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Victims of accidents or medical negligence sometimes unnecessarily hold back from claiming compensation because they fear the trauma of a court hearing. However, one case in which a boy's legal team achieved a £350,000 settlement of his claim against the NHS shows that there is little or no basis for such concerns.
The bundle of nerves in the schoolboy's right shoulder was damaged during his birth, resulting in permanent weakness in his dominant arm and hand. Despite two operations since, he remains disabled and requires assistance with routine activities, including dressing and feeding himself.
His lawyers claimed that the injury was caused by a midwife's use of excessive force during his delivery. Liability was disputed by the trust which ran the hospital but, following negotiations between the NHS and the boy's lawyers, a final settlement was agreed without the need for a trial.
In approving the compromise, the judge noted that, despite his disabilities, the boy has learned to ride a bike and enjoys swimming and playing football. She paid tribute to his courage in coming to terms with his disabilities and to the care given to him by his mother.