Meet cerebral palsy lawyer Susan Brown

Susan Brown has dedicated her specialist legal career spanning over 25 years to helping brain-injured and severely disabled children and their families rebuild their lives after negligently caused birth and neonatal injury. Nationally acclaimed and highly respected as a clinical negligence legal expert, it is Susan’s compassionate approach and wise counsel which earns her the trust and confidence of her clients.

We asked Susan to share with us the motivations, highs and lows of her job.

Why do you specialise in cerebral palsy and birth/neonatal brain injury claims?

Children who have suffered brain damage from negligent medical care during labour, birth and in the neonatal period have lifelong needs which cannot adequately be met in any other way. We can’t undo the damage, but compensation can provide them with the best chance of achieving their potential and alleviate some of the hardship that arises from living with severe disability.

Boyes Turner’s long-held expertise and specialism in cases of the utmost severity enabled me to recognise and understand these clients’ needs, from very early in my career. It’s important to me that I now use my expertise to do whatever I can to help.

What is the hardest part of your job?

It is heart-breaking seeing these families’ hardship and watching the parents come to terms with their child’s disability and the inevitable worries for the future which arise from that realisation.

It is also always difficult, in the course of doing what’s necessary to progress their claim, having to share with clients the medical experts’ opinions about the negligent cause of their child’s injury, shortened life expectation and future handicap.

What are the high points of your job?

My greatest job satisfaction comes from seeing the children benefitting from their interim payments and settlements, communicating or gaining independence by using specialist equipment in their adapted accommodation, enjoying their special needs placements at schools, such as Treloar’s.

Many of my clients’ families keep in touch with me about their child’s progress long after the claim has settled. Their lives are by no means ideal. There is no magic wand which can take away their disability, but it’s wonderful to see their lives transformed by the help that we are able to provide.

What advice would you give to a parent whose child has just been diagnosed with cerebral palsy? 

When we hear certain words or labels, particularly in relation to our child’s health, it is natural to be overwhelmed with fear or despair by the expectations that are often attached to those labels. ‘Cerebral palsy’ is used as a label for an extensive range of disabilities along a wide spectrum but when a diagnosis is made in infancy, nothing is set in stone. Nobody can really predict what the future holds.

I have had clients with cerebral palsy who are able to work, who have attained university degrees, or who are able to live independently with appropriate support. I have also had clients who were given a very short life expectation as an infant and have outlived it by many years, which is why we secure judgments and early interim payments and then wait until we gain a better understanding of our client’s injuries before settling any claim, usually providing for a capital sum as well as annual payments for life, however long that may end up being.

Ultimately, we want parents to understand that help is available and that, with the right support, their child has a good chance of living a full and happy life. Our goal is to do everything we can to ensure you and your child get that help and support, so your child can have the best life possible.

Find out more about claiming compensation for cerebral palsy

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

Knowledgeable, organised, responsive, diligent, empathetic and human. I deal with many legal firms during the course of my work and have found the Court of Protection team at Boyes Turner to be, 'Simply the best'.

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