Happily, disabled people can live long lives and that is one reason why compensation awards to those who have been injured by negligence frequently run into seven or even eight figures. A case on point concerned an eight-year-old boy who is expected to live into his 70s or 80s despite brain damage he suffered at birth.
The boy was starved of oxygen due to a negligent hour-long delay in his delivery by Caesarean section. Although able to walk, he cannot speak and suffers acute behavioural problems and disturbed sleep patterns. His mental abilities are never expected to advance beyond those of a two-year-old and he will always require around-the-clock care. Medical experts estimate that he will nevertheless live to at least the age of 75, and possibly into his mid-80s.
After a claim was brought on his behalf, the NHS trust that ran the hospital where he was born admitted liability and agreed to a settlement by which he will receive a lump sum of £7 million, together with annual, index-linked and tax-free payments to cover the costs of his care for life.
The High Court approved the settlement, which, due to the boy's long life expectancy and extensive care needs, has a capitalised value of about £26 million and is amongst the largest ever agreed to by the NHS.