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Caring for a Disabled Child but Reluctant to Pursue Rightful Damages? Think Again

Parents who take a 'stiff upper lip' approach to bringing up disabled children deserve the admiration of all. However, as a High Court case showed, consulting a solicitor with a view to seeking damages is frequently the only sensible course to take in the best interests of your child.

The case concerned a man in his 30s who suffered brain damage due to a negligent delay in his breech delivery. Although he is only mildly physically disabled, he has severe autism and obsessive compulsive disorder. He had a terrible time at school and his condition is characterised by, amongst other things, reckless spending. On one occasion he purchased a costly electric car although he has no driving licence. The vehicle had to be returned. Largely isolated in his home, he is in need of 24-hour care and supervision.

His mother soldiered on in caring for him alone for decades before finally pursuing justice on his behalf. Subsequently, the Department of Health agreed to pay 70 per cent of the full value of his claim. Together with a lump sum of £2.4 million, the settlement means that he will receive index-linked payments of £107,000 a year to pay for his care for the rest of his life. Approving the settlement, the High Court expressed wholehearted admiration for all that the mother had done for him.

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