Cardiff based Mooneerams solicitors, work in partnership with some of the best cerebral palsy solicitors in the country. Cerebral Palsy claims that arise as a result of medical negligence are complex and delicate cases. This is an area of the law where more than most others, obtaining expert legal advice and assistance is vital when pursuing a claim for compensation.
Where possible, Mooneerams cerebral palsy solicitor partners focus on obtaining an early admission of liability. From there they will seek to get an interim payment to meet the immediate care needs of the child, which in cerebral palsy cases can be considerable.
Our solicitor partners subscribe to the Rehabilitation Code of Practice which promotes collaboration between legal representatives to provide early use of rehabilitation in the compensation process.
A successful cerebral palsy claim can fund the necessary long term requirements of a child with cerebral palsy to ensure that all treatment, rehabilitation and care needs are met.
If your child has got cerebral palsy as a result of medical negligence, call Mooneerams solicitors on 029 2048 3615 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation with our expert medical negligence solicitor partners.
What is cerebral palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a type of brain injury.
It is thought that around 1/5th of all cerebral palsy cases are caused by poor management of the baby during the delivery period by healthcare professionals.
Doctors often refer to a newborn baby’s brain injury as Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE).
Cerebral Palsy is a movement disorder. It is caused by a child’s brain being damaged or when the brain develops some kind of abnormality. It only affects children up to 5 years of age. Adults do not develop cerebral palsy.
Cerebral palsy affects 1 in every 400 children born in this country. It is estimated that there are approximately 30,000 children living with cerebral palsy in the UK. There are numerous types of cerebral palsy and sadly there is currently no cure for any of them. However, treatment to prevent further complications of the condition can have a positive outcome.
When is cerebral palsy caused by clinical negligence?
Sadly, an estimated 20% of all cerebral palsy cases are as a result of mismanagement by healthcare professionals before, during or after the birth process.
Medical negligence usually occurs in cases that give rise to cerebral palsy claims, when there is a failure to deliver a baby where there are indications that the child is stressed. That delay can cause the baby’s brain to be starved of oxygen during birth. Without sufficient oxygen getting to it, the brain gets damaged. When that happens, the child often becomes permanently disabled – physically, mentally or both.
How long do I have to start a cerebral palsy claim?
The answer is much longer than you probably think you have! The claim will be made on behalf of the child, but in effect, the claim will be their claim. A child has a right to start a medical negligence claim at any time until they are 18 years of age, without fear of falling foul of the three year period that normally applies under the Limitation Act. When they reach 18, the clock may start ticking, and they must then start the claim before their 21st birthday.
In some case though, even reaching the age of 21 would not be a barrier to making a claim. If the child does not to have the necessary mental capacity, then their right to claim might never come to an end. Should this apply to your child, then contact us to get advice from our specialist medical negligence solicitor.
It is sensible, as a matter of course, not to delay in seeking suitable legal advice regarding the making of a claim, in order to ensure that all the appropriate evidence is captured and preserved as soon as possible.
What should I do if I think my child has got cerebral palsy due to clinical negligence?
Cerebral palsy is not always caused by the negligence of medical professionals. Even when clinical negligence has occurred, proving the negligence and thereafter proving that any negligence that occurred, caused your child’s cerebral palsy, can be extremely difficult and is a job for specialist cerebral palsy solicitors, to help you with.
The first thing to do is get in touch with us at Mooneerams. We’ll urgently arrange for you to discuss the matter with one of our cerebral palsy lawyers. This discussion will be entirely confidential and without obligation.
If you do decide you want us to help you, we’ll arrange to visit you to take further details, to discuss how the matter will be funded (i.e., legal aid or No Win No Fee basis) and thereafter, how our cerebral palsy specialist partners will pursue the claim.
What happens in a cerebral palsy claim?
Our cerebral palsy solicitor partners will write to the NHS body whose medical experts they believe to be responsible for the medical negligence that led to your child getting cerebral palsy.
The specialist solicitors will carefully review the medical records, using their experience to assess matters and consider records such as the ante natal ultrasound scans, the cardiotocograph (CTG) traces during labour and the Apgar scores and brain scans post birth.
Our solicitor’s first aim will be to try and get an admission of liability from the other party. Not all claims for medical negligence are denied.
If liability is admitted, then the initial aim will be to secure interim payments to cover your immediate needs. Interim payments can be described as ‘payments on account’ of the final compensation figure that the matter settles for or is awarded by a court.
When the final settlement is reached, the amount of any interim payment(s) will be deducted from the final figure for compensation.
If liability is disputed, then our partners will gather together all the evidence that will be needed, including the taking of witness statements and the appointment of expert medico legal specialists to investigate and prepare medical reports that will be used to prove the case for negligence.
Even if liability is not initially admitted, it isn’t necessarily the case that the matter will proceed to a court hearing. Even cases where liability seems to be strongly disputed at the outset, often still end up settling out of court.
Either way, a cerebral palsy claim will not conclude quickly. A settlement is unlikely to be achieved before two years have elapsed, after the claim has been started and possibly even before three or four years have passed.
Cerebral palsy claims are some of the most complex types of medical negligence claim it is possible to make. They also involve high settlements. It is important that every aspect of your child’s needs going forwards is thoroughly assessed and evaluated.
Even where liability is admitted, the advice and assistance of numerous experts will be needed to ensure that the damages claim is properly presented and backed up with the correct evidence as to the need and/or eligibility and cost, for each item claimed.
Why should I make a cerebral palsy claim?
If a child gets cerebral palsy as a result of medical negligence, there is currently no other way that they and their family can get compensation.
Depending on the severity of their condition a child with cerebral palsy may need a large amount of assistance throughout their life. This can be hugely expensive.
A specialist cerebral palsy solicitor will have the skill and expertise to recover the maximum amount of compensation possible by means of a medical negligence claim.
Every penny of the compensation will be available to ensure that the child grows into adulthood, able to live the best quality of life possible and will not be hampered by a lack of money to provide the aids, care, treatment, rehabilitation and even property adaptation, that will enable them to achieve this goal.
What if any treatment is available for cerebral palsy?
Whilst there is no cure for cerebral palsy, it is possible to alleviate some of the pain involved in having the condition.
Rehabilitation often focuses on attempting to prevent further deterioration of movement problems, social interaction, encouraging and helping communication and trying to make the child/adult more independent (within the boundaries of what is achievable).
What can I claim for in a cerebral palsy case?
You will often hear lawyers talking of ‘damages’ – in other words, compensation. There are two main types of damages: general damages and special damages.
General Damages (compensation) are paid by the party to a claim who is deemed to be at fault for the pain that the person making the claim (the claimant) has suffered. Many people think of the ‘injury compensation’ as the only or main part of a claim for cerebral palsy compensation.
In cerebral palsy claims, the amount of compensation for the injury itself (which is referred to as damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity) is likely to be of a significant six-figure sum. Even so, that sum is often likely to be made to look fairly modest in amount, when compared with another type of damages claim that a specialist cerebral palsy solicitor will be able to make on behalf of the claimant. This is the claim for Special Damages.
Special Damages – this is compensation for any past or future financial loss that can be quantified by a mathematical calculation. Special damages claims in cases of cerebral palsy will include:
Loss of future earnings (and past earnings for a family member who has had to take time off work or give up work to care for their child)
Loss of future job prospects for the child
Gratuitous care for the mother and father of the child – that can be a very substantial claim in its’ own right.
Past care costs (already paid for or owing) and estimated costs of future care
Provision of aids and other specialist equipment
Future private medical treatment
Housing adaptation costs or purchase of more suitable accommodation
Purchase of car or another form of transport
Prosthetics and orthotics
Future costs of home maintenance and gardening
This list is not exhaustive. Our specialist cerebral palsy solicitor partners will discuss your particular needs with you and adapt the claim for special damages accordingly.
The claim for special damages is a hugely important aspect of any cerebral palsy claim.
Why is the compensation recovered in cerebral palsy claims often so high?
Cerebral palsy compensation claims are frequently settled for amounts of compensation that run into many millions of pounds.
Much of this can be put down to the fact that cerebral palsy sufferers, despite being severely physically disabled from birth, often have long life expectancies.
However, the effects of the injury they were left with at birth, are in almost all respects permanent. Deterioration in their condition is possible too, as is the potential risk of developing other illnesses or conditions, such as epilepsy.
Care and 24/7 support will in most cases continue throughout the victim’s life.
The cost of aids to support rehabilitation, further medical treatment, adapted transport and a move to a larger and specially adapted home, all add up to considerable sums to be recovered in a cerebral palsy claim.
The actual amount of compensation for general damages – the compensation for pain, suffering and loss of amenity in a case settled out of court (EXZ v AB Health Board (2020) C.L.Y 1424) was estimated to be £315,000 out of a £7 million-plus, overall settlement – a significant sum in its’ own right but nevertheless, less than 5% of the overall compensation figure.
Is it right that I should sue the NHS for clinical negligence in a cerebral palsy claim?
If the clinical negligence complained of is that of a medical health professional working through the NHS, any compensation awarded will be paid for by the NHS through a body known as NHS Resolution. Some people feel uncomfortable about making claims against the NHS.
When you make a claim for cerebral palsy compensation as a result of clinical negligence, the aim of the claim is to put you/your child back into the position you/they were in, prior to the act of negligence. It is not a victory for anyone and nor is the compensation a windfall!
Of course, a child with cerebral palsy cannot physically be put back into the position prior to the negligence occurring. All that can be done is to ensure that they receive all the care, treatment and rehabilitation to make their life as comfortable and fulfilling as possible.
It would be wrong for the child not to be compensated for the substandard treatment which has caused such devastation to their life and that of their family.
Often it is only as a result of clinical negligence claim that concerted efforts are made by NHS management to take action to try and stop future acts of negligence, of a similar nature, taking place.
How do I fund the cost of bringing a cerebral palsy claim?
Our cerebral palsy claims, solicitor partners are one of the relatively few solicitors’ firms who are still able to obtain legal aid to represent clients in a cerebral palsy claim.
Should legal aid not be available to you, for whatever reason, they may still be able to take on your claim on a No Win, No Fee basis.
Cerebral palsy, changes lives. When this serious and complex condition has been caused by medical negligence you have every right to make a claim for compensation. It is important to have a team of specialist clinical negligence lawyers fighting your corner for you, every step of the way. Call Mooneerams now to speak with one of our specialist cerebral palsy claim solicitor partners on 029 2048 3615.
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