Interim payments for early access to rehabilitation and therapy

Interim payments for early access to rehabilitation and therapy

From the moment we agree to pursue a client’s medical negligence case, our focus is on obtaining an admission of liability. This acknowledgement of fault is of the utmost importance to our clients. It recognises that something outside of their control went wrong, and in many cases involving serious injury to a child it finally relieves the parents of the nagging worry that maybe there was something else that they, as parents, could or should have done.

From our point of view, however, the biggest benefit of an admission of liability is the financial and practical help that we can now give the client and their family by applying for an interim payment.

In cerebral palsy or other child serious brain injury cases, where liability is admitted, we routinely secure early interim payments from £150,000 to £250,000. Where more money is needed to meet our client’s urgent needs, we obtain further funds to meet their specific needs

What is an interim payment?

An interim payment is an advance part payment of the compensation which the injured claimant can reasonably expect to receive by way of settlement at the end of their claim. Interim payments come out of the final damages settlement, so they are usually made once liability has been admitted by the defendant and it is certain that the injured claimant is going to receive compensation.

How do interim payments help?

After liability has been admitted, or a liability judgment has been ordered, it can take time for the injured person’s lifetime needs to be assessed and for the case to reach final settlement. An interim payment allows the injured person to benefit from some of their compensation as soon as possible, without having to wait for the case to reach settlement or trial.

Interim funds can be used to relieve financial hardship and meet the immediate needs of a disabled child and their family, who may have struggled to cope physically and financially with their child’s needs from their disability. Interim funds can be used to employ carers or make changes to accommodation to make the family home suitable for the child’s disability. 

What else can the funds be used for?

The interim funds can be used for anything that is reasonably required to meet the disabled child’s needs. 

This can range from small pieces of equipment, like wedges or incontinence products, to large items like powered wheelchairs or specialist beds or sleep systems.

What therapy needs can be met from interim compensation?

The best use of the interim payment will be determined by the individual’s needs. We appreciate that different people have different needs at different times in their lives and we are experienced in helping clients make the best use of their interim funds. In addition to case management, care and accommodation, we are often able to help our clients access a range of therapies to keep them healthy and help them manage their condition.

Physiotherapy and water-based physiotherapy (hydrotherapy).

Children with cerebral palsy often suffer with spasticity in their limbs which can restrict their mobility. Specialist physiotherapy treatment can be very helpful in keeping a good range of motion and keeping a person mobile to some degree for as long as possible before they become more reliant on a wheelchair. It can also help with keeping pain to a minimum.

We see a lot of children with a brain injury who benefit from water-based physiotherapy or hydrotherapy. Immersion in warm water can help relax muscles and can also be used to help promote fun family time with siblings. Interim funds can be used to access private pools or hire specialist facilities to allow this therapy to happen in a safe and controlled environment.

Occupational therapy

Occupational therapy (OT) can provide helpful advice on the aids and equipment a disabled or severely injured individual might need. This could be a new wheelchair, walking aids, specialist lycra suits or specialist shoes. 

A privately funded occupational therapist can help individuals access services and equipment that might not be available on the NHS, as well as helping the individual to access and make the most of support from social services and other statutory support services.

What about speech and language therapy?

Speech and language therapy can help an individual develop their communication skills. It can also help those with swallowing difficulties and issues with eating and oral motor disorders. 

Some of the children we work with have assistance from a speech and language therapist who works alongside the occupational therapist to ensure a safe feeding regime.

What about psychology or neuropsychology treatment?

People who suffer a brain injury can be left with psychological as well as physical issues.

We are seeing more children with retained intellect or who have suffered a milder brain injury and are aware of the impact that their disabling condition has on their life. As children get older and interact more with their peers, the differences become more apparent. Children can struggle to understand the difference between themselves and their peers. This can lead to behavioural and emotional responses to difficult situations.

We find that regular input from neuropsychology specialists can help the individual and their families better understand and cope with these “hidden disabilities”. 

Can I use interim funds to access technology?

Yes. Technology is always evolving and can make a real difference to a disabled person’s life, enabling them to study, work, communicate and interact, and control the environment in which they live. We have used interim payments to help clients access many kinds of assistive technology, from Eye-Gaze systems to speech recognition software, and environmental control technology.

Boyes Turner help clients make the best use of their interim payment

At Boyes Turner, we support each client and their family through each stage of the claims process. Once an interim payment is available we work with the family, our own Court of Protection deputy, experienced case managers and experts to ensure that our client receives the greatest benefit from their interim payment, according to their own individual needs.

If you are caring for a child with cerebral palsy or severe neurological disability and would like to find out more about how Boyes Turner can help you make a claim, contact us by email on cerebralpalsylawyers@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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