Jane McBennett, a Leeds-based associate in Morrish Solicitors’ clinical negligence department, has successfully concluded a long-running cerebral palsy claim for a 12-year-old girl who was left severely disabled as the result of blunders at Bradford Royal Infirmary.
Under the terms of the settlement, which was recently approved in the High Court, the Claimant will receive a lump sum of £2.2 million plus annual payments of £80,000, rising to £148,000 after she reaches 19 years of age.
The claim arose from very serious brain injuries suffered at the time of the birth, which caused the girl to suffer from cerebral palsy. She has no independent mobility and requires full-time round the clock care. She also suffers from epilepsy, has learning difficulties and has to be fed through a gastronomy tube into her tummy.
She now lives with her grandparents and the size of the settlement means that the family can now purchase a bungalow and adapt it. The annual payments will give the family the security of knowing that their granddaughter will have the money she needs to pay for good quality care once they are no longer able to provide this. The fund also gives them access to the many cutting edge developments in technology that help the severely disabled connect with the world around them. This includes specially modified computers that work by recognising eye gaze and can even control wheelchairs.
The hospital did not concede that it was at fault for the brain damage which the baby suffered shortly before she was delivered. It was only when the legal team managed to obtain a transcript of the conversation that had taken place between the mother and the ambulance crew on the night she was admitted in labour, that the hospital were willing to negotiate. Until that point, they had insisted that they were not at fault.
The transcript showed that the mother was bleeding and that the ambulance service had been concerned enough about her condition to radio ahead to the hospital and advise them.
Shortly before the issue of liability was due to be tried, the hospital put forward an offer and settlement negotiations were agreed on the basis that the hospital accepted that they were 80% to blame for the injuries suffered.