Judges often express amazement at the devoted care lavished upon disabled people by their loved ones. However, as one case showed, one of the most important things they can do is to ask a solicitor to explore the possibility of compensation.
The case concerned a now teenage boy who was starved of oxygen during his hospital delivery. Due to the damage caused to his brain, he suffers from severe cognitive impairment and learning difficulties. Save for a mild degree of clumsiness, he has almost no physical disabilities and loves playing football. He cannot, however, plan his life or manage many day-to-day tasks without constant adult support.
The boy’s family launched proceedings against the NHS trust that managed the hospital where he was born. The trust admitted full liability for his injuries and issued a public apology for the failings in care that caused them. Through its lawyers, the trust described the unstinting support given to him by his parents as nothing short of heroic.
Following negotiations, the trust agreed to a final settlement of his clinical negligence claim whereby he would receive a £5 million lump sum, together with annual, index-linked and tax-free payments to cover the costs of his care and case management for life. Those payments would start at £95,000 and rise to £145,000 when he reaches the age of 23.
In approving the settlement, the High Court paid tribute to the pragmatism and good sense of both sides in avoiding the need for a contested trial. The stand-out feature of the case was the parents’ commitment to their son and their obvious pride in his achievements. Their joy would, however, always be tempered by sadness at what he might otherwise have achieved.
Personal Injury Partner, Dino Skinner says, “Nothing can truly compensate for mistakes on the part of medical staff during a child’s birth that cause permanent damage to health. However, a financial settlement enables the family to achieve the best quality of life possible for their child, without the stress of money worries. Our specialist legal team is experienced in handling claims of this kind.”