Cerebral palsy cases are usually very costly due to the complex and often lengthy investigations that are required. However, if you or a loved one think that you may have a cerebral palsy claim, there may be several options available to help you pay for the cost of the investigations.
Public funds may be available to pay for some or all of your investigations if you have a severe neurological disability which was caused prior to birth (in the womb), during delivery or within the first eight weeks of life.
If your claim is eligible for legal aid (and the Legal Aid Agency accept that it is strong enough to investigate) you will be awarded a set amount of money to investigate each stage of your claim. The strength of your claim will be reviewed by your solicitor and the Legal Aid Agency at each stage to ensure that the evidence supports your claim before awarding you any more funds to make further investigations or take the case to court.
If you do not meet the eligibility for legal aid, your solicitor may be able to offer an alternative method of funding your claim.
Legal expenses insurance
Sometimes, people have this without even knowing. It is usually offered as an ‘add on’ to home insurance policies or trade union membership. It is sometimes called ‘family legal protection’.
If you have this benefit, it may cover some or all of the cost of investigating your cerebral palsy claim, provided your solicitor acts within the terms of the policy.
Sometimes, the insurers offering this benefit will only allow you to instruct a solicitor on their panel which means that you may not have the choice to instruct your chosen clinical negligence specialist. If this is the case, you are not always obliged to use their panel solicitor and you can challenge this.
Conditional fee agreement (no win, no fee)
If there are no other options available, your solicitor may be able to offer you a conditional fee agreement (referred to as a CFA). This means that if you are not successful, your solicitor will not seek to recover their legal fees from you.
If you are successful, you will be required to pay a contribution towards your legal fees and this will be taken from a proportion of your compensation. The amount which can be deducted is restricted and you will be informed of this by your solicitor.
You will be required to take out an insurance policy to cover payments made to third parties (such as experts and court fees) and you will also be asked to make a contribution towards this insurance policy if you are successful. However, if the case is unsuccessful then the premium is self-insuring and you will not be expected to pay it back.
This type of funding will require a detailed discussion with your solicitor before you enter into it to ensure you understand your obligations.
Is it worth it?
In short, yes. If you are successful in your cerebral palsy claim, it can be life changing. The amount of compensation that you receive will be bespoke to your circumstances, but very often compensation for these very severe injuries can run into the millions.
You can expect to recover compensation for your future care and assistance, to ensure that all of your personal needs are met for the rest of your life. The cost of equipment will be met by the defendant if you are successful so that you can purchase wheelchairs that you may need and a car to cater for your carers and your equipment.
The cost of private therapies will usually be covered to enable you to have private physiotherapy and speech and language therapy on a regular basis in the comfort of your home. Indeed your house itself may not be suitable for your needs, or it may need some expensive building work to make it suitable; in which case the defendant will usually cover those costs or the cost of a new home.
You probably would have been in paid employment if it was not for your injury and this too is recognised. You are able to claim your loss of earnings for the years that you would have been in work.
So if you think that you, or someone you know, may have a cerebral palsy which has arisen due to negligent medical treatment, there are many options available to help you pay for the investigations and if you are successful, the compensation is likely to be life changing for you and your family.
It is important that you only seek the assistance from specialist clinical negligence solicitors and those have been accredited by the Law Society or other specialist panels. Call our experts on 01616 966 229.