Disabled Six-Year-Old Boy’s Claim Settled for £3 Million


Litigation is a high-risk and extremely stressful business, often conducted in the full glare of publicity. However, as the case of a severely disabled six-year-old boy showed, expert clinical negligence lawyers are more than capable of winning compensation for their clients without the need for a public trial.

The boy, an only child, suffered profound hypoxia around the time of his emergency delivery by forceps. He suffers from cerebral palsy affecting all four limbs, and is reliant on his devoted parents and extended family for all aspects of his care. His sunny personality, however, shines through his disabilities.

Proceedings were launched on his behalf, alleging that ominous signs during his mother’s labour should have prompted his earlier delivery. If that had happened, it was claimed, he would have escaped injury. However, the NHS trust that ran the hospital where he was born strongly denied liability, presenting expert medical evidence that the signs were not so worrying as to mandate a caesarean delivery.

Given that fundamental disagreement, the scene was set for a lengthy trial of the claim at which the boy would be in real jeopardy of coming away empty-handed. That risk was avoided, however, by the successful negotiation of a settlement whereby the trust agreed to pay £3 million in compensation without making any admission of liability.

In approving the settlement, the High Court noted that a trial could have gone either way and that establishing liability on the trust’s part would have been a challenging task. Describing the boy as a happy little thing, the Court had no doubt that a sensible compromise had been reached, in his best interests, which would spare his family the expense, risk and anxiety of a contested trial.

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