The Role of a Deputy

Damages awards in cerebral palsy cases have to be supervised by a judge to ensure they are in the best interests of an injured person.  But what happens after that?  These are often seven figure sums of money, with additional annual payments, and there is not much scope for making a mistake.

The answer lies in the appointment of a ‘deputy’.

This role effectively means that a deputy steps into the clients shoes, and “becomes” them for all financial purposes.

The deputy will therefore need to:

    1. Work with a client’s family to deal with payment of bills and put in place a structure to meet cash needs can be whilst also protecting the client from their vulnerability in handling cash.
    2. Employ a professional in order to manage the investment of funds and liaise with the client and his family regarding financial and investment decisions, in order to discuss how funds are lasting.
    3. Manage tax.
    4. Working closely with family, dealing with the recruitment, monitoring and payment of carers, or employ and monitor a suitable professional to perform these tasks.
    5. Attend meetings with Court of Protection Visitors, case managers, care workers, social workers and family members regarding the client’s care and wellbeing;
    6. Deal with the purchase and adaptation of a property for the client
    7. Deal with the purchase and adaptation of a vehicle;
    8. Deal with the purchase of other significant items of equipment, like wheelchairs.
    9. Organise repairs and maintenance.
    10. Spend time helping a  client with what they can and can’t do with their money, help them budget and plan financially;
    11. Ensure proper use of state benefits.

It is also possible to be appointed as a deputy in relation to someone’s health and personal welfare issues.  Such a role is more geared towards decision making in relation to where it is in a client’s best interests to live, what care they should receive and also to make decisions regarding their medical treatment.  Usually this is a role for a close family member rather than a professional.

As with all aspects of these complex cases, Express is on hand to guide clients through the appointment of a deputy and beyond.

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What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a group of permanent movement disorders that appear in early childhood, where signs and symptoms vary between people. Children who suffer from cerebral palsy may have only minor difficulty with fine motor skills, such as grasping and manipulating items with their hands. Severe cerebral palsy could involve significant muscle problems in all four limbs, seizures, and difficulties with vision, speech, and hearing.

Sometimes, it is caused by brain damage from lack of oxygen due to an event during labour or delivery. When this happens in full term babies, the newborn will have evidence of severe pH abnormality in the cord blood and neurologic abnormalities soon after birth. Frequently there will be signs of sudden oxygen deprivation seen on the fetal monitor, very low Apgar scores at birth, and involvement of other organs such as the kidneys within a few days.

Most families struggle with the cost of expensive equipment and rehabilitation treatment needed to help a child suffering from cerebral palsy. The demands of daily routines and 24 hour care can be extremely difficult for parents to deal with without any additional help.

Our Solicitors have been successful in obtaining substantial awards for clients with cerebral palsy. This means that our clients can seek the best treatment, education and accommodation and therapies to meet their needs throughout their lifetime.

If you have reason to believe that a medical error in your care during pregnancy or birth may have caused yours or your child’s cerebral palsy, it is important that you discuss this with an experienced clinical negligence solicitor promptly.

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Litigation Can Be a Lottery for Claimants Suffering with Cerebral Palsy.

Claims involving children born with Cerebral Palsy and other significant birth injuries rarely end in a Court trial – the majority of these cases are either settled prior to getting to a Trial or are unsuccessful before they get to Court.  In the past 7 years, there have been only in the region of 15-20 Court trials for claims for babies born with significant birth injuries, caused by negligence during pregnancy, labour or immediately after birth.  This is a very small percentage given that each year approximately 1,800 children are diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy each year.

Read More »

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Help During the Process of Making a Claim

We have a 6 year old client with cerebral palsy.  He is a bundle of energy and can’t sit still.  His attention span is between 20 seconds and 1 minute.  It is still too early to know what his condition will be like as an adult, so the claim can’t be finalised.

He has 2 brothers, and shares bunk beds with the elder one.  Our client still wears nappies and needs to be changed through the night.  His brother is doing well at school despite never having had a full night’s sleep.  As our client grows older, he is becoming stronger and more aggressive as a result of his brain injury.  He is a risk to his brothers, his parents and his teachers.

The family have a 2 bedroom rented flat.  If grandparents visit to help, they sleep on the settee.  The stairs have no rail and our client has a fall every week.  There is a two foot concrete step out into the back garden and our client can open the front door which leads onto the road.  There are always 2 dustbins of dirty washing in the small kitchen.  There is no room for homework, for friends or for therapy and everyone is exhausted.

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Cerebral Palsy & Developmental Delay

As a child grows, there are certain milestones that should be reached at different points in their life.

Children will develop skills in 5 different areas of development. They are:

  • Cognitive – (ability to learn and solve problems)
  • Social & emotional – (ability to interact with others)
  • Speech and language – (ability to use and understand language)
  • Fine motor skills – (ability to use small muscles, such as hands and fingers)
  • Gross motor skills – (ability to use larger muscle groups)

Common indicators that an infant is developing at the right pace include smiling, crawling, walking and self-feeding. Read More »

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Early Birth and Cerebral Palsy

Around 1 in 13 babies are born prematurely every year in the UK.

What is a premature birth?

A premature birth is one that occurs before the 37th week of pregnancy. Labour will usually happen naturally in most cases and will have all the signs of a full term labour, however there are a number of challenges and risks which come hand in hand with a premature birth. Those born earliest are at a greater risk of complications and one of the long-term risks of premature birth is cerebral palsy.

Premature birth and cerebral palsy

While being born prematurely doesn’t necessarily mean that a baby will develop any health issues, research has shown that between 40-50% of children with cerebral palsy were born prematurely. Read More »

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CP Teen Becomes UK’s First Wheelchair Referee

For parents of a child with cerebral palsy, encouraging your child to take part in a sport may not be first on your priority list – you may have even written off sports all together, especially if mobility is particularly limited.

While sports may have not been possible for wheelchair users in the past, an increase in accessibility and inclusion in sports now means that with the right skills, knowledge and confidence, there is nothing stopping someone with CP getting involved in a sport like anyone else.

This couldn’t be demonstrated better than in the recent story of football-mad Nathan Mattick from Cheltenham, who last month became the UK’s first wheelchair user referee. Read More »

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Where to Get Answers to Your CP Questions

When your child is diagnosed with cerebral palsy there is bound to be a number of questions that follow.

For many parents, it can sometimes feel like you are getting nowhere when seeking answers to your questions or you may even find that you don’t know where to turn.

If you believe your child’s cerebral palsy was a result of medical negligence, you may find yourself in a tough position when seeking the truth about what went wrong. If you can’t turn to a medical professional who else can help?

When you are seeking answers to your cerebral palsy questions, there are a number of resources out there that can help. Read More »

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Why Claim for Cerebral Palsy?

We often speak to parents who wonder why it’s necessary to make a claim for cerebral palsy. 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.

Contrary to what the media would have you believe about “compensation culture” in the UK, compensation is not just handed out to anyone who asks for it and there is little evidence to support this. We strongly believe that there are many reasons why parents should claim for cerebral palsy. Here are just a few:

Prevent similar mistakes happening again

Making a claim for cerebral palsy could encourage the accountable medical agency to retrain staff in order to prevent similar mistakes being made again. This could in theory help to prevent other families having to go through the same experience. Read More »

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Dealing with CP & Sleep Problems

A good night’s sleep is something we often take for granted, but for children with cerebral palsy it can prove to be a huge source of difficulty and frustration.

Because cerebral palsy can affect so many different parts of a child’s life from their behaviour to their physical ability, it can have a huge effect on how well they are able to relax and fall asleep.

How does CP affect sleep?

While sleep problems are common in children with cerebral palsy, they can affect different children in different ways.

Common problems with sleep include difficulty:

  • Falling asleep
  • Staying asleep
  • Separating from parents
  • Pain at bedtime
  • Seizures
  • Respiratory problems
  • Central sleep apnoea
  • Sleep obstructive apnoea  Read More »
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