treatment until the child’s developmental delays become evident, often around school age. Despite the flexible statute limitations, it’s essential not to postpone seeking legal recourse for birth injuries.

Types of injuries and circumstances giving rise to those injuries

Cerebral Palsy is a common injury from substandard birth medical care, often due to delayed intervention in traumatic births, leading to brain oxygen deprivation from ischaemia or inadequate fetal heart rate monitoring. Mothers may suffer gynecological injuries like tears causing incontinence or nerve damage from excessive pressure, leading to chronic pain.

Improperly handled deliveries, such as delayed or incorrect episiotomies for large babies, can result in maternal injuries or oxygen deprivation for the baby. Cesarean section timing is critical; delays due to unavailable consultants or late decisions can cause avoidable injuries to the child.

Additionally, complications can arise from mishandling placenta delivery and post-delivery care, with failures to remove the placenta properly risking infections, severe discomfort, and potentially fatal sepsis.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the questions our legal team are often asked in relation to birth injury cases.

  • What are time limits for birth injury claims?

    In Ireland, the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 stipulates that a person must take an action for medical negligence (inclusive of birth injury claims), within two years of the date of the event which gave rise to the injury. However, birth injury claims can be made by parents acting as “next friend” at any time up to the child’s eighteenth birthday. Thereafter, the child has two years to instigate a compensation claim in their own right.

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  • Which types of scenarios can result in a birth injury claim?

    It is possible to bring a compensation claim for a birth injury when your child has suffered an injury during the antenatal care phase, during the intrapartum period or process of delivery, or at any point in the postnatal period – as long as there is evidence of negligence by medical staff.

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  • What are the key factors in bringing a successful birth injury claim?

    In order to have the basis for a successful claim, it is necessary to prove that medical staff breached their duty of care. A causal link must be established between the breach and the consequent injury to the plaintiff.

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  • How can I prove that my child’s birth injury was caused by a breach in the duty of care?

    To strengthen the basis of your claim, it is essential to seek expert advice from an independent medical expert such as a gynaecologist or obstetrician. You will need to obtain all paediatric medical records and prepare a detailed statement of events. In order to win damages, you must show evidence that your child doesn’t meet developmental criteria and that this was caused by the injuries the child sustained.

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  • Do I have a legitimate birth injury case?

    If your baby has suffered a severe birth injury, our team at McCarthy + Co can help you to explore the legal options available to you and determine the best route for bringing your claim. Contact our medical negligence team today for further advice.

Start your birth injury compensation claim

If you, or your child, has suffered as a result of a birth injury, get in contact with our medical negligence solicitors today to make a start on your claim. Call us on 1800 390 555 and an experienced member of staff will discuss your situation and potential next steps. You can also email on info@mccarthy.ie and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
Medical Negligence Team at McCarthy + Co

About McCarthy + Co

With more than 30 years of experience in dealing with birth injury compensation claims, McCarthy + Co. has expertise in a wide variety of fields relating to medical negligence and personal injury, including birth injury cases. We are a family-run business, and we pride ourselves on offering honest, impartial and helpful advice.

Our offices are based in Dublin and Cork but we work with clients throughout Ireland in locations ranging from Galway to Waterford. You can count on us for legal advice, guidance and assistance on any form of personal injury including fracture compensation claims.

Birth injury FAQs panel

If you have a specific question relating to birth injury, you may find our video FAQ guides useful. Click on the image above or visit our birth injury FAQs page here.

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Our Partners

Directly contact our partners via email about your case.

Flor McCarthy

Flor McCarthy

Email: flor@mccarthy.ie
Follow Flor on Social Media

Twitter: @flormccarthy LinkedIn: /in/flormccarthy/

wears multiple hats, not only as the managing partner of one of Ireland’s leading law firms, but also as an author, speaker and an acknowledged expert in client service, innovation and marketing.

Beginning his academic journey at UCC, Flor furthered his education with a master’s degree in law from UCD. After gaining valuable experience as a solicitor in Dublin, the allure of home and the family brought him back to West Cork to contribute his expertise to the family business.
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John McCarthy

John McCarthy

Email: john@mccarthy.ie
Follow John on Social Media

LinkedIn: /in/johnmccarthysolicitor/

is a seasoned solicitor with almost 20 years of experience, specialises in personal injury and medical negligence claims, focusing particularly on high-value compensation cases. His extensive litigation experience spans Circuit Court, High Court and Supreme Court levels.

John's practice involves a diverse range of cases, from personal injury and wrongful death to property damage, defective products, professional negligence and judicial reviews.
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