Compensation secured following delay in diagnosis of meningitis

Boyes Turner’s brain injury lawyers secured a liability settlement and interim payment for an adult with cerebral palsy. Our client is physically and intellectually disabled as a result of a severe brain injury which followed a delayed diagnosis of meningitis when she was a baby. 

Her family instructed us to investigate the circumstances of the young woman’s care after her birth. Her mother and grandmother had both raised their concerns that the baby appeared unwell, but the midwifery staff failed to recognise signs of meningitis infection and call a paediatric doctor to review. If the baby had been seen by a paediatrician, she would have received antibiotic treatment in time to avoid permanent damage to her brain and lifelong disability.

After obtaining medical expert evidence we put our client’s claim to the defendant hospital. They disputed  that their midwives were negligent and that our client’s disability would have been fully avoided with earlier treatment. We issued court proceedings and pursued the case towards trial. 

The case was complex and strongly defended and related to standards of treatment from over 20 years ago. The experts for each party had expressed opposing opinions. This led to a significant risk that our client’s claim might not succeed at trial. The law puts the burden on injured claimants to prove that the defendant was negligent and that the negligence caused their injury. Even if the trial judge found that the defendant midwives had been negligent, there was a significant risk that the judge could decide that earlier treatment might not have avoided the permanent disability arising from her meningitis infection. In those circumstances she would not receive compensation. 

Our client’s significant disability left her totally dependent on her family for all of her daily needs throughout her life. It was vital that we secured a liability settlement which would guarantee her substantial compensation and reduce the significant litigation risks which she faced at trial. 

We negotiated a liability settlement of 57.5% of full value, which guaranteed that she would receive substantial compensation to help meet her future needs, once her family were no able to provide her care. We obtained an immediate interim payment to meet her urgent needs and ease the financial hardship caused by her disability whilst we focussed on valuing the final claim. The court approved the liability settlement.

If you are caring for a child or young adult with cerebral palsy or neurological disability and would like to find out more about making a medical negligence compensation claim, contact us by email on 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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