Bringing a claim for compensation of any sort can be daunting, and at times stressful. If your child has cerebral palsy, it can be particularly challenging, as you have all the day-to-day difficulties caring for a disabled child bring to deal with as well.
We will guide you through the process step-by-step, and ensure you are fully informed of what is happening in the case. We can tailor the amount of contact you want from us to your individual needs; you may want regular updates, or you may only want to be advised when a significant development in the case has occurred.
Your child will have to be assessed, possibly on several occasions, by the experts who we will appoint to assist with the case. The other party to the action – the defendant – will also want them to be seen, by the experts acting on their behalf.
It is likely that we would require evidence from a number of different disciplines (some medical, some not), to build up a picture of what happened. We would start by ascertaining whether or not anything could and should have been done differently during the period in question (more often than not labour, but it can occasionally be the management after birth which is the cause of the damage to the brain), and if so, what (this is known as ‘breach of duty’). If we can establish that things should have been done differently, we would then look to prove that an alternative approach would have led to a different outcome (known as ‘causation’).
Once we have established breach of duty and causation, which are collectively known as ‘liability’, we would then look to establish the extent to which your child is affected by their condition. An MRI scan may ne needed, which can be very stressful for your child and for you as parents. However, it can often prove beneficial, as it can be used to help identify what treatment plans should be put in place for your child, which in turn can help with establishing what support they need. This of course is helpful in the claim, but it can also provide a useful basis for moving forwards with your child’s own doctors, schools etc.
If your child’s claim concludes successfully, they can often be awarded several million pounds. The amount is calculated based on how much care they will need throughout their lives, what equipment they will require (including adapted housing, if appropriate) and what the effect of the condition will be on their earning capacity, as well as the overall impact on their life. It can seem crude valuing this part of their claim in financial terms but guideline figures are in place to assist in ensuring that a proper award is made.
You will be advised on the best options in terms of how the money is paid. Sometimes, it is appropriate for the money to be paid in a lump sum, which would then be held on trust for your child with the trustees releasing money as and when it is required. In some circumstances, you as parents can be trustees; in others, in may be appropriate for someone else to take on that role, as it may be additional stress that you do not need. Another option is for a smaller lump sum to be paid on conclusion of the claim, to allow for larger purchases such as a house, but for the remainder to be paid on a periodical basis, either at set times or as and when it is required (depending on the nature of the settlement agreement).
All of this will be discussed with you and no decision will be taken without your authority. We will assist you in whatever way we can to ensure that your child receives a settlement that leaves them financially secure for the remainder of their lives.