Joseph suffered significant injuries to the right brachial plexus - the nerves running from the spinal cord to the right shoulder, arm, hand and fingers. All four cervical nerves and one thoracic nerve were damaged, resulting in the most severe injury possible; indeed the surgeon tasked with trying to minimise the impact of the damage after the event commented that it was the worst erb's palsy injury of its kind that he had seen. In addition, Joseph suffered a right sided Horner's Syndrome and ptosis, i.e. drooping of his eyelid.
The impact of Joseph’s injuries was immense with him effectively being left with a useless dominant right arm, meaning he was restricted from all bi-manual activities. The prognosis was for no meaningful improvement as he aged, and given he has a normal life expectancy, to be left incapacitated for in excess of 80 years.
Having been instructed shortly after Joseph’s birth, the medical negligence team at Fieldfisher spent the initial years in securing Judgment for Joseph. The claim was then stayed until he was old enough for it to be accurately quantified.
Numerous experts were instructed to ensure Joseph was appropriately compensated for his injuries. The care expert provided costings for not only the care that he requires in the short term but also for the additional support he would need in the future, as well as care to enable him to enjoy his main passions in life.
The occupational therapy expert provided costings for Joseph’s future equipment and therapy needs, as did experts in physiotherapy and assistive technology. An employment expert looked at the career options that would have been open to Joseph had he not been injured at birth, as well as those that he was now limited to as a result of his injuries in order to calculate his loss of earnings, with educational and clinical psychologists quantifying Joseph’s future schooling and emotional support needs. Lastly, a specialist expert helped calculation the additional costs to help Joseph enjoy his pastimes to the best of his abilities, over and above those that he would have always incurred had he not been injured.
At a settlement meeting in 2022, the parties were able to agree a figure of £2,600,000 in settlement of Joseph’s claim. At the time of the settlement hearing this was significantly in excess of the highest reported award in a UK Erb's Palsy claim, which was previously under £2,000,000. The award is testament to the care and support provided to Joseph by his family, and in particular his mother, as well as the team of experts and counsel that assisted throughout the claim.
Following the approval hearing Joseph’s mother commented:
"After carrying out extensive research in relation to which firm of solicitors to entrust my son’s claim to, I decided to instruct Fieldfisher and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made on his behalf. Mark contacted me within hours of me sending my initial enquiry to Fieldfisher and right from the outset, I knew Joseph’s claim could not be in better hands.
Mark and his team have dealt with the claim efficiently and effectively and I have always felt like a big part of the journey. Ultimately, securing the largest ever settlement of its kind is as a result of Mark and his team and I working together to ensure the best possible outcome for Joseph, meaning that his future is now secure. I have always felt that I have been involved with all aspects of the claim throughout, which has, in some respects helped me to come to terms with the mistakes that were made during my son’s birth.
I would recommend Mark and his team to anyone looking to receive the best advice and in turn, to secure the best possible financial settlement for this type of injury”
Mark Bowman said:
"It was a privilege to act for Joseph and his family over the past 9 years. Due to the nature of the injuries, we needed to wait until Joseph was of an age where we could safely predict his future needs and abilities.
"Looking at other reported cases of children suffering severe brachial plexus injuries, it was my and Counsel's (Henry Witcomb KC) opinion that the compensation awarded failed to reflect the gravity of the injuries and the care and support claimants inevitably require for life.
"Thanks to the expert team we instructed, the amazing efforts of Joseph's mother and Counsel's negotiating skills, we were pleased to achieve settlement on Joseph's behalf."
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