Ed Hudson sustained serious injuries, a C4 fracture of his spinal cord, in a road traffic accident in February 2018. Ed originally instructed another firm of solicitors Read more
The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) recommended Barratts to Larry to help with his asbestosis claim. Sadly he had developed significant breathing problems and he had visited his doctor who referred him to a respiratory physician. The medical team took scans and they diagnosed Larry with asbestosis. Read more
Trevor initially came to see us in 2012 following a diagnosis of pleural plaques. Although he had no symptoms and appeared healthy, the diagnosis indicated scarring of the lungs. Barratts had been recommended to him by his respiratory physician who suggested he should investigate a claim for compensation. Trevor had a history of working with asbestos throughout his working life as a pipe fitter in power station boilers. Read more
Adam’s solicitor asked us to take over his claim for compensation because he needed a solicitor with expertise in complex brain injury claims. Adam was a freight-checker in a distribution depot checking lorry loads of materials before they were despatched, to be stored in the warehouse. On the day of the accident, an unstable load weighing in excess of 1 tonne slid off a lorry crushing Adam and causing him a traumatic brain injury, and catastrophic physical injuries. Read more
Mick was recommended to this firm by an extremely experienced personal injury lawyer in Manchester who was unable to take on Mick’s case. Mick had suffered serious and life-threatening injuries in a Road Traffic Accident some weeks before. Read more
Gary came to Barratts solicitors in early 2017 after he had suffered a brain injury during an assault. A previous client who had also sustained serious brain injuries in an assault recommended us. Read more
Julie Hardy reports on a successful outcome for her client who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy:
I acted for Max, who has cerebral palsy after his family asked me to see if there was a clinical negligence claim for him. I know what a difference compensation can make to a client with severe disability. Once I read the medical notes, I was concerned there were delays delivering Max and also resuscitating him after he was born.
When Max’s mum went into hospital she had a monitor, called a CTG, to check the baby’s heart rate. I instructed experts who stated that if the monitor had been properly checked, the medical staff would have realised Max was struggling. They did not do this, so by the time Max was eventually delivered he was in very poor condition and needed to be resuscitated.
Max had experienced hypoxia (lack of oxygen) due to the cord being around his neck. He needed urgent resuscitation but this was delayed and caused a longer period of time when Max’s brain was not receiving an adequate supply of oxygen.
After Max was resuscitated and moved to the Neonatal Unit, it became clear that he had probably suffered brain damage. Apgar scores are used to monitor how well a baby is after delivery. The scores for Max’s fetal wellbeing were low. His blood results, taken from the umbilical cord, showed acidosis. This happens when the blood does not have enough oxygen and indicated that Max was very ill. He was diagnosed with hypoxic ischaemic encephalitis – this is a medical way of saying there has been an injury to a newborn baby’s brain, due to lack of oxygen and blood flow.
Max was transferred to another hospital where he could undergo cooling therapy with the hope that this would reduce the extent of his brain injury.
By the age of 2 Max had been diagnosed with dyskinetic cerebral palsy with abnormal tone in all four limbs.
Some of my clients cannot move their limbs with any control and cannot easily communicate. Fortunately Max’s injury was relatively mild in comparison; although his physical development was delayed, Max gained the ability to walk but needs walking aids when outside his house. He requires some assistance with feeding, dressing and personal care but luckily can do quite a bit for himself.
Max’s brain injury has led to some cognitive impairment so he cannot keep up with everything that his peers can do. However, he is able to attend a mainstream school, he enjoys an active social life and has a keen sense of humour.
Settling The Claim
To bring a compensation claim, I arranged for Max to be examined by a number of different experts. The Hospital Trust agreed there were delays and the negligent medical care had caused Max’s cerebral palsy. I was then able to concentrate on valuing the claim for Max.
The next step was to identify the extent of Max’s injury and his needs for the future. This was important as I needed to calculate how much it would cost to look after and support Max during his lifetime.
I could not quantify the claim immediately for Max. I needed to wait until Max was at least 8 years of age so that the full extent of his medical needs and future requirements could be established. Once this could be determined, I asked experts to see Max to assess his therapy and medical needs, schooling, housing adaptions, equipment and care needs. This included how Max’s needs would change as he got older.
I was so happy for Max and his family when all the evidence was received and it was possible to agree a settlement with the Defendant hospital trust. The case was ready for trial because sometimes a settlement cannot be agreed. However, a few months before the case was due to go to trial, I met with the Defendants. We agreed damages which would mean Max was secure for the future. This settlement had to be approved by the Court because Max was under 18 years old.
Max’s Settlement for Cerebral Palsy
The total value of the compensation claim exceeded £11.5 million. Max is receiving this in 2 ways;
- a lump sum of £5.5 million
- annual periodical payments to cover his needs for care in the future. This is important as Max will have the annual payments for as long as he lives. This is often better than just one lump sum award because it’s impossible to know how long someone might live and to make all the money last.
After a case settles the compensation will help to pay for the adapted accommodation that Max needs together with all of the specialist equipment and therapy he would require throughout his life.
The periodical payments provide financial security and ensure that Max will have sufficient funding to pay for the specialist care he requires.
At the Court hearing I was pleased to hear the Barrister tell the Court
“I should note the very considerable efforts of Julie Hardy. With her usual calm focus she has navigated both the claim and the family through the stresses which are inevitable in litigation of this magnitude. That we have secured a settlement that is at the highest end of the possible range is testament to her attention to detail in instructing the best experts and marshalling the evidence”.
It was a great result for the family and I was delighted to be able to help them.
My client’s family instructed me to bring a claim against the insurers of a vehicle that had collided with her car whilst she was on holiday in 2017. I didn’t know my client or her family before her accident. However in the years that I have been involved in her case, they have come to mean a lot to me and to the experts that helped with her personal injury claim.
The accident happened when my client was on holiday. She was driving through the countryside with a friend, when a large vehicle pulled out into her path. Sadly, she suffered terrible injuries. These included multiple fractures to her neck and a severe traumatic brain injury. The artery in her neck ruptured, she fractured her ribs, wrist and knee and suffered bleeding in both lungs. My client’s injuries have left her permanently and severely disabled.
WHAT IS A SEVERE TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY?
A traumatic brain injury, which lawyers and experts refer to as a “TBI”, happens when a person suffers a blow to the head or penetrating head injury that interferes with the normal function of their brain. A “TBI” can be mild, moderate or severe depending on how badly the brain has been damaged.
People with a severe brain injury can suffer with permanent debilitating symptoms. Just some of these are paralysis, problems with walking, talking, or swallowing, vision problems, and loss of fine motor skills. These can prevent you from carrying out even simple tasks. Clients with TBI can have difficulty remembering relationships, inability to recognise people or things and inability to process their thoughts. This means even making a cup of tea is hard for them. They often have complex clinical needs and require carers to look after them on a day to day basis and keep them safe.
When clients have severe TBI they often need to have adaptations to their home. If this is not possible they need to move to a new home which can be adapted and has room for their carers who often have to be there 24 hours per day.
It is important to remember that brain injury doesn’t just affect the person that has been injured. It is also hugely challenging for their family and loved ones. Living with a loved one with a brain injury requires enormous resilience, flexibility and communication. My client was fortunate in that she was able to live with her daughter who provided and continues to provide amazing support. She also has the support of two other adult children and extended family.
CLAIMING FOR NEGLIGENCE AFTER BRAIN INJURY
The insurers of the other driver admitted liability for the accident. My client’s injury was so severe that she was not able to provide me with instructions in her case or look after her own finances. Instead one of her daughters agreed to act as her “litigation friend”. A litigation friend is someone who can make decisions on behalf of the injured person and is usually a close family member. It is possible to have a professional litigation friend if there are no family members that can help.
To protect my client’s finances, she also needed a person called a “Deputy” to look after her money. A Deputy is a professional appointed by the Court of Protection. This person will look after the compensation both during the claim and beyond settlement. They help to pay for carers, equipment, therapy, and holidays. They also make financial decisions on her behalf with the help of an investment adviser.
WHAT EVIDENCE IS NEEDED?
As a lawyer acting for a client with a brain injury, it was my job to get evidence to prove the extent of her injuries and what that would mean for her in the future. This is called quantum evidence which is needed to support the amount of compensation. Damages are paid to reflect the amount of pain and suffering for a client. They also take account of past expenses and future costs related to their injuries. Working out future needs is complicated. To do this we obtained evidence from various experts including experts in brain injury, accommodation, and care.
It was also vital to get witness statements from my client’s friends and family. Expert reports are an important and necessary part of brining a personal injury claim. However it is the witness evidence that really tells you what your client was like before you met them under such awful circumstances. I took a witness statement from one of my client’s close friends and she painted a picture of a truly beautiful woman, not just in appearance but in her indomitable love of life and all it had to offer. My client was very much a woman who took every opportunity that life threw at her and embraced it with open arms. She loved the outdoors, socialising, music, culture and anything interesting that enhanced her life. She particularly adored spending time with her grandchildren and daughters. She was and is extraordinary.
HOW IS THE COMPENSATION SPENT?
My client’s settlement will contribute to the costs of her care (which she requires 24 hours per day) and to additional private rehabilitation so that she can stay as clinically well as possible. It has also enabled her to make adjustments to her home. The compensation can also provide for items such as a special vehicle so that she can get out more and enjoy the outdoors again.
Compensation for the head injury can in no way give my client and her family back the life they had before. Nevertheless it can help to make her future easier to bear and ensure she has the best quality of life. Getting advice from a specialist personal injury solicitor makes all the difference in cases where a client depends on their compensation for the rest of their lives. This is what makes my job so rewarding. It has been an absolute privilege to resolve this case on behalf of such an amazing woman.
Ed Myers was recommended to the sister of our client because of his specialist criminal injury compensation experience. Sadly our client was only 9 years old when his mother was killed after an unprovoked and violent attack by his father. Read more
John (name changed for confidentiality) came to Barratts solicitors in early 2017 after a previous client recommended us to him. Sadly John had become involved in an argument outside a hotel in Nottingham one Friday evening. The next thing John knew he was in intensive care in the Queen’s Medical Centre. Read more
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