Frequently Asked Questions

We've put together a list of frequently asked questions you may find yourself asking during the litigation process. Click on a question to read our response.

How do I know my child suffered medical negligence?

You won't until investigated. We all have that feeling something went wrong. Until you instruct a specialist clinical negligence solicitor to investigate you just won't know. Appalling things can and do happen. Clinicians have done everything they can to give a good outcome. Sometimes it is just bad luck, one of those things and nothing could have given your child a good outcome. Given the state of maternity in the UK though with multiple investigations into poor maternity care. Chances are, if you think something isn't right, it isn't.

I still have the letter from my NHS trust when I asked them when my son was 2 years old, did anything go wrong. The letter of responce is 'full scrupulous internal investigation, everything done here as it should be, just one of those things. Enjoy your baby'. 2 years after that I instructed soliciotrs and settled 14 years after that with multiple breeches of care discovered.

Helen O'Neill-Nash - founder of Billys
How do I find a specialist medical negligence solicitor?

There are many medical negligence solicitors on Google. Based on our experience and asking other families it is worth choosing on the basis below:

  • Specialists: Ensure the ones you speak to are specialists in birth injury/ brain injury/ cerebral palsy.
  • Location: Being close doesn't matter, they will travel and most meetings are online.
  • At least 3: Speak to at least 3 to get a feel of who you like, and who you feel would work best with you for your child.
  • Previous success?: Ask them how many clients they have going through birth negligence cases and what is their success rate of successful claims.
  • Recommendations: Ask those who have already been through a claim who they used.
  • Legal Directories: Check legal directories and databases that list solicitors specializing in medical negligence. Websites like The Law Society ( or the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers ( can be helpful.
  • Check Credentials: Verify the solicitor's credentials, such as their qualifications, experience in handling medical negligence cases, and any accreditations or certifications in this field.
  • Fees and Funding: Discuss the solicitor's fees and funding options during the initial consultation. Some solicitors may work on a no-win, no-fee basis or offer legal aid, depending on your circumstances. We always recommend using legal aid first try, your child is entitled to legal aid. It means if the first attempt is not successful you can try again using no win/ no fee (CFA) if need be. Many of our families have achieved a settlement after the 2nd or even 3rd attempt.
  • Client Reviews: Read client reviews and testimonials if available. They can offer insights into a solicitor's reputation and the quality of their services.
How long does a case take?

Medical negligence cases like ours can take a long time. The case is for the child, sometimes a parent may have a case for themselves running alongside if within the 3-year time limit. Parents receive little or no compensation for their own injuries. There are good reasons though why the case takes a long time to settle. The child's needs may change over time. There are often a lot of cognitive changes at puberty and many families are in what is called a 'stay' if admissions are early but the child has yet to reach puberty. Cognitive issues are more apparent post-puberty and give a better indication of the child as an adult and what the needs would be. Expert witnesses can have long waiting lists which also impacts time scales. Everyone wants the best and truest financial figure for the child as it has to last them for life and cover all equipment, care, accommodation, therapy, and legal fees over their lifetime.

"I started my case when my son was 5 and his hearing loss diagnosed. it had been missed so often at audiology asessments, I decided at that point I needed answers and decided to start legal action to find out what was really going on. We settled a month before his 18th birthday. We had admissions when he was 15 and were in quantum for just under 3 years".

Helen O'Neill - Nash - founder of Billys
How much do we win?

Interesting question. Parents don't 'win' anything, literally. There is a small amount at the end of the claim called 'past care' which is for parents. There is rarely correctly calculated compensation that applies to families for loss of earnings, loss of pensions traumatic stress, etc.

The case is for the child, legal regress is based on 'BUT FOR the injury how would their life have been? Obviously, you can't take cerebral palsy or brain injury away but having funds to pay for therapies, equipment, appropriate accommodation, and care makes a massive difference to the quality of life for the child. The majority of a settlement is made up of these costs for life. Calculated during interim also known as a quantum period. ie Trust has accepted the claim and the costs are being quantified. Figures vary so much on so many variations. Other areas such as general damages, loss of earnings, etc are relatively low in comparison. overall figures vary and can seem massive but care costs over a lifetime are massive. a large proportion of those costs are for Deputy and case management. Most cases settle out of court and figures are not available nor published.

NHS Resolution, the claims-management wing of the NHS, has an official approach to settle out of court wherever possible.

To support the settlement of claims, it has an indemnity provision of over £80 billion. This may seem like a huge amount of money, but the NHS receives more than 10,000 new claims a year.

The largest speciality area in terms of the value of claims is obstetrics. In 2018, the NHS paid a record £37 million to a six-year old boy who suffered a catastrophic brain injury during his birth.

But for individual claims, there is no set amount. And because so many claims are settled out of court, the record of what claimants receive is confidential and part of the settlement.
What is Interm or Quantum?

When a trust makes admissions ie it accepts both liability and causation for the child's claim, a period called quantum also known as interim begins.

An interim payment is requested by litigation solicitors and paid by the trust to the solicitor on behalf of the child. Interim payments are a strictly calculated percentage of the overall claim and are approved by a judge. They are paid to enable additional support and therapies etc to improve the child's position and also to pay for a case manager to provide an assessment of the childs needs.

Interim is when costs are calculated for the child's life. A Court of Protection finance and property Deputy is often appointed if a child is deemed to not have the capacity to manage the funds and any property purchase. Most children in our sort of cases are deemed to not have capacity unless challenged, which parents have done so successfully. One of our families with a child with complex needs who communicates via eye gaze technology successfully contested a capacity assessment to ensure her child, now at University would have control of her own funds.

Interim can be a year or so or many years. It depends on the child's age, condition, any potential changes, etc. Children with complex needs are likely to need 24/ 7 care all their lives and calculations of costs can be made on this basis fairly early on. A child with more mobility and cognitive issues may change again post-puberty so there will often be a 'stay' in proceedings until post-puberty to ensure lifetime calculations can be as inclusive as possible.

Interim can be a very difficult time for families and most often when we start supporting them. It is a brutal time when the family home can feel taken over by professionals, carers, and therapists. A lot of different assessments by both defense and claimant expert witnesses. Siblings are not really considered and are affected by these changes. It can be an overwhelming and very stressful time. At Billy's, we support and empower with facts, those going through this very important part of the process.

We found interim very difficult, all of a sudden we had our tiny home taken over by therapists and traveling for endless asessments. My other child was unable to bring friends home after school as their wasnt any space. we were worried they were starting to feel pushed out. It is difficult as a parent juggling everything and felt we were unable to say no as we feared we would damage our childs case. Eventualy we found a way of being back in control with Billys support and learnt what was a legal necessity and what was professional bullying. It helped us massively to get through and on to a succesful claim.

Carol xxxx settled claim. Essex
What is a Court of Protection Deputy?

In a lot of our cases, the child is deemed to lack the capacity to manage their own finances. If this is the case then a C.O.P Deputy is appointed.

Whilst many Deputies are transparent, working well with, and trusted by families, A lot of our families have problems with Deputies. We often provide support and advice to resolve these issues.

"Family X realised that a Deputy does not have to share financial information with the families. They were concerned about how their child's funds were being used when requests for equipment and carers they needed were being refused yet costs for these had been awarded at settlement. We worked with the family in drafting emails to resolve the issue, taking advice from other professionals and the Office of the Public Guardian. Once the Deputy realised the family was being supported and were better informed, the working relationship improved".

To top