On 1 April 2013, legal aid for clinical negligence claims was effectively removed for all but one very specific type of claim: Children who have suffered a neurological injury during pregnancy, birth or the first 8 weeks of life. The injury must have left the child severely disabled.
The neurological injury (or nerve injury) is usually a brain injury but may also be as a result of a child suffering damage to the nerves in their shoulders/arms during birth, or for example they may have suffered brain damage as a result of hypoglycaemia (very low blood sugar) whilst a tiny baby.
These types of claims are very complicated.
There are many clinical negligence solicitors who have experience of running child brain injury claims, yet there are not many specialists who really grasp the issues and can be said to be true experts in this area of work. It is important that you have a specialist solicitor in your corner who will investigate your claim thoroughly and if successful in proving the case, will ensure your child is awarded sufficient compensation to help them for the rest of their life.
Brain injury claims should be run by an experienced solicitor rather than a non-specialist firm. Only a small number of solicitors hold a Legal Aid Agency Clinical Negligence Franchise. Your solicitor is under a duty to tell you about the most appropriate way to fund your case. If the claim falls into the above bracket of neurological claims then they should always consider applying for legal aid.
If your solicitor’s firm does not hold a Legal Aid Franchise, as legal aid is available, they should refer you to a specialist firm who can apply for legal aid on your child’s behalf. When a claim is legally aided there is no success fee to be deducted from compensation awarded. If successful, your child receives 100% of the money that the court has ordered or approved.
The Clinical Negligence team at Switalskis Solicitors holds a Legal Aid Franchise and we will always consider legal aid before any other method of funding. We have a specialist team of solicitors who deal with these complex cases on a daily basis.
If you believe your child has suffered from a brain injury or nerve injury within the first 8 weeks of life, or you believe your Clinical Negligence claim would be eligible for legal aid, please contact our Clinical Negligence team on 01484 825 200 or complete an enquiry form on our website: https://www.switalskis.com/our-services/medical-negligence/.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice, and the law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice on their own particular circumstances.