Make a claim

Proving that a child’s brain injury was caused by medical negligence is a complex procedure requiring skilled lawyers and medical experts.

Cerebral palsy has many causes. Not all cerebral palsy or birth-related neurological disability is the result of medical negligence; for example, there can be genetic or congenital reasons for the injury to a child’s brain. Sometimes, the precise cause of a child’s condition cannot be found. Medical science is making new discoveries all the time. If the cause cannot be determined at birth it may become apparent over time.

Our specialist cerebral palsy lawyers have handled these investigations for decades and successfully proven hundreds of clients’ claims. We are undertaking these investigations for well over 50 families at any one time.

Establishing medical negligence

It is important for parents who are considering making a claim to understand that a medical negligence claim for cerebral palsy will only succeed under English law if two things can be proven:

  1. Negligence – meaning that mistakes were made which amount to medical negligence as defined by the law;
    AND
  2. Causation – meaning that the negligent mistakes were the cause or significantly contributed to the severity of the cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy and birth-related or neonatal brain injury claims are complex and each client’s experience is unique. It takes experience, alongside specialist knowledge and judgement to identify whether a claim will succeed.

If you believe that your child’s cerebral palsy might have been caused by medical negligence during the pregnancy, during labour or in the neonatal period after birth we would be happy to discuss this with you completely free of charge, confidentially, and on a no-obligation basis.

Why make a cerebral palsy claim?

Whilst some parents of negligently brain-injured children feel driven to seek answers, professional advice and compensation, many are not comfortable with the idea of bringing a medical negligence claim. In the aftermath of a difficult birth and whilst coming to terms with a cerebral palsy diagnosis, it is natural to try to avoid further contact or conflict with the hospital and focus on caring for the child.

For many families, the decision to bring a cerebral palsy claim comes later when, despite their best efforts, they struggle to provide for their child’s disability-related, additional needs. As their child advances in age, the extent to which the child is disadvantaged by their disability becomes more and more apparent. Sometimes it is the parents, sometimes an older sibling, but often it is the teenage or young adult with the disability who decides to find out whether they are entitled to financial help through a medical negligence claim.

The decision to pursue a medical negligence claim usually arises from the realisation that the child, teenager or young adult’s needs are increasing beyond anything that they had anticipated in their infancy.

  • Additional financial support

    The reality is that state provision for the special needs that people with cerebral palsy or brain injury have is insufficient to meet those needs properly. When every aspect of life – home, feeding, bathing, seating, travel, education, therapy, communicating, computing, working, leisure activity – is challenged by a disability that was caused by errors in maternity or neonatal care, a compensation claim can provide a much-needed lifeline.

  • Access to specialist support and assistance

    We know that nothing can take away the permanent injury but compensation to buy specialist care, adapted housing and equipment, educational assistance and vocational support can help redress the balance and offer access to previously unavailable opportunities. With accessibility and support, life becomes more rewarding and enjoyable for those with cerebral palsy. Meanwhile, the financial security of a properly managed settlement or award guarantees the child’s life-long provision, allowing their family some peace of mind.

  • Guidance and expertise from our team

    Our past clients tell us that although they initially found the prospect of bringing a claim daunting, as the case progressed, they felt supported by our guidance and trusted in our expertise. The successful conclusion of their cerebral palsy claim immeasurably improved their ability to care for their child and provided them with the relief that comes from knowing their child’s specialist needs will continue to be met for life. 

  • Peace of mind for the future

    We understand the enormous physical, psychological, emotional and financial impact that cerebral palsy and severe disability has on the individual and their family. We have helped countless families rebuild their lives, alleviate financial hardship and ease their worries for their child’s future. Where their child has a legal right to compensation for the injury, we believe it is in the severely disabled child’s lifelong interests to help them recover the compensation to which they are entitled.

    We guide our clients through the claims process in the quickest, most professionally supportive and appropriate way. We are nationally acclaimed for our expertise in investigating claims and recovering damages for those affected by injuries of the utmost severity.

Funding a cerebral palsy claim

Legal Aid is available to children with cerebral palsy or serious neurological injury caused by medical negligence at birth or neonatally (immediately after birth).

Boyes Turner’s clinical negligence team have a clinical negligence contract with the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) which allows us to act for clients with viable claims in these highly specialist cases with the benefit of Legal Aid. If we believe our client has good prospects of success with a claim and is financially eligible, we help them apply for Legal Aid. Legal Aid is means tested on the child’s own finances, irrespective of the parents’ means. 

Legal Aid v No win no Fee – which is best?

We believe that Legal Aid is the best way to fund cerebral palsy and neonatal, serious neurological injury claims.

Legally Aided clients retain their full compensation if they win their case, but their legal costs are also covered if their Legally Aided claim does not succeed. 

Cases funded by conditional fee agreements (no win, no fee) involve payment of an insurance premium and an additional ‘success fee’ by the client if the claim succeeds. This means that they have to pay some of their compensation in costs and do not receive their compensation in full. We would only consider acting for a child with cerebral palsy under a conditional fee agreement in very rare cases where a child is ineligible for Legal Aid.

What next?

To find out more about making a cerebral palsy claim with Boyes Turner, please contact our team by email at cerebralpalsy@boyesturner.com.

I try to assist lawyers by explaining, in clear and comprehensible terms, what the relevant issues are and where the strengths and weaknesses of the case lie.

DR PETER DEAR

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