Contrary to what some advertising campaigns might have you believe, it is not always necessary to prove fault in order to win compensation. That point was succinctly made by the case of a seven-year-old meningitis victim who won £1 million from a GP's professional insurers despite his continued denial that he was negligent in treating her.
The girl had just passed her first birthday when she was struck down by the infection, which left her facing a lifetime of disability. Meningitis is notoriously difficult to diagnose in its early stages but her lawyers argued that the GP had missed a narrow window of opportunity to do so. It was submitted that she would have escaped catastrophic injury had she been treated more swiftly.
The GP denied negligence. However, following negotiations between his insurers and the girl's lawyers, a £1 million settlement of her claim was achieved. The sum agreed took into account litigation risks but will go a long way to enhancing the girl's quality of life. The High Court had no hesitation in approving the compromise as an appropriate means of resolving a difficult case.