Compensation may be available to you, your loved ones, or your baby if the obstetrics or midwifery treatment provided in this process has led to a physical or psychiatric injury being suffered.

What is a Birth Injury or Birth Trauma?

A birth injury or birth trauma refers to harm or permanent injury that can be sustained before, during or after birth to both the mother and/or the baby. There is wide range of injuries that may come under the umbrella of a birth trauma claim, however, some of the most common injuries include the following:

To the Mother:

  • Pelvic Floor Damage
  • Perineal Tears
  • Pelvic Fractures
  • Vaginal Prolapse
  • Infection
  • Psychological reaction to the trauma

To the Child:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Brachial Plexus Injuries
  • Broken Bones
  • Erb’s Palsy
  • Nerve Damage
  • Hypoxic brain injuries (brain damage)

This is not an exhaustive list, and the severity of the injuries can also vary quite dramatically. We encourage you to contact our expert team if you have any questions or are unsure if what you have experienced may constitute a birth trauma claim.

Other scenarios can cause injuries, such as the mismanagement of labour leading to undue delays, mismanagement of a caesarean, misdiagnosis, or a failure to appropriately identify and act upon risks in your pregnancy, labour or delivery.

Birth Trauma Pregnancy

Psychiatric Injuries or Mental Distress following a Traumatic Birth Experience

As society develops more of an understanding of trauma and the psychiatric injuries that can be suffered because of exposure to traumatic or life-threatening experiences, medical experts involved in the birthing process are becoming more informed about managing the care of expectant mothers and the labour process to minimise the exposure to trauma.
It is now widely accepted and understood that being exposed to a painful, long and drawn-out labour with poor management and communication with the expectant mother can cause permanent emotional and psychiatric distress and injuries. In this respect, in addition to compensation for physical injuries being suffered, it is now commonplace that one can pursue compensation for psychiatric injuries even without permanent physical injuries related to the traumatic birth.

What is Required to Make a Claim?

To make a medical negligence claim for birth injuries or trauma, you must be able to prove that:

  • the antenatal (pregnancy), labour or postpartum (post-birth) treatment, management and/or advice provided to you or your baby departed from a standard of care that could reasonably be expected.
  • This treatment caused you or your baby an injury which you would have otherwise avoided.
  • the injuries suffered by you or your baby, whether physical or psychiatric, meet the relevant threshold.

Birth Trauma Consultation

Time Limits

In Australia there are statutes of limitations for filing compensation claims. In Victoria for a birth injury claim, it will generally be 3 years from the date of negligence or the date that you became aware of an injury that has flowed from the traumatic birth.

In respect to minors (people under the age of 18) and people under a disability, it will generally be 6 years.

Every claim is unique and time limits can vary depending on the circumstances, so it is important to seek legal advice as early as possible so you can ensure that you are within your rights and within the time limits to make a claim.

Purpose and Types of Compensation

Compensation is not a financial penalty on the negligent party, but instead designed to address the effects of the injuries suffered, including the pain and suffering, and past and future financial losses suffered by reason of the physical and/or psychiatric injuries.

In a birth trauma claim, you can be eligible to receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, past and future care needs and also for the pain and suffering experienced.

Where a permanent impairment or disability has been suffered by a child due to birth trauma, compensation can cover many forms of financial loss, including the lifelong medical treatment, care and services that may be required for severe injuries and impairments suffered.

Process of a Birth Injury Claim:

  1. Once you contact NCL, we will set up an initial cost and obligation free consultation with one of our dedicated medical law solicitors to discuss your potential birth trauma claim.
  2. If you decide to choose us as your legal team, we will then gather yours and your child’s medical records and conduct a thorough and intensive review of the birth and surrounding circumstances.
  3. Following this detailed review of your records, we will engage an independent expert in obstetrics, nursing, midwifery, or general practice to comment on the treatment, management, or advice provided and the link between such treatment and the injuries suffered.
  4. The injuries will then need to be assessed by medical experts.
  5. If we obtain support from the above, it is at this time that we will file a claim in Court and begin the process by which you can pursue compensation for your pain, suffering, and financial losses.

How National Compensation Lawyers can help

National Compensation Lawyers is a no win, no fee firm, meaning that our fees aren’t payable by you, unless we obtain a win for you.

Birth trauma claims can be difficult and require specialised attention. Contact NCL for a cost and obligation free appointment to discuss your potential birth trauma claim on 1300 942 139.