Cerebral Palsy Compensation Claims Solicitors
Supporting a child with cerebral palsy and ensuring their needs are met can be challenging, so it’s important to get all of the help you can. While cerebral palsy cannot be cured, with specialist management, care, therapy and equipment, it is normally possible to significantly improve the quality of your child’s life.
However, support for someone with cerebral palsy can be costly. That’s why our aim is to help you to secure a compensation package that funds care for a lifetime whilst providing your child with long-term financial security.
Cerebral palsy compensation claims are usually technically complex and require a specialist medical negligence lawyer. Over the course of over 25 years, we’ve successfully represented clients in a very large amount of challenging claims and so we understand the financial and emotional impact of this condition.
We know that the process of claiming compensation can seem intimidating and that this may be the first time you have ever dealt with something like this. Our team are here to give you all the help and support you need every step of the way.
With our strong experience with all types of birth injury claims, we are able to resolve the vast majority of claims out of court, making the whole process easier on you and your family, whilst also helping you to get the support you and your family need faster.
The vast majority of claims for cerebral palsy compensation that we handle are funded through Legal Aid, thanks to our contract with the Legal Aid Agency (LAA). This means there is normally no cost to you for pursuing a claim.
No obligation initial consultation
Our expertise with cerebral palsy claims
At Barcan+Kirby, we want you to know that your family and your claim are in safe hands. With decades of experience in handling high-value and complex birth injury claims, including for disabilities connected to cerebral palsy, we have achieved an exceptional track record of success for our clients, securing millions of pounds in compensation.
Barcan+Kirby is a recognised leader in the field of medical negligence, having been awarded a band 1 ranking by Chambers and Partners UK – the highest ranking available – for our medical negligence practice. We are also one of only four medical negligence departments in the South West region to receive a top tier ranking from Legal 500.
Many individual members of our medical negligence team have achieved recognition for their expertise, with Richard Barcan, Richard Harries, Claire Hurrell and Jay Nathwani all being highly ranked by Chambers and Partners UK.
Our experienced medical negligence claims team is headed up by panel members of Action Against Medical Accidents, the charity for patient safety and justice, and the Law Society’s Clinical Negligence Accreditation Scheme.
How we can help you claim compensation for cerebral palsy
Starting a claim
To start a claim for cerebral palsy compensation, the first step is to get in touch with our friendly, approachable team. We will then arrange a confidential meeting to discuss the details of your case and advise you on whether we believe you are likely to have grounds for a successful claim.
If we believe your claim has a good chance of success, we will then investigate further, including gathering all of the necessary evidence to support your claim. This will usually include requesting copies of your and your child’s medical records, contacting witnesses and having your child examined by an independent medical expert.
Legal aid for cerebral palsy claims
The majority of cerebral palsy compensation claims are funded through legal aid. As one of the few legal firms with a legal aid contract handling these types of claims, we can advise you on whether you’re eligible for legal aid and guide you through the process of securing funding.
To get legal aid funding for a birth injury claim, the following conditions must apply:
- Your child’s injuries were a result of clinical negligence
- This negligence occurred either:
- While your child was in the womb
- During your child’s birth
- Shortly after your child’s birth, defined as:
- For children born before the 37th week of pregnancy, this is 8 weeks from what would have been the beginning of the 37th week
- For children born during or after the 37th week of pregnancy, this is 8 weeks from your child’s date of birth
No win, no fee cerebral palsy claims
If you are not eligible for legal aid funding, we can also advise you on other options for funding a medical negligence claim. This might include a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), more commonly called a ‘no win, no fee’ deal which can allow you to start a claim without any upfront cost to you.
Almost all of the cerebral palsy cases we handle are settled out of court. This approach means you can receive compensation faster while avoiding the need to attend a court hearing. Out-of-court settlements also usually involve significantly lower legal fees.
Our team offer strong skills in negotiation and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), meaning that we can usually resolve even the most high-value, complex and contentious claims without the need for a court hearing.
In those rare cases where a claim cannot be resolved with an out-of-court settlement, our highly experienced team have the expertise to run all types of claims through court trials.
We have a strong track history of success in court hearings at all levels, including the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, and can offer the effective representation and empathetic personal support you need through every stage of court proceedings.
As well as our own expertise, our team also has strong working relationships with specialist barristers and the leading independent medico-legal experts in the UK, so we can ensure you have all the support and skills needed to give you the best chance of winning fair compensation for your child in court.
Managing cerebral palsy compensation
Our support doesn’t end at helping you to secure compensation; we can also advise you on the best options for effectively managing any compensation your child receives, making sure their needs will be taken care of throughout their life.
Where your child has sufficient mental capacity that they will be able to manage their own compensation once they turn 18, we can advise you on creating a personal injury trust. Placing your child’s compensation into this type of trust ensures they are able to use it without affecting their future entitlement to any means-tested benefits or care.
If you are claiming for a loved one who does not have the mental capacity to make decisions about their finances, our Court of Protection team can advise you. The Court will generally recommend that a professional deputy is appointed to help make decisions about your child’s finances and welfare once they turn 18.
We are able to act as professional deputies for you where required, with members of our team regularly carrying out this role for people with cerebral palsy.
Cerebral palsy claims FAQs
The most common causes of Cerebral Palsy are cerebral hypoxia (poor oxygen supply to the brain) or the baby being born very prematurely. Following birth, Cerebral Palsy can be caused by an infection of the brain, such as meningitis and encephalitis, or as a result of a head injury.
A paediatrician will assess your child’s reflexes, posture, motor skills and muscle tone. You may also be referred to an educational psychologist so your child’s intellectual development can be assessed. Other tests may include blood tests, an MRI scan, CT scan and cranial ultrasound.
Whilst a cerebral palsy diagnosis can be made from 2 years old, the type and severity may not be determined until your child reaches 5.
If you feel you may have a Cerebral Palsy claim, call our team of clinical negligence solicitors on 0117 325 2929 to discuss your options.
If the claimant is under 18, or is over 18 and lacks mental capacity, it will usually be their parent or guardian who brings a claim.
If the claimant is 18 or over and has mental capacity, they will normally need to commence a claim of their own before their 21st birthday.
In order to be able to claim compensation, you need to show that the condition is due to an injury your child suffered due to medical negligence, e.g. mistakes made during their prenatal care, during their birth or in the neonatal management.
The time limit for claiming cerebral palsy compensation on behalf of yourself or your child will depend on a number of factors:
Is the claimant under 18? Most claims are made by the parent or guardian of a child with cerebral palsy while the child is still under 18. They will ordinarily have until the child turns 18 to make a claim. If this is not done, the child may be able to bring their own claim once they turn 18 with a final deadline of their 21st birthday.
Does the claimant have mental capacity? If the claimant is deemed to have the mental capacity to bring a claim, as mentioned above, they can do so once they turn 18 if their parents/guardian has not done so. However, if a person with cerebral palsy is deemed to lack mental capacity (e.g. due to severe learning difficulties) then there is usually no time limit for someone else to bring a claim on their behalf.
Exactly what you can claim compensation for on behalf of your child will depend on the circumstances and the needs of your child, but can cover both the financial impact of dealing with your child’s disabilities and non-financial matters.
Examples of what you may be able to claim for include:
- Compensation for your child’s suffering and injury
- The cost of additional care for your child
- The cost of adapted accommodation for your child
- The cost of private medical intervention for your child
- The cost of physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and other types of therapy your child needs
- The cost of special equipment required in order to maximise your child’s independence
- Your child’s loss of earnings
- Professional costs associated with managing any compensation you receive
- The cost of any other help and support your child needs
There are two main parts to the claims process:
- Proving that medical negligence occurred and that this caused your child’s injuries
- Establishing the value of compensation to which your child is entitled (sometimes referred to as the ‘quantum of damages’)
Various types of evidence will be used to show that medical negligence was responsible for your child’s injuries, including:
- Your and your child’s medical records
- Statements from witnesses
- Reports for medicolegal experts on whether negligence occurred and whether this caused your child’s injuries
Establishing the value of damages will rely on evidence including:
- Reports from independent medical experts on your child’s condition and needs
- Evidence of any specific financial costs and losses you have experienced as a result of your child’s condition
If you believe your child may be showing signs of cerebral palsy, it is important to speak to your GP or health visitor as soon as possible. Symptoms of cerebral palsy range from mild to severe and are often not obvious until your child is around two to three years old. Some children have problems with their motor skills, whilst others are profoundly disabled and need lifelong care.
Your doctor or health visitor can refer you to a specialist team who can examine your child for signs of cerebral palsy. This will likely include questions about your child’s medical history and development, as well as checking for common symptoms of the condition such as muscle weakness or tightness, random uncontrolled or clumsy movements and muscle spasms.
A specialist may also assess your child’s movement and learning ability if they feel this is appropriate.
Useful information about medical negligence claims
- A straightforward guide to Medical Negligence
- Case studies of medical negligence claims
- Suing the NHS – is it ethical?
- Ways to fund a medical negligence claim
Start a cerebral palsy compensation claim today
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy due to an injury at birth, we are here to help. We work with clients all over the UK from our six offices spread across Bristol and South Gloucestershire.