Time is no barrier for the determined!

Posted: 4th November 2016

Clinical negligenceA recent case in which solicitors negotiated a £2.5 million settlement of a man’s claim against the NHS – 47 years after he was starved of oxygen during his birth – illustrates the importance of having strong legal representation when making a personal injury claim.

Peter Atherton's parents, Maurice and Sheila, aged in their 70s, had devoted themselves to his care and, for many years, had not considered taking legal action. When they did make inquiries with a view to seeking compensation for him, they were informed that medical records from the time of his birth had not survived.

However, after reading a press article about a similar case, the couple contacted sought legal advice. The firm of solicitors investigated the circumstances and a breakthrough came in 2014 when hospital notes dating back to 1969 were found. They indicated that the man had been born pale and asphyxiated and that it had taken 20 minutes to revive him. In the light of that discovery, the NHS agreed to a lump sum settlement of his claim.

Mr Atherton had been born with cerebral palsy affecting all four limbs and has grave learning and communication difficulties. In approving the settlement, the High Court praised his parents, who can now be reassured that, when they are no longer able to look after their son, he will be well cared for by professionals.