Settlement approved for Brain Injury claim

3 Min Read

Bernadette McGhie - Enable LawBernadette McGhie, executive director in Enable Law’s medical negligence team, recently attended the Royal Courts of Justice in London for the approval of the settlement of a birth injury claim in which the claimant, who is now aged 7 years, was deprived of oxygen during the course of birth.

Staff caring for the child’s mother failed to identify signs of fetal distress in time to ensure delivery before irreversible brain damage had been caused, and as a result the child, here known as Ada, has been diagnosed with asymmetric spastic diplegic cerebral palsy. She has marked speech and language difficulties and will require significant care throughout life. Ada will never have capacity to manage her own affairs and must therefore rely on assistance from others to do so. Holly Mieville-Hawkins of our Mental Capacity team has been appointed as Deputy by the Court of Protection to ensure that the settlement funds are appropriately managed, and liaise with the family, case manager, financial advisers and other parties as necessary.

The settlement has been set out to ensure sufficient funds are immediately available to provide much needed equipment, with annual payments for private care and therapies throughout Ada’s life giving a capitalised value in the region of £18 million. The settlement will enable Ada to lead as independent a life as possible within the limitations of her injuries.

Enable Law’s Bernadette McGhie acted for the family throughout the claim including concluding the liability investigations early by persuading the Defendant’s legal team to agree to an early meeting of both parties’ obstetric experts. As a consequence, the Trust had to concede that the claim was likely to succeed should it proceed to further investigation and trial and agreed to Judgment being entered for Ada.

This meant that not only could the overall legal costs be reduced but an early settlement of liability meant that Bernadette was able to request a substantial interim payment of damages. The family were able to use that money to purchase much needed therapies which the experts involved with the claim agreed ensured that Ada’s level of functioning was much higher than would otherwise have been the case. Bernadette says “Although nothing will truly compensate a child or family when avoidable injuries such as these have occurred, receiving this payment early has given Ada a really positive start to the rest of her life after the difficulties caused by her birth injury”.

Bernadette had already settled a separate claim for Ada’s mother who suffered avoidable maternal injuries during the birth.

Ada’s parents say: “We would like to thank Bernadette McGhie for securing such a substantial amount of compensation for our daughter, this will enable her to lead a more fulfilled life after sustaining a Brian injury at birth. Throughout the entire process Bernadette has shown empathy, has kept us updated, been there for us and has shown amazing professionalism whilst being down to earth and approachable”