Paediatric Negligence Claims
Has your child suffered as a result of the negligence of healthcare providers?
Paediatric negligence is not limited to paediatricians but can occur with any medically-trained professional.
When children and infants can not communicate like adults, taking time and care when assessing and diagnosing issues becomes increasingly important.
In saying that, medical negligence in children can be complex, covering a wide and varied range of claims.
What can paediatric claims cover?
Paediatric claims encompass any form of negligent treatment of a child or infant.
Common paediatric claims include:
- Missed and delayed diagnosis, including meningitis, septicaemia, tuberculosis and hip dysplasia
- Surgical errors
- Wrongful medication and incorrect dosage
- Birth injuries (including cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy)
- Cerebral palsy or Erb's palsy
- Failure to diagnose and treat asthmatic attacks or chronic illnesses
- Failure to correctly identify and treat fractures, leading to long-term consequences
- Complications from tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy
- Improper treatment of leukaemia
Many cases of medical negligence come from errors during the birthing process, which should never have occurred.
This may relate to the baby not being given enough oxygen or becoming injured through the forceful use of forceps or ventouse.
Who can be to blame for medical negligence involving children?
Paediatric negligence is not restricted to negligence by a paediatrician but may include any medical professional caring for a child.
This extends to nurses, general practitioners, surgeons, an obstetrician or any healthcare provider who is responsible for your child's health.
Regardless of the negligent medical professional, if your child has suffered due to negligent treatment, you are entitled to pursue a claim.
Can I bring a medical negligence claim on behalf of my child?
When child negligence has occurred, it can be confusing to understand how best to proceed.
It's important to note that a child may have a "litigation friend" for the purpose of the claim, who is usually a parent and acts on the child's behalf and in their best interest.
Although the majority of medical negligence claims must be brought to the Court within three years, this does not apply for claims involving children.
There is no time limit to bring a claim about on behalf of a child as their litigation friend, however, the standard three-year limit will commence on their 18th birthday (assuming they have the mental capacity to do so).
In some circumstances, the victim of negligence lacks the mental capacity to instruct a claim and, in this case, there are no time limits applies.
Support through your paediatric negligence claim
Medical negligence relating to children tend to have a far more drastic impact compared to adults, as they're still in their formative years and remain vulnerable.
This means that damage or injuries sustained as a result of negligence can inhibit their development, leading to a more severe outcome than if they were an adult.
Illness and injury are also more difficult to diagnose as children and infants are often unable to communicate what they're thinking and feeling.
For these reasons, sufficient time and care should be taken when treating this demographic.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case and doctors providing a sub-standard service can result in very serious repercussions such as permanent disability.
Choose expert medical negligence solicitors
We understand that the process of pursuing a medical negligence claim is complex and daunting, but our team have a wealth of healthcare experience and legal expertise to support you every step of the way.
We can help you and your child through this complicated process, taking a caring and compassionate approach to your unique circumstances.
We'll do everything in our power to ensure you receive the compensation necessary to cover the pain and suffering of your child, as well as providing support for any future care and rehabilitation needs that may be required.
Get in touch to share your situation with the legal experts and find out how we can help you.
Frequently asked questions
Who can bring a claim on behalf of a child?
Children under the age of 18 cannot bring a claim because they are too young. Instead, an adult who is their parent or guardian can bring a claim on their behalf. The time limit for a pediatric claim is applied slightly differently, because the 3 year rule only applies from when they turn 18. This means a claim can be started at any time following the injury, or the date from which the injury has been discovered prior to the child turning 18.
How is compensation paid for my child’s injuries?
The amount of compensation paid for your child’s injuries has to be approved by the court. This happens regardless of whether or not the defendant responsible for your child’s injury admits liability. The compensation is paid into what is called a Special Investment Account and is paid out when the child reaches the age of 18. In some cases, usually those in which the child’s care needs are complex, payments can be released before they turn 18 to help cover care and rehabilitation costs.