Substantial settlement in excess of £30 million achieved for brain injury at birth following hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice

Case Studies

Substantial settlement in excess of £30 million achieved for brain injury at birth following hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice

Background to the claim

This claim was brought on behalf of our client for a brain injury sustained at the time of birth, which was caused by a prolonged period without adequate oxygen or blood flow. An anonymity order is in place.

The mother had no difficulties during her pregnancy and attended William Harvey Hospital in Kent just after her due date. During the course of labour, there were signs of potential fetal distress which were not acted upon. In particular, our client’s mother had a high temperature, there was evidence of meconium, and the cardiotocography (CTG) monitoring the fetal heart rate was not normal.

There were a number of obvious occasions where the fetus was at risk, when action was not taken. Expert evidence confirmed that delivery should have taken place sooner, and injury would have been avoided.

Following the birth, over a period of time, our client was diagnosed with a learning disability, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism and motor difficulties, and sensorineural hearing loss.

The litigation

The defendant admitted liability for the claim in March 2017, and following this, proceedings were issued and substantial interim payments made. These payments enabled the family to purchase a property which was more suitable for our client’s needs so that there was space to provide private care and therapy.

Due to the nature of our client’s brain damage, it was necessary to postpone a final assessment of the impact of their injuries until their later teenage years, and the case was put on hold, with the agreement of the court and the proviso that further interim payments could be made to maintain and extend the support.

In November 2022, it was concluded that a final assessment of our client’s future needs could be estimated with reasonable certainty. In total, 11 experienced experts were instructed on behalf of our client to consider a range of needs, including long term accommodation and a significant extension to the new property, care and support, and a high level of therapy to deal with his complex behavioural needs. His hearing loss was also considered both by a consultant neurologist and an audiological scientist, who provided practical input on the latest hearing aid technology.


The defendant accepted that our client had a severe level of impairment in self-help and daily living skills, and would have a long life expectancy, but challenged the level of support claimed in a number of significant areas. Factual evidence was needed from our client’s parents to demonstrate recent deterioration, which was vital for settlement discussions.

An agreement was reached and approved providing for, amongst other things, annual payments (periodical payments) for one year at £230,000 and thereafter £325,000 per annum to include the costs of 24-hour care with frequent double-up care, and a lump sum of £7.5 million.

Partner Stephanie Code and Aline Constan, associate, were instructed with counsel, Chris Bright KC. Stephanie commented:

“I have been working as a claimant specialist clinical negligence lawyer for many years. Despite this I am still amazed that families affected by medical errors show such dedication and determination to meet the challenges their child faces on a day-to-day basis, whilst at the same time finding the time to push forward with a litigation claim. With everything going on it would be easy to focus on their child’s needs, but they recognise the importance of looking to the future and ensuring, where possible, their child has financial security.

“We recently had the pleasure of attending an approval hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice with parents who were so relieved and pleased with the outcome achieved. The very substantial settlement has given them the freedom to look ahead to the future with peace of mind and a new optimism that their child will be able to achieve his potential, with high quality support and care.”

Our client’s parents are looking forward to their next project, which is to complete the building works for the extension to the property; once this is done, both parents and our client will be able to move forward positively with much needed care and support. 

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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 419867.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP