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BHP helps settle £7m claim for brain damaged client

24th February 2015

A woman who was brain damaged when she was harmed as a baby has won nearly £7m in damages from a criminal injuries tribunal after her lawyers took her case back to court.

The woman, who is now in her 20s but has the mental age of a three-year-old and lives with her adoptive parents in the North East, was initially awarded £215,000 when her case was heard in 2005.

After being alerted to the fact that the case had been left open, and realising that the initial compensation was too low, solicitors at North East firm BHP Law started appeal proceedings in 2012.

The woman's father said: "Although some compensation was paid, which allowed us to move from a two-bedroom terrace to a more suitable bungalow, the case was left open to see if our daughter went into residential care. It soon became clear that would never happen." 

Ruth Markham, an experienced personal injuries solicitor at BHP Law where specialists deal with many types of high value and complex claims, including cases of clinical negligence, explained: "We weren't involved in the original case but were brought in by the claimant’s financial adviser. 

“As the case had been left open, we realised there was an opportunity to return to the tribunal for a review of the care costs and to make a claim that properly reflected the consequences of the damage caused to her as a baby and the on-going cost of care that she would need." 

The victim's father was in court recently to hear the amount awarded - £6,581,018 after deductions, including £4.5m for care.

The compensation will be managed on the woman's behalf by Karen Pratt, a solicitor with BHP Law and one of only a small number of selected professionals in the country to be appointed as Deputy by the Court of Protection. 

The team at BHP Law is currently managing more than £50m for clients, working not only with them and their families but also case managers, the medical profession, carers and other professionals.

Karen, who has considerable experience of securing clients' future well being and best quality of life, said: "The compensation will allow us to provide the type of home environment our client needs and will cover the costs of a full care and therapy package, based on at least ten carers working in a 24-hour shift pattern, any equipment that is needed, a sensory room and a car for her carers to take her out in.

“The compensation has to last a lifetime and will be managed and invested on her behalf to make sure that happens. When she dies, anything that is left over is returned to the criminal injuries fund."

The woman goes to day care Monday-Friday but prefers to be at home with her mum. 

Her father said: “Having live-in carers in a bigger house will mean she can stay at home and go out for short trips and walks, but not have to leave the house every day for day care. She couldn’t live in a place where there are other people she doesn’t know.” 

Her parents, who are in their 60s and have arthritis, diabetes and high blood pressure, said the compensation had given them peace of mind that she will be looked after when they are gone.

Her retired mum added: “The most important thing for us is that we know she will be looked after for the rest of her life in her own home, with her own things around her, and cared for and stimulated by care professionals.

“She doesn’t really have a life; it was taken away from her when she was a baby, and this is nothing more than she deserves.”

Ruth Markham Partner
Karen Pratt Partner