LEGAL EAGLE: Who will care for my disabled daughter when I’m gone?

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My daughter Diane was born four weeks early and was very ill in the first weeks of her life.

The doctors and nurses who looked after her after she was born were fantastic and I do not know how I could have got through it without them.

I’d had a very difficult delivery and was in labour a long time.

In the end it was decided, after a long time being concerned about the heartbeat monitor for Diane, that I needed a caesarean section as an emergency.

Diane has been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and she needs a lot of care because from birth she has suffered from brain damage affecting her development and mobility.

I am worried about what will happen when I am no longer able to look after her and worry that the help we get from the local authority might not continue.

What can I do to make sure Diane is looked after in the future?

You should contact a solicitor as soon as you can but make sure the solicitor specialises in clinical negligence and is a member of the Law Society Panel.

It must be very hard to think about Diane’s future as I am sure you have done everything for her and have concerns about that continuing.

There is no guarantee that a compensation claim will provide money to look after Diane in the way you would want but if the care that you received at Diane’s birth was substandard and this caused the brain damage you mention then the amount of compensation due would mainly be aimed at covering all her past care and would hopefully be sufficient to cover the cost of her future care.

There would need to be a full investigation with the input of independent medical experts giving their opinion on what happened and whether any delay caused the problems for Diane.

The individual doctors and nurse who looked after you and Diane after birth would be highly unlikely to be blamed for anything so you need not worry about that.

It is not too late to do anything. As a general rule claims for injury must be brought within three years or, if the claimant is a child, before they are 21.

If the person making the claim does not have enough understanding to manage their own affairs then the courts waive the time limit altogether but do not delay because if Diane is eligible for compensation she should benefit from it as soon as possible.