It may seem surprising but, in order to win compensation, it is not always necessary to prove that you are a victim of negligence. A striking case on point concerned a nine-year-old girl who received millions in damages despite continued denials by the NHS that hospital staff were to blame for her catastrophic disabilities.
It was argued that the girl's delivery was negligently delayed due to a failure by medical staff to notice or appropriately respond to signs that she was suffering distress in the womb. The NHS, however, denied those allegations, also arguing that the damage to her brain was done before her mother went into labour.
Following intense negotiations, however, the NHS agreed to a final settlement of her clinical negligence claim without making any admission of liability. Together with a lump sum of £1.3 million, the compromise means she will receive £50,000 a year, index-linked for the rest of her life, to help pay for her care. The overall capitalised value of the settlement is about £2.5 million.
The settlement took into account the risk that, if hospital staff were exonerated after a contested trial, the girl would have come away with nothing. It represented about 30 per cent of the full value of her claim. In approving the settlement, the High Court noted that it would make a huge difference to her and her family's quality of life and congratulated both sides for reaching a sensible resolution.