$23 million settlement for New York resident seven-year-old boy with kernicterus brain damage

Boyes Turner’s brain injury specialists have secured a $23 million settlement for a seven-year-old boy who was brain damaged as a newborn baby when postnatal community midwives failed to recognise the signs of jaundice. Untreated, he developed kernicterus which permanently damaged his brain. He has four-limb cerebral palsy, visual impairment and profound deafness. He is unable to communicate. Totally dependent on others for his most basic needs, he will require full-time nursing care for the rest of his significantly shortened life.

Boyes Turner’s cerebral palsy specialists investigated our client’s claim. Proceedings were issued and the defendant admitted negligence, and ultimately conceded liability. We entered judgment for the claimant and secured an interim payment to meet the claimant’s immediate needs.

Our client was born in the UK and the postnatal midwives’ failure to recognise and treat his jaundice took place in this country, however, throughout much of the claim the claimant and his family were resident in New York. As the medical care that formed the subject of the claim took place in England, under the jurisdiction of the English law, Boyes Turner were able to issue and pursue the proceedings here.

As a resident of New York, however, the additional expenses arising from the claimant’s disability - his nursing care, adapted accommodation, therapies, medical treatment, specialist equipment and his special needs education – would be incurred in New York. Boyes Turner worked with the claimant’s family and a team of experts who were skilled in setting up and managing provision of nursing and healthcare, therapies and equipment, accessible adapted accommodation and education in New York, to ensure that the claim accurately reflected the claimant’s needs, and that the provision would be workable once implemented in New York.

As the claimant is a child, the settlement had to be approved by the English court and had to satisfy the usual criteria – that the amounts claimed were based on the claimant’s proven need, arose from the negligently caused disability, and were reasonable. However, the compensation was to be paid in US dollars, so Boyes Turner worked with US attorneys and financial advisors to ensure that the impact of US taxation, investment rules, returns and costs, and professional management of the money – all of which differ from the English system – would be taken into account in quantifying the claim.

Clinical negligence partner, Richard Money-Kyrle, worked closely with Court of Protection partner and US qualified attorney, Ruth Meyer, to manage the claimant’s interim payments of £1,350,000 whilst the proceedings were running, enabling the family to rent a suitable Manhattan apartment and secure care, equipment, therapies and education without having to wait for the conclusion of the claim. The final settlement, to be paid in part as a lump sum of $10.3 million with US inflation-linked PPOs increasing with the claimant’s age and care needs from $282,000 to $457,000 per year, will be managed under a New York based trust.

Boyes Turner’s top ranked and experienced clinical negligence lawyers are highly skilled in birth trauma and neonatal brain damage claims. Our integrated, multi-disciplinary service ensures that our clients receive the benefit of interim damages and the urgent care, equipment, adaptations to accommodation and special educational assistance that is needed as soon as liability is established, alleviating their immediate hardship whilst we work to secure the best life-long provision through the final compensation award.

I have to say I was extremely impressed with the service in what was a very difficult time for myself and my family. The advice and support I had from the team was fantastic and invaluable. They put mine and my wife's mind at rest on many occasions and got a great result for us. Thank you from all of us.

Mr Horne

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