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Our brain injury solicitors recognise the utter devastation caused to families when their child suffers a brain injury.
As a parent, it is hard to accept that this has happened to your child and thinking about how you as a family will cope in the future can be a frightening and stressful time.
Children are vulnerable and can be injured in a number of ways. Many of our clients have suffered a traumatic brain injury as a consequence of road traffic accidents, trips and slips, and other accidents. We also act for parents whose children suffer brain injury at birth or as a consequence of medical negligence.
Road traffic accidents, accidents at school, at home, in public places or elsewhere make up the majority of all child brain injury claims.
It is important to appoint personal injury solicitors as soon as possible after the accident in order that both the circumstances surrounding the accident can be investigated while the facts are fresh in the mind and also as, in many cases, early rehabilitation can be put in place to help reduce the impact of the accident on the child’s development and life prospects.
Whatever the cause of our clients’ brain injuries as children, we are able to investigate the circumstances of the injury and, where possible, obtain judgment against the defendant for the injury.
At this point in the litigation, we are able to obtain substantial compensation payments to put in place immediate rehabilitation where appropriate, as well as professional support to meet the needs caused by the brain injury.
Depending on the child’s age and the certainty with which our experts can assess prognosis we either proceed to an immediate full valuation of the claim for compensation or delay final determination of compensation until the child reaches an age where the experts are able to predict the future with sufficient certainty for the court to make a final award of compensation.
In many of the cases we have dealt with, the brain damage injury is categorised as cerebral palsy, and we have a great deal of experience in working with families and children to understand why this injury occurred and to pursue financial compensation to help the family to provide the care and equipment required.
However there are other causes of brain injury in babies and children. Babies may suffer brain damage due to mistakes made by medical staff during the post-delivery care. Brain damage can result from medical errors made when there is a failure to properly diagnose and/or treat jaundice, hypocarbia, hypoglycaemia, meningitis and septicaemia or hydrocephalus. We have experience acting in all of these:
Many of our clients suffer from cerebral palsy as a consequence of failings in the management of pregnancy, labour, and delivery or failures in neonatal management of in the diagnosis and treatment of childhood infections.
In these cases, cerebral palsy is caused by a lack of oxygen perfusion to the brain.
Hydrocephalus occurs where there is a collection of excessive fluid on the brain. This fluid can cause an increase in pressure on the brain tissue, which in turn can cause brain injury.
Hydrocephalus can occur because of genetic or development abnormalities, or as a result of an infection (mumps/rubella) contracted by the mother during pregnancy. Hydrocephalus can also occur as a result of the complications of premature birth, such as intra ventricular haemorrhage or meningitis.
The symptoms of hydrocephalus might include a large head size or a rapid increase in head circumference, downward eye gaze, vomiting, drowsiness, irritability, and seizures. Older children might experience headaches followed by vomiting, nausea, swelling of the optic disc, impaired vision (crossed eyes), problems with balance and coordination, drowsiness, irritability and cognitive difficulties.
Sometimes brain injury can occur as a result of a delay in diagnosis and treatment of hydrocephalus or as a result of a failure to adequately monitor patients and act on symptoms suggestive of a build up of pressure on the brain.
Hypocarbia (sometimes called hypocapnia) is a deficiency of carbon dioxide in the blood.
A premature baby is often assisted with their breathing by a machine (ventilation), and in such circumstances, the baby’s blood gases should be closely monitored. Frequent blood gas monitoring during ventilation should take place so that adjustments can be made to the level of ventilatory support.
It has been shown that if there is a failure to adequately monitor these levels, and the pressure of carbon dioxide in the blood is allowed to remain low for an excessive period, then this may result in brain damage.
Hypoglycaemia is an abnormally low content of glucose in the blood. In newborn babies hypoglycaemia can occur when the baby has low blood sugar (glucose) in the first few days of life.
Before birth a baby has a continuous supply of glucose via the placenta. After birth a baby will no longer have that continuous supply and will be reliant upon either breast milk or formula to top up the glucose produced by the liver.
Hypoglycaemia is most common in premature babies or babies with low birth weights. However, low body temperature and infection can also cause the condition. Babies with hypoglycaemia can show signs of poor muscle tone and tremors. They may be jittery or very sleepy and floppy. They may also make a high-pitched cry. More serious symptoms include bluish skin, breathing problems and seizures.
If there is a delay in diagnosing or treating hypoglycemia and the blood sugar levels stay low for too long then this may result in brain damage.
Jaundice is one of the most common conditions needing medical attention in newborn babies. Jaundice refers to yellow colouration of the skin and the whites of the eyes (sclerae) and is caused by a raised level of bilirubin in the circulation, a condition known as hyperbilirubinaemia.
In young babies, the discolouration of the skin may be the only symptom of jaundice. It can be seen predominantly in the face and forehead, then becoming more visible on the trunk. More intense cases of jaundice are associated with drowsiness. Approximately 60% of term and 80% of premature babies develop jaundice in the first week of life, and about 10% of breastfed babies are still jaundiced at 1 month of age.
In most cases it is harmless and sorts itself out without the need for treatment. However sometimes the jaundice doesn't improve and the bilirubin levels become high. This is when a condition called kernicterus can develop. This is when bilirubin in the blood can enter the brain. It can lead to brain damage or even death.
The National Institute of Clinical Excellence has issued guidance on this condition to assist medical practitioners in recognising and treating the condition. However if the condition is missed or the treatment is not given in a timely manner, a severe brain injury can occur.
Meningitis and septicaemia (blood poisoning) are very serious life threatening illnesses that may cause death within a matter of hours.
Prompt diagnosis and treatment of these illnesses is essential if lives are to be saved and permanent injury such as brain damage, hearing and sight loss and epilepsy avoided. Septicaemia may also lead to loss of limbs and scarring.
There are several different types of meningitis and septicaemia. Bacterial forms are life threatening and need urgent treatment with intravenous antibiotics.
The bacteria that is responsible for meningitis spreads through the bloodstream from an initial site of infection, commonly the nose or throat, and then reaches the brain. If the body's defence system does not stop the infection at this point blood poisoning can happen. If the infection reaches the brain it causes meningitis. Once the meningitis bacteria get into the blood, a person will become extremely unwell, and can suffer symptoms such as headaches, vomiting, aching joints, fever, a stiff neck, an aversion to light and a rash.
It is sometimes difficult to recognise the symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia, particularly in babies and young children. Symptoms in young children in particular include fever, not feeding, vomiting, pale, blotchy skin and irritability. Premature babies and those who have had a difficult, prolonged labour are particularly at risk.
It is vital that doctors note the importance of the symptoms of these illnesses so that prompt treatment can be given and death or permanent injury avoided.
At Boyes Turner we have years of experience acting for families with a child who has suffered a brain injury. Child brain injury can vary in severity but will always have some impact on daily living and it is a permanent disability. The law requires those who have caused brain injury to provide financial compensation for the special needs that arise as a result, and for the lifetime of the injured.
Our aim is to ensure that you receive the emotional and practical support needed to help you as a family and your child adapt and cope with life after a brain injury. We aim to ensure that your child not only receives the right level of compensation needed to fund care, therapy, treatment, aids and equipment and housing appropriate to your child’s needs, but that their special educational needs are fully supported and their future is secure.
At Boyes Turner, our focus is to provide brain injury rehabilitation at the earliest possible opportunity, which will allow your child to achieve the best outcome from their injury. When funding is available, we will ensure that a specialist brain injury case manager is appointed to arrange appropriate care, therapy and equipment.
Our team works collaboratively with you to ensure you receive legal advice and support to guide you every step of the way. Our solicitors can help you with the compensation claim process, as well as provide advice on housing, special educational needs, and the protection of your child’s compensation in the future.
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Medical negligence is when a medical professional, such as a doctor, midwife, or nurse, or other healthcare practitioner is negligent if they act in a way that falls below any acceptable standard of care.
If someone is injured as a result of medical negligence, they are entitled to compensation for any injury that was caused and for the financial consequences of that injury.
Medical negligence claims that involve severe injury and disability should always be handled by specialist medical negligence solicitors. It takes experience and skill to successfully prove that medical negligence has caused a patient’s injuries, and to secure the highest levels of compensation.
Anyone who has suffered serious injury or disability as a result of negligent NHS or private medical care can make a medical negligence claim for compensation. Special rules apply to children, adults with mental incapacity, and claims arising from a fatal injury/someone’s death.
Children and teenagers under the age of 18, or anyone with mental incapacity, must make their claim via a ‘litigation friend’. This is usually a parent or guardian in the case of a child, or a partner or other adult family member in the case of an adult with mental incapacity. The solicitor handling the claim takes instructions and works closely with the litigation friend whilst ensuring that decisions are made in the best interests of the child or mentally incapable adult who is making the claim. You can find out more about making a claim for a child.
Some important decisions, such as agreements to settle a child or mentally incapable adult’s claim, must be approved by the court. Arrangements must also be made to safeguard the child or mentally incapable adult’s compensation, whether from an interim payment, lump sum settlement or agreed future payments. Depending on the claimant’s circumstances, this may be done by paying the money into a Court Funds Office account until the child is 18, by appointing a Court of Protection deputy or setting up a personal injury trust. You can find out more about Court of Protection deputyship and personal injury trusts.
If the claim is for bereaved family members and dependants after medical negligence caused someone’s death, the claim must be made by the deceased’s personal representative (executor or administrator of their estate) on behalf of all who are entitled to compensation as a result of the death. You can find out more about making a fatal injury medical negligence claim here.
The NHS has a responsibility to provide its patients with a safe and acceptable level of care. If a patient is seriously injured or their condition is made significantly worse as a result of negligent NHS care, the patient may be entitled to claim compensation.
Compensation can help meet the costs of care, therapies, equipment and home adaptations that are needed when an NHS mistake causes injury or disability that permanently affects the patient’s life.
We are experts at helping clients receive the compensation they deserve from the NHS. We understand the concerns that patients and their families sometimes have about claiming against the NHS. You can read our answers to many of the most common questions on our NHS claims page or speak to one of our solicitors about your own claim by contacting us.
Whilst we cannot guarantee that any particular claim will settle out of court, we take great care in investigating and preparing each claim that we take on. Our clients’ claims usually settle successfully without the need for a contested trial.
Occasionally, cases can only be concluded by a formal court hearing, such as where:
Where our client’s claim is complicated by any of the above, we may advise our client that for the case to proceed, it must go to a court hearing. Our caring and highly experienced medical negligence solicitors and barristers ensure that our clients are always kept informed and supported.
Even in non-contested cases, there will be occasions when the case is brought for shorter hearings before the court, such as after a settlement for a child or brain injured adult without mental capacity takes place. In these cases, the lawyers for both sides present the agreed settlement to the court for the judge’s approval.
Each claimant’s compensation is calculated in accordance with mandatory rules based on their individual circumstances.
Compensation for medical negligence should put the injured person back in the position that they would have been in if the negligence hadn’t happened, in so far as money can.
In a medical negligence claim, the amount of compensation depends on:
Compensation for medical negligence usually includes a sum for the injury, and sums to compensate for financial losses and the cost of meeting the needs that arise from the disability.
Our medical negligence solicitors ensure clients receive their compensation in the way that is best suited to meet their needs.
Depending on our clients’ injuries, individual circumstances and needs, we can recover compensation to pay for:
Where medical negligence caused someone’s death, compensation may be claimed by the deceased’s dependants and on behalf of the deceased’s estate. Compensation in a fatal injury medical negligence claim can be paid for:
There are three ways to fund a medical negligence claim, legal aid, no win no fee, and legal expense insurance.
A medical examination is usually needed to assess our client’s injury. Where our client has suffered multiple injuries or both physical and psychological injuries, they may need to be examined by specialists in each area. This is important to make sure that our client’s injuries are fully assessed and understood, so that they can be properly compensated.
If a medical examination is needed, we instruct the specialist and make the arrangements. We ensure that they have access to our client’s medical records and are aware of the background to the claim. The hospital or doctor against whom the claim is being made may also ask for our client to be examined by their medical expert.
The law states that, in most cases, someone who has been injured as a result of medical negligence has three years from the date of the negligence which caused the injury to issue court proceedings. If they fail to issue court proceedings within that time, their claim will be statute barred, meaning that they lose their right to bring a claim.
There are the following exceptions to the three-year rule:
Regardless of your time limit, we recommend that you contact our medical negligence solicitors as soon as you can, even if at that stage you are only considering whether to make a claim.
By contacting us early, it avoids later problems with deadlines and allows us to advise you on how to collect and preserve essential evidence. This enables us to ensure you have the best chance of securing your entitlement to full compensation for your claim.
If a baby, child, or teenager under the age of 18 makes a claim for compensation for injuries caused by medical negligence, their claim is made on their behalf by a ‘litigation friend’. This is usually a parent or guardian.
As the child’s solicitor, we have a responsibility to make sure that all decisions relating to the claim are made in the best interests of the child. To do this, we work very closely with the child’s family. Some important decisions, such as settlement agreements or the amount of money that is allocated to a child in a claim involving more than one claimant, must be approved by the court.
We are specialists in helping families obtain full compensation for children who have been very severely injured, leaving them with permanent disability and lifelong specialist needs. Our expert children’s claims service includes a dedicated Court of Protection team who help our clients protect, budget and access their compensation via deputyship and trusts, and an SEN team to ensure that their special educational needs are met. Find out more about how we help families, children, and teenagers with children’s claims.
If you think that you or a family member have received negligent medical treatment or have experienced malpractice, we recommend that you speak to one of our friendly, experienced clinical negligence claim solicitors as soon as possible.
You can contact us by telephone or by email. Your enquiry will be handled confidentially and preliminary advice in relation to pursuing a claim will be given free of charge.
Our medical negligence solicitors will ask you to tell us briefly what has happened, advise you about the limitation deadlines (time limits) which apply to your claim and whether we are able to help you investigate your claim.
Once our initial investigations have taken place, we will notify the defendant (hospital or doctor) of your intention to pursue a claim and invite them to respond, giving them an opportunity to admit liability, before court proceedings are issued.
If liability is admitted, we will enter judgment and apply for an interim payment as soon as possible to meet any urgent needs that you may have as a result of the negligently caused injury.
If liability is disputed, we will discuss with you the further steps that we need to take to progress your claim.
Our extensive guide on making a medical negligence claim explains the whole process, if you require any further information.
The duration of a medical negligence claim depends on the individual circumstances of the client’s case. The claim is likely to take less time to conclude where:
Circumstances which make the claim more complex and therefore take longer to resolve include:
Our medical negligence solicitors work hard to secure early admissions of liability and substantial interim payments so that we can begin to alleviate financial hardship and provide essential care, respite, specialist equipment, therapies and home adaptations long before the claim has settled. With liability judgments secured and interim funds in place, the individual and their family are able to focus on rebuilding their lives whilst we concentrate on valuing and negotiating settlement of the claim.
Compensation is carefully structured to ensure the best provision for the injured person’s needs. Our clients often benefit from different types of compensation, including:
Where healthcare is found to be (legally) negligent, then the claimant (the person making the claim) must prove that their injury was caused or significantly worsened by the negligent care.
This is important because the patient may already be very ill when they receive negligent medical care. In those circumstances, they must prove that their injury (and its financial consequences) would have been avoided or greatly reduced if correct treatment had been given. This aspect of the medical negligence claim is known as ‘causation’. Causation must be proven, even if negligence is admitted, for the claim to succeed and compensation to be awarded.
Negligence and causation must be proven by supportive opinions from medical experts. We instruct experts in the same field of medicine as the negligent care to tell us whether the care that was given was of a reasonable standard. If negligence is proven, we ask medical specialists in the type of injury suffered, to confirm whether our client’s injury was caused or made worse by the negligent treatment, or would have been reduced or avoided with correct care.
In a medical negligence claim, compensation will only be paid for injuries and loss that we can prove were caused by the healthcare provider’s negligence. Once we know what mistakes were made, the next step (causation) is to identify the extent of the injury or disability that was caused by those mistakes.
Proving causation in complex medical negligence cases requires both medical expertise and understanding of the law. We often succeed in claims where NHS Resolution (the NHS’ defence organisation) has denied ‘causation’. You can read more about how we overcome difficulties with causation in complex birth injury cases.
Our medical negligence and personal injury teams have been nationally recognised for over 20 years because of their expertise, empathy and commitment to securing maximum compensation for our clients.
Fran has been an amazing support through a very difficult time for me and my family. Always available to speak and kept me in the loop with anything happening, she has been so kind, and I thank her so much for helping and getting my mum the justice she deserved.
What has to be some of the most testing horrible times was dealt with in a dignified, honest, approachable and truly empathetic manner. I could not begin to do Susan justice for her handling of our case.
I approached Boyes Turner after my claim was turned down by one of the Medical Negligence Claim company. My wife was a victim of medical negligence.
Boyes Turner have acted so efficiently on our behalf and was able to win our case. Anytime we contact them, their customer service was very good as they kept us fully informed of every level our case has developed. They are very friendly and approachable and great in their professional advise. I would strongly recommend anyone approach them for their legal and medical negligence services.
Thoroughly professional, knowledgable and approachable with communication and updates as and when needed, in what can be a drawn out process, I was always comfortable asking questions and always received answers which were clear and understandable. Highly recommend
I came to Boyes Turner desperate after searching the web for a firm to use for my sons case. He was only a few months so my mind was all over the place, but from the very first point of contact I felt a sense of relieve and belonging. I was welcomed and looked after by amazing staff who always communicated everything so well and went the extra mile to explain things and ensure I understood what was happening every step of the way (THANK YOU SUSAN BROWN). Susan was amazing I felt like I not only had a solicitor but someone who understood my emotions as a mother and always handled me with so much compassion and that was all I needed to keep me going for the 6 years of the case. Years went by in a breeze because of how professional Boyes Turner was. I am so greatful I went through it all with them and mananged to get my son a good compensation. We look forward our new life where my sons needs are priority after struggling for so long. Thank you Boyes Turner and thank you Susan Brown. My family and I are ever indebted.