How To Claim For Harm Caused By Being Starved Of Oxygen At Birth

By Marlon Marquardt. Last Updated 13th January 2023. In this guide, we will look at the circumstances in which you can claim compensation because your baby has been starved of oxygen at birth. In order to claim, the incident would need to have happened because of medical negligence. We will take a closer look at what this means later in this guide. 

starved of oxygen at birth

Starved of oxygen at birth claims guide

We will also answer questions such as, “what disability is caused by a lack of oxygen at birth?” and “can a lack of oxygen at birth cause developmental delays?”. Furthermore, we will look at how much compensation could be awarded in these circumstances. 

If you have any questions about claiming for medical negligence or clinical negligence, please refer to our team of professional and experienced advisors. They offer free legal advice and can be contacted 24/7. Furthermore, they can also put you through to our panel of No Win No Fee solicitors who can help you seek compensation if your baby has been starved of oxygen because of substandard medical care. 

Contact us at a time that suits you using the details below:

  • Call us on 0800 408 7825
  • Contact us through our website. 
  • Please write to us using the Live Chat window. 

Please read on to learn more about how you can claim for your child being starved of oxygen at birth. 

Select A Section

  1. What Could Cause A Baby To Be Starved Of Oxygen At Birth?
  2. Symptoms Of Being Starved Of Oxygen At Birth
  3. What Causes Birth Asphyxia?
  4. Traumatic Birth Compensation – How Long You Have To Claim
  5. How To Prove Negligent Medical Care
  6. Traumatic Birth Compensation Examples 2022
  7. Deprived Of Oxygen At Birth – Claim With A No Win No Fee Lawyer
  8. Helpful Links

What Could Cause A Baby To Be Starved Of Oxygen At Birth?

Hypoxic-ischemia is when your baby is starved of oxygen or blood flow during the birthing process. This can be called birth asphyxia and can develop into hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE). We will explain the symptoms and potential causes of this further down the article. 

While these injuries can be very distressing and difficult to deal with, it’s important to understand that you can only claim compensation if the injuries were caused by a breach of duty of care. Whether they work for the NHS or a private healthcare organisation, all medical professionals have a duty of care towards their patients. 

This duty of care means that they need to treat every patient to the best of their ability. In order to claim, you need to show that the level of care fell below the minimum required standard of care expected from their profession. 

If you’re claiming because your baby has been starved of oxygen at birth, peers of the medical professional may review what took place as part of the claims process. This is called the Bolam Test. If they decide that the medical professional’s actions were below the required standard of care, you could receive compensation. 

To learn more about this or if you have any other questions or queries about the claims process, please get in touch with our team of advisors for free legal advice. They can tell you if you’re eligible to claim and even provide you with a compensation estimate. Contact them at a time that suits you using the details above. 

What is the impact of a lack of oxygen at birth?

You may want to claim if your baby is suffering from hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy because of the potential long-term or permanent issues that can be caused by it. Problems with the placenta during the birthing process can lead to many different types of issues due to the complex nature of the brain. 

Examples of conditions that have been connected with being starved of oxygen at birth include:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • ADD
  • ADHD
  • Autism
  • Behavioural disorders
  • Seizures
  • Epilepsy
  • Blindness
  • Impaired vision

This isn’t an exhaustive list of potential complications. If your child suffers from other conditions due to a birthing injury that was caused by medical negligence, you may be able to claim. 

Symptoms Of Being Starved Of Oxygen At Birth

Your child being starved of oxygen at birth can lead to hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy. However, this can vary in severity and is categorised into three separate groups. They are: 

  • Grade 1 (mild HIE) – The baby could demonstrate hyper-awareness, have difficulty sleeping or feeding and be irritable in particular cases. This can be difficult to diagnose. 
  • Grade 2 (moderate HIE) – Signs of brain damage are more pronounced in this category and can include lack of energy or movement, reduced muscle tone and clinical seizures. 
  • Grade 3 (severe HIE) – In the most severe cases of HIE, characteristics can include low heartbeat, an inability to breathe independently and minimal response to stimulation, and the other symptoms already mentioned.

If you would like free legal advice about claiming for harm caused to your baby by medical negligence, get in touch. One of our friendly and helpful advisors could connect you with a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel.

What Causes Birth Asphyxia?

It’s important to remember that both you and your baby could be affected by medical negligence. You and your baby’s wellbeings are intrinsically linked during the birthing process. Therefore, it isn’t just the baby’s condition you can claim compensation for, but any negative impacts you’ve also experienced due to medical negligence.

For example, if your baby is injured in childbirth because of negligence, this could result in a traumatic birth. This could leave you with psychological injuries as well as physical injuries that affect your child. 

Your baby could be starved of oxygen at birth for various reasons. For instance, preeclampsia and eclampsia can lead to you suffering from high blood pressure. 

If you’re suffering from either of these conditions, they should be identified at a check-up appointment. If they aren’t monitored correctly by medical staff, it could cause birthing complications that ultimately could have been avoided if the right level of care had been administered.  

How could birth asphyxia occur?

Other potential causes of birth asphyxia include:

  • Trauma in utero trauma you’ve experienced while carrying the baby can threaten your child’s blood supply. 
  • Problems with the placenta – the placenta could separate too early from the uterus, resulting in the baby being starved of oxygen. 
  • Umbilical cord problems – the umbilical cord could prolapse during or before birth. 
  • Shoulder dystocia – this is caused by the baby’s shoulders becoming stuck during the birthing process.  

These conditions could be caused by the negligence of a healthcare provider. Alternatively, they may have been missed because of medical negligence, causing them to progress more than they would have if the right care had been delivered. If this is the case, you may be able to claim.

You can also claim for any injuries caused to either you or your baby during the birthing process as the result of negligence. For example, misuse of medical equipment or being mishandled during the process could result in you suffering a serious injury, such as a fractured hip or a minor brain injury

Traumatic Birth Compensation – How Long You Have To Claim

Under the Limitation Act 1980, you are generally expected to have started a medical negligence claim within three years of the date when the negligence took place. However, this time limit would be more applicable to a claim for a mother (over the age of 18) who has been affected by a traumatic birth, rather than one for the child as claims for minors have different time limits, which we’ll explain shortly.

Additionally, if the mother only became aware of their own injuries, or the cause of their injuries, at a later date, they may be able to argue that the limitation period for claiming traumatic birth compensation doesn’t begin until that point. This is known as the “date of knowledge”.

If a claim is for a minor, then their claim will not face a time limit until they turn 18. A claim can be started at any point during this period by appointing a litigation friend to represent them. When the minor in question turns 18, they will be able to start a claim for themselves, and their time limit to do so will be three years, ending on their 21st birthday.

The minor’s mental state will also be taken into account. If they are mentally incapable of representing themselves due to the likes of oxygen deprivation at birth, then their time limit will be indefinitely suspended, going beyond their 18th birthday. A claim can be started on their behalf at any point by a litigation friend. A similar exception will also be made for mothers of any age who lack the mental capacity to start a claim for themselves.

If your child was affected by a lack of oxygen at their birth due to medical negligence, please reach out to us to learn more about a potential claim. We offer a free case check to everyone who calls and impose no obligation to proceed with a claim.

How To Prove Negligent Medical Care

You may be claiming because your baby suffers from behavioural disorders, cerebral palsy or clinical seizures due to a lack of oxygen caused by medical negligence. Every case shares a common feature: you need evidence to prove this.

Evidence you could use in support of your claim includes:

  • Medical evidence, such as scans and notes. 
  • Witness details so that a statement can be taken at a later point.
  • A list of your and your baby’s treatments. 
  • Photographic evidence of the injury if possible. 

For more information on the evidence you could provide in support of your claim, speak to one of our friendly and helpful advisors today. You could be connected with a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel to work on your claim.

Traumatic Birth Compensation Examples 2022

If your child was deprived of oxygen at birth, this could lead to developmental issues of both a physical and intellectual nature. You could make a claim for injuries that fall into either of these categories if they were caused by medical negligence.

In order for legal professionals to calculate an appropriate amount for the injuries sustained, they often make use of helpful resources such as medical evidence. They will also turn to a publication called the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). Last updated in 2022, the JCG contains figures relating to general damages payments for past court cases. General damages is the name for the amount awarded for your pain and suffering.

The figures from the table below have been taken from the JCG. You can use them to give you a rough idea as to the value of your claim. However, your own unique circumstances are likely to affect the amount awarded. You’ll need your claim personally valued in order to receive a more accurate figure.

Injury TypeSeverityCompensation Amount
BrainModerately Severe£219,070 to £282,010
BrainModerate (i)£150,110 to £219,070
BrainModerate (ii)£90,720 to £150,110
BrainModerate (iii)£43,060 to £90,720
Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderModerately Severe£23,150 to £59,860
Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderModerate£8,180 to £23,150
Psychiatric Damage GenerallyModerate£5,860 to £19,070
Psychiatric Damage GenerallyLess Severe£3,950 to £8,180
ShoulderSevere£19,200 to £48,030
ShoulderSerious£12,770 to £19,200

Starved Of Oxygen At Birth – Other Compensation Examples

Compensation payments for those harmed due to being deprived of oxygen at birth may include special damages in addition to the payments for pain and suffering under general damages. Payments under special damages aim to compensate claimants for any expenses or financial losses which can be directly attributed to the injuries they are claiming for.

While all successful medical negligence claims for injuries due to oxygen deprivation at birth will include a payout for general damages, you can only claim special damages if you have experienced some form of financial loss.

Examples of what may be covered under special damages includes:

  • The cost of adjustments to your house or special equipment for mobility which is needed due to the injuries.
  • Loss of income or earning capacity due to your injuries.
  • Costs of certain treatments such as physiotherapy.
  • Transportation costs.

Deprived Of Oxygen At Birth – Claim With A No Win No Fee Lawyer

You may be concerned about the costs of hiring a solicitor. However, all of the solicitors we work with can offer their clients a No Win No Fee deal. What this means is that they take a percentage from your settlement if your claim succeeds. The percentage they are permitted to take is capped by law. If your claim fails, then you are not required to pay your solicitor.

To find out more about working with the No Win No Fee lawyers on our panel for a claim relating to your child being starved of oxygen at birth, get in touch with our advisors today.

Helpful Links

Please use the links below for further information and guidance. 

More HIE information for parents can be found in this NHS guide. 

You can also complain to the NHS separately before or during a claim. To learn more about this, please visit their website. 

Please read this for more guidance about babies being born with serious health conditions

Would you like more information about how long a medical negligence case can take? If so, please refer to our website. 

Want to know more about how No Win No Fee claims work? If so, view this. 

Check out more of our guides below:

If you’d still like more information about claiming compensation after your baby has been starved of oxygen at birth, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at a time that works for you using the details above. 

Guide by AU

Publisher ET