Steven Snowden obtains an award of £5.5m in the CICA
Steven Snowden was retained to act for L, who suffered non-accidental injuries at the hands of one of his natural parents at the age of 3 months. L suffered a fractured skull and severe brain injuries which were consistent with a blow or blows, and having been shaken. He was subsequently taken into care, then fostered and then adopted into a loving and supportive family.
A claim had been made on L’s behalf under the 1990 (pre-tariff) Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. The Tribunal accepted that entitlement was established and that a full award should be made.
L’s injuries were summarised as severe brain injury, right visual neglect, squint, incoordination with motor impairments (right side limbs more affected), small head and epilepsy. His emotional and cognitive development lagged many years behind his natural age. He had attended mainstream schools but with the benefit of considerable special needs support.
Entering adulthood, L had continuing and profound problems with cognitive function, memory, motor function, executive skills and adaptive behaviour. His reading, number and comprehension skills were at the level of a seven or eight year old and his adaptive behaviour skills are at pre-school level. There was no scope for improvement. The medical evidence indicated that L would be unable to obtain gainful employment; he lacked capacity to manage his own affairs; he would not be capable of independent living and would not be able to sustain a long-term relationship with a partner; he could not be left alone for more than a few hours at a time; and he would need a permanent care and brain injury case management support package including a “buddy”.
The case was heard by the Tribunal in March 2012, by which time L was aged 20. Thorough preparation allowed detailed discussions to take place with the advocate appointed by the Tribunal (effectively by way of a joint settlement meeting on the morning of the hearing), following which the Tribunal scrutinised the “agreed” figures and made an award in the sum which had been negotiated.
The total award was £5.5 million, which included the following sums: PSLA £150,000; past losses (travel, loss of earnings and gratuitous care) £192,545; future loss of earnings £500,000; future care and case management £3.97m; future therapies £65,000; future aids and equipment £60,000; future travel costs £80,000; future accommodation costs £150,000; miscellaneous future costs (including holiday costs) £127,800; Court of Protection/deputy costs £225,000. L was required to give credit for past and future state benefits and for an interim payment which had been made. Neither interest nor costs were able to be awarded under the 1990 Scheme, but some allowance was made for disbursements by way of medical reports.
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