Wrongful Birth Compensation Claim Solicitors
If you have been affected by negligent healthcare that has led to an unwanted, wrongful birth, our expert medical negligence solicitors can help you to examine the grounds for making a claim for compensation.
Incidences of wrongful birth can occur following an array of different circumstances, but in general, the term refers to an unintended birth that takes place due to the negligence of a doctor or other medical professional, or a failure in some form of birth control procedure.
Often claims for wrongful birth are based on a failure to be warned that a child will be born with significant health problems. Where signs of disability have been missed during pregnancy, and where parents would have chosen to terminate had they known the severity of problems the child would face.
Wrongful birth claims can also be made where the child is born healthy, but the pregnancy was unwanted and steps were taken by the parents to prevent pregnancy, but these steps have failed. This might include failed contraception & birth control procedures, such as failed sterilisation, or failed vasectomy procedures.
Where a child is born with a disability, Wrongful Birth Claims can help to ease the associated financial burdens by helping to cover the additional costs of raising a child with extra needs, such as mobility problems or chronic health conditions.
Whatever the circumstances, if you feel you have been affected in this way, Sheldon Davidson Solicitors are here to help. We can listen to the details of your unique experience and say whether you have grounds to claim compensation to ease the hardship for you and your family.
Why choose Sheldon Davidson Solicitors?
Sheldon Davidson Solicitors was established in 1997 and since that time, we have built a reputation as a trusted law firm for clients across England and Wales.
As a Lexcel-accredited firm, you can be assured we will provide you with a superior level of customer service, expert legal opinion, and the highest standards of practice management procedure in all that we do.
We listen carefully, with a sympathetic ear, to each client's individual circumstances. We know it may be very difficult to discuss your experiences, but it is important for us to examine the details of your case so we can give you a full and honest opinion.
In Wrongful Birth Claims, many parents consider their child to be the victim, but you may also be entitled to compensation for your own hardship and suffering. In cases of wrongful birth, the claims process can actually help with the healing process, both physically and emotionally, a compensation settlement can furnish with the resources needed to improve the quality of life for your family and your child.
Remember, an unplanned pregnancy or wrongful birth claim does not mean your child is unwanted or unloved. Quite the opposite in fact, as making a claim can enable you to provide for their specific needs using any compensation to cover those additional costs.
Can I claim for wrongful birth?
The general test for wrongful birth is whether the child would have been born if it were not for the medical negligence of your healthcare provider.
Claims often relate to children born with significant healthcare needs, but can also include healthy births, if you would not normally have chosen to have your baby.
Cases can be divided into several groups of common causes of wrongful birth:
- Failed contraception or sterilisation: This can lead to a healthy but unplanned pregnancy, which you choose to carry to full term for personal or religious reasons.
- Foetal abnormalities: When spotted during pregnancy, these can influence the decision to carry to full term. As such, you may have grounds to claim if any abnormalities were missed.
- Genetic risks: Some serious health problems in children arise from genetic risks in the parents. Again, if these were missed by your doctors, you may have good cause to make a claim for wrongful birth.
It is important to understand that wrongful birth is considered in law to be a form of personal injury to the mother, not to the child. As such, you can claim both general damages for the mother's pain and suffering, and special damages for any financial losses incurred.
We have worked with many clients on wrongful birth claims and can bring that experience to your case, to investigate the circumstances and help you decide whether to proceed.
Should I make a wrongful birth claim?
Making a wrongful birth claim is not always an easy decision. We understand that, which is why Sheldon Davidson Solicitors always listen carefully and sympathetically to your circumstances and treat every case individually.
Making a wrongful birth claim does not mean that your child is not wanted now they are part of your family. It only means, that for legal purposes, your pregnancy was unplanned and avoidable, or that your family has faced hardship due to a birth defect or abnormality that your doctors did not notice.
For a wrongful birth claim to be awarded compensation, there are two criteria that must be fulfilled:
1. Medical negligence on the part of the doctors and healthcare professionals involved during your pregnancy.
2. Reasonable proof that you would not have continued the pregnancy to full term if not for that medical negligence.
If your situation fulfils these two tests and you feel you have suffered physical pain, psychological trauma, or financial hardship due to wrongful birth, you may have reasonable grounds to claim for compensation.
How to prove medical negligence in wrongful birth
Demonstrating that a birth was 'wrongful' is an essential part of making a compensation claim and there are several ways to do this.
Medical records provide an important history of any procedures carried out, including the doctors who were involved and their own notes about any problems they encountered.
You can also rely on the testimony of expert witnesses - medical professionals who can confirm that, in their opinion, a competent doctor would have acted differently than your healthcare provider in the same circumstances.
The right kind of expert witness depends on the type of wrongful birth you have suffered. A geneticist can provide insight into any genetic risks that were missed, whereas in cases of an unplanned but healthy pregnancy, an obstetrician may be the correct option.
At Sheldon Davidson Solicitors we can recommend the exact type of medical specialist to act as an expert witness and call on the services of qualified experts from our panel of respected professionals to support your claim.
Can I recover the costs of raising an unplanned child?
Prior to the case of McFarlane v Tayside Health Board (2000) in which a wrongful birth claim was made in respect of a healthy child being conceived following a failed vasectomy, general maintenance costs relating to bringing up the child were considered as part of the claim. However, in this case, the House of Lords eventually decided such costs could not be recovered.
The precedent set since 2000, means wrongful birth claims do not include the normal costs of raising a healthy child to adulthood, so these can no longer form not form part of any compensation settlement.
You may be able to recover specific additional costs incurred by your family, for example, if your child lives with a disability or other ongoing health problems that require expensive care and treatment.
You can also claim additional compensation if you can show that the wrongful birth removed your ability to control your family's size.
This is particularly relevant in the case of failed birth control or ineffective sterilisation and vasectomy procedures, where you can clearly demonstrate that you had planned to have no more children.
We can help you decide if your case qualifies for additional compensation in this way, based on the legal precedents for this kind of claim.
What compensation can I claim?
A wrongful birth claim can include general damages for physical injury and emotional suffering, as well as special damages to cover medical costs, loss of earnings, and so on.
Loss of earnings can be claimed where a mother experiences a reduced income due to having to take maternity leave. It is important to be able to show any loss of earnings and justify the amount of compensation claimed.
We can help with this. Often it is a matter of comparing your normal income with your maternity pay, sick pay, and any periods during which you were unable to work.
Whether you are unsure if you should make a claim for wrongful birth, or you have already decided you want to claim compensation and are ready to get professional guidance, we would urge you to get in touch for expert opinion on how best to proceed.
Sheldon Davidson Solicitors will listen to your description of events and investigate your case to ensure it meets all of the criteria to make a compensation claim under the legal definitions of wrongful birth.
If we believe you fulfil those criteria, we can help you to determine how much you can claim, who to claim against, and explain how we intend to prove liability by showing medical negligence.
We operate on a no-win, no-fee basis, which gives you the added confidence that if we agree to claim on your behalf, it is because we genuinely believe you have grounds to make a wrongful birth claim.
Sheldon Davidson Solicitors are based in Greater Manchester, with clients in Rochdale, Radcliffe, Bolton, Bury, Oldham and Prestwich, but we can represent claimants throughout England and Wales, so please call us if you would like to find out more.