Applying the Law of Negligence

John Seymour

in Childbirth and the Law

Published in print July 2000 | ISBN: 9780198264682
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682759 | DOI:
Applying the Law of Negligence

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Chapters 4 to 7 examined a variety of situations in which doctors and midwives are liable to damages claims arising from antenatal or perinatal negligence. In dealing with these claims, courts have sought to resolve special problems associated with the application of negligence law in the field of obstetrics. This chapter examines some of these problems. The most distinctive feature of this area of law is that the negligent treatment of a pregnant woman can result in liability not only to her, but also to her child. It is the liability to the child that is problematic. A doctor or midwife who cares for a pregnant woman is in a legal relationship with her, but a second legal relationship may also be present or later materialize. When providing care, a practitioner must therefore be aware of the existence of a potential plaintiff whose demand for compensation might subsequently have to be acknowledged. Further, the liability to this potential plaintiff will frequently be substantial. In a large number of the cases arising from antenatal negligence, the harm suffered by the woman has been insignificant compared with that suffered by the child.

Keywords: negligence; obstetrics; pregnant woman; liability; child; compensation

Chapter.  19383 words. 

Subjects: Medical and Healthcare Law

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