Your child’s life (and your own) is likely to be affected significantly if they have cerebral palsy. The condition may mean that your child has significant care needs. Providing that care yourself might mean you’re unable to continue working and it is likely to have an impact on your family, social life and hobbies.
If your child is suffering from cerebral palsy because of medical negligence during their birth, you might be eligible to claim compensation on their behalf. Therefore, we’ve written this guide to explain how cerebral palsy claims work and how much compensation might be awarded.
Our team of specialists can help if you believe you should be compensated. They’ll provide a no-obligation consultation where you can discuss your case with them. They’ll offer free advice and explain your options too. Should it appear that your claim is viable, you’ll be connected with a medical negligence solicitor from our panel. They will represent you and your child on a No Win No Fee basis if your claim is taken on.
To find out whether you could make a cerebral palsy claim, please call our team on 0800 6524 881 today. To learn more about your options before contacting us, please read on.
Table of contents
- What Is Cerebral Palsy?
- Am I Eligible To Make A Cerebral Palsy Claim?
- Medical Negligence Leading To Cerebral Palsy
- How Much Compensation For Cerebral Palsy Could I Claim?
- What’s The Average Settlement For Cerebral Palsy?
- Time Limits For Cerebral Palsy Claims
- Using Medical Negligence Solicitors For A Cerebral Palsy Claim
- Starting A Cerebral Palsy Claim
Cerebral palsy is one of the most common disabilities affecting children. The term describes a group of conditions that reduce the child’s ability to move properly and maintain their posture and balance. The term cerebral means the condition is linked to the brain whereas palsy describes problems with using the muscles.
The condition affects children in different ways. In severe cases, the child might not be able to walk at all and will need 24-hour care for the rest of their life. In milder cases, mobility aids might support the child when walking or they may walk a little awkwardly unaided. As well as mobility problems, cerebral palsy can lead to seizures, eyesight, speech and hearing problems, intellectual disability and joint or spinal problems.
A diagnosis of cerebral palsy will be based on the main type of movement disorder. These include spasticity (still muscles), ataxia (poor coordination and balance) and dyskinesia (uncontrollable movements).
In many cases, cerebral palsy develops because of abnormal brain activity prior to birth. In these cases, compensation is unlikely to be awarded if the condition developed naturally. However, in some cases, cerebral palsy is caused by brain damage caused during or after birth. In these cases, it might be possible to claim compensation if it can be shown that:
- The level of care provided by a medical professional fell below what could be reasonably expected (negligence or breach of duty); and
- As a result of that negligence, your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy (causation).
It is important to point out that both negligence and causation must be proven if you’re to make a successful cerebral palsy claim. As you can imagine, doing so is not easy and complex medical evidence will need to be provided to win your case. Our panel of medical negligence solicitors are specialists in clinical negligence claims and could help you begin a claim against the NHS or a private medical provider.
They’ll navigate the claims process on your behalf and use independent medical experts to make it easier to fully understand the impact of your child’s condition. Please speak to us today if you would like to know more about how we can help with cerebral palsy claims.
Establishing negligence is key to winning a cerebral palsy claim. We can’t list every scenario that could result in a claim here but we have listed a few examples below. Essentially, you could be eligible to start a claim if you can show that your child’s birth injuries were avoidable. Medical negligence leading to cerebral palsy can include a failure to:
- Deliver the baby quickly enough.
- React to signs of your baby’s distress.
- Monitor your baby’s heart correctly.
- Carry out delivery by caesarean section.
- React quickly enough to your baby’s umbilical cord being wrapped around their neck.
Another form of negligence that might cause cerebral palsy is a failure to monitor infections and conditions that develop after birth. If your child developed cerebral palsy after contracting jaundice, meningitis, or hypoglycemia you may also be eligible to claim.
If your cerebral palsy claim is successful and compensation is awarded, your payout will need to take into account exactly how your child has suffered and will suffer for the rest of their life. Also, any settlement should consider that the symptoms of cerebral palsy can get worse over time.
In many cases, claimants are paid a large lump sum initially and then further annual payments for the rest of their life. Compensation for cerebral palsy can include payments to cover:
- The pain and suffering your child has dealt with and will have to deal with for the long term.
- The cost of a professional carer or the time you’ll take supporting your child.
- Medical expenses including private treatment if it will improve your child’s quality of life.
- Any mobility aids such as hoists, wheelchairs, and other devices to help with mobility.
- The impact your child’s cerebral palsy has had on their ability to earn and lead a ‘normal’ life.
- Any associated travel costs.
- Making changes to your home to help your child move around as easily as possible.
- A specially adapted vehicle.
As the full impact of your child’s condition may not be known for some time, it might mean you’ll receive interim payments from the defendant to cover any ongoing expenses until your cerebral palsy claim is finalised.
The levels of compensation available for those who develop cerebral palsy as a consequence of medical negligence can vary enormously. Some of the more common settlements might include:
- Relatively mild brain damage which has a minimal effect on the individual’s standard of living can attract compensation of between £2,210 and £12,770.
- Damage to the brain which is severe but towards the lower end of the scale can attract compensation of between £15,320 and £43,060.
- Moderate brain damage leading to a change in personality, intellectual deficit and an inability to concentrate can attract compensation of between £43,060 and £219,070.
- Moderately severe brain damage leading to an array of physical and mental disabilities can attract compensation of between £219,070 and £282,010.
- The most severe form of brain damage impacts an individual’s ability to speak, eyesight, and general standard of living. In this situation compensation from £282,010 and £403,990 is a possibility.
It is common for those with cerebral palsy to suffer from epileptic seizures. Advised compensation amounts for epilepsy are:
- Relatively mild forms of epilepsy which are temporary can lead to compensation between £10,640 and £26,290.
- The level of severity described as established petit mal can attract compensation between £54,830 and £131,370. This type of epilepsy can impact working/ social life, lead to behaviour problems and often requires long-term medication.
- Established grand mal epilepsy is the most severe and debilitating form of this condition. It can lead to compensation claims between £102,000 and £150,110.
Please contact us if you’d like to discuss starting a cerebral palsy claim.
According to the Limitation Act 1980, injury claims need to be started within a 3-year time limit. However, this does not apply to claims involving children until their 18th birthday. If you decide to proceed, you can start your claim at any time before they turn 18.
If your child is over 18 years old, the time limit still won’t apply if they lack the mental capacity to represent themselves. This is defined by the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
The process of representing your child is almost the same as with other claims except that you’ll need to be approved as a litigation friend before you can discuss the claim with solicitors on your child’s behalf.
Due to the complexity of cerebral palsy claims, there is no way to define how long they’ll take to be finalised. Most claims against public hospitals are handled by NHS Resolution whereas private medical providers will use their own insurance firm. If liability is accepted early on in the claims process, your solicitor may be able to secure interim payments to help you cover the cost of supporting your child until the case is resolved.
As we’ve tried to demonstrate, the process of claiming compensation for cerebral palsy is likely to involve complex medical and legal information. The process can take quite some time and involve a lot of to and froing between the parties involved.
We believe the claims process will be a lot easier if you are represented by a specialist medical negligence solicitor. If your case is taken on by a solicitor on our panel, they will:
- Handle all communication on your behalf.
- Gather evidence to support your case.
- Deal with independent medical experts where needed.
- Provide additional evidence if there are any objections from the defendant.
- Provide updates regularly about your case.
- Be available to answer any queries you might have.
- Aim to ensure your child receives the maximum compensation possible for their suffering.
Importantly, if your case is accepted, it will be managed on a No Win No Fee basis. That means your solicitor will be able to begin work on your claim without payment in advance. Also, you will only have to pay them for their work if your child is awarded compensation.
Our team is here to help if you have decided to take action for your child’s cerebral palsy. They’ll handle your call sensitively and will provide free advice about your options whether you proceed with a claim or not. To start the claims process today, please call our team on 0800 6524 881.
We understand how busy your life will be when supporting a child with cerebral palsy so our live chat service is available 24 hours a day. If you have any further questions about the cerebral palsy claims process, please get in touch at a convenient time.