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Winning against the odds

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    At the Clinical Negligence Team we take pride in winning cases where the odds are stacked against the compensation claim succeeding. We understand the massive importance to each of our clients in acheiving the best outcome for their future security and health.

    By Simon Elliman

At the Clinical Negligence Team we take pride in winning cases where other firms may have advised that a claim is unlikely to succeed, or simply where the odds are stacked against the compensation claim succeeding.

I recently negotiated a settlement of £6.1 million for a severely brain injured child with cerebral palsy, but I look back four years to the day I first met the parents of the little boy in question. It was at an Information Day that I was helping to host with SCOPE, the cerebral palsy charity, and the parents informed me that their existing solicitors had obtained a negative report from an obstetrician, and were thinking of abandoning the case. I read the report and was not impressed with it, so I agreed to take the case on. Two years later the hospital Trust admitted negligence, and last month we settled the claim for £6.1m.

There is nothing more satisfying than seeing the family of a severely disabled child being enabled to move into a suitably adapted property, with a full regime of care set up for their child for his lifetime, and to see the happiness and peace of mind that brings.

When a claim of this sort is won, the benefits for the child are enormous. We fought hard in this case for the cost of a hydrotherapy pool to be installed at the family home, and although we did not recover the full cost of that (this being highly controversial) it is likely that the family will install a hydrotherapy pool, as hydrotherapy gives great pleasure to this little boy, and is also therapeutic. The cost of private physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, and also technological innovations such as a “Smart Chair” were also claimed successfully, and will vastly improve the quality of life of a very disabled child.

In addition the costs of future surgery were claimed at private rates, meaning that if and when surgery is required, it need not be after a long wait on the NHS. This is highly significant in the wake of recent findings by the Department of Health to the effect that people with learning disabilities are dying, on average sixteen years earlier than others, because the NHS is not being provided equitably to everyone based on need

And at the Clinical Negligence team, it’s not just about winning the cases, it’s about making sure that we obtain the maximum amount that our clients are entitled to, a point which only the best medical solicitors appreciate. When I asked the father of the little boy in question for his permission to put information about the case onto our website, he said:

“Don’t forget to say that after their final offer you still went back and asked for more. Twice. And got it.”

Three years ago I won damages for a family with another disabled little boy who has cerebral palsy in circumstances where his medical negligence claim was out of time (the relevant limitation period for bringing a claim had passed) and where the medical experts were so far “out on a limb” in their opinions that we were very nervous indeed about our chances of winning the case. Eventually the Defendants conceded the limitation point, and we obtained an award of damages in the sum of £3 million.

There are many more examples from my own medical negligence claims and from others within the team, where we have taken on cases where other firms have been unwilling to do so or have given negative advice, and where we have fought on to wring the last drop of compensation from the Defendants. It’s our ethos, and with the huge changes about to occur in the world of clinical negligence practice from 1 April 2013, it will become ever more important to instruct a firm of medical lawyers who will make that commitment to you.

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