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Pregnancy and Birth Injury Cases

Temple Legal Protection has a wealth of experience insuring pregnancy and birth Injury cases. Invariably these are high value cases that require significant cover in respect of the substantial number of medical reports that are required to establish both breach and causation.

We have a particular expertise assisting clinical negligence lawyers with high value pregnancy and injury at birth cases leading to Cerebral Palsy and other brain injuries.

With these cases it is not always clear at inception whether breach will be established and it is expected that the solicitor will have obtained full copies of the hospital records to try and assess prospects before a referral is requested.

The basic premise of this type of case relates to problems in ante-natal care:

There can be are many reasons why a baby growing in the womb may be starved of oxygen or suffer in some other way. The purpose of ante-natal care is to help prevent and eliminate as many of these as possible.

Therefore, if the mother has a condition such as pre-eclampsia, obstetric cholestasis, diabetes or some other risk factor, then steps can be taken to reduce the possibility of harm to the baby. If these steps are not taken and the baby suffers as a result, there may be grounds for a birth injury claim.

Problems during delivery:

It is well-known that babies are at particular risk during delivery – whether natural, forceps, ventouse or Caesarean Section. If the birth is mishandled, the baby can suffer broken bones, nerve damage and even brain damage from oxygen starvation.  Oxygen starvation can lead to a child developing lifelong disabilities, such as Cerebral Palsy.

Injuries to the baby that can lead to a birth injury claim:

  • Cerebral Palsy and other brain injuries, Erb’s Palsy, Forceps delivery or ventouse delivery
  • Fractures to the skull, legs, arms, shoulder and collarbone
  • Klumpke’s Palsy
  • Spinal injuries

Hypoxic Brain Injury (Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy)

One of the main causes of cerebral palsy is a hypoxic brain injury during childbirth. This is where the baby’s brain gets starved of oxygen. Sometimes this cannot be prevented or it is impossible to work out what has caused the baby to be injured. However, negligent mistakes by doctors and midwives can lead to a child sustaining a hypoxic brain injury.

These errors can result in claims that include:

  • The allowance of labour to go on for too long
  • Failure to properly monitor the baby’s heartbeat
  • Not doing enough cardiotocography (CTG) traces
  • The incorrect interpretation of CTG traces
  • Failing to respond to the umbilical cord being wrapped around the baby’s neck
  • The possible delay of a caesarean section
  • Missing signs of foetal distress such as meconium

Temple ATE insurance – peace of mind for you and your client

If breach and causation are established, the instruction of experts to establish quantum then follows. The cover we offer means you can be sure of our support, even though settlement may not be approved for many years.

The ATE insurance cover Temple offer can also include integrated disbursement funding to claimants for court fees, expert reports and mediator fees. This helps ‘unlock’ the claim and puts a claimant in the position of being able to pursue their claim.

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Your questions answered

What if I need more cover for my client’s birth injury case?

Our insurance cover provides a standard £30,000 for breach and causation reports along with an additional £250,000 for all other expenses; this is normally sufficient for the majority of cases. If additional cover is required, this can be provided as a ‘top up’.

When should I obtain ATE insurance for a birth injury case?

This should be as soon as you are able to assess the prospects of success –  normally following a full review of the medical records. However, due to the complex nature of these cases, an expert’s opinion on causation may be needed if there are any uncertainties.

I’ve incurred several disbursements on my client’s birth injury case, such as expert evidence prior to obtaining insurance, will these be covered under the policy?

Yes, disbursements incurred following the date of the CFA will be covered under the Temple ATE insurance policy.

Contact our experts

If you would like more information on ATE insurance and disbursement funding for your clinical Negligence or you have any other legal expenses insurance queries, please email matthew.best@temple-legal.co.uk or call me on 01483 514804. I look forward to hearing from you.

Matt Best

Matthew Best

Senior Underwriting Manager

Matthew Best

Matt has an insurance background and joined Temple in July 2011 having worked for 4 years in a leading insurance company where he was dealing with personal injury work.

Matt’s experience allows him to undertake a key role in Temple's ATE insurance personal injury and clinical negligence teams. He also participates in the assessments of delegated schemes that Temple provide with the objective of helping our customers make the most beneficial and appropriate use of ATE insurance.

He has started studying for this CII exams which he will sit in the near future, which he will then use to develop himself, further into the company in order to provide Temple’s customers with the excellent service they expect.

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