The vital services provided by personal injury lawyers to their most severely disabled clients often extend far beyond the successful conclusion of their damages claims. Ayah Masri looks at a recent case in which this point was made where a childhood meningitis victim received an NHS compensation package worth an eight-figure sum.
The teenager was two years old when his father took him to hospital with a high temperature. He had contracted meningococcal septicaemia and there was a delay of over four hours in treating his condition with intravenous antibiotics. As a result, both his legs had to be amputated below the knee, together with parts of his hands. His intellect was mercifully spared, however, and he is expected to have full capacity to manage his own affairs when he reaches adulthood.
After legal action was taken on his behalf, the NHS trust that bore responsibility for his care admitted liability and agreed to a final settlement of his clinical negligence claim. Together with an £8.5 million lump sum, he will receive annual, index-linked payments to cover the costs of the care and assistance he will need for life. Given his long life expectancy, the settlement has an overall capitalised value of £16 million.
The lump sum will be paid into a personal injury trust and professionally managed for his benefit. That course has the advantage of preserving any entitlement he might have to state benefits and ensuring that the money will be appropriately invested and put to good use.
There is nothing to prevent the boy from winding up the trust and withdrawing the funds when he attains adulthood and is able to make his own choices. However, he is a sensible young man and well aware of the importance of managing the funds carefully so that his needs will always be met. It was hoped that the trust arrangements would remain in place for many years to come. The High Court approved the settlement and paid tribute to the magnificent job his parents had done in bringing him up.
Negligent medical care can lead to a lifetime of suffering and limitation of opportunity. Experienced legal advisers can help you obtain appropriate compensation. Our specialist team is experienced in handling claims of this kind.