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What Causes PVL?

Periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) commonly occurs between 28 and 34 weeks gestation, it is normally seen in premature babies, but we have had cases where it has also been caused at term. And just because a baby is born prematurely, it does not mean that PVL is inevitable.

The two main causes of PVL are hypoxia – a reduction of oxygen in the blood supply to the brain – and infection. In pregnancy and labour, there are a number of events that can cause hypoxia, and a number of infections that can present in both mother and baby, such as Group B Strep (GBS) or chorioamnionitis (infection of the placental membranes).

Hypoxia and infection can also happen during the neonatal period and lead to PVL if not treated appropriately.

When does a claim arise?

If there were signs that a baby was suffering from hypoxia in the womb, such as an abnormal heart rate, and these were not acted upon by midwives or doctors before damage to the brain occurred, there may be a claim for clinical negligence.

Equally, if there were signs that the mother or baby was suffering from an infection and this was not treated with the appropriate antibiotics and care, there may also be grounds for a claim.

Our specialist team

We pride ourselves on being experts in brain injury and birth injury claims, having obtained compensation for many children suffering with disabilities caused by PVL and helping to change their lives for the better. We don’t shy away from difficult cases, so even if you have been turned down by another firm, contact us to see if we can help. We also have a dedicated brain injury website that provides a lot more information on the work we do to help those living with brain injury.


Charlie’s Story: Periventricular Leukomalacia
Frequently asked questions
How long will my claim take?

All claims are different and this depends upon when a final prognosis is known and a claim can be valued.

Once we obtain an admission of liability in your case we can request an immediate payment to help with your needs and put support in place.

What will the first steps be?

We will discuss your circumstances at a time and place to suit you – in person, at your home or on the telephone. We can request your medical records at the outset free of charge. Once we have reviewed your records we can advise you further and appoint suitable experts to provide their opinion on your potential claim.

Will I have to go to court?

Medical negligence claims rarely go to court, with only a small percentage of the more complex cases ending up there. However, in the unlikely event that your case reaches court, we will be by your side throughout the process.


When will be damages be paid?

As soon as we possibly can, we will obtain an early payment for you to support any immediate financial needs you have. This can help you obtain care, therapy, accommodation and rehabilitation. The sooner you investigate a potential claim the sooner an early payment can be made if you are successful.


What can I claim for?

The aim of compensation is to put you in the financial position you would have been in had it not been for the injury/negligence in question. We recognise that this is sometimes impossible, but we can work with you and the best experts to ensure all your needs are assessed and costed to help you transform your life for the better, and to give you financial security for the future.


How much is my claim worth?

It is difficult to advise upon the value of your claim at the outset given the complexity of the issues involved. However, if you have sustained a life changing injury then damages are likely to be substantial. Once the correct expert evidence is obtained and when a final prognosis is known we can advise you further. Our role is to maximise the compensation you receive and we specialise in doing so.

Are there any time limits to pursue a claim?

It is important to pursue your claim as quickly as possible due to time limits and to also enable us to help you obtain compensation as soon as possible. This is especially the case in complex cases as the process can be lengthy.

You have to start your claim within 3-years (limitation period) from when the injury occurred or when you first became aware of any potential negligence or injury as a result. However, the time limit only begins when a child reaches 18 years of age.

For someone who lacks capacity to pursue any litigation, the 3-year time period may never start to run although capacity can return or be intermittent.

You should always seek legal advice upon the relevant limitation period in your circumstances.


Will my claim be reported in the press?

We will always respect your right to privacy wherever possible. Sometimes, clients want details of any settlement to be made public or there may be publicity surrounding the case in certain circumstances. If this occurs we can support you in managing any contact with the media to ensure you are in control of any publicity that occurs.


Related Specialism

Private: HIE

Related Specialism

Erb’s palsy

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