What are you looking for?

22 October 2022 | Case Study | Article by Lesley Herbertson

Compensation awarded to young man 15 years after brain injury

Simon fell from his bike when he was 7 years old. Due to hospital delays it was several hours before a bleed on his brain was recognised and he underwent surgery. That delay led to a subtle brain injury, in respect of which he has finally been compensated.

Simon was a typical child and could often be found playing with his siblings in the garden. One day in 2003 – aged just seven years old – Simon fell off his bike, hitting his head. He collapsed twice after his fall and his concerned parents called 999. Simon was rushed to the local hospital by an ambulance – he was drowsy with slurred speech upon his arrival just after 1pm. Despite his condition, it was over two hours before Simon had a CT scan which revealed a subdural haemorrhage. In other words, a bleed on his brain.

Subtle brain injury

Simon was placed on a ventilator to help him breathe and at 4.45pm was transferred to another hospital for surgery. He underwent surgery just over an hour after leaving the first hospital, but has sadly been left with a subtle brain injury as a result of the delay in scanning him and diagnosing the bleed, which in turn delayed Simon undergoing surgery.

Simon is now an adult but suffers with epilepsy, post traumatic headaches, and cognitive deficit including specific difficulties with memory and the processing of information. He also has significant executive dysfunction, behavioural problems, poor social skills and emotional difficulties. He is very vulnerable and has only been able to secure employment working in a family business in which he is heavily supported; he would most likely not be able to secure employment outside this protected environment and it is unlikely he could work full time or without support.

Simon’s parents did everything they could to support him as a child and limit the negative impact his brain injury had on him. However, in 2010 they felt Simon would need more help than the local authority could provide him with as he got older and so they contacted the Clinical Negligence specialists here at Hugh James to see if Simon might have a claim.

Unreasonable delay in CT scan

Lesley Herbertson, Partner in our Clinical Negligence team, took on Simon’s case and conducted investigations into the standard of care provided to him at the first hospital’s A&E department. Lesley was able to allege, after those investigations, that there had been an unreasonable delay in sending Simon for a CT scan and if there had been no delay then he would not have suffered his brain injury. The Defendant hospital initially denied the claim and forced Simon and his parents to pursue the claim through the court process. However, in February 2016, almost 6 years after Simon’s parents had first approached Hugh James, a settlement was agreed on the basis that Simon would receive compensation for 75% of his injuries and losses.

Since February 2016 Lesley and her team have worked hard to fully quantify Simon’s difficulties and losses both now and what they might be in the future. Despite the settlement, the Defendant hospital continued to try and down play Simon’s difficulties pointing to the fact that he was able to work. However, in April 2019 after lots of hard work and obtaining clear evidence on Simon’s behalf, Lesley was able to secure £3,825,000 (on a 75% basis) in compensation for Simon to be paid partly as a lump sum up front and partly as annual payments to ensure that he will be able to pay for care for the rest of his life.

Lesley commented:

Simon and his family had been through so much by the time they approached me. His parents had already had to fight to get him the extra support he needed in school and they could see that the local authority provision was not going to be enough to help Simon succeed in a way in which they knew he would be able to with the right help and support. It was very difficult to establish that Simon ought to receive compensation as the Defendant hospital continued to deny his claim almost right up to the date of a liability trial. However, I am thrilled that we were able to secure a settlement for Simon which ensured he would be paid compensation.

Having now secured that compensation for Simon I know that this money will mean he will be able to achieve all that he could possibly be capable of as he can ensure he has the right support in place to do so. It is also right that he can now put in place private care and support and allow his parents, and particularly his mum, to go back to being mum rather than acting as a personal assistant.

The names and identifying details of the client have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals involved.

Author bio

Lesley Herbertson is a Partner at Hugh James and a leading medical negligence solicitor with over 30 years’ experience in dealing with catastrophic and serious injury medical negligence cases.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

Contact one of our experts

Fill in the form and one of our experts will get in touch with you shortly.