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Clinical Negligence Expertise Overcomes Difficult Challenge in Case

Establishing liability in some clinical negligence cases can present a huge challenge. However, as the case of a disabled nine-year-old girl showed, experienced lawyers can negotiate substantial compensation packages for their clients in even the most hotly contested cases.

The mechanism by which the girl sustained serious brain damage around the time of her birth was a matter of dispute between medical experts. It was tolerably clear that a foetal-maternal haemorrhage occurred prior to her delivery. That did not arise from anyone's fault and it was not alleged that she could have entirely escaped injury.

However, when damages were sought on the girl's behalf from the NHS trust that ran the hospital where she was born, it was contended that her injury would have been less severe had she been given a post-delivery blood transfusion earlier than she was. The trust disputed that assertion.

If her case had gone to trial, there would have been a real risk of her coming away with nothing. This outcome was avoided, however, when a £1.2 million lump-sum settlement of her claim was successfully negotiated. That sum will greatly improve her and her family's quality of life and will enable them to move into a specially adapted home.

In approving the settlement, the court noted that it reflected substantial litigation risks. Her parents would ordinarily have been entitled to part of the settlement sum as some reflection of the outstanding care they have given her. Always putting her needs first, however, they had insisted on waiving any such entitlement. The court commented that their daughter was truly fortunate to have them.