Perineal tears

A perineal tear, which is a tear to the area between the vagina and the anus (perineum), can occur naturally during childbirth. But in some cases a doctor may administer a cut to this area to allow for the baby to pass through easier (episiotomy). This cut may naturally extend, which would be classed as a perineum tear.

If your doctor or midwife is negligent in their treatment of you during this process, or if the tear could have been prevented, you may be eligible to bring a medical negligence claim.

If you or a loved one have suffered unnecessarily due to a birth tear, we encourage you to get in touch with our medical negligence experts. You can call us free on 0808 164 0808, or request a call back, and we will contact you.

Reasons for perineal tear claims

There are many scenarios in which a mother may have grounds to bring a perineal tear claim. These include:

  • Misdiagnosing a perineal tear;
  • A delay in diagnosing a perineal tear;
  • Failing to administer treatment quickly after tearing;
  • Failing to inform the patient of the risks associated with episiotomies and perineal tears;
  • Failing to take steps during childbirth to mitigate the risk of vaginal tears;
  • Failing to acknowledge signs of infection or other symptoms.

Degrees of vaginal tears

There are four recognised “degrees” of tearing in terms of perineal tears. These are listed below:

1st degree perineal tear

These are the mildest vaginal tears, and are usually small and occur naturally. They usually heal naturally too and shouldn’t be cause for any treatment.

2nd degree perineal tear

While 1st degree perineal tears are only skin deep, 2nd degree are slightly more severe. These vaginal tears can go into the muscle inside the perineum, which would be cause for stitches.

3rd degree perineal tear

3rd degree perineal tears are larger and tend to extend to the anal sphincter. This type of perineal tear would require surgery.

4th degree perineal tear

These vaginal tears are the most severe and can extend into the anal canal and rectum. They require surgery to fix and usually involve internal and external stitches. 4th degree perineal tears are also most commonly associated with infections.

Making a perineal tear compensation claim

For any woman who suffers a vaginal tear, the after-effects can be serious on both a physical and psychological level. Vaginal tears can affect a woman’s lifestyle, her relationships, and her self-esteem.

Our medical negligence solicitors understand the detrimental effects of these kinds of injuries, and will work with you to secure compensation for the following:

  • Any loss of earnings as a result of suffering;
  • Costs for special damages such as travel and further treatments

The amount of compensation you receive will depend on your individual case. We will look at the nature of the negligence you suffered and the ongoing impact it has on your life.

Contact us today

We encourage you to contact us if you wish to talk about your situation. We know how emotional and distressing these cases can be, and will give you the legal support and guidance you need throughout your claim. Call us free on 0808 164 0808 or request a call back, and we will call you.


In general you have three years from the date of injury or reasonable knowledge of mistreatment by a healthcare professional causing you harm to bring a compensation claim. There are some exceptions to this rule for instance where the matter involves a child in which case the child has three years from the date of their 18th birthday to bring a claim, therefore expiring on the individual’s 21st birthday.

It is important to speak to a legal team as early as possible to avoid any issues with limitation dates.