If you have sustained a perineal tear while giving birth to your child, are you entitled to claim compensation for the damages you have incurred?
Can I claim for a birth injury?
Perineal tears can happen during a vaginal delivery. Some women will not suffer any sort of injury, some will sustain a relatively minor laceration (a first or second degree tear), while some will experience a severe tear that extends into the anal sphincters (a third or fourth degree tear).
It is difficult to tell who will sustain a tear, although women are more at risk if they have a larger than average baby, have an assisted delivery or an epidural. If a tear does occur, there is not normally a case of negligence. Perineal tears are a risk of childbirth and cannot be prevented; medical professionals cannot therefore be blamed.
What about third degree tear claims?
However, there are times when a third degree tear or a fourth degree tear will end in a medical negligence claim. Such claims do not normally relate to the fact the tear happened; rather, 3rd/4th degree tear claims relate to the fact that the injury was not diagnosed and repaired.
Although this sounds unlikely, we have helped many women who suffered a severe tear, and yet this went unnoticed by medical practitioners. Ordinarily this is because an examination was not carried out after the delivery, or because the examination was carried out by an incompetent practitioner.
If a third or fourth degree tear is not diagnosed and repaired shortly after the birth, there will be grounds for a medical negligence claim.
Can I claim?
If you suspect that you have been the victim of medical negligence, you need to speak to a solicitor. It is best not to delay as claims must be brought before the courts within three years of the event. This means you have three years to bring a claim, starting from the date you gave birth (and suffered the tear).
When you contact a solicitor, you will be asked about the injury you have sustained and the impact this has had on your life. You will then be advised whether or not you are able to pursue a claim. If so, your solicitor will begin the claims process, handling the entire claim on your behalf.
To talk to a solicitor about a medical negligence claim, please get in touch with us today.