Cerebral palsy compensation claims are often started because there has been some form of medical negligence that has caused the condition. Cerebral palsy itself is not actually a specific disease or illness. It is probably best described as a number of conditions which affect movement as a result of a brain injury.
There are various reasons why cerebral palsy/ brain damage can occur but if there is negligence on behalf of a third party then potentially there could be a cerebral palsy compensation claim. This is a condition which varies in severity but can have a long-lasting and extremely detrimental impact upon a person’s everyday life.
Cerebral palsy is a condition which can impact a child before and after birth as a consequence of reduced levels of oxygen to the brain. Around one in 400 children are born with cerebral palsy and in some cases unfortunately substandard care during pregnancy and the birth can often be to blame. This is one of the more expensive medical negligence compensation claim groups because in severe cases the damage can leave the person needing 24-hour assistance.
Different Degrees Of Cerebral Palsy
As we touched on above, the severity of a case of cerebral palsy can vary widely. The three degrees of cerebral palsy are:
• Spastic cerebral palsy which causes the muscles to tighten, stiffen or weaken and has a significant impact upon controlling movement and balance.
• Athetoid cerebral palsy which is one of the more visible types that can lead to spontaneous uncontrollable movements and have a significant impact upon posture and balance.
• Ataxic cerebral palsy is the most severe form of the condition which not only impacts balance, creates spontaneous uncontrollable movements of hands and feet but also impacts speech.
It is not difficult to see why some cases of cerebral palsy can lead to significant compensation settlements due not only to the pain and suffering of the claimant but also historic and future medical and care expenses.
Living A Life With Cerebral Palsy
No two cases of cerebral palsy are ever the same because they can take in a whole array of different symptoms such as problems with balance, hearing, learning, co-ordination, concentration as well as epileptic fits. Movements which most of us take for granted on a daily basis such as walking, eating, talking, dressing and writing are sometimes beyond the reach of cerebral palsy sufferers. As we touched on above, tightening, stiffening or weakening of the muscles has a major impact upon a claimant’s ability to control their movement.
There are various symptoms associated with cerebral palsy, which can in some cases be borderline and barely noticeable, to those which can confine a sufferer to a lifetime in a wheelchair. In the more severe cases there is often a need for 24-hour round-the-clock assistance the cost of which can contribute significantly to sizeable cerebral palsy compensation payments.
Treating Cerebral Palsy
Unfortunately, in the vast majority of cases, there is very little which can be done from a medical point of view to treat cerebral palsy. The fact that it is a brain injury means there is minimal chance of recovery although therapies and some treatments can make the condition more manageable. There is also an array of aids and medical equipment such as specialised wheelchairs, beds, bath lifts and other equipment which can also help. It will be dependent upon the degree of cerebral palsy and the impact it has on the person’s life but this element can also be very expensive and contribute greatly to final cerebral palsy compensation settlements.
Making A Cerebral Palsy Compensation Claim
Aside from the impact on the victim’s life, cerebral palsy is a condition which can be so severe that it has a major impact upon the lives of immediate family and friends. In some cases partners, family and relatives may be forced to make cerebral palsy compensation claim if the individual themselves is not able to do so. While the vast majority of cerebral palsy compensation claims revolve around pregnancy and birth, and inadequate medical care, there are also other types of negligence which can induce cerebral palsy. When lodging a claim for compensation for cerebral palsy the following should be taken into account:
- Pain and suffering caused to the individual.
- The cost of ongoing care, equipment, treatment and any modifications required because of cerebral palsy.
- Loss of income for those caring for someone with cerebral palsy.
- The overall impact on the individual’s life.
These damages can be split into what are known as general damages and special damages.
General damages relate to the pain and suffering and life changing issues directly related to cerebral palsy. Special damages simply refer to costs incurred as a direct result of cerebral palsy and any future expenses such as carers, medical equipment, physiotherapy and loss of earnings, to name but a few. Each individual cerebral palsy claim will be considered on its own merits, the severity of the cerebral palsy, the impact on the person’s life and any costs incurred going forward.
Cerebral Palsy Solicitors
In many cases, due to the severity of the condition, any cerebral palsy claim will be lodged on behalf of the individual by a partner, family member, relative or appointed party. When looking to lodge a claim for compensation, an account of the incident should be logged in detail and where possible witness contact information and accounts should be taken which cerebral palsy solicitors will use to build the case for compensation. Where medical tests and examinations have been carried out the conclusions could also offer significant support when pursuing a claim.
Pursuing compensation for cerebral palsy as a consequence of actions or negligence by a third party is a specialised field for cerebral palsy solicitors. Many successful cerebral palsy claims will attract compensation payments in excess of £1 million especially if the victim is relatively young at the time. In cerebral palsy compensation cases where the victim is relatively young they may require around-the-clock medical assistance for many years which can result in compensation payments well into the millions of pounds.
Cerebral Palsy Compensation Personal Injury Trust
When a cerebral palsy compensation claim settlement is calculated it will take in the individual aspects of each case as well as expected investment returns in the longer term. In some circumstances these payments can be relatively large, sometimes in the millions of pounds, although every penny will have been accounted for in future expenditure. When such large figures are paid out, especially for future medical assistance, it is imperative that finances are managed in a controlled manner. As a consequence, some law firms will offer personal injury trust advice which will ensure that compensation to cover future expenses of the claimant will be put to one side and protected.
When you bear in mind that for relatively young children you could be talking about expenses running into many decades there may be a need for some degree of control to ensure that funding from the cerebral palsy compensation claim will last the full course, and is an option to consider should you wish to.