Head injury

Blackpool, Fylde & Wyre Hospitals NHS Trust

This was an extremely complex case on behalf of a young man who suffered multiple injuries, including serious head injury, in a road traffic accident. He was admitted firstly to hospital and then to a rehabilitation centre where it was alleged that, due to poor physiotherapy and management of hip and knee contractures, he achieved a far poorer outcome than would have been the case and that in particular he failed to achieve independence of mobility and care.

The claim was conducted on a split trial basis (where the issue of ‘fault’ is tried before the claim is quantified) and in the run up to exchange of evidence the Defendant made an offer of 75% responsibility for the damage caused to our client.

The offer was considered to be a generous one and the approval of the Court was sought as, due to his head injury, our client was considered to be incapable of managing his own affairs. This is standard procedure where clients lack ‘capacity’.

Thereafter we worked towards trial on quantum (the value or quantification of the claim) with expert evidence being obtained from care, aids and equipment, physiotherapy and accommodation experts.

At a round table meeting, settlement in the sum of one million pounds was provisionally achieved, with the Defendant agreeing to consider the sum being applied to a lump sum and periodical payments. Negotiations after the meeting led to an apportionment of £493,000.00 for the lump sum and £23,500.00 per annum by way of periodical payments which again had to be approved by the court.

Periodical payments are a very useful tool in clinical negligence claims. In higher value claims, the award made to the Claimant for the care he or she will need in the future (and sometimes other future losses as well) are divided down and paid yearly to the Claimant (periodical payments) on a tax free basis for the rest of their life. This means that their care needs can always be provided for, however long they live.