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Published On: January 3, 2016 | Blog | 0 comments

Jon Nicholson settles cerebral palsy cases for £14million

In the first 2 weeks of December, Jon Nicholson settled 2 cerebral palsy claims for a total of £14 million.

The cases involve children aged 6 and 7 who both have severe cerebral palsy affecting all four limbs, profound learning disabilities, uncontrolled epilepsy and poor eyesight caused by brain damage.

ES suffered her brain injury at about the time of her birth at St George’s Hospital, London, in 2007. Jon brought a claim alleging that the midwives and obstetricians had failed to appropriately manage the labour, causing ES to suffer an hypoxic brain injury and consequential disabilities.

AB suffered a respiratory condition as a result of a premature birth. He needed to use a ventilator at night and was nursed at home. However, he was doing very well until he suffered a cardio-respiratory arrest at the age of 15 months. As with ES, this caused an hypoxic brain injury and grave disabilities. The arrest occurred in the presence of an agency nurse funded by the NHS and Jon alleged that this nurse negligently failed to carry out a prompt and effective resuscitation, which would have avoided the hypoxic brain damage.

Both cases were vigorously defended, but in both cases Jon was able to agree settlements of liability which ensured that his young clients would receive compensatory funding for most of their needs. Jon was then able to obtain interim payments for both clients to fund immediate needs whilst the full extent of their disabilities and future requirements was investigated. In both cases, the interim payments covered the cost of professional care, therapies, equipment and more appropriate temporary accommodation on a rental basis. Jon was able to appoint case managers to work with the two families to oversee this process and Anthony Gold’s Court of Protection team was also able to assist with ensuring that the funds were appropriately managed.

In both cases expert evidence was obtained in the fields of paediatric neurology, ophthalmology, orthopaedic surgery, educational psychology, nursing care, occupational therapy, assistive technology, physiotherapy, accommodation needs and Court of Protection costs. In the case of AB, expert evidence was also obtained from an audiologist and a music therapist. With the help of these experts, Jon was able to put together detailed Schedules setting out the long term needs of his clients and estimated costs.

Both cases were due for trial in early December. In the case of ES, a satisfactory settlement was agreed at a meeting of the parties’ representatives in October 2013. However, in the case of AB such a meeting ended without agreement and a settlement was not reached until 2 days before trial.

As a result of their disabilities, both children were said to have significantly reduced life-expectancies until about 30 years of age. However, these are only estimated averages and with high quality care and support which can now be afforded, it is hoped that both ES and AB live much longer lives. In order to ensure that the funding is never exhausted, both settlements included an element of life-long tax-free annual payments guaranteed by the government and indexed to earnings.

Even if both children live for no longer than estimated, the total value of the settlement for ES is £6 million in today’s money and the settlement for AB is £8 million.

Of course, no amount of money can actually “compensate” for the disabilities suffered by these children, but the settlements will ensure that they and their families no longer need to rely upon overstretched statutory services to provide the care, support, therapies, equipment and accommodation required to ensure that they live as full a lives as possible.

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