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Caring for a Disabled Child? You Could Benefit From Legal Advice

Brave parents of disabled children all too often soldier on with no inkling that a brief phone call to a solicitor may yield much-needed financial recompense. Exactly that happened in the case of a man who has been in need of relentless 24-hour care since his birth in the 1980s.

For more than 30 years after his delivery, the man's parents devoted every waking hour to his care. Only after his mother fell terminally ill did his father, who had given up his career to help look after him, launch a clinical negligence claim against the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

In the light of expert medical evidence, the Secretary of State accepted that there was an unreasonable delay in the man's delivery and agreed to pay him 90 per cent of the full value of his clinical negligence claim. Final settlement terms were agreed whereby he will receive a lump sum of £4,150,000, together with annual, index-linked six-figure payments to cover the costs of his care for life. The settlement has an overall capitalised value of approximately £11.5 million.

The man, aged in his mid-30s, suffers from athetoid cerebral palsy and needs a wheelchair out of doors. Cognitively impaired, he cannot dress or feed himself and his speech is very difficult to understand. He lives in supported accommodation, but the settlement will enable him to purchase a home of his own where he will be looked after around the clock by a professional team of carers.

His father would have been entitled to about £300,000 of the total compensation as some recognition of the care he and his wife had selflessly given him for so many years. To his enormous credit, however, he wished to receive only £10,000 with a view to maximising the provision for his son.

Approving the settlement, the High Court found that it represented a good outcome in the man's best interests. It praised the father's responsibility and decency in foregoing about 97 per cent of his own financial entitlement for the benefit of his son. The mother's death was a cruel additional blow that caused tremendous strain on the family and the case served to illustrate how fragile and precious life is.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.