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Families wait years for compensation payouts for maternity errors

  • 17.01.2018
  • EmmaArnold
  • Clinical Negligence
  • Clinical negligence Birth Injuries cerebral palsy compensation maternity failings

tomhord.jpgNew figures show how long some families have to wait years for compensation payouts for clinical negligence claims.

The negligence bill for medical mistakes, which are predominately maternity failings, is rising for the first time in five years to £1.6 billion last year.

The charity, Action Against Medical Accidents (AvMA), said they see the same mistakes and avoidable errors which cause serious injury, like cerebral palsy, now as they did 35 years ago.

Many families have to wait years for a clinical negligence payout after the medical error as it takes a long time to resolve complex legal cases.

Gill Edwards, senior clinical negligence solicitor at Potter Rees Dolan, said:

The cost of some birth injury claims take time to appear because the legal teams have to wait until a child is 7 or 8 years old before their long term needs can be predicted with any certainty.

Children who have suffered brain injury have significant needs including care and specialist equipment. They may need round the clock care from more than one carer at a time and this can impact massively on the final compensation settlement.

Trusts need to admit to negligent mistakes much earlier so that interim payments can be obtained to help children with their needs and spread the cost to the NHS. They also need to focus on whether the mistakes which caused the historic injuries are continuing and the government needs to provide enough funding to ensure that proper training is in place to improve standards.

Extensive medical assessments need to be made and sometimes these can only be completed once the child is older.

Some families don't realise they might have a claim for their child until years after the medical error which also means the compensation takes longer after the event.

Hannah Bottomley, clinical negligence solicitor at Potter Rees Dolan, commented on the whether there is an average level of compensation awarded in clinical negligence claims where the individual has suffered a brain injury.

Gill Edwards is a Partner in the clinical negligence department with Potter Rees Dolan and is a member of the Multi-Professional Advisory Panel of the mother and baby charity Baby Lifeline. Should you have any queries about clinical negligence issues, in particular birth injuries, and wish to speak with Gill or any other member of the team please contact us on 0161 237 5888.