What Happens to the Compensation Awarded to a Child with Cerebral Palsy?

Author:
David Thomas
Partner, Medical Negligence Lawyer
Date:
06/10/2021

Cerebral Palsy compensation for a child can cover the cost of any specialist support, treatment and equipment they may need, such as a suitable place to live, a case manager, caring costs and physiotherapy.

But Cerebral Palsy claims can be worth several million pounds, so it’s vital that any payments are managed and invested wisely and in their best interests by a professional Deputy.

Of course, the care you provide to your child is out of love and devotion, but even so, you’re also entitled to be compensated if you’re coping with the consequences of a serious medical error. These payments can be made from interim payments and final damages, subject to the Court and/or Deputy’s permission.

The costs of the Deputy and associated Court of Protection fees can be included in your medical negligence compensation claim, so you don’t need to worry about if you can afford it.

How is Compensation Awarded?

Your child will be awarded compensation if it can be proved that a healthcare provider breached their duty of care as a medical professional, and that this breach caused or made a material contribution to their brain injury.

Compensation can come in the form of a lump sum payment, inflation linked annual periodical payments or a combination of the two.

A formal written apology may also be provided from the medical professionals and/or hospital responsible, which can be a great comfort to many families, as their pain and suffering will have been properly acknowledged.

If the case involves a child or an adult who lacks mental capacity, the amount of compensation awarded will need to be approved by the Court, even if the parties agree a figure between themselves without a Court hearing. This acts as an extra layer of protection for the benefit of the claimant and makes sure their funds are spent responsibly and in their best interests.

How is Compensation Calculated?

Appropriate compensation is vital in making sure that your child’s complex needs are met and that they have a better quality of life than they would otherwise have had.

But it’s often difficult to predict how Cerebral Palsy will affect someone’s life expectancy and other outcomes in their early years. So these questions have to be carefully considered by a number of independent experts.

Generally speaking, it’s not advisable to finalise the compensation award until the claimant is aged 7 at the earliest.

Before this, it may be possible to secure interim payments, which can cover expenses such as:

  • Suitable living accommodation
  • Carers
  • A case manager
  • Aids and equipment
  • Treatments such as speech and language therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and hydrotherapy

Early funds can also be made available for a suitable vehicle with ramp and hoisting facilities, the extra costs of holidays and assistive technology such as Eye Gaze communication, music therapy and sensory equipment.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral Palsy is a group of brain conditions that affects movement, balance and co-ordination, and is typically caused by neurological damage that can occur around the time of birth.

It’s a lifelong condition, and is graded by reference to GMFCS classification levels 1 to 5, with 5 being the most severe.

Cerebral Palsy may be diagnosed in newborns and infants who have suffered hypoxic ischaemic injury to the brain on or around the time of their birth. This may manifest while the baby is descending the birth canal during labour, or the injury may be caused by a lack of care and/or failure to act in the neonatal unit or special care baby unit (SCBU) in the days or weeks following birth. 

It’s certainly not uncommon for Cerebral Palsy to go undiagnosed until Solicitors are consulted and investigations are then undertaken. Before this, the claimant’s condition may, for example, have been put down to global developmental delay and/or autism.

If, as is usual, they lack mental capacity and/or they’re aged under 18, their medical negligence claim will need to be brought and conducted by a ‘litigation friend’ on their behalf.

The litigation friend will often be one of the child’s parents, but this isn’t a requirement.

Why Choose Simpson Millar?

Our Medical Negligence Solicitors and Lawyers have vast experience acting for children with Cerebral Palsy and unlike many law firms, we have a franchise with the Legal Aid Agency, which enables us to act with public funding (eligibility is based on the child’s financial means only).

Alternatively, we can act under a No Win, No Fee agreement (also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement). We have Lawyers who are specially accredited by the Law Society and/or AvMA clinical negligence panels and we have access to the very best barristers and experts.

We also have a team of specialist Court of Protection Solicitors, who can advise on important issues such as arranging Deputyships. Just get in touch with us for a free claims assessment and we’ll be happy to discuss how we can help you.

More Content You May Want To Read

For free legal advice call our Medical Negligence Solicitors

We're happy to help

Monday to Friday 8:30am-7:00pm

08002 605 010

08002 605 010

We're happy to call you

Simply click below to arrange a call

Request a Call Back

Request a Callback

This data will only be used by Simpson Millar in accordance with our Privacy Policy for processing your query and for no other purpose

Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Billingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Catterick, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.