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What is the process of making a claim for a baby injury during birth if it has left my child permanently disabled with cerebral palsy?

The process of making a claim for a baby injury during birth can be complicated, so if you wish to pursue such a claim it is advisable that you contact a medical negligence claims solicitor with experience in dealing with birth injury claims at the first possible moment. The potential complexity lies in the fact that it can often be difficult to establish negligence when making a medical negligence claim. Furthermore, only a small percentage of babies who develop cerebral palsy do so because of a lack of care on the part of on one of the medical practitioners involved in treating the mother before, during and after labour.

A solicitor who has been informed of the circumstances in which your baby sustained injury at birth and the nature of your child’s cerebral palsy will be able to inform you of the viability of your potential claim and how best to proceed. If they think that your child’s cerebral palsy might be resultant of negligence demonstrated by one of the medical practitioners treating you, they will contact everyone involved in the birth of your baby and obtain any relevant medical notes. These medical notes will be presented to an independent medical expert.

The medical expert will evaluate if medical negligence took place by determining – “on the balance on probability”- if your child’s cerebral palsy still would have occurred if an alternative course of action had been taken at any stage – before, during and after delivery – or if another, competent medical practitioner had been involved in the place of one of those involved. Based on what the medical expert concludes, your solicitor will decide whether or not to proceed with your claim for baby injury during birth.

The value of your claim for when your baby sustained injury at birth will be assessed based on the severity of the cerebral palsy they have sustained, how it will affect their future quality of life and the potential cost of necessary, lifelong medical treatment. You may also be able to claim for any emotional or psychological trauma that you have suffered as a result of your child’s birth injury.

If you pursue a birth injury claim you will be doing it on behalf of your child as their “next friend”. However, because children cannot make a claim for themselves in Ireland, this means that the usual two year time limit imposed by the UK Statute of Limitations will not begin until they turn eighteen. However, it is still advisable to contact a solicitor at the first possible moment so that there will still be recent evidence available to support the strength of your claim.

Pursuing a claim for baby injury during birth can be complicated, so it is advisable that you discuss the strength of your claim with a solicitor at the soonest possible opportunity. They will be able to provide you with more specific legal information than what has been provided here, in addition to putting your mind at ease over the claims process at what is likely to be a distressful time for your family.