How does Boyes Turner protect vulnerable clients and their compensation?

  • Posted
  • Author

As specialist solicitors in high value cerebral palsy claims, our aim is to secure compensation which will meet our severely disabled clients’ needs throughout their lives.

Most of our clients with cerebral palsy or neurological disability from negligent birth or neonatal brain injury have been left with very significant and extensive needs for care, therapies, specialist equipment and home adaptations. This inevitably means that compensation sums in these cases involve much larger sums of money than the injured individuals and their families have ever received or had to manage before.

Families who are claiming cerebral palsy compensation for a severely disabled child often ask us:

  • How can I be sure my child’s cerebral palsy compensation is fair?
  • How can I protect my child and family’s privacy after a cerebral palsy claim?
  • Why are cerebral palsy compensation payments so high?
  • How will my child’s compensation be protected after a cerebral palsy claim?

These worries are entirely natural and we reassure our client families that there are various ways in which we safeguard our clients’ privacy and protect their compensation. 

How can I be sure that my child’s cerebral palsy compensation is fair?

Seek advice from solicitors experienced in cerebral palsy claims for claimants (patients and families)

The most important way that families can ensure that their child receives the right amount of compensation for their cerebral palsy, HIE birth injury or neonatal brain injury is to seek advice and representation as early as possible from specialist solicitors who are experienced in securing settlements in high value claims for claimants (patients). This is especially important if parents are contacted after the birth of their child by MNSI or the NHS’s legal defence organisation at NHS Resolution. In our experience, many families are not aware that NHS Resolution cannot advise them in an unbiased way about whether their child has a viable claim for compensation or on the amount of compensation required. NHS Resolution’s role is to defend claims made against the NHS and reduce the amount of compensation that the NHS pays out to injured patients.

Our clinical negligence specialist lawyers are nationally recognised for their expertise in complex birth injury and neonatal brain injury cases. We are also experts in securing large compensation settlements in cerebral palsy, birth injury and neonatal brain injury claims which are defended by NHS Resolution.

Court approval of settlements for children or ‘protected parties’

If a settlement is reached in any case involving a child or a ‘protected party’ (e.g. someone with learning disability from cerebral palsy), the rules which govern clinical negligence proceedings require the settlement to be approved by the court before the case can be concluded. This takes place at a short court hearing at which the judge hears about the circumstances of the case and the settlement to ensure that the settlement has been made in the child or protected party’s best interests. It is not mandatory for the child’s parents to attend this hearing but, in our experience, they often find it helpful to do so as it brings their case to a formal close. The judge will often acknowledge the difficulties the injured child and their family have endured, and this is appreciated by families as they prepare to move on after the litigation process is concluded.

How can I protect my child and family’s privacy after a cerebral palsy claim?

Anonymity orders

Another common concern for families who are considering a cerebral palsy claim, is whether their child’s compensation will attract unwanted attention from local newpapers, neighbours or friends. For this reason, in most cerebral palsy claims or other types of birth or neonatal brain injury claim where a large compensation settlement is expected, the court and the NHS’s defence team at NHS Resolution usually accept that it is in the child’s best interests to make an anonymity order.

Anonymity orders ensure that the child and family’s name and address are removed from all court documents and are not published in any reporting of the court proceedings during and after the conclusion of the claim. 

We discuss the ‘pros and cons’ of anonymity with each family in relation to their own situation, and any specific concerns that they have about privacy.  We can apply to the court for an anonymity order at any stage in the proceedings.

Why are cerebral palsy compensation payments so high?

Compensation for serious injuries caused by medical negligence, such as birth injury or neonatal brain injury which causes cerebral palsy, can’t reverse the injury but can help provide whatever is needed to minimise and manage the effects of the disability. In practical terms, the extent to which ‘restoration’ can be achieved depends on the needs of the individual and the severity of their disability.

Compensation for permanent disability can be a lifeline to education, assistive technology, mobility and independence, providing the necessary support to enable a young adult to study or work, live independently from parents and participate as fully as they can in social activities and family life. For others with severe learning or behavioural disability, this might include paying for the extensive support that they need to keep themselves and others around them safe whilst still ensuring that they get out and about and enjoy some quality of life. For those with the most devastating and profound brain injury disability, compensation can provide essential, intense, round-the-clock help with care, to maximise their health, comfort and safety during their severely shortened lives.

If properly managed and protected, a large cerebral palsy compensation settlement should provide parents with peace of mind that money will be available to meet their child or young adult’s disability-related needs throughout their life.  

How will my child’s compensation be protected after a cerebral palsy claim? 

As soon as any form of compensation is secured for a child, teenager or young adult with cerebral palsy, we set up safeguards to protect and help manage the money.

If the client (e.g. a child with disability from birth injury) is expected to be cognitively incapable of making their own decisions because of their disability at the age of 18, we ask the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy to make financial decisions on their behalf.  

If the client’s mental capacity at 18 cannot yet be predicted, or where they are physically but not mentally disabled, we help the family set up and manage their compensation, usually with the help of a professional trustee, via a personal injury trust.

In each case, the deputyship or trust is arranged in a way that invests and looks after the vulnerable person’s compensation, whilst ensuring that their money is used in the way that will best meet their needs arising from their disability. Compensation that is managed via a personal injury trust or deputyship does not affect the injured person’s entitlement to means-tested benefits.

Our deputy and professional trustees are highly experienced in supporting individuals with cerebral palsy and neurological disability and work closely their families to ensure that decisions are made in the best interests of their child. They relieve the family of the paperwork necessary to comply with court and trust requirements, and the responsibility for day-to-day management of the injured person’s finances, such as paying carers’ invoices and other bills and expenses associated with the client’s disability. This provides families with peace of mind, knowing that their child’s finances are being managed professionally to make the most of the compensation and best meet the child’s needs for the rest of their life.   

If your child has cerebral palsy or neurological disability as a result of medical negligence or you have been contacted by HSSIB/MNSI or NHS Resolution, you can talk to a solicitor, free and confidentially, for advice about how to respond or make a claim by contacting us.

They have a great deal of knowledge and expertise, and client care seems to be their top priority.

Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession

Contact our expert Cerebral Palsy solicitors today for support with your claim

Contact us