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How do Payments Work After a Medical Negligence Claim?

For those aware of Reuben Harvey-Smith’s experience with toxic shock syndrome, you may not know what happens following a defendant’s admission of liability and how a medical negligence claim can help following a serious injury.

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Viewers of the Victoria Derbyshire programme and Good Morning Britain may have watched TV hosts doing their best to not be upstaged by toddler, Reuben and his Spiderman action figure, along with myself and Reuben’s mum Louise.

Raising awareness for toxic shock syndrome was at the heart of these appearances. Reuben, three, had accidentally burned himself and was initially treated at A&E. When he later developed the bacterial infection, it was wrongly misdiagnosed as tonsillitis. Following a call to the burns unit at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, doctors immediately suspected toxic shock syndrome.

Tragically, medics were forced to amputate both of his legs below the knee as well as several of his finger tips.

For further information, please see my previous blog: Dispelling the Myths of Toxic Shock Syndrome


You may wonder what  comes next in a case like Reuben’s and how such cases can help to cover the costs of rehabilitation, any equipment required to help on a daily basis, and any future costs that may be incurred?

What happens in the meantime?

How do Interim Payments Work?

Sometimes serious injury claims can take years to conclude. However, the law recognises that the injured person often requires early access to some of their compensation in order to fund their rehabilitation needs such as specialist equipment, care and support, as well as potential accommodation changes or moves to ensure that they are put back in the position as if the injury had not happened.

Interim payments may be awarded in cases where liability has been admitted by a defendant for any damages suffered by the person pursuing the claim. In Reuben’s case, liability was admitted by Ipswich Hospital, meaning that interim payments could be secured on his behalf to ensure that he has reasonable provision for his needs.

The court will award a reasonable proportion of any likely overall value of the claim, and a claimant may apply for as many interim payments as they require throughout a case, subject to the court ultimately authorising the level against the likely overall damages.

In pursuing damages for Reuben we need to look at how he develops skeletally and also what impact and sort of prosthetics he needs now and in the future working with a variety of independent doctors. Any settlement will need to take into account his future needs and therapy requirements, especially taking into account any operations, wheelchair needs and accommodation adaptations.

The value of a final compensation figure is not a simple case of considering a snapshot of the current circumstances – especially for anyone with their whole lives ahead of them. Future care, treatment and support will be required to ensure that Reuben has every option to develop at school and university and throughout his life and any settlement would need to be approved by the court.


For further information on toxic shock syndrome, see our free, printable advice guide here

Tim Deeming is a senior clinical and medical negligence solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Cambridge.

For a free consultation about a clinical or medical negligence compensation claim call us 24/7 on freephone 0800 916 9049 or contact us online and we will call you.

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