Cerebral Palsy Victim Recovers In Excess of
£5 Million Medical Negligence Compensation

Mr B, aged 23 at the date of settlement, was born following a difficult labour and delivery.

Mr B suffered a period of severe and prolonged oxygen deprivation during his birth which resulted in him sustaining permanent brain damage. Mr B has severe dystonic-athetoid cerebral palsy. He is wheelchair dependant and reliant upon others for all aspects of his daily life.

Mr B’s parents did not consider pursuing a claim against the Hospital for many years as their main concern was their son’s health and well-being and their time was completely taken up with ensuring that they provided him with the best quality of life that was possible. However, when Mr B was aged 15, his parents realised that they would not always be able to care for their son in the future and they needed to make plans to ensure that he was properly cared for. Mr B was eligible for Public Funding (Legal Aid) and a Certificate of Public Funding was obtained to cover the cost of the investigation of his claim.

A request was made for disclosure of the obstetric records relating to Mr B’s birth. However, the Defendant Hospital advised that all of these records had been lost or destroyed at an earlier stage. Despite extensive enquiries being undertaken, it was impossible to locate the records.

It is often impossible to pursue a claim if the relevant medical records are missing, but despite this enormous difficulty, our expert medical negligence Solicitor was able to find sufficient evidence to persuade a number of independent medical experts to support Mr B’s claim.

The Defendant Hospital initially denied liability and it was necessary to commence Court proceedings. However, after the proceedings were served the Defendant Hospital entered into early negotiations with a view to resolving the liability issues and an agreement was reached which compromised the liability issues on the basis of an apportionment of liability of 85:15 in Mr B’s favour. This meant that Mr B would recover 85% of the value of his claim as agreed between the parties or awarded by the Court.

As Mr B did not have the mental capacity to manage his own affairs, an Application was made to the Court of Protection and his mother was appointed his Receiver.

As Mr B was a patient of the Court of Protection, it was necessary to obtain the approval of a High Court Judge to the proposed apportionment of liability. At the hearing, the Judge indicated that he was very happy to approve the apportionment which had been agreed.

As soon as the settlement in relation to the liability issues had been approved by the Court, an Interim Payment of Damages in the sum of £500,000 was obtained for Mr B which enabled his parents to purchase an alternative property which could be adapted and extended to properly provide for his long-term needs. It also enabled a Case Manager to be appointed and carers to be employed to take over Mr B’s care from his parents who had provided it throughout his life. Thereafter, a detailed investigation was undertaken to value Mr B’s claim. This involved the instruction of a large number of experts to advise on different aspects of the claim, such as Mr B’s needs for care, aids and appliances and accommodation, as well as his needs for therapies and the provision of technology. A very detailed Schedule of Mr B's losses and expenses was served and following service of a Counter-Schedule by the Defendant, negotiations were undertaken which resulted in a settlement being reached.

It was agreed that Mr B’s claim would be valued in the sum of £5,705,000. After making a reduction of 15% to take account of the agreed apportionment of liability, it was agreed that Mr B was entitled to receive a sum of £4,849,250.

At this point, further investigation was undertaken to determine whether it was appropriate for Mr B to receive the agreed damages in the form of a single lump sum payment, or whether he should receive a smaller lump sum payment together with annual periodical payments for the remainder of his life. After a detailed investigation, instructions were received from Mr B’s parents to accept the offer to pay a single lump sum payment.

It was again necessary to have the terms of the Agreement approved by the High Court. At the Hearing, the Judge confirmed that he was very happy to approve the Agreement which would undoubtedly provide for Mr B’s future.

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