Many parents of children who are born disabled care for them alone without any support. However, as a High Court case showed, looking into the exact circumstances surrounding the birth to see if there are grounds for pursuing a personal injury claim is a sensible course of action.
The case concerned a 25-year-old man who had been stricken by cerebral palsy, developmental delay and autism since his birth. For years, his parents soldiered on stoically, caring for him without support. It was only after his mother died that his father realised that he would not be able to cope indefinitely and that his son's long-term welfare demanded that he contact solicitors.
After proceedings were issued on his son's behalf, the NHS trust that ran the hospital where the child was born swiftly admitted that there had been a negligent delay in his delivery, resulting in oxygen starvation and brain damage. Following negotiations, the trust agreed to a seven-figure settlement of the claim.
The settlement took the form of a £3.5 million lump sum, together with annual, index-linked and tax-free payments to cover the costs of his care for life, starting at £60,000 a year before doubling to £120,000 a year when he reaches the age of 35. The High Court had no hesitation in approving those figures.