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Hard-Nosed Negotiation Yields £2 Million Compensation for Disabled Boy

For clinical negligence and personal injury lawyers, hard-nosed negotiating skills can be just as important as advocacy. In a case on point, a seven-figure settlement was negotiated on behalf of a profoundly disabled 12-year-old boy.

The boy was alleged to have suffered oxygen starvation during a brief period prior to his hospital birth. When legal action was taken against the NHS trust that ran the hospital it was met with a resolute denial of liability. The trust considered that it had a strong case that negligence played no part in the boy's injuries.

Following protracted negotiations and mediation, however, the trust offered a £2 million lump sum to settle the boy's claim. It was acknowledged on behalf of the boy that that was a fraction of the compensation he would have been awarded had the trust been proved liable for his injuries after a contested trial. It was, however, a life-changing sum of money.

Given the acute litigation risks involved in a trial – it was an all-or-nothing case – the boy's parents were anxious to accept the trust's offer on the basis that a bird in the hand is worth more than two in the bush. In approving the settlement, the High Court noted that it was not unreasonable for the parents to take a risk-averse approach to their son's case. The trust's offer was perhaps lower than it might have been, but it was rational to accept it.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.