Woman Awarded Compensation for the Failure to Conduct an MRI

A young Los Angeles woman has been awarded more than $7 million compensation for the failure to conduct an MRI, due to which she lost her leg to cancer.

Anna Rahm from Woodland Hills in Los Angeles was just sixteen years of age when she attended the family chiropractor in January 2009, complaining of a back pain that had started the previous summer and that had spread down to her right leg. After two months of unsuccessful treatment, the chiropractor suggested that Anna attend the Kaiser Permanente Woodland Hills Medical Center and undergo an MRI Scan.

Anna’s treating physicians at Kaiser Permanente initially refused to conduct the scan. Three months later, when Anna´s condition had deteriorated further, her mother convinced Anna’s primary care physician that the scan was necessary. The MRI was eventually performed on July 2nd, 2009, when a large and aggressive tumor – a pelvic osteosarcoma – was discovered in Anna´s pelvis.

Anna subsequently underwent ten weeks of chemotherapy but, due to the osteosarcoma failing to lessen, had an above-the-knee amputation of her right leg, the removal of half her pelvis and spine fusion surgery in October 2009. Anna resumed chemotherapy to rid her body of the rest of the cancer, but was unable to complete the full course of treatment due to developing a C.diff infection.

Eventually Anna´s treatment resumed, and was concluded in June 2010. It is still necessary for her to undergo a regime of check-ups, lab work, PET scans, bone scans, CAT scans and MRIs – and Anna understandably is prone to bouts of depression and phantom limb pain. Doctors believe that she is now 90% clear of the cancer and should not have to undergo chemotherapy again.

In July 2010, when Anna was still seventeen years of age, her parents – James and Lynette Rahm – made a claim for compensation for the failure to conduct an MRI when it was first requested. They alleged – on their daughter´s behalf – that the pelvic osteosarcoma was aggressive and fast-growing and, had it been diagnosed in March 2009 instead of in July 2009, Anna would have had other treatment options other than the amputation of her leg.

The Southern California Permanente Medical Group contested the claim, saying that the same surgery would have been necessary had the diagnosis been made in March 2009 because of the cancer´s location. However, a jury at the Superior Court of Los Angeles County found in Anna´s favor and awarded her $7,151,990 compensation for the failure to conduct an MRI.

The award of compensation for the failure to conduct an MRI is likely to be reduced by just over $1.5 million for the jury awarding more than the allowable $250,000 limit for pain-and-suffering awards in medical malpractice cases in California.


Mom Agrees to Settlement of Compensation for a Child Falling Out of a Window

The mother of a girl, who fell from her third story bedroom, has agreed to a $5.5 million settlement of compensation for a child falling out of a window.

Rahniya Neal was just three years of age when, in December 2012, she fell from a third story unguarded bedroom window while playing on her bunk bed. Rahniya – from Philadelphia in Pennsylvania – fractured her skull in the fall and suffered brain damage. She was taken to hospital, where she underwent an emergency operation to relieve the pressure on her brain.

Rahniya has since returned to hospital for a second operation – this time to insert a prosthesis in order to fill the areas missing from her skull – and still needs speech, physical and occupational therapy sessions. It is debatable that she will ever be able to live an independent life as she grows older, and doctors are monitoring Rahniya´s progress closely.

Rahnisha Neal – Rahniya´s mother – claimed compensation for a child falling out of a window on her daughter´s behalf, alleging that the developer of the recently refurbished subsidized housing project, the owner, the contractor, architects and superintendent were all negligent for designing and constructing a property in which there was no alternative but to place a child´s bed next to an unguarded window,

The multiple defendants denied negligence and contested the claim for compensation for a child falling out of a window on the grounds that the building had not violated the city´s building code. The architects provided an alternate configuration of the room, showing how a child´s bed could be placed at a safe distance from the window, and it was argued that Rayniha had recovered well from her accident and was only showing mild cognitive defects that may be unrelated to her accident.

Despite the dispute over liability, the parties agreed to mediation. During the mediation, it was revealed that a jury could award as much as $22.5 million compensation for a child falling out of a window just for Rayniha´s potential loss of income. Worried about “significant juror sympathy”, the defendants made an offer of $5.5 million compensation – an offer that Rahniya´s mother agreed to on her lawyer´s advice.


Family Awarded $32 Million Compensation for Son´s Death in Car Crash

The family of a child killed by a speeding driver in his father´s disabled car has been awarded $32 million compensation for their son´s death in a car crash.

On May 1, 2012, Thomas Straw was driving along Route 28 near Aspinwall in Pennsylvania, when the hood of his Pontiac Vibe malfunctioned and released upwards. Thomas stopped the car in the center travel lane, with open lanes on either side of the vehicle.

Suddenly a Ford pick-up driven by Kirk Fair crashed into the back of the disabled Pontiac, sending both vehicles off the road and into the median. Thomas, his wife Jennifer and their four-year-old son were badly injured in the accident. Tragically, their six-year-old son Elijah died shortly after the accident at the Children´s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

An investigation into the accident found that Fair had been travelling at 71 mph in a 55-mph zone but should have had 20 seconds and more than 2,000 feet to react to a stationary vehicle in the middle lane. Fair´s failure to react until 0.6 seconds before impact was attributed to his use of Suboxone – a drug used to treat opioid addiction that can cause drowsiness.

Fair pleaded guilty to homicide by vehicle, three counts of aggravated assault by vehicle and four counts of recklessly endangering another person, among other charges. He was sentenced to six to 23 months’ imprisonment and 10 years’ probation; following which the Straw family claimed compensation for their son´s death in a car crash against Fair and the employer for whom he was working at the time – Golon Masonry.

At the hearing to assess damages, the jury was told that Golon Masonry had employed Fair and given him a company vehicle to drive despite a criminal record check showing that Fair had been charged with DUI in 1996 and 2008, and his license was still suspended from the latest conviction. The defense argued that the manufacturer of the Straw´s Pontiac should also be considered liable and attempted to introduce testimony from automotive repair facilities.

After six days of testimonies, the jury took just two hours to award the Straw family $32 million compensation for their son´s death in a car crash. $20 million of the award was directly for Elijah´s wrongful death, $3 million was awarded to each Thomas and Jennifer for their injuries and emotional distress, while Elijah´s younger brother, Rowan, was awarded $6 million – $4 million of which was for his past and future emotional distress.


Risperdal Side Effect Compensation Claim Resolved in Philadelphia Court

A Risperdal side effect compensation claim has been resolved in the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia in favor of the twenty-one year old plaintiff.

Wisconsin-born Timothy Strange was first prescribed the antipsychotic drug Risperdal to help control his symptoms of Tourette´s syndrome when he was eleven years of age in 2005. Over the next few years, Timothy gained 60 pounds in weight, which masked the fact that he had developed gynecomastia – a side effect of the drug that manifested as enlarged breasts.

As he grew older and began to lose the weight, the side effect of Risperdal became more apparent. Teased and tormented by his peers, Timothy underwent a double mastectomy when he was eighteen to remove the excess tissue. Timothy´s mother also sought legal advice and made a Risperdal side effect compensation claim on behalf of her son.

The Risperdal side effect compensation claim alleged that the manufacturers of the drug – Janssen Pharmaceuticals – were aware of the possibility of gynecomastia, but had failed to warn Timothy´s doctor of the risks. Janssen Pharmaceuticals denied liability, and a hearing commenced in October at the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia.

Four weeks into the hearing, it became apparent that the defense was using an out-of-date analysis of Risperdal to support its arguments. The case was adjourned so that a 2012 reanalysis of the drug could be presented to the court and the hearing resumed on December 8.

The new evidence revealed that Janssen Pharmaceuticals was aware of the potential for gynecomastia in 2002 – three years before Timothy was prescribed the drug. The jury took just three hours to find in his favor, and awarded him $500,000 in settlement of the Risperdal side effect compensation claim.

Timothy´s Risperdal side effect compensation claim was the fourth case against Janssen Pharmaceuticals to be heard in Philadelphia. Three have now been settled in favor of the plaintiffs, while no causation could be found in the fourth.

Commenting on why Timothy´s Risperdal side effect compensation claim was settled for considerably less than the two previously successful claims, Timothy´s solicitor said that his client´s injury had been lessened by the double mastectomy he underwent in 2012. Furthermore there was no forecast loss of life expectancy as had featured in the previous claims.


Judge Awards $9.6 Million Compensation for Medical Malpractice at Birth

A judge has awarded a 3-year-old Californian girl $9.6 million compensation for medical malpractice at birth against the doctor who delivered her.

At 11:00pm on 29th April 2012, the unnamed girl´s mother was admitted to the Banner-Lassen Hospital in Susanville, California, in the advanced stages of labor. At the time of her admission she was dilated 4cm. By 2:00am the following morning, she had dilated to 9cm, but never progressed to 10cm.

From 2:00am, the fetal heart rate went from normal to variable, before showing more significant drops. At 3:45am, the mother´s consultant – Dr. Paul Davainis – told her to start pushing even though she was not fully dilated. At 5:00am, after more than an hour of pushing, Dr. Davainis ordered a C-section. A surgeon arrived at 5:15am, by which time the fetal heart rate was undetectable.

The baby girl was finally delivered at 5:28am with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. She was limp and blue, and needed to be resuscitated and intubated. She was then transferred to the UC-Davis Medical Center in Sacramento suffering from hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy caused by a lack of oxygen.

As a result of the delayed C-section, the little girl cannot walk, talk or care for herself. She is blind, suffers occasional seizures and is fed by a tube into her stomach. She will need full-time care for the rest of live – which is only likely to be until she reaches her mid-20s.

On the little girl´s behalf, her mother claimed compensation for medical malpractice at birth – alleging that Dr. Davainis had been negligent by waiting too long to perform a C-section despite evidence of fetal distress. On 28th October, Judge John Mendez at the Sacramento Federal Court found in her favor, and last week announced the settlement of compensation for medical malpractice at birth.

The judge awarded the girl a total of $9.6 million compensation for medical malpractice at birth to account for her pain and suffering, medical expenses and loss of income. The bulk of the compensation settlement will be used to pay for her ongoing care. The girl´s mother was also awarded $250,000 compensation for medical malpractice at birth to account for the emotional trauma she experienced during the delivery of her daughter.


Parents Awarded Compensation for a Lack of Care in a Nursing Home

An Orange County jury has awarded the parents of a boy who died after a seizure $10.2 million compensation for a lack of care in a nursing home.

Kevin Barr was born seventeen weeks premature in 1997. At birth he weighed just more than one pound and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and a seizure disorder. When he was nine-years-old, Kevin became a full-time resident at Lonika´s Home Inc. in Mission Viejo, California – a specialist medical facility that promised it could provide 24-hour care.

However, early in the morning of 7th February 2012, Kevin was found in an unresponsive state following a seizure. None of the staff were able to perform CPR, and there was a delay of almost an hour before staff called 911. Tragically, Kevin died during the delay; and, when emergency services responded to the 911 call, staff at the nursing home failed to provide Kevin´s medical records.

Kevin´s parents – Mark and Michele Barr – sought legal advice and claimed compensation for a lack of care in a nursing home. In their lawsuit against Lonika´s Home Inc., Mark and Michele alleged that nursing staff had failed to give Kevin his anti-seizure medication, had avoidably delayed calling 911 and had attempted to cover up the cause of his death to prevent an autopsy.

The care home denied that it was liable for Kevin´s death and argued that he had died due to Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy Syndrome. The facility also denied that they had avoidably delayed calling 911 or attempted to cover up the cause of Kevin´s death by destroying his medication and concealing his medical records.

The claim for compensation for a lack of care in a nursing home went to the Superior Court of Orange County in Santa Ana, where it was heard by a jury in the court of Judge James J Di Casare. The jury was presented evidence to support Mark and Michele´s allegations of negligence and also to prove that the defendant had attempted to conceal evidence of negligence after Kevin´s death.

At the end of the eight-week trial, the jury found in Mark and Michele´s favor. The jury unanimously agreed that Kevin´s death was attributable to willful misconducted and that Lonika´s Home Inc. was guilty of “malice, oppression and fraud” in trying to cover up its negligence. Mark and Michele were awarded $5.7 million compensation for a lack of care in a nursing home and a further $4.5 million in punitive damages.


Family Awarded Compensation for Burn Injuries due to Heater Safety Failings

A Californian jury has awarded a family compensation for injuries due to heater safety failings following a fire at their home which a woman died.

On 5th January 2011, Kenneth and Amy Shinedling were sleeping in the master bedroom of their home in Piñon Hills, Los Angeles, when a fire started in the room. Kenneth escaped from the fire with minor burn injuries and was able to rescue the couple´s three children, but Amy died from severe burns and the inhalation of toxic fumes.

An investigation into the cause of the fire discovered that the automatic safety switch on the couple´s Sunbeam quartz-style space heater had failed to operate when bedding had come within three feet of the heater, and it was this heater safety failing which had caused the fire to start.

Kenneth and his three children claimed compensation for burn injuries due to heater safety failings for their own injuries and for Amy´s wrongful death. In their action it was claimed that no warnings were given against leaving the heater on all night and that the heater failed the consumer expectation test for design defect and failed the risk-benefit test for design defect.

Sunbeam Products denied their product was responsible for causing Amy´s death and the family´s injuries and argued that the Shinedlings were at fault for allowing bedding to get within three feet of the heater. The company claimed that more than 10 million of their heaters had been sold without any other report of a serious fire.

The claim for compensation for burn injuries due to heater safety failings went to the United States Central District Court in Los Angeles, where it was heard by a jury before Judge Cormac Carney. During the six-day hearing, the jury heard a Sunbeam safety engineer testified that the automatic safety switch had a known fault.

After two days of deliberations, the jury found that Sunbeam’s heater failed to perform as safely as an ordinary consumer would have expected it to and found 80% in the Shinedling family´s favor. They awarded Kenneth and his three children a total of $46.92 million compensation for burn injuries due to heater safety failings to account for their own personal injuries and the loss of Amy Shinedling as a wife and mother.


1,867 Dog Bite Injury Claims in California Last Year Recorded by Insurance Institute

According to the Insurance Information Institute, there were 1,867 dog bite injury claims in California last year, more than 10% of the national total.

Cal. Civil Code §3342 makes dog owners who fail to control their pets and prevent them from biting members of the public strictly liable for dog bite injury claims in California, except in cases in which members of the public are trespassing on the owner´s land.

Unlike in some other States, there is no “one-free-bite” rule; where the dog owner is only liable for a dog bite injury if the owner is aware that their dog has an inclination to bite humans – i.e. the dog is known to have bitten somebody else already.

However, considering that a large percentage of all dogs kept as pets in the U.S. reside in the Golden State, it is actually surprising that there were “only” 1,867 dog bite injury claims in California last year out of a national total of 16,550.

The dog bite injury claims resulted in the payment of $62.8 million in compensation settlements in California in 2014 (the national total was $530.8 million) but, due to higher jury settlements elsewhere, the average settlement value was only slightly higher than the national average at $33,649 per claim.

Not included among the dog bite injury claims in California were dog attacks on postal carriers. Postal carriers injured while they are delivering mail can claim workers compensation for their injuries, rather than have to go through civil procedures to make dog bite injury claims in California.

The large number of successful dog bite injury claims in California paints a slightly misleading picture as the figure could be much higher. Courts in California have recently tended to dismiss dog bite injury claims that are not strongly supported by evidence of negligence and compensation has been denied to victims who are considered to have provoked a dog, caused an attack by their own negligence or assumed the risk of an attack by a dog.

Consequently, it is in your best possible interests to consult with a lawyer at the earliest possible moment if you or your child have been attacked by a dog and intend making dog bite injury claims in California.


Birth Injury Compensation for Damaged Nerves Awarded at Court

A boy from Grand Falls in Michigan has been awarded $9.43 million birth injury compensation for damaged nerves after a jury hearing in Kent County.

Digby Maring (now 4½ years of age) was born weighing 9 lbs in October 2009. His mother´s pregnancy had been without complications until Digby developed shoulder dystocia during the later stages of his delivery. The physician in charge of the delivery – Stacyann Steen M.D. – ordered the family attending the birth out of the delivery room while she tried to free Digby´s shoulder but, due to using excessive force, Digby was born with damaged nerves in his shoulder and now only has 10% use of his arm.

Dr. Steen´s responses when questioned about Digby´s arm was that it would be better by the next day; but, whereas many less-traumatic nerve damage injuries can heal within several days or weeks, Digby´s condition failed to improve. In December 2009, Digby was diagnosed with avulsion nerve root injuries caused by excessive force. It transpired that during Digby´s delivery three nerve roots had been ripped from his spine – causing permanent nerve damage.

Through his mother – Emily – Digby claimed birth injury compensation for damaged nerves against Dr. Steen and her employers – Advantage Health Physicians PC. Medical experts supporting the claim said that Digby´s nerve damage had been caused by Dr Steen “torquing” the infant´s head to free the trapped shoulder. Dr. Steen denied the allegations that she had failed to implement the necessary standard of care and used excessive force during Digby´s delivery.

With no resolution reached through negotiation or mediation, the claim for birth injury compensation for damaged nerves went to the Kent County Circuit Court where it was heard before Judge Mark A. Trusock. At the hearing, lawyers representing Digby claimed that his damaged nerves would be a hindrance to his earning capacity later in life and that he would need specialized care and attention while he was growing up and during adulthood.

After a four-day hearing, the Kent County jury voted 6-1 in favor of Digby´s claim, and awarded him $9.43 million birth injury compensation for damaged nerves to account for his past and future pain and suffering, and for his future loss of earnings.


Family Awarded $4.5 Million Compensation for a Bus Accident on Vacation

A judge has awarded a family from Pennsylvania more than $4.5 million compensation for a bus accident on vacation after the negligent party failed to enter a defense.

In October 2012, the Yuschak family from Dresher, Montgomery County PA, was staying at the Los Altos Beach Resort and Spa in Costa Rica. They decided to spend a day on the beach and boarded the resort-owned shuttle bus to take them there – a converted truck with a canvas roof and two horizontal benches for seats.

Access to the beach is via a twisting and turning downhill track and, as the bus approached the foot of the track, the driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed it into a tree – flipping the bus onto its side and sending the family flying from their seats to all be on the driver´s side of the vehicle..

The mother of the family – Susan – sustained a depressed fractured of the skull in the accident, while her daughter – Caitlyn – fractured bones in the lumbosacral region of her lower back. Her son – Eric – suffered ligament damage in his left knee, and her husband – James – fortunately suffered no physical injuries.

The family was taken to a local hospital where they received rudimentary treatment for their injuries before Susan was transferred to a regional care center. James took his two children back to Pennsylvania the following day, where Caitlyn received professional care for her back injury and Eric had to undergo surgery to repair his torn ligaments.

When Susan returned to the United States in December, she was diagnosed as having suffered traumatic brain injury. Susan was unable to return to her job as a part-time pharmacist due to her short-tem memory loss and other issues with her cognitive ability. She also suffered from depression and developed suicidal tendencies – affecting the marital relationship with her husband.

The family claimed compensation for a bus accident on vacation against the Los Altos Beach Resort and Spa, alleging that the converted truck was unfit for its purpose as a bus. In addition to claiming for the physical injuries that the family had suffered, James made a claim for the emotional trauma he had suffered and was still suffering as his marriage deteriorated.

The Los Altos Beach Resort and Spa failed to enter a defense against the claim for compensation for a bus accident on vacation, despite being in communication with the Yuschak family lawyer. Subsequently – at the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania – Judge Mitchell S. Goldberg entered a default judgment against the resort and awarded Susan $3.4 million compensation for her pain and suffering and her future lost income.

Other awards of compensation for a bus accident on vacation were made to Caitlyn ($700,000) for her back injury; Eric ($700,000) for his ligament injury; and James ($150,000) for the emotional trauma he continues to suffer.


Girl Awarded $32.8 Million Compensation for Birth Injuries due to Nursing Negligence

A girl has been awarded $32.8 million compensation for birth injuries due to nursing negligence following a hearing at the Chester County Court of Common Pleas in Pennsylvania.

On 14 November 2009, Leslie Ciechoski was admitted to the Phoenixville Hospital, having gone into labor after a relatively smooth pregnancy. However, at around 1.00am the following morning, her baby´s fetal heart rate dropped from a normal level of 150 beats per minute to 60 beats per minute – with the probable cause being a kink in the umbilical cord which prevented oxygen being transported to the fetus´ brain.

Two of the nurses on duty – Christine Winter and Lana Jones-Sandy noticed the decline in heart rate, but failed to advise Leslie´s OB-GYN – Dr. Amy Cadieux – and the dangerous situation was only acted upon when Dr. Cadieux visited her patient at 1:20am.

Dr Cadieux instructed the two nurses to summon an anesthesiologist and contact their supervisor in order that an emergency Cesarean Section operation could be performed; but it was not until 1:29am that the hospital supervisor was contacted and not until 1:36am that the anesthesiologist could be located.

Lily Ciechoski was delivered at 1:49am, and diagnosed with quadriplegic cerebral palsy as the result of oxygen starvation. Now four years of age, Lily has difficulty controlling her neck and speaks very little. She suffers from spasms in her arms and legs which make it difficult for her to walk.

On Lily´s behalf, her mother claimed compensation for birth injuries due to nursing negligence after a medical expert determined that, had Lily been delivered 15 to 17 minutes earlier, she would have only suffered minimal birth injuries.

The expert testified at the Chester County Court hearing, after which hearing Judge Robert Shenkin dismissed the Phoenixville Hospital and Dr Cadieux from the proceedings and the jury was sent to deliberate how much compensation for birth injuries due to nursing negligence Lily should receive.

After nine hours, the jury returned with a settlement figure of $32.8 million – which consisted of $800,000 for Lily´s lost earning potential in the future, $1 million for past and future non-economic “loss of amenity” and $31 million for future medical and care expenses.


Court Approves Compensation for Hospital Mistakes

A court in Leeds has approved a settlement of compensation for hospital mistakes made during the birth of a young girl who now suffers from athetoid cerebral palsy.

Judge Mark Gosnell at the High Court in Leeds was told of the circumstances preceding the birth of Ruby Curtis from Garforth in West Yorkshire; who was born at St James Hospital in Leeds on 28th August 2005, having suffered from a lack of oxygen in the womb due to the failure of hospital staff to identify that her mother´s uterus had ruptured.

The court heard that Ruby´s mother – Lisa – had been given medication to aid her contractions, but staff were slow to notice Lisa´s injury and subsequently Ruby´s delivery was avoidably delayed. Ruby was born with athetoid cerebral palsy – a form of cerebral palsy which affects her head and body, all four of her limbs, and is responsible for involuntary muscular movements.

Although Ruby has learned to use her eyes to communicate, she needs assistance in all aspects of her daily life, including feeding, personal care and education. Ruby´s mother gave up working after her birth to become her full-time carer and now Ruby attends the specialist Percy Hedley School for children with cerebral palsy in Killingworth.

Ruby´s mother made a claim for compensation for the hospital mistakes after seeking legal advice and, after years of pursuing her claim, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust eventually admitted their “majority” liability for Ruby´s birth injuries and a compensation settlement was negotiated that would see Ruby receive a lump sum payment of £2.95 million in compensation for hospital mistakes with payments made annually to provide for her care thereafter.

At the High Court in Leeds, Judge Mark Gosnell was told that a settlement of compensation for athetoid cerebral palsy had been agreed, which will see Ruby receive £2.95 million as a lump sum payment to pay for her care, education costs and special accommodation near her school, with ongoing annual tax-free payments to provide the care Ruby needs when she reaches adulthood.

Approving the settlement, Judge Mark Gosnell noted that the funds would be managed by the Court of Protection and said to Ruby´s parents that the compensation for hospital mistakes should secure “a better family life for both you and Ruby”. He added that he hoped an apology read out in court on behalf of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust would give them some sense of closure.


School Injury Compensation Claims Cost a School District more than $1 million

Figures provided for the BBC under a Freedom of Information request have revealed that school injury compensation claims cost Welsh education authorities more than £800,000 (over $1 million) in the five years to 2013.

A range of accidents and injuries were included in the figures which covered 312 school injury compensation claims made by parents on behalf of their children – including trips and falls on school property, slips on icy approaches to classrooms and injuries sustained from faulty school equipment. One claim revolved around the incorrect application of first aid which resulted in a child suffering from painful skin blistering.

The education authority in Cardiff received the highest number of school injury compensation claims between 2008 and 2013, with 74 of these being successful. Newport local council paid out £248,131 over the period in respect of 44 successful compensation claims for injuries at school, while the local authority in Rhondda Cynon Taf had the highest average settlement value of £18,993 per claim.

A spokesperson for the education authorities said that parents were being encouraged to claim compensation for injuries at school by lawyers offering “contingency fee” injury claims, but one mother disagreed – telling the BBC that she only made a claim on behalf of her son who suffered an injury due to a faulty school gate to get the school to acknowledge that the gate was faulty and getting the hazard fixed to prevent other children from suffering an injury.

Owen Hathway – NUT Cymru´s policy officer – also commented on the volume of school injury compensation claims seen in Wales. He commented that if councils failed to invest in making schools safe, and allowed children to be taught in dilapidated buildings, then it was inevitable that children would be injured in avoidable accidents.

Best Injury Claims Footnote: Accidents will happen when groups of young children are together and, if your child is injured in an accident at school, you are only entitled to make school injury compensation claims if it can be established that your child´s injury was avoidable and attributable to negligence.

Any amount of compensation that a claim is settled for has to be approved by a judge before the compensation is paid (even if tour claim is resolved without a court hearing), and the compensation funds are then held in trust by the court your child reaches eighteen years of age.


Man Awarded Compensation for a Cycling Injury after Court Hearing

A cyclist, who now requires full-time care after a collision with a car in 2005, has been awarded £5.3 million in compensation for a cycling injury after an eight-year legal battle.

Toby Phethean-Hubble (24) from Knowle in Shropshire was just sixteen years of age when, in November 2005, he attempted to cycle across the road outside the Whitchurch Leisure Centre, and was hit by a car driven by seventeen year-old Sam Coles.

Coles had passed his driving test just eight days before the accident, and was driving his mother´s automatic for the first time. Even though he later admitted to seeing Toby cycling on the pavement, Coles said that there was nothing he could have done to prevent the accident – in which Toby was thrown over the top of the car before hitting the ground on the other side of the car.

Toby suffered catastrophic brain injuries and was at one point not expected to live. However, a groundbreaking operation in which Toby had a titanium plate inserted to his skull and years of physiotherapy later, Toby is now able to walk with the assistance of a frame, but still needs full-time care at a specialist centre in North Devon.

Through his mother, Toby made a claim for compensation for a cycling injury against Coles´ insurance company; but they denied liability and alleged that Toby himself was to blame for the accident due to his own lack of care and because he was not wearing a cycle helmet or using the lights on his bicycle at 8.00pm in the evening.

However, Coles had admitted to the police after the accident that he had been driving faster than the 30mph speed limit, and Toby´s mother took Toby´s cycling injury compensation claim to court; where in March 2011 Judge Wilcox ruled in Toby´s favour but assigned him one-third liability for his actions in causing the accident.

Coles´ insurers appealed the judgement and, after a hearing at the Appeal Court in 2012, Toby´s liability was increased to one-half, and the cycling injury compensation claim was adjourned for the assessment of damages.

Last week, Mr Justice Stewart at the High Court in London, approved a £5.3 million settlement of compensation for a cycling injury that help pay for Toby´s care and accommodation at the North Devon centre and enable him to afford the medical aids which will allow him to live as independently as possible.


Changes to Personal Injury Claims Procedures will Speed up Compensation

Changes to personal injury claims procedures introduced on 1st August 2013 will speed up compensation settlements in claims with a value of up to £25,000.

The second of two changes to the Civil Procedure Rules took effect on 1st August 2013, and whereas the changes to the personal injury claims procedures in April of this year took away some of the benefits of making “Contingency Fee” compensation claims, the most recent changes should allow claimants to receive their compensation settlements within a shorter time frame.

The new procedures will see the length of time negligent parties and their insurance companies have to acknowledge “Letters of Claim” reduced to one day from twenty-one days, and the number of days available for them to conduct their own investigations into a claim reduced from ninety days to thirty days (forty days in the event of a compensation claim for an accident at work).

The aim of the new procedures is to reduce the costs of pursuing a claim for personal injury compensation when the value of the claim is less than £25,000 and when liability is not disputed. Any negligent party or insurance company who fails to adhere to these guidelines will not be able to take advantage of the Ministry of Justice Claims Portal and will face higher costs in defending the claim.

There are numerous exceptions to the new Civil Procedure Rules and there will be no change to the personal injury claims procedures in the following events:-

  • If an injury has been sustained due to the negligence of a private individual – for example if a homeowner has damaged the pavement outside their house over which you have tripped and fallen
  • If the injury which is being claimed for is an acquired disease either at work (for example COPD due to your working environment) or a place of public access (for example food poisoning in a restaurant)
  • If an injury has been sustained in an accident or scenario involving more than one party – for example a car accident in which more than one person was to blame
  • If an injury was sustained in an accident for which you were partly to blame or if your injury was exacerbated due to your own lack of care (also known as “Contributory Negligence”).
  • If a loss, an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition was due to medical negligence – either at a hospital or in private practice such as at the dentist
  • If you have developed mesothelioma due to exposure to asbestos, or if you are claiming on behalf of an individual who has died due to mesothelioma cancer
  • If you have sustained an injury due to the negligence of a party who is uninsured, insolvent or untraceable – such as if you are injured in a hit and run accident.

The changes apply to injuries which have been sustained or diagnosed in England or Wales from 1st August onwards, and do not affect the length of time you have after an injury has been discovered in which to claim personal injury compensation – currently three years in the UK.

Should you require further information about how the changes to the personal injury claims procedures may affect you in your particular circumstances, you are advised to speak with a personal injury lawyer at the earliest opportunity.


Settlement of Injury Claim for a Powerboat Accident Approved in High Court

A teenage girl, who suffered devastating injuries when an inflatable ring she was riding in crashed into a moored boat, has had a settlement of her injury claim for a powerboat accident approved at the High Court.

Rebecca Coles (now 19) from Langdon Hills near Basildon in Essex sustained her injuries in an accident on the River Orwell in May 2008 when, as she was being towed on an inflatable rubber ring behind a powerboat, the driver of the boat swerved to avoid a yacht. The action of the powerboat driver swung the inflatable rubber ring around and smashed it into the side of another boat, causing Rebecca to sustain severe head injuries.

Rebecca was admitted to Addenbrooke´s Hospital in Cambridge, where she underwent several operations including one to have part of her skull removed and a titanium plate inserted. Doctors told Rebecca that because the part of the brain that controlled her movement was so badly damaged she would never walk again. Rebecca also suffered permanent damage to her peripheral vision and lost 40 percent hearing in her right ear because of her injuries.

Through her father – Steven Coles – Rebecca made an injury claim for a powerboat accident against the insurers of the boat´s driver and, at the High Court in London, Mr Justice Teare heard that an agreement had been reached between the Coles´ family and the insurance company to settle the powerboat accident injury compensation claim for £1.37 million.

Mr Justice Teare was also told that, since her accident, Rebecca has undergone intensive physiotherapy and specialist rehabilitation at the Children´s Trust in Tadworth which enabled her to walk a mile in the 2010 London Marathon. Rebecca also achieved sufficiently high GCSE grades to study events management at college. Approving the settlement of the injury claim for a powerboat accident the judge wished Rebecca well for the future – both with her studies and her life after her studies.


Student Receives Pedestrian Compensation for Being Hit by a Car

A business administration student from Birmingham is to receive more than £1 million pedestrian compensation for being hit by a car following a negotiated settlement.

The undisclosed sum will be paid to Lee Edge (21) from the city´s suburb of King´s Heath after an agreement was reached on how much compensation he should be entitled to following an accident in January 2005; when he was run down by a car whose driver was later convicted of driving without due care and attention.

Lee made the claim for pedestrian compensation for being hit by a car through his mother Sandra while he was recovering from the accident – due to which he now suffers from poor memory, fatigue and difficulty in concentrating.

Despite his injuries, Lee managed to achieve sufficiently high grades to attend college and, following an assessment of his future health requirements, Lee will now be the recipient of a seven-figure settlement of pedestrian compensation for being hit by a car.


Settlement of Child Brain Injury Claim Approved in High Court

A settlement of a child brain injury claim for compensation amounting to £7.3 million has been approved at the High Court in London by Mr Justice Tugendhat.

The settlement related to a claim made by Robbie Crane (13) of Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, who in October 1999 underwent surgery when only three days old to correct a transposition of the great arteries – a rare birth condition in which the major arteries going into the heart have developed the wrong way round.

Despite the complicated surgery being successful, Robbie suffered brain damage during the 15-hour period after his operation because a ventilator keeping him alive had not been adjusted properly.

Because of the alleged medical negligence, Robbie suffered brain damage resulting in cerebral palsy, learning difficulties, behavioural problems and epilepsy. Robbie has no sense of danger, will never be able to lead an independent life and required constant supervision at all times.

After seeking legal advice, Robbie´s parents – Catherine and Barry – made a child NHS brain injury claim for compensation against the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust, claiming that Robbie´s condition was a direct result of medical negligence.

The NHS Trust denied that they were liable for Robbie´s injuries, but in October 2011 agreed to an out-of-court settlement amounting to 70 percent of how much the High Court assessed Robbie would need to provide care for the rest of his life.

Mr Justice Tugendhat at the High Court in London heard that, with Robbie´s anticipated life expectancy, the sum of £7.3 million would enable a lump sum to be paid to the family immediately and provide for index-linked and tax-free payments to be paid annually.

After hearing the details of the case, Mr Justice Tugendhat approved the settlement of the child NHS brain injury claim and paid tribute to Robbie´s parents for devoting the last thirteen years to his well-being.


Compensation for Pupils Injured at School Tops £200,000 in Essex

Figures acquired by the East Anglian Daily Times have revealed that Essex County Council paid £222,137 in compensation for pupils injured at school between 2008 and 2010.

The compensation settlements account for seventeen successful claims for pupils injured at school during the three year period – with several claims for accidents which occurred in 2011 and 2012 still to be agreed.

Among the highest settlements of compensation for pupils injured at school were:
• £30,544 injury compensation for a trip on a school step
• £28,972 for a child who injured his face against a window ledge
• £27,780 compensation for a slip on a wet floor at school
• Two amounts of £24,650 and £23,580 paid in settlement of claims for falls from school climbing equipment

A spokesperson for Essex County Council commented on the figures. “Essex County Council takes its health, safety and wellbeing responsibilities seriously and is committed to complying with its legal, moral and financial obligations”.

However, County Councillor Julie Young said some parents might find the figures disturbing – and insisted more should be done to improve health and safety in schools. In relation to the settlements of compensation for pupils injured at schools in Essex she stated “It is my understanding the council offers training but I question whether there is enough analysis done. I think more needs to be done.”


Hospital Negligence Compensation Liabilities Bankrupting NHS Claims CEO

The Chief Executive of the Medical Defence Union – Dr Christine Tomkins – has claimed that the current level of hospital negligence compensation settlements is bankrupting the National Health Service.

Speaking a guest on the BBC´s ‘Today’ program, Dr Tomkins told presenter Justin Webb that, due to the Law Reform (Personal Injuries) Act of 1948, settlements of hospital negligence compensation were being calculated without consideration of the services available on the NHS and therefore based on the cost of private care.

Money which could be retained within the NHS, she claimed, is pouring out of the public purse to set up “one-patient institutions” and, because of this, settlements of hospital negligence compensation were rising faster than society´s ability to pay for them.

Dr Tomkins commented that the NHS Litigation Authority has periodic payment liabilities of £18bn – sufficient to pay the yearly running costs of twelve teaching hospitals – and that if the care available on the NHS was utilised instead of being out-sourced privately, this liability would decrease significantly.

Justin Webb then introduced Clare Scott onto the show. Clare´s son Charlie was only recently awarded a hospital negligence compensation settlement valued at £7.1 million for the avoidable injuries he sustained during his birth at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital in 1998.

Clare acknowledged that some of the care and equipment from which her son will now benefit could be provided by the NHS, but said that the compensation settlement will mean Charlie no longer has to wait for assessments by her local social services before being provided with the care he needs.

Clare added that the size and structure of the hospital negligence compensation settlement gives her son the security of 24-hour care when she, or the NHS, would be unable to provide it.


Court Approves Compensation for being Paralysed in Accident

The High Court has approved a settlement of compensation for being paralysed in an accident for a 17 year old girl who lost the use of her legs after being involved in a car crash in which her mother died.

Agnes Collier from Naunton in Gloucestershire was just 13 years of age when the car driver by her mother was in a head-on collision with a lorry on the A436. Her mother had taken evasive action to avoid hitting a car emerging from a side road and was killed instantly in the accident.

Agnes lost the use of both her legs due to the severe spinal injuries she sustained in the accident and only has limited use of her arms. Her older brother, who was also a passenger in the car at the time of the accident, suffered a head injury from which he has now recovered.

The driver of the car Agnes´ mother was trying to avoid – Andrew Norton of Andoversford in Gloucestershire – was found responsible for causing the accident and received a suspended sentence for causing death by driving without due care and attention.

Following his conviction, Agnes´ made a claim for compensation for being paralysed in an accident against Norton´s insurance company through her father Dominic. With no need for negligence to be established, the only issue to be resolved was how much compensation for being paralysed in an accident Agnes should receive.

At the High Court in London, Mr Justice Macduff heard that a settlement had been agreed which sees Agnes receiving £7.25 million now as a lump sum and future annual payments of £270,000. Should Agnes reach her anticipated life expectancy, the total value of the claim for being paralysed in an accident would exceed £23 million – a new record for a compensation settlement in the UK.

After hearing the facts of the accident, and how Agnes had coped with her injuries and the death of her mother, Mr Justice Macduff approved the settlement, adding “It never ceases to amaze me how people can deal with this type of adversity. I can’t turn back the clock, but what I can do is to wish you all the very best for your future.”


Compensation Claim for Delayed Treatment Resolved in $8 Million Settlement

A family who made a claim for delayed treatment after their son suffered brain damage at birth are to receive a compensation package estimated to be worth six million pounds.

Joseph O´Reggio (11) from Wolverhampton, West Midlands, was delivered at the city´s New Cross Hospital in April 2001 following an alleged failure by the hospital staff to act on monitor readings from his mother – Rachel – which indicated that Joseph´s heart rate had dropped.

A specialist was not summoned to assess Rachel´s condition for nearly twelve hours – during which time Joseph suffered from oxygen starvation in the womb and was born with severe cerebral palsy – unable to speak or feed himself and requiring 24-hour care.

Joseph´s parents made a compensation claim for the delayed treatment against the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, claiming that Joseph´s injuries could have been prevented if maternity staff at the hospital had acted on the readings which were being displayed by the heart rate monitor.

The Trust initially denied its liabilities for Joseph´s injuries but, during a High Court hearing last year, admitted that Joseph should have been born an hour earlier. An agreement was negotiated in which the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust would not have to acknowledge their liability, but would make periodic payments to the family based on 80 percent of what a full settlement of compensation for delayed treatment would amount to.

At the Royal Courts of Justice it was announced that after a full assessment of the claim for delayed treatment compensation and Joseph´s anticipated life expectancy, the family would receive a package which was valued at six million pounds – sufficient for the family to move into a specially adapted home and provide care for Joseph for the remainder of his life.


Boys Sports Injury Claim for Compensation Resolved Out of Court

A twelve-year-old boy, who suffered life-changing injuries after being struck by a baseball, has had a boys sports injury claim for compensation resolved out of court for 14.5 million dollars.

The boy – Steven Domalewski (now 18) from Wayne in New Jersey – was playing as a pitcher in a Police Athletic League game in 2006, when the ball he had just thrown has hit back at him with such force that it knocked him over. As he lay on the ground, Steven went into cardiac arrest due to the location on his chest where the ball had hit him and it took 15 minutes for emergency services to resuscitate him – during which time he had suffered brain damage due to a lack of oxygen reaching his brain.

After seeking legal advice, Steven´s family made a boys sports injury claim for compensation against the manufacturers of the metal baseball bat which had been used in the game, the retail company who had sold it and Little League Baseball for sanctioning use of the high-performance bat in children´s games of baseball.

The family claimed that had a wooden bat been used, the ball would not have hit Steven with such force and his injuries would not have been so severe. They supported their claim with figures produced by Little League Baseball which showed an 80 percent decline in serious  injuries to pitchers when the performance of metal baseball bats was limited to that of their wooden equivalents in 2008.

The manufacturers of the baseball bat, the retail company who sold it and Little League Baseball each denied their liability for Steven´s injuries but, as a trial was about to commence at the State Superior Court in Passaic County, it was announced that a settlement of Steven´s boys sports injury claim had been reached and that he was to receive 14.5 million dollars to provide care and support for him during his adult years.


Bumbo Baby Sitter Recall Could Lead to Claims for Baby Injury Compensation

Following the recall of the popular Bumbo Baby Sitters in the US and Canada, parents in the UK are waiting to see if the recall will be extended to Europe and how that will affect their rights to make claims for baby injury compensation if their child has sustained an injury due to the negligent design of the product.

The recall follows a series of complaints to the American Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and reports of injuries sustained by children falling out of the recalled Bumbo Baby Sitters – several of whom have suffered fractured skulls by toppling backwards out of the seat and hitting their head on a hard floor surface.

Previous concerns about the safety of Bumbo Baby Sitters resulted to the product being withdrawn in 2007 and re-marketed with substantial labels warning parents of the dangers associated with using the baby seats on tables and other elevated positions. However, after the seats were re-launched onto the market, claims of Bumbo Baby Sitter injuries continued – with more than twenty skulls fractures reported out of the scores of complaints concerning the lack of safety of the product.

Of these reports, the CPSC was specifically concerned about 34 injuries which occurred when the Bumbo Baby Sitter had been placed on the floor – two of which were confirmed as fractured skull injuries – and the injuries continued after a November 2011 warning to parents to only use the Bumbo Baby Sitter with caution.

Now the CPSC has issued further advice in light of the Bumbo Baby Sitter recall which is applicable only to residents of the USA and Canada until such time as the Bumbo Baby Sitter recall is extended to Europe.

Consumers should immediately stop using the product until they order and install a free repair kit, which includes: a restraint belt with a warning label, installation instructions, safe use instructions and a new warning sticker. The belt should always be used when a child is placed in the seat. Even with the belt, the seat should never be used on any raised surface. Consumers should also immediately stop using Bumbo seat covers that interfere with the installation and use of the belt.

Parents in the UK concerned about the safety of Bumbo Baby Sitters should contact the retail outlet from which their child seat was purchased and request that the repair kit be sent to them. Those parents whose child has suffered an injury due to the faulty design of the Bumbo Baby Sitter should speak with a lawyer at the first possible opportunity.


Child to Receive Tricycle Injury Compensation

An eleven-year-old boy is to receive 100,000 Euros in tricycle injury compensation after his claim for damages was resolved shortly before a hearing was due to commence at Dublin´s High Court.

Bartosz Zakrzewski from Birr in County Offaly, Ireland, sustained traumatic injuries to his head and leg in an accident in July 2010 when, cycling along An Coran Street in Birr, his tricycle was in collision with a car driven by Caitriona Kelly – also a resident of Birr.

Due to the impact from the collision, Bartosz was thrown several metres along the road and suffered head injuries, lacerations across his body and a broken leg. Through his mother – Monika – Bartosz made a claim for tricycle injury compensation against Ms Kelly – claiming that she had been driving negligently and in breach of her duty of care.

Ms Kelly denied the claims and, due to potential value of tricycle injury compensation that Bartosz would be entitled to if his claim were successful, his tricycle injury compensation claim was scheduled to be heard before Ms Justice Mary Irvine at Dublin´s High Court.

However, shortly before the hearing was due to commence, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that the claim for tricycle injury compensation had been resolved to the satisfaction of both parties. As the compensation settlement was in favour of a minor, the settlement still had to be approved and, after hearing the circumstances of the accident and the details of the agreement, Ms Justice Mary Irvine approved the compensation settlement of 100,000 Euros which was agreed without admission of liability by Ms Kelly.


Compensation for Heart Surgery Negligence Awarded in Court

A girl, who suffered oxygen deprivation and physical disabilities for the first thirty years of her life due to a surgical error shortly after she was born, has been awarded 1 million dollars in compensation for heart surgery negligence by a jury in Los Angeles.

The girl, who was not named in court, was born at the Huntingdon Hospital in Pasadena in May 1979, and operated on the day after her birth by Dr Alan Gazzaniga to repair a problem  with the child´s heart. The Los Angeles County Superior Court heard that the septal wall in the girl´s heart which separated the left and right atriums needed rebuilding, however during surgery Dr Gazzaniga had connected the vena cava artery – the artery which returns de-oxygenised blood to the heart – to the wrong side of the septal wall.

As a result of this mistake, blood was directed into the wrong side of the heart and the girl suffered from oxygen deprivation, physical disabilities and other general health problems as she grew up. Despite ongoing medical examinations, the error was not noticed until 2007 and shortly before the woman´s thirtieth birthday in April 2009, she underwent corrective surgery at USC Hospital in Pasadena.

The surgeon who had performed the corrective surgery testified in court that Dr. Gazzaniga´s work had been “baffling” and “incorrect” and, along with two other cardiothoracic surgeons, explained to the court how the negligent heart surgery occurred and what the consequences had been. In their client´s defence, Dr. Gazzaniga´s legal representatives argued that the case was so old it should be thrown out for being brought beyond the Statute of Limitations.

The woman´s counsel disagreed, contending that it was a reasonable assumption at the time of the original operation that Dr. Alan Gazzaniga had met the required standard of care, and the claimant could not have been expected to known that her heart condition was the result of medical negligence by her surgeon prior to the discovery of the error in 2007 – which was within the Statute of Limitations as the claim for heart surgery negligence compensation had been filed shortly after the woman underwent the corrective surgery in 2009.

The judge accepted the argument and, after three weeks of litigation, the jury returned a verdict in favour of the claimant. They determined that Dr Gazzaniga had shown a lack of care during the initial surgery and awarded the woman compensation for heart surgery negligence amounting to one million dollars.


Compensation for Quadriplegic Birth Injury due to Hospital Administration Negligence

A three-year-old boy, who suffered catastrophic brain injuries when his birth was delayed due to an “outdated, insensitive, and poorly maintained” ultrasound machine, has been awarded 78.5 million dollars in compensation for quadriplegic birth injury by a jury in Philadelphia.

The Honourable Mark Bernstein and the jury at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas heard how the Victoria Upsey (36) from Pottstown, Philadelphia, had attended the Pottstown Memorial Medical Centre in August 2008 displaying signs of a placental abruption when 36 weeks pregnant.

A foetal scan conducted on her admission proved inconclusive and, as it was a Sunday and the ultrasound technician was off work, the consultant obstetrician conducted an ultrasound test from which he concluded that the baby had died.

However, when the ultrasound technician was called in from home to check the obstetrician´s finding,  a heartbeat was detected – at which point an emergency Caesarean operation was scheduled and Victoria´s child was delivered.

Due to the delay caused by the obstetrician´s misdiagnosis and the oxygen deprivation suffered while still in the womb, the baby was born with severe spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and will require a life time of care.

After taking legal advice, Victoria made a claim for quadriplegic birth injury compensation against the obstetrician, but in the discovery process prior to the court case, it was the ultrasound machine which was found liable for his error.

When questioned by Victoria´s lawyers, the hospital’s risk manager admitted there was no evidence the ultrasound equipment had been serviced for more than 10 years; whereas the manual indicated that annual maintenance was necessary.

The lawyers argued in court that it was effectively hospital administration negligence which was responsible for the devastating injuries sustained during the child´s birth and, after a period of deliberation, the jury at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas agreed with them.

Finding the hospital guilty of administrative negligence resulting in injury, the jury awarded the Upsey family a total of 78.5 million dollars in compensation for quadriplegic birth injury to account for the suffering of the child, the costs of his future care, prospective loss of earnings and to compensate Victoria for the emotional trauma she had experienced.


Compensation for Brain Damage in Car Crash Finalised against Speeding Driver

A young girl, who sustained catastrophic injuries when her parent´s car was involved in a head-on collision with a speeding driver, has had her compensation for brain damage in car crash settlement approved in court.

Cerys Edwards (6) from Sutton Coldfield in the West Midlands was just eleven months old when, in November 2006, a Range Rover driven at speed by teenager Antonio Singh Boparan was in collision with her parent´s car. Cerys suffered permanent brain damage in the accident and now needs a ventilator to help her breathe and full-time nursing care,

Cerys´ parents – Tracey and Gareth Edwards – made a claim for brain damage in car crash compensation on Cerys´ behalf against the negligent driver, but it was only in 2008 – when Boparan was jailed for reckless driving – that his insurance company admitted liability. Negotiations to provide Cerys with a suitable compensation for brain damage in car crash settlement.

Judge Martin McKenna at Birmingham High Court heard that interim payments of compensation had been made by Boparan´s insurance company while a settlement was being finalised, and now the two sides had reached an agreement whereby the Edwards family was to receive a lump sum payment of 5 million pounds, with annual payments of 450,000 pounds being paid throughout Cerys´ lifetime.

Approving the settlement of the injury compensation claim, Judge Martin McKenna said that it was one of saddest cases he had ever come across.


Child Receives Compensation for Scar Injury after Trip and Fall at Construction Site

A girl from Dublin is to receive 20,000 Euros in compensation for scar injury after she tripped and fell into a hole dug by a local construction company.

Kodie Geoghegan Dowdall (12) of Ballymun, Dublin, was just seven years of age when, in December 2006, she tripped and fell into the hole while on her way to visit her aunt. Despite receiving medical treatment for her injuries, Kodie developed a scar which failed to heal and, through her mother, made an accident injury compensation claim against the construction company – SIAC Construction of Clondalkin, Dublin.

SIAC Construction denied responsibility for Kodie´s accident, however made an offer of compensation for scar injury without admission of liability. In Dublin´s Circuit Civil Court, Mr Justice Matthew Deery heard that the offer of 20,000 Euros would be adequate for Kodie to receive appropriate treatment once she turned eighteen to have the scar removed.

Approving the compensation for scar injury, Mr Justice Matthew Deery ordered the funds to be paid into court – a normal procedure in child accident compensation claims – until such time as Kodie is old enough to have the revision surgery performed.


Settlement for four Child Passengers in Car collision

Four children injured in a car collision, when the vehicle driven by their mother was in collision with a Garda patrol car, have been awarded a total of £21,500 in a settlement for child passengers in a car accident.

Dean McEvoy (15) and his three sisters, Lauren (13), Cody (11) and Megan (10), were travelling in a vehicle with their mother when the incident occurred on in November 2005.

The judge was advised that that the police squad car that struck the McEvoy car was being driven “at some degree of urgency”, but without its siren or warning lights on.  Lorraine McEvoy and her four children all experienced soft tissue injuries due to the impact of the collision.

The judge was also advised that the State had accepted liability for the incident only after a lengthy dispute was settled in the High Court and he was asked to approve agreed settlements of £5,000 for Megan and Lauren, £5,400 for Dean and £6,000 for Cody who had been the most badly injured of the child passengers in car accident.


Claim for Poisoning by Toxic Lead Paint results in £1.6m award

A brother and sister have recently been awarded £1.6m in a claim for poisoning by toxic lead paint for their exposure in a house that was sold to the family as safe from lead paint by a nonprofit organisation called City Homes.

The body stated that the home cleared city lead inspections before and after the siblings had lived there and also that the charity had been responsive to all of the claimant’s concerns.

However, experts stated that the house was not fully “lead safe” and that both siblings have below average IQs as a result of lead paint poisoning. The jury was told that there had been efforts to minimise the chance of lead paint exposure, that there was paint chipping and flaking on surfaces, that rats had chewed at the walls and had brought lead dust through the house.

Lead paint poisoning can lead to severe and permanent brain damage and developmental issues in children, nervous system injury seizures or convulsions, growth or mental retardation, and comas. In some very extreme cases, it can lead to death.


Cerebral Palsy Birth Legal Claim results in £1.6m settlement

A six year old girl, who a cerebral palsy birth injury has seen her legal claim result in an interim settlement of £1.6m.

Isabelle Sheehan was born with severe spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. Ms Sheehan sustained her birth due to the acknowledged negligence of Dr David Corr, who was practising privately from Bon Secours Maternity Hospital, Cork, at the time of Isabelle’s birth in November 2004.

Isabelle’s claim was made through her mother Catherine, who alleged that Dr Corr should have referred her to an expert in foetal medicine when complications started during her pregnancy. Dr Corr stated that he had made a mistake and Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill heard at the High Court that an interim settlement of £1.6m had been agreed between the parties.

The £1m settlement is to cover general damages and loss of future earnings for Isabelle, and to pay for the care provided already for the child and future care until October 2013. By that date, it is hoped that a system of periodic payments will be introduced for persons with catastrophic injuries. However, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill stated that if the necessary legislation was not enacted by that time, a lump sum payment must be provided.


Compensation for Cerebral Palsy From Oxygen Deprivation During Birth

A 23 year old woman has been agreed to a £2m out-of-court settlement of compensation for cerebral palsy from oxygen deprivation during birth due to alleged mismanagement.

Laura Tinney was born on May 31st 1988 after Eleanor, her mother, had been admitted the week previously, when cardiotocography recordings had shown a deceleration in the foetal heartbeat.

Cardiotocography readings were discontinued on May 29th and when Laura was born it was discovered that she had suffered from oxygen deprivation, causing permanent brain damage. Now confined to a wheelchair, Laura has little use of her left hand and requires significant care.

In a litigation case by Laura’s mother, it was alleged that had the cardiotocography recordings been maintained, it would have revealed further abnormalities in the heartbeat which would have prompted immediate delivery.

The claims were refuted, but at the High Court Mr. Justice John Quirke was advised that an offer of settlement without admission of liability had been made which the family was willing to accept.

Approving the £2m compensation settlement, the judge commented that had the case been allowed to proceed, there was a real chance that Laura would have received no damages – a scenario which the judge said would be “a dreadful outcome”.


Birth Injuries and Medical Negligence in the UK see large settlement made

New figures have revealed that birth injuries and medical negligence in the UK are the single biggest contributor to the increase in medical compensation cases.

The highest awards for birth injuries typically involve cases where babies are starved of oxygen at birth. Low standards of care during maternity has been a common factor in many cases.

The total amount of compensation for the serious medical negligence claims over the past 14 years was £1.8 billion, with over 600 patients receiving over £1 million. Some 314 babies were left with cerebral palsy due to during birth injuries during this period. Two recent awards illustrate the issues created by child births, which can lead a child needing lifelong long-term care: a ten year old boy was awarded £7.1 million due to severe brain damage from birth and another child received a settlement of £9.7 million compensation after being left badly disabled by a birth injury.


Severed Finger Tip Claim settled at £16,700

A three year old girl had a severed finger tip claim settled for  £16,700. The girl lost the tip of her fingertip in a nursery pushchair accident.

Roisin Longo was just two years of age when her fingertip was cut off in the hinge mechanism of her MacLaren Techno XT while she was attending Mellow Spring Childcare Development Centre in Finglas West.

Quick-acting staff at the crèche found the fingertip and packed it ice so that her mother, Ms Elaine Deans, could take Roisin to hospital and attempt to have the amputated fingertip sewn back on.

However, as Circuit Court President Mr Justice Matthew Deery heard, the best attempts of surgeons could not prevent the tissue dying and the fingertip eventually falling off.

After consulting with her legal representatives, Ms Deans discovered that revealed the pushchair model had been recalled in the United States, and repair kits issued to customers due to acknowledged problems with the hinge mechanism.
Though the pushchair had been manufactured in England, and complied with British and EU safety standards, Ms Deans filed a claim for product liability compensation against MacLaren Europe Limited, of Northampton, England.

Without accepting liability, MacLaren Europe Limited offered a settlement £16,700 – a settlement offer which Roisin’s mother was prepared to accept and which Mr Justice Matthew Deery had pleasure in approving.


Cerebral Palsy Litigation settled for almost £3m

A fourteen year old boy, who was starved of oxygen during his birth and now suffers from cerebral palsy, has had a cerbral palsy litigation case settled for a sum  £2.9m.

Cian Mangan was born late into the evening of the 1st of June 1996. He was already several days overdue when his mother, Michelle, was admitted to hospital, County Cork, in the early stages of labour.

The court heard that Cian’s foetal heartbeat had fallen between the time Michelle was admitted to the hospital and when he was born, and it was alleged that staff at the hospital had failed to recognise this symptom of foetal distress.

Their claimed oversight led to a delay in summoning a doctor and consequently, when Cian was delivered at 11.39pm, he had become asphyxiated, and now suffers from cerebral palsy as a result.

Alleging medical negligence through his mother, the court heard that  liability for Cian’s injuries was denied and argued that the proper procedures were followed. However, an offer of £2.9m was made which Cian and his family were prepared to accept.

In approving the settlement, Mr Justice Brian McGovern agreed that a payment of £117,000 should be made to Cian’s mother for the care she had provided for him over the past fourteen years, and heard that an application was going to be made to make Cian a ward of court.


Claim for Mother Dying in Childbirth

The family of a woman who died from internal bleeding, shortly after giving birth, has been awarded almost £2m in a claim for a mother dying in childbirth.

Taz Kenefick (36), had been admitted to the maternity hospital to give birth to her second son in November 2004.

The birth became complicated as Mrs Kenefick developed an infection during her labour and had a condition in which the placenta was very deeply attached to her womb.

Following the birth of her son, Mrs Kenefick began to bleed very heavily and, despite the attention of her obstetric consultant, died on the operating table.

Her husband, Kevin, sued the consultant and the hospital, claiming clinical neglect, and Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill at the High Court heard that the hospital admitted liability just two weeks ago.

Awarding almost £2m to Mr Kenefick and his two children, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neil announced that the action against the consultant was no longer going to be pursued.


£73k award in Children Bicycle Accident Injury Claim

A six year old boy, who was accidentally knocked from his bike by a neighbour, has had a children bicycle accident injury claim of £73,000 awarded in the High Court. Cian Ryan was cycling his bike along the street outside the home of his neighbour – Ms Kishwar Shafqat – in April 2009. Ms Shafqat accidentally knocked Cian from his bike while reversing in her car out of her drive, causing him to sustain terrible injuries to his leg.

In an action brought by Cian’s father, Eric, it was alleged that Ms Shafqat was negligent in that she had failed to keep a proper lookout as she was manoeuvring. Liability was not denied and the case had appeared before Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns for assessment of damages.

Before approving the award, the judge heard that Cian still walked with a limp due to the accident and had suffered recurring nightmares about the event. Having been advised that Cian was a Manchester United fan, the judge made it a condition of the settlement that £836 was set aside so that Cian and his family could visit Old Trafford to watch his favourite team in action.


Delayed Diagnosis of Brain Injury leads to £1.6m

A compensation award of over £1.6m for a delayed diagnosis of a brain injury has been nade to thirty six year old former opera singer Elaine Lennon.

Ms Lennon  was an award-winning inger, with a bright future ahead of her both as a singer and as a recently qualified psychologist. However, in February 2007, she started suffering headaches while pregnant with her daughter Claudia, and attended the accident and emergency unit her local hospital.

There, Mr. Justice John Quirk heard at the High Court, she was diagnosed by a medical registrar as suffering from a urinary tract infection and referred to a midwife, who assessed she was about to give birth and instructed that Elaine underwent a Caesarean section to deliver Claudia.

Claudia was born a healthy baby, but the headaches and neck stiffness continued and Elaine failed to respond toa  course of antibiotics. Doctors twice queried whether a CT scan of her brain should be performed but none was done, and Elaine and her baby were discharged a week after the birth.

Had a CT scan of Elaine’s brain been performed at the time, doctors would have noticed an abscess which later burst into the ventricles. Instead, she attended her GP’s clinic where Dr. Patrick Mathuna administered an injection which temporarily stopped the headaches and vomiting which had developed.

Dr. Mathuna called on Elaine a few days later, determined that she was suffering from post-natal depression and prescribed a sedative. Later that day, she fell at home and was admitted to an emergency department by ambulance. The following morning, Elaine experienced two seizures after which a CT scan was performed which revealed the extent of Elaine´s illness.

During the hearing the court heard how Elaine is now confined to a wheelchair and can only speak in a whisper. She also requires 24 hour care due to the doctors failing to notice her brain injury.

Approving an interim compensation settlement of £1.6m Mr. Justice John Quirke said that, were it not for her injuries, Elaine had the potential to make a lot of money in the future. Liability was admitted.


Dog Bite Case results in £4,600 award

A young girl, who was bitten by a dog during a family holiday, has had a compensation settlement of £4600 approved in the Circuit Court by Mr. Justice Matthew Deery.

The court heard how Ciara Hill (12) of in July 2007, when she was attacked and bitten by a dog owned by the hotel.

In the action against FTP Hotel Limited, Ciara was represented by her mother, who explained how her daughter – who was just eight years old at the time – was traumatised, shocked and upset by the incident.

Approving the compensation settlement, Mr. Justice Matthew Deery said that Ciara´s physical injuries had not been significant and that they had healed quickly.

All settlements involving children under the age of 18 years have to be approved in court before payment can be paid, even when a settlement agreement has been previously reached by the claimant and the defendant. The type of court which hears the case will depend on the value of the compensation.


Compensation for Children’s Whiplash Injury

Circuit Court President Justice Matthew Deery approved an compensation for children’s whiplash injury of £47,000 for injuries suffered by three siblings, after hearing how their mother´s car had been rear-ended in an accident which occurred in January 2007.

Rachael Hopkins (9) and her brothers Daniel (10) and Thomas (7) had been passengers in a car driven by their mother Jennifer, when it was hit from behind by Ms Monica Carney.

In a lawsuit brought through the children’s father, Thomas Hopkins, the court was told how the children had received treatment for recurrent and protracted symptoms of their injuries from the family GP and a specialist consultant.

The consequences had been more problematic for the two brothers, Daniel and Thomas, who were each approved a settlement of £16,600. A settlement of £13,300 was approved for Rachael Hopkins, and the compensation award will remain invested in court funds until they are 18 years old.


Settlement for Accident Injury in Creche

The case involving Sean Ross McGowan, who suffered brain damage and blindness as the result of almost drowning in a park pond, has been decided the high Court for a settlement for and accident injury in a creche of £542,000.

Sean was just 21 months old when in August 2007 he was taken on a crèche outing to a park. He was permitted out of his buggy and, while care staff were chatting between themselves, disappeared for some minutes before being discovered at the bottom of a nearby pond.

Sean was near to drowning when rescued and, despite being resuscitated by a doctor, suffered catastrophic brain damage to 95% of his brain. The accident left Sean, now 5, totally blind, incapacitated and in need of permanent care.

The court heard how Sean had been a lively good-humoured child prior to the accident and the creche was a funded service, the health service will also pay the lifelong costs of care for the child.

The defendants had previously admitted liability for the accident, and the case was only in court for final assessment of damages and court approval as with all compensation claims involving children. Approving the award in court, Mr Justice Ryan paid tribute to the child’s parents and said it was obvious they were committed, devoted and dedicated to him.


Brain Damaged Child Compensation set at £3.75m

Mr. Justice John Quirke has approved a £3.75m High Court settlement for a brain damaged child compensation case to Jessica O´Brien.

In the claim against the hospital, it was alleged that Jessica´s mother was sent to the maternity hospital for the birth of her daughter in May 1993, after a scan at her local hospital revealed that the foetus was experiencing digestive problems. Jessica was given birth to the day after the transfer, but suffered brain damage during the delivery due to a lack of oxygen.

It was alleged in the claim against the maternity hospital that medical staff failed to properly monitor Jessica´s heart rate in the period immediately before her delivery – something they should have done automatically, as they were aware that the delivery was high-risk and in danger of hypoxia during the birth. The court heard evidence that Jessica, now 17 years old, will need care for the rest of her life. She often has to use a wheelchair and suffers from a speech defect for which she is receiving therapy. Jessica´s mother also advised the court that she had approached a legal company many years previously, but had been told that her daughter did not have a case. The hospital refuted the claims and the settlement was approved without admission of liability.

The judge ordered that the settlement be paid into court and will be used for Jessica´s future benefit. As with all compensation award for child injury, a court must approve an award before payment is made.


Brain Damage at Birth Litigation results in £1.12m settlement

A £1.12m interim settlement has been approved in the High Court by Mr. Justice John Quirk in a brain damage at birth litigation action in favour Luke Miggin, who was born in 2006.

The court heard how Luke’s mother, Emily, was admitted to hospital at 5.30am on the morning of February 26 2006 in preparation for Luke´s birth, under the care of consultant obstetrician Michael Gannon. It was claimed that Dr Gannon failed to take record decelerations in the child’s heart rate during CTG traces throughout the day, which should have led him to conclude that delivery by Caesarean section was necessary.

Instead, Dr Gannon waited until 3.30pm to prescribe the labour-inducing drug Syntocin, and delivered Luke by forceps at 5.05pm that evening. Luke immediately required resuscitation and was admitted to the special baby care unit. Now 4 years old, Luke has cerebral palsy, uses a wheelchair and will need 24-hour care for the rest of his life.

Liability was admitted by the health service and consultant obstetrician Michael Gannon, and in approving the interim settlement, Mr Justice John Quirke stated that should legislation not be forthcoming within two years to deal with lifetime care in catastrophic injury cases, the case will be re-listed for further consideration.


Birth Injury Lawsuit leads to large settlement

Mister Justice John Quirke has approved a partial settlement of £1.67m in the High Court for Brid Courtney in a birth injury lawsuit.

The case was taken against the health service which agreed to the settlement without admitting liability.

It was alleged that the hospital did not deliver the baby as quickly as possible, causing the baby to suffer brain damage. It was also alleged that the hospital failed to take into account a sudden alteration in the foetal heart rate pattern.

The legal case was brought for Brid Courtney by her mother Deirdre Courtney.  The compensation settlement is a partial payment and the case by adjourned.


Birth Injury Brain Damage Settlement sees child awarded £1.6m

A seven year old girl, brain damaged at birth due to a delayed delivery, has had an initial birth injury brain damage settlement of £1.6m approved in the High Court by Mr Justice John Quirke. Brid Courtney is confined to a wheelchair and only able to communicate by using facial expressions. She sued the Health Service through her mother, Mrs Deirdre Courtney.

It was claimed that at the time of Brid´s birth in February 2003, nursing staff at hospital failed to act when there was a sudden and dramatic change in the foetal heart rate pattern. When labour was induced and the baby delivered after an hour’s delay, Brid was not breathing and an emergency team of doctors had to resuscitate her. Subsequent to this she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. The court heard that despite being totally dependent on her parents, Brid was a “joyous, happy child” and was intellectually sound with a normal IQ of 106. Even though her profound physical disabilities will stop her from enjoying a normal childhood and shorten her expected lifespan, the court was told that Brid “communicates in a humorous way with everybody around her”.

The settlement was decided with no admission of liability by the Health Service, and was made under the new “periodic payments system” which means that the case will return to the High Court in November 2012 to determine how much Brid´s family should receive to fund her future care. She will be represented once more by her mother and, as with all child injury claims, have to have any compensation settlement approved by court.

As Mr Justice John Quirke was officially approving the compensation settlement he praised Mr and Mrs Courtney for the years of care they had given their daughter. He said:  “It’s very inspiring to the rest of us to see what you’ve done. It really is remarkable.”


Bouncy Castle Injury Claims

A bouncy castle injury claim has resulted in an award being made to a young boy in a child. Sam Harris (11) was brain damaged when a young boy of 15 kicked him in the head during a somersault. The incident occured two years ago has left Sam Harris in need of constant care.  The resulting child accident injury compensation claim has led to a £1 Million compensation payment.

A compensation case was taken by Janet and David Harris against the parents (Catherine and Timothy Perry) who had hired the bouncy castle on the basis of poor supervision, especially allowing older children by younger children.  The judge ruled on the subject of liability by saying that “The risks of a damaging collision are manifestly enhanced by mixing children of different sizes.”

The household insurance policy of Catherine and Timothy Perry will pay the compensation award.

The legal action was considered to be a landmark case in the UK because it sets the precedent that the person hiring a bouncy castle is liable for injuries suffered by children using the bouncy castle.