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Mother Birthing

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Joseph the solicitor who spoke with me, was very polite, caring and actually listened to me which is rare for a solicitor to do. He explained everything to me so that I could understand him.

- Karen Bemrose

Polite and friendly.

I just want to say how grateful I am for Carol to be helping me and fighting by my side. She was really polite and friendly which made me feel very at ease and very comfortable to go ahead with this claim. Thank you so much.

- Jack David

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The experts in Medical Negligence Claims

Oakwood Solicitors Ltd’s specialist Medical Negligence department has an in-house team of solicitors and legal professionals dedicated solely to this area of law.

With over 30 years of combined experience, we are dedicated to assisting clients who have suffered physically, mentally, and financially as a result of negligent medical treatment.

The specialist team pursues an array of medical negligence claims ranging from prescription errors and misdiagnosis to complex birthing injury and spinal claims and everything else in between.

What is a mother birthing injury?

Injuries to Mothers arise during the pregnancy itself or as a result of child birth. These injuries can be a natural part of having a baby however, some birth injuries are avoidable and take place during labour or delivery.

These injuries have a profound impact upon the Mother’s every day life, ability to enjoy social and recreational activities and can often have long term and even life long effects.

Common types of birth injuries to Mothers:

  • Vaginal tears during birth
  • Post partum haemorrhage
  • Post natal depression and post traumatic stress disorder
  • Retained placenta

If you feel that you have suffered a birth related injury or that your pregnancy, labour or delivery has been mismanaged or mistakes have occurred, please contact us to discuss your possible medical negligence case.

Vaginal tears

Many women experience vaginal tears during delivery. Sometimes this is a natural consequence of child birth and they quickly heal however, sometimes these tears are avoidable and are serious which causes a prolonged recovery period and healing time, as well as causing long term effects on the mother.

First degree tears: These heal quickly naturally or may require a few stitches. These are skin-deep and only affect the outer layer of the skin around the vagina and perineum however the sphincter muscles remains intact.

Second degree tears: These usually require stitches to aid healing and involve a deeper tear which includes the muscles of the vagina and skin also around the perineum.

Third and fourth degree tears: These are more serious tears which involve a deeper tear affecting the sphincter.


There are various factors which affect the likelihood of a woman sustaining a tear during child birth. These can include the position of the baby during delivery eg if the shoulder becomes stuck, if this is a first vaginal delivery, if the baby is considered to be a larger baby and also whether the labour is prolonged, induced or whether instruments are required to assist with delivery.

Midwives often perform an episiotomy which is a small cut to assist and expedite the delivery of the baby. This reduced the risk of tearing and provides greater room for the baby to deliver.

An episiotomy is only performed where there is a medical need such as the use of instruments to deliver the baby or where there are concerns with the health of baby or Mother and delivery therefore needs to be expedited to ensure safe arrival.

Following the delivery of the baby, midwives should be alert and identify if a tear has occurred to ensure that appropriate medical treatment is provided to the Mother. Often, vaginal tears are unnoticed and the Mother does not therefore receive the appropriate treatment to allow the tear to heal properly.

This can result in complications such as prolonged and painful healing of the tear, incontinence, pain on passing urine and during sexual intercourse, scarring and rectovaginal fistulas (where a hole occurs in the wall between the vagina and anus.)

This can lead to further treatment such as a repair surgery or else other ways of managing symptoms which would have otherwise been avoidable, had the tear been identified and managed appropriately at birth.

If you feel you have experienced any of the above, please contact the Clinical Negligence team at Oakwood Solicitors who will be able to advise in respect of a claim.

Who can bring about a claim?

The victim of the negligence can bring about a claim in their own right. However, it may sadly be the case that the victim is no longer able to bring about a claim or has passed. In such circumstances a claim can be brought about the executor of the estate or authorised person.

For further information about whether you are able to bring about a claim, please contact the medical negligence team who will be able to advise further.

How long do I have to claim?

Claims of this nature are subject to a three year limitation period. This means that claims have to be commenced within the Courts in three years of rather the date the negligent act occurred or the date you became aware that negligence had occurred.

In cases involving deceased victims this limitation period commences from the date of death and in cases involving minors, the limitation period starts when they reach their 18th Birthday.

The law surrounding limitation periods is complex, our specialist team will be able to advise further.

Frequently asked Questions

How long will my case take to run?

Given the complexities involved in pursuing Clinical Negligence claims, they can often take 12-18 months to conclude and longer if Court proceedings have to be issued.

Our investigations start by obtaining all relevant records and protocols before approaching the Defendants in claims of this nature. Dependent upon the injury suffered, independent medical experts may need to be consulted. We will provide you with regular updates on the progress of your case to ensure that you are kept up to speed.

How much is my claim worth?

It is often difficult to value clinical negligence claims at their outset given the complexities involved however we will pursue two forms of compensation for you:

  1. Firstly we will pursue compensation known as general damages – this is an award of money for the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of the negligence.
  2. Secondly we will pursue compensation known as special damages – this is an award of money for all of your out of pocket expenses such as travel expenses, medication costs, loss of earnings, treatment costs both past and future. This list is not exhaustive and is very case specific.

How is my case funded?

The majority of Clinical Negligence cases are funded by a Conditional Fee Agreement, more commonly known as a ‘no-win, no-fee’ agreement. This means that there will be nothing to pay up front and nothing to pay if the claim has been lost.

If you are successful in your claim a deduction of 25% of damages will be taken to cover the success fee and the shortfall in legal fees.

It may also be the case that an After The Event (ATE) insurance policy will be obtained to cover the costs of expensive medical reports and investigations. If an ATE insurance policy has to be obtained the cost of the same will be discussed with you at the appropriate point.

The cost of the ATE insurance policy is again taken from your damages and only payable if you are successful with your claim.

Why should I choose Oakwood Solicitors Ltd?

We have a dedicated team of solicitors and paralegals who have many years’ experience between them in running cases of this nature. They are highly trained to deal with all aspects of clinical and medical negligence.

Oakwood Solicitors Ltd wishes to ensure that clients are not overwhelmed by legal jargon or medical terms that they don’t understand and aims to allow the claims procedure to be as transparent as possible.

What do I do now?

If you believe or feel you have a claim, contact us for a no-obligation consultation regarding your options:

carol cook
Carol Cook — Head of Medical Negligence Department

Carol joined Oakwood Solicitors in May 2017 to lead the Medical Negligence department. She handles a wide range of Clinical and Dental Negligence claims and has a specialist interest in Birth Injuries.

Carol has years of experience in handling complex clinical and Dental Negligence claims securing substantial amounts of damages for her clients. Carol studied her law degree (LLB honours) at Salford University.



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