Negligence Can Be Hard to Prove – But There is No Reason to Be Deterred

Negligence on the part of hospital staff can be hard to prove – but that need not stop specialist solicitors winning substantial compensation for disabled clients. In a case on point, a 10-year-old girl who was stricken by a devastating infection when just a few weeks old has won a seven-figure settlement.

The girl suffered a catastrophic brain injury after the group B streptococcus infection developed into meningitis. Her parents had earlier taken her to hospital after becoming concerned by her poor feeding and excessive crying. She had been admitted overnight, but was discharged the following day.

The family’s lawyers claimed there had been a negligent delay in arranging the girl’s readmission to hospital despite her mother having made a number of anxious phone calls to the ward. Had her condition been treated more promptly, it was argued that she would have escaped unharmed. However, she has been left gravely disabled and requires 24-hour care.

The trust that ran the hospital denied liability for her injuries and her lawyers agreed that it was a particularly difficult case. There was a substantial risk that, if the matter proceeded to a contested trial, clinical negligence would not be established and the girl would receive no compensation.

Following negotiations, however, the trust that ran the hospital agreed to settle her claim for a lump sum of £5 million. In approving the compromise, the court noted that, although the payment did not represent the full value of her claim, it would make a real difference to the rest of her life.