The NHS delivers some of the best medical care in the world. However, unfortunately, the news suggests in the last decade the number of successful claims being brought has generally increased.
In the last year, 2017/2018, 10,673 new claims were officially reported in England alone, compared with 10,686 in 2016/2017; which demonstrates a fall in the number of claims sought, albeit a relatively small decrease, contrary to what the media reports.
Despite this, you will regularly read about the ‘soaring cost of NHS Clinical Negligence payouts’, which is partly attributable to the changes made to the ‘discount rate’ which were introduced back in 2017.
These changes impacted the way in which long-term compensation awards are calculated based upon changes to inflation/investment. The Ministry of Justice announced new figures in order to reflect the current economic climate and ensure that outdated methods did not distort the compensation process.
In layman’s terms, this was introduced to counteract the fact that interest rates were low, meaning that those paid compensation as a result of negligence were unable to properly invest their money, so to ensure it lasted the duration of their injury.
Whilst the value of clinical negligence and personal injury claims varies significantly on a case by case basis, these changes (which benefit the injured-party) have most significantly impacted the highest awards.
Every personal injury case has its own circumstances and should be treated as an individual case. There is no guarantee your claim for compensation will be successful and, if it is, how much recompense you will receive. However, some UK court cases have seen millions of pounds awarded.
Here are 5 of the largest medical negligence and personal injury claims ever sought in the UK:
£37 million: Boy, Aged 6, West Herefordshire Hospitals NHS Trust (2018)
The child here suffered a catastrophic brain injury as a result of a delay in the detection and treatment of the herpes simplex virus (herpes). Sadly, the minor sustained permanent damage to his eyesight, cognitive function, communication and movement as a result of the admitted negligence for which he requires around the clock care.
This is documented to be the highest NHS pay-out ever awarded, whereby the boy received a lump sum in addition to annual tax-free payments to facilitate the lifelong care he requires.
£27 million: Boy, Aged 7, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (2018)
A boy was left severely brain damaged following medical errors during his birth which resulted in his delivery being delayed and asphyxiation of oxygen occurring. Sadly, as a result, the child continues to suffer from acute mental and physical disorders which would otherwise have been avoided.
In order to enable the child access to the permanent care he requires, a lump sum was awarded in addition to recurring annual compensation payments increasing from £88,000.00 to £200,000.00 as the child’s age increases and his needs alter.
£24.2 million: Maisha Najeeb, Great Ormond Street Hospital (2010)
When Maisha Najeeb was just 10 years old she became the victim of severe medical negligence. This tragic case relates to a very simple error that occurred during surgery whereby a clinician mistakenly confused a syringe which contained glue with one which was believed to contact medical dye. Unfortunately, the claimant was injected with the incorrect syringe which caused permanent and catastrophic brain damage.
Maisha is now blind in one eye, her movement is severely limited, she has spasmic pain, and her life expectancy may be impacted.
Her parents decided to take the hospital to court as their daughter would require life-long, around-the-clock care. Great Ormond Street admitted negligence and the family was awarded an initial £2.8million, plus annual payments of £383,000 a year until she is 19. From this age on, payments will increase to £423,000 a year until her eventual death. This equates to around £24million if she lives to her mid-60s.
£23 million: “IBC”, Infant, Royal Berkshire NHS FT (2017)
A baby girl was left with Cerebral Palsy as a result of errors that occurred during her birth in 2005. At the time of settlement, the claimant was 12 years old and it was confirmed that she would continue to suffer from severe learning difficulties, epilepsy and life-threatening seizures for the remainder of her life.
Compensation was awarded in a one-off payment, in addition to recurring annual payments to ensure that her lifelong care could be provided.
Read more: Do I Have a Right to Make a Cerebral Palsy Compensation Claim?
£19.8 million: Girl, Aged 18, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board (2018):
A child developed complications following an operation to correct a malformed oesophagus aged just 5 months old. It was conceded that there had been a failure to adequately ventilate the child during surgery resulting in respiratory arrest.
Unfortunately, the claimant was severely brain damaged requiring ongoing care throughout her life – an upfront award was made in addition to a significant annual payment.
Could You Be Owed Compensation?
If you or your family have been a victim of medical negligence or of a personal injury that wasn’t your fault, you may be eligible for compensation. Get in touch with our friendly and knowledgeable personal injury claims solicitors today to discuss your case.