Years pass and memories fade, but the consequences of negligence do not always recede and it is therefore sensible to seek legal advice. The point was proved by a case in which a 35-year-old man won the right to seven-figure compensation for catastrophic brain damage he suffered during his birth.
The man's family cared for him devotedly for many years before proceedings were brought against the Department of Health (DoH) in respect of oxygen starvation he suffered during his hospital birth in the early 1980s. That prompted an admission by the DoH that there had been a negligent 20-minute delay in his delivery.
There were continuing disputes over whether the delay had been longer than that, and whether it had caused the man's injuries. However, negotiations led to a settlement of liability issues in the case, whereby the DoH agreed to pay 70 per cent of the full value of the man's claim.
Amongst other difficulties, the man will endure intellectual, behavioural and mood control deficits throughout his life and will always need 24-hour care. The amount of his compensation has yet to be assessed, but the extent of his injuries means it is bound to be measured in millions. The DoH agreed to make a £750,000 interim payment to tide him over pending a final assessment.