August 30, 2018

How we valued, secured and will help to manage a £17.75 million settlement for a GBS client

A large settlement has been reached on behalf of a 21 year old man, who was injured in the neonatal period as a result of untreated GBS (Group B Streptococcus) infection. His mother was suffering from a high temperature during labour which went untreated; the claimant was not treated with antibiotics following his birth, even though he also showed signs of infection himself. Very sadly the claimant developed meningitis which caused a significant brain injury.

The meningitis left the claimant with a permanent brain injury, and so since birth has required a high level of additional care and support from his parents and professionals. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, learning difficulties, autism and visual impairment; he has not suffered any significant physical injuries though, so has not required the use of a wheelchair.

How the claim was valued:

The defendant hospital trust admitted liability for having caused the claimant’s injuries as a result of their negligence early on in the case. Following the admission we immediately started work on valuing the claim with the assistance of experts in the fields of:

  • care (looking at the past, present and future care needs of the claimant)
  • accommodation (looking at the additional accommodation needs the claimant would have to allow for his team of carers and therapeutic needs)
  • occupational therapy (to comment on specialist aids and equipment, and independent living)
  • physiotherapy (to create a bespoke physiotherapy package to strengthen mobility and stability)
  • neurology (to comment on overall condition and prognosis, and look at epilepsy risk)
  • neuropsychology (to comment on therapeutic intervention to help with behaviour and engagement with education)
  • educational psychology (to comment on accessing higher education and in particular grants from local authorities)
  • ophthalmic surgery (to comment on condition and prognosis regarding eyesight)
  • Court of Protection/Deputyships (to advise on the projected costs to manage the claimants compensation)

Once all of the reports were collated we held a meeting with the experts, the claimant’s parents and barristers, to discuss in detail the case so as to ensure we had considered all of his needs going forward.

The barristers then prepared a document, the “Schedule of Loss”: this sets out for the Court all the calculations for the past financial losses (including interest) and future losses for the remainder of the claimant’s life (he had in effect a normal life expectancy).

Settlement of the claim:

Following service to the defendant of the fully pleaded Schedule of Loss and the expert evidence the defendant then served their counter schedule and their own expert reports. After this, a round table settlement meeting (RTSM) was arranged in an effort to bring the case to settlement without the need to go to trial.

At the RTSM, the barristers for each side debated the merits of each other's arguments and an agreement was reached on the overall value of the case. The claim was settled for the total sum of £17.75 million, split between a lump sum and an annual payment.

How the money will be paid and managed:

At the RTSM it was agreed that the claimant would receive a lump sum payment of £5.2 million and then the sum of £120,000 per year for the remainder of his life (called a periodic payment order). This annual sum is linked to inflation so that it will increase proportionate to a government index every year.

The money will be managed by a Deputy appointed by the Court of Protection, with the input of the claimant’s parents and case manager. The periodical payments are intended to cover his annual care and case management fees.

We were delighted to reach swift settlement in this case. The compensation obtained has given the claimant’s parents real peace of mind to know that their son’s high level of complex needs will be fully met for the remainder of his life. On first approaching the firm they had been incredibly anxious as to how he would be cared for as they aged; this settlement now allows them to enjoy some time to themselves, knowing their son is in safe hands. This settlement brings huge relief to the parents, who had painstakingly saved up every spare penny since his birth to provide for him after they had gone

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