Cerebral palsy compensation claims

Cerebral palsy compensation claims

For finding answers and getting justice

is a life-altering condition, bringing unique challenges and hardships to those affected and their loved ones. At Switalskis, we work with clients and families to understand the emotional, financial and physical strain that dealing with can involve. It's a journey that can feel overwhelming, but you don't have to face it alone.

We’re not just expert solicitors; we’re allies in your fight for justice, compensation and recognition. We know that each case is unique, each story personal, and every client deserving of respect, empathy and undivided attention. Our mission is to guide and support you through the complex legal landscape of compensation claims, advocating for your rights every step of the way, to reach a point as quickly as we can where we obtain much-needed compensation to provide essential therapies and support.

To speak to one of our specialist cerebral palsy solicitors about your situation in confidence, call us on 0800 1380 458, or contact us through the website.

How Switalskis can help you

We understand that the journey towards pursuing a claim is unique and deeply personal. Our team of dedicated solicitors brings not only their legal expertise but also a level of compassion and understanding that truly sets us apart.

The team is deeply committed to providing you with more than just legal assistance - we're your advocates, your advisors and your allies in this process.

Our compensation lawyers have vast experience in the field, and we’ll make negligence claims simple for you. We'll aid you in establishing the facts promptly, determining the validity of your claim, and building a compelling case for the compensation you rightly deserve.

In our pursuit of the best possible outcome, we make sure that you're always kept informed about the progress of your claim. We transform complex legal jargon into understandable language, empowering you to make informed decisions about your case.

We recognise that claims can be lengthy. That’s why we’ll always aim to secure interim payments, when possible, to make sure that you have access to therapies, care and case management support as soon as possible to relieve some of the burden on you and your family. We’re relentless in pursuing justice for you and your loved ones.

Read what our clients had to say about the help they received from Switalskis:

Read what our clients had to say about the help they received from Switalskis

What is cerebral palsy?

is a term used to describe a group of lifelong conditions that primarily affect movement and coordination. These conditions are caused by a problem with the brain that occurs before, during or soon after birth.

The brain damage that leads to can occur for several reasons. In some cases, it's due to a lack of oxygen reaching the brain during labour or delivery, also known as birth asphyxia. Infections caught by the mother during pregnancy, premature birth or traumatic head injury early in life can also result in cerebral palsy.

The severity, type and effects of can vary greatly from person to person. Some people with may experience problems with muscle stiffness or weakness (spastic cerebral palsy), uncontrolled movements (dyskinetic cerebral palsy), or balance and coordination (ataxic cerebral palsy).

can also come with associated conditions such as learning difficulties, seizures, issues with speech, vision and hearing, or problems with swallowing. However, it's important to note that does not affect every individual in the same way.

Living with can be challenging, and individuals affected may need ongoing support and treatment to manage their symptoms and enhance their quality of life. The ripple effects can also extend to family members, who often play a significant role in supporting their loved ones.

What causes cerebral palsy?

is the result of damage to the brain or abnormal brain development that usually occurs before, during or shortly after birth. It's a complex condition, and there are several potential causes, many of which can be linked to medical negligence. Here are some of the key causes:

  • Insufficient oxygen during birth: this could occur due to complications during labour or delivery, such as the umbilical cord wrapping around the baby's neck or prolonged labour, resulting in a reduced oxygen supply to the baby's brain (known as hypoxia).
  • Infections during pregnancy: certain infections in the mother during pregnancy can potentially harm the baby's developing brain. Examples include rubella (German measles), cytomegalovirus (a type of herpes virus), and toxoplasmosis (usually caught from infected cats or contaminated food).
  • Premature birth: babies born prematurely (before 37 weeks) have a higher risk of developing cerebral palsy. This is because their organs and body have not fully developed, increasing their vulnerability to brain damage.
  • Multiple births: twins, triplets and other multiple births have a higher risk of cerebral palsy, particularly if a co-twin dies before or around the time of birth.
  • Jaundice or kernicterus: serious untreated jaundice can lead to a condition known as kernicterus. This causes a type of brain damage that can result in cerebral palsy.
  • Rhesus disease: this is a condition that develops when a pregnant woman's blood destroys her baby’s blood cells.
  • Brain infections or bleeding: infections affecting the brain, like meningitis or encephalitis, can cause cerebral palsy, as can brain haemorrhages.
  • Traumatic brain injury: in rare cases, cerebral palsy can be caused by injury to a baby's brain during or after birth.

Notably, in many cases, the cause of can’t be clearly identified and in some there is no explanation and the condition couldn’t have been avoided. However, there are cases where the cause is a result of negligent care during pregnancy or at or around delivery, or even in the early period. If you suspect that your child's resulted from a medical error or negligence, Switalskis can help you seek the answers and the compensation that you may be entitled to. Our team of experienced lawyers is here to guide and support you through the compensation claim process.

Making a cerebral palsy compensation claim

Starting a compensation claim may seem daunting, but we simplify the process to ensure that you’re comfortable every step of the way. Here's a broad overview of what the claims process entails:

Step 1: Initial Consultation

In an initial consultation, we learn about your unique situation. We'll need to understand your child's condition, the circumstances leading up to their diagnosis, and the impact it has had on your lives. This meeting will give us a clear picture of what we need to investigate.

Step 2: Establishing Your Claim

Next, we'll meticulously investigate the circumstances surrounding the birth and medical care that led to the diagnosis. This will involve obtaining and reviewing medical records, consulting with independent medical experts, and investigating the care provided. The aim is to prove that was caused by medical negligence and start to work out the potential overall value of the claim. This early stage, given the fact we use the best medicolegal experts and counsel, can take up to 18 months to two years.

Step 3: Notifying the defendant - letters of claim and response

Once we have enough evidence, we'll send a letter of claim to the medical professionals involved, outlining the full details of the claim and the evidence supporting it. The defendant will then need time to conduct their own investigations, which will include obtaining their own expert advice in order to decide whether to accept liability. This can take up to 12 months before they’re in a position to answer the letter of claim with a formal letter of response.

Step 4: Admission and interim payments

If the defendant admits responsibility in their letter of response, we can then obtain an interim payment by agreement with the defendant, and with the approval of the court. This initial payment means we can then engage the support of a deputy (who manages the compensation on behalf of the injured person/child) and also employ a case manager, therapists and much-needed support. All of these steps and engagement of individuals take place in consultation with you as parents/individuals.

Step 5: Court proceedings (where necessary)

Many claims will be settled through negotiation, and a fair settlement will be agreed upon without needing to go to trial. However, in many cases we do have to start formal court proceedings to make sure that we progress cases and make sure the defendant and their solicitors keep to strict court timetables. In rare cases, we may need to take your claim to trial - should this happen with your claim, we will of course be with you every step of the way.

Step 6: Settlement and compensation

If the defendant denies responsibility and we have to issue court proceedings then we will deal with the liability part of the claim first. Once we succeed in proving liability (by negotiation or at trial), your child (or you as an individual if you’re bringing the claim yourself if you have the capacity to do so) will receive compensation. Any award of compensation to a child or a person without capacity has to be formally approved by the court. The compensation is often life-changing, helping to cover the costs of care, therapy, equipment and adaptations to housing, ensuring the best possible quality of life for your child.

Throughout the process, we pride ourselves on communicating regularly, keeping you informed, and providing guidance. Our dedicated solicitors strive to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible, allowing you to focus on what truly matters: caring for your child.

Contact us today and let's start your journey towards recovery together. Call us today on 0800 1380 458, or get in touch via our form.

Our cerebral palsy compensation claims specialists

Photo of Suzanne Munroe
Suzanne MunroeDirector and Solicitor
Photo of Sarah Walker
Sarah WalkerDirector and Solicitor
Photo of Charlotte Reeves
Charlotte ReevesDirector and Solicitor
Photo of Kay Barnes
Kay BarnesDirector and Solicitor
Photo of David Thomas
David ThomasDirector and Chartered Legal Executive
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Cerebral palsy claim FAQs

Is there a time limit on making a cerebral palsy claim?

In general, you have three years from the date of the incident or the date of knowledge of the negligence to bring a claim. This is known as the ‘limitation period’. However, claims involving children operate under different rules.

For cases involving children, the three-year limitation period doesn’t begin until the child turns 18 years old. This means they have until their 21st birthday to bring a claim (i.e. formally issue court proceedings) for compensation. This extended timeframe reflects the complex nature of cases, and the time it can take to fully understand the impact of the condition on the child's life.

However, it’s important to note that it’s usually beneficial to start a claim as soon as possible. The earlier a claim is started, the sooner the necessary evidence can be gathered and the process of claiming compensation can begin. An early start also allows more time for detailed assessments and reports to be prepared.

In cases, usually the person bringing the claim will lack mental capacity, so in such circumstances, the limitation period may never begin. This means that they can bring a claim at any point in their life. This is determined by the Mental Capacity Act 2005, and whether this applies will be assessed on an individual basis.

These time limits can seem confusing, but our team of solicitors is here to provide guidance. We understand the pressures and uncertainties you might be facing, and we can navigate these legal timelines for you, ensuring your claim is made within the appropriate period.

How are cerebral palsy claim cases funded?

Worried about how to fund your claim? Let's put those concerns to rest. There are various funding options available for negligence claims. 

  • No win, no fee agreement: most of our cerebral palsy claims are handled under a no win, no fee agreement, also known as a conditional fee agreement (CFA). This means you'll pay nothing upfront, and our legal fees are only payable if your claim is successful. If you don’t receive any compensation, you won't have to pay anything. This arrangement offers peace of mind and accessibility, especially for those concerned about the financial aspects of pursuing a claim.
  • Legal Aid: in some cases, Legal Aid may be available for birth trauma compensation claims but only in relation to the neurological injury caused during pregnancy or at delivery up to the first eight weeks of life - usually in cases where a child has suffered a brain injury or Erb’s palsy. This funding option is means-tested, and eligibility criteria can be complex. Our cerebral palsy solicitors will be able to assess your individual circumstances and help you understand if you qualify for Legal Aid.
  • Legal expenses insurance: you may have legal expenses insurance as part of your home or car insurance policy, which could cover the cost of a cerebral palsy claim. You should check with your insurer or consult our expert team to explore this possibility. If you're a member of a trade union, they may also offer legal assistance as part of your membership benefits.

Remember, each case is unique, and we'll help you find the most suitable funding arrangement for your circumstances. Our compensation lawyers are committed to making the process as straightforward as possible for you. Please get in touch with our team to discuss your situation and learn more about your options.

How long do cerebral palsy claims take?

claims are complex and take longer than the average claim to thoroughly investigate. Rest assured that our solicitors are dedicated to investigating your case as efficiently, effectively and as quickly as possible.

It's important to remember that cases need a comprehensive investigation to establish medical negligence. This process will involve a detailed review of medical records, seeking expert opinions, and, most probably, further medical examinations.

We need to ensure that we have the most experienced medicolegal experts available to us, and often waiting for their availability has an effect on the timescale for looking into these claims. It is important we have the best experts who give us the best team and the best chance to succeed in proving the claim and securing compensation.

Once we’ve established that there may be a case, we then need to prove that negligence caused the cerebral palsy. This involves gathering further evidence and obtaining more expert opinions.

If liability is accepted by the defendant, we then need to start the process of assessing the full extent of both your own needs and those of your child - both now and in the future. It can sometimes be in your child's best interest to delay the final settlement of the claim until a clearer picture of their future needs is more certain. In these circumstances, we secure interim payments to make sure that essential care and support, therapies, equipment and accommodation needs can be met.

The timescale will be extended if the defendant disputes the claim. It would then be necessary to start formal court proceedings, which will lengthen the process, compared to the situation where the defendant admits responsibility at the letter of response stage.

While it's hard to give an exact timeframe, as a general guide, claims take several years to resolve to liability stage and several years more to finalise the overall compensation. We understand that this can seem like a long time, but our goal is always to secure the best possible outcome for you and your child.

Throughout this process, Switalskis will be at your side, providing regular updates and clear explanations so you always know what's happening.

Why Switalskis?

Navigating the after-effects of a diagnosis can be a life-altering experience. It comes with a variety of emotional challenges but we can guide you through this unfamiliar and demanding process.

Clarity in complexity

compensation claims are complex but it doesn't have to be as we simplify and explain the process for you. We’re committed to unravelling intricate legalities into clear language. We strive to address all your queries, simplify the process, and ensure you're fully informed throughout.

Empathy at every step

We invest the time to understand your unique circumstances. We’ll listen to your worries, and make sure we’re providing advice that meets your emotional needs as well as your legal requirements. We will guide you and remain alongside you, providing unwavering support.

Expertise you can trust

Dealing with a matter as significant as a compensation claim, you need to be certain that you're in capable hands. Our team is led by Suzanne Munroe , and we are specialists in high-severity claims including those for cerebral palsy, and several of our lawyers hold accreditations from the Law Society and AvMA (Action Against Medical Accidents) , recognising them as specialists in their respective fields.

The Switalskis team combines years of experience and an exceptional track record in handling claims. We're unwavering in our dedication to fighting for your rights and striving to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your loved ones.

Championing your rights

Our team is committed to upholding your rights and making sure that your voice is heard.

We can support you in the following medical negligence situations

Find out how Switalskis can help you

If you believe that your child has been a victim of medical negligence, which resulted in brain damage, it's crucial to take that first step towards justice. Switalskis is here to guide you through the process, providing expert advice, emotional support and strong representation.

Contact Switalskis today by calling 0800 1380 458 or get in touch with us through the website to discuss your concerns in confidence with a legal specialist.

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