A mother who drank heavily throughout pregnancy has come under fire in court after a claim for compensation was lodged by the local authority on behalf of the child, now seven years old. Her lawyers argued that due to foetal damage caused by alcohol, the child, who has developmental difficulties, should receive payments from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
The court of appeal heard that foetal damage caused by alcohol was ‘equivalent to an attempt at manslaughter’. The woman in question, who cannot be named, ignored advice from medical staff and social workers and the local authority now maintains her actions constitute a crime of poisoning.
The child’s mother began drinking at age 13 and was drinking heavily on a daily basis by the age of 17, as well as experimenting with drugs before she became pregnant at 18. She drank heavily whilst pregnant and John Foy QC, of the local authority, told the court, “She was drinking an enormous amount. It was, on her own account, half a bottle of vodka and eight cans of strong lager daily. That amounts to 40-57 units of alcohol a day. The [health] guidelines from Nice [the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence] are that 7.5 units may damage a foetus.”
Have you suffered foetal damage caused by alcohol?
Whether or not children will be able to claim against their mothers for foetal damage caused by alcohol remains open to debate. In the case of those claiming for babies who have died as a result, the case may be stronger, but some people say that if this was the case, claims against mothers for eating raw eggs or similar whilst pregnant would also be possible. However, if you or someone you know has been affected by heavy drinking in this way, it’s a good idea to seek advice from a personal injury lawyer, to see where you stand.
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There’s no need to feel pressured when you contact Accident Advice Helpline. We are here to offer confidential, no-obligation advice, so if you have any questions about the claims process or just want to discuss your situation in detail with a lawyer, we can help. We have been in the personal injury industry for 14 years and have dealt with a wide array of claims, so we won’t judge you. We are highly recommended by Esther Rantzen, for our excellent customer service. Call our freephone helpline day or night on 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile phone for free, no obligation legal advice about making a claim.