Compensation for Facial Paralysis during Birth
If, during the delivery of your child, he or she suffers nerve damage to their face, or sustains an injury that results in a permanent visible scar, you may be able to claim compensation for facial paralysis during birth on your child´s behalf. Facial paralysis – whether permanent or temporary – is known in the medical world as Bell´s Palsy, and it is often caused by the misuse of forceps or other delivery-assisting tools.
If the forceps or other delivery-assisting tools are used inappropriately or with excessive force, the medical professional responsible for harming your child is considered to have been negligent. Even though treatments exist to reverse the effects of facial paralysis, it will still be possible to make a compensation claim for Bell´s Palsy against the NHS Trust responsible for the standard of care at the hospital where your child was born.
Proof of negligence will be required to support a claim for Bell´s Palsy and, in order to establish that a medical practitioner failed in their duty to provide an acceptable standard of care, your solicitor will engage the services of an independent medical expert. The expert will investigate the circumstances of your child´s birth and, once negligence is established, you will be able to claim compensation for facial paralysis during birth on your child´s behalf.
Making a Compensation Claim for Bell´s Palsy
The process of making a compensation claim for Bell´s Palsy starts with your solicitor sending a “Letter of Claim” to the relevant NHS Trust. The NHS Trust has ninety days to conduct an investigation into the standard of care you and your child received and either accept liability for your child´s facial injuries or contest your claim. When liability is accepted, your solicitor will negotiate an appropriate settlement of compensation for facial paralysis during birth with the NHS Litigation Authority.
If your compensation claim for Bell´s Palsy is contested, your solicitor will weigh up the strength of the NHS Trust´s defence against your claim and advise you of your options. It may be the case that your solicitor will recommend that court proceedings should be issued. The issuing of court proceedings does not necessarily mean that you will have to endure a court hearing to settle your claim. Settlements of compensation for facial paralysis during birth are often negotiated once a court date is scheduled.
Once a settlement is agreed you will have to attend court for a brief hearing. This is because the settlement of hospital negligence claims made on behalf of a child have to be approved by a judge to ensure that they are in the best interests of your child. This is usually a straightforward hearing, during which you are likely to receive an apology from the NHS Trust for the breach in the duty of care which resulted in your child´s injuries.
How Much Compensation for Facial Paralysis during Birth?
How much compensation for facial paralysis during birth your child will be entitled to will depend on the extent and permanence of his or her injury. Your child´s physical pain and suffering during their delivery is likely to represent a significant part of the settlement – and consideration will be given to whether the facial disfigurement or scar is likely to be permanent and the effect this will have on their emotional wellbeing.
The significance of a permanent facial disfigurement or scar is that your child may grow up to have confidence issues and the quality of their life may decrease as a result. It might also be the case that their physical appearance handicaps them later in life when they develop social circles or apply for a job. Your solicitor will account for these factors if necessary when calculating how much your child´s claim for Bell´s Palsy should be settled for.
Claims for compensation for facial paralysis during birth should also account for any secondary injury sustained by a parent if they experience difficulty bonding with their child. It may be the case that you have suffered some degree of emotional trauma when your child was born, and one of the primary reasons for claiming compensation for facial paralysis during birth is so that the hospital improves its standard of care and so that other parents do not have to experience what you have.
Further Advice about Childbirth Injuries due to Hospital Negligence
If your child has suffered nerve damage to their face at birth, and you believe that their injury could have been avoided with greater care, you are invited to call our free legal guidance service and discuss the circumstances of your child´s birth with an experienced medical negligence solicitor.
Our solicitor will be able to answer any legal questions you may have about making a compensation claim for Bell´s Palsy and guide you through the processes of establishing negligence and making a claim against an NHS Trust as they apply in your child´s particular circumstances.
By using our service, you are not committing to making a claim for Bell´s Palsy compensation and all calls to our free legal guidance service are naturally confidential. Our aim is to explain your options to you in plain English, so that you are able to make an informed decision about whether you have a claim for compensation for facial paralysis during birth that may be worth your while to pursue.