Orthopaedic injuries for client with a rare genetic condition

We acted for a 29 year old lady who, due to a rare genetic condition, suffered with learning difficulties and was described as having the mental abilities of a young child. She did not have capacity to manage her own affairs and so we arranged for her parents to be appointed by the Court as Deputies.

The nature of the claim was that our client was being cared for at a day care centre and required constant supervision. However, on the day in question she was able to leave the centre and upon getting out of the front door fell off a ramp that did not have a handrail and became trapped and injured in the gap. As a result she suffered significant orthopaedic injuries including a dislocated knee and ankle fracture.

Medical evidence initially suggested that our client would make a full recovery within a year. However, her inability to engage in the rehabilitation process had not been taken into consideration and further medical evidence found that she was likely to have ongoing mobility issues. What could not have been foreseen is that our client had a second fall as a result of her injuries, further reducing her mobility. The defendants attempted to dispute the fact that the second fall only occurred as a result of her injuries but ultimately this point was accepted following expert opinion that we were able to obtain.

The matter was further complicated by the fact that it was stated that our clients genetic condition (Williams Syndrome) would likely result in a reduced life expectancy. However, when we obtained a report from an expert in this field it was clear that genetics had moved on since she was diagnosed and in fact she did not have Williams Syndrome but another congenital genetic condition. We therefore argued that, on balance, a normal life expectancy should be applied and this was ultimately accepted.

A six-figure settlement was agreed and subsequently approved by the High Court, including funds for adapting the family home, Court of Protection and Professional Deputy fees, and funds for further care and assistance. The family have advised that they are extremely pleased with the result and are looking forward to moving on with the rest of their lives knowing that our client will have the ongoing support and funds that she requires for the rest of her life.