Compensation for a Neonatal Death
Claiming compensation for a neonatal death – or making a claim for a perinatal death – is often the only way in which parents can find out why their child died so soon after their birth, and if anything could have been done to prevent it.
Many of the risk factors associated with neonatal and perinatal deaths can be identified in advance of childbirth. If the death of your child could have been avoided with a better standard of care, it may be possible for you to claim compensation for a neonatal death due to medical negligence.
In order to establish whether medical negligence was attributable for your child´s death, your solicitor will request you permission to have your medical records reviewed by an independent expert. If the expert finds evidence of a standard of care that is below that generally accepted by the medical community, you will be able to claim for a perinatal death.
Making a Claim for a Perinatal Death
One evidence of medical negligence is identified, your solicitor will use it to support a “Letter of Claim” to the NHS Trust responsible for your care and the care of your child during its short life. The letter simply informs the NHS Trust that you are claiming compensation for a neonatal death and explain the reasons why.
The NHS Trust has ninety days in which to conduct its own investigation and reply to your solicitor with either an acknowledgement of liability or a denial of your claim. If liability for your child´s death is accepted, your solicitor will enter into negotiations with the NHS Litigation Authority to recover your maximum entitlement to compensation for a neonatal death.
If liability is denied, your solicitor will discuss the option of issuing court proceedings with you. This does not necessarily mean that you will have to publicly relive the trauma of your child´s death at a full court hearing. Many claims for compensation for a neonatal death are resolved “out-of-court”, and your solicitor will want to spare you that experience wherever possible.
Settlements of Compensation for a Neonatal Death
Settlements of compensation for a neonatal death depend on a number of factors. Parents are entitled to claim compensation for their “Bereavement” – which currently stands at £12,980 in England and Wales – plus compensation for any psychological injury that has been sustained and any verifiable costs that have been incurred.
Compensation for a psychological injury can be difficult to evaluate, and your solicitor will ask you to undergo an examination by a psychiatrist in order to identify any emotional consequences of your child´s tragic death. As you can imagine, this can be an unpleasant experience for everybody involved, and your solicitor will only ask you to undergo an examination when you feel you are ready to do so.
Legal Advice about Childbirth Deaths due to Medical Negligence
In many cases, neonatal and perinatal deaths may not have been avoided under any circumstances. However, it is often necessary to make a claim for a perinatal death just to get an explanation of how and why your child died.
If you would like legal advice about claiming compensation for a neonatal death, you are invited to call our Freephone legal guidance service and discuss the circumstances of your child´s death with an experienced medical negligence solicitor.
Our solicitor may not be able to advise you immediately whether you have a claim for a perinatal death that may be worth your while to pursue, but he or she will be able to guide you through the processes of instigating an investigation into the death of your child and initiating a claim.
Please note that all calls to our Freephone legal guidance service are completely confidential. Furthermore you are not under any obligation to proceed with a claim for a perinatal death just by contacting us.