Clarke Willmott successfully settle fatal accidents claim
Clarke Willmott have recently settled a claim following the death of an 19 year old boy, LW.
The claim was brought by LW’s father. At the time of his death, LW had been staying at a respite centre. He had been attending the centre for many years prior to his death, and stayed there regularly each month. LW had significant special needs including autism and was known to suffer from epilepsy. He had a care plan in place during his stay to ensure that he received 1:1 care whilst he was awake due to the risks posed by his behaviour. At night he was to have a monitor in his bedroom which would alert night staff to LW waking and getting out of bed. He was to have hourly checks due to seizure activity. Staff were to remain outside LW’s room whilst he was settling off to sleep, and once sound asleep staff could move away from the door, however should remain in close proximity to his room to respond should he wake in the night.
LW was usually awake by around 6am each day. In the months leading up to his death, he had suffered seizures during his stays at the respite centre. These had always been picked up on the monitor. On the evening of 11 April LW had fallen asleep by 8.30pm. He was awake again at 10pm and was taken to the toilet. He was assisted back to bed again at 11.30pm. Staff settled him back to bed and apparently sat outside his room until 5am. At 5am the staff member who had apparently been sat outside the room all night moved away but continued to conduct hourly checks by listening at the door until 7am. At 7am staff reported LW was quiet in bed. At 8am he was still reported to be quiet. This was extremely unusual behaviour for LW but nobody opened his door to check on him.
At approximately 08.45 one member of staff went into his room to wake LW up, noticed he was laying on his front, face down in his pillow and was unresponsive. Care staff commenced CPR and paramedics were called. Once they arrived it quickly became apparent that resuscitation efforts were futile. The cause of death was recorded as sudden unexpected death in epilepsy. Clarke Willmott investigated the matter and obtained supportive expert evidence. Letter of Claim was sent to the insurers for the Defendant, and proceedings were issued at Court to protect the potential Human Rights Act claim that LW’s father had in this case. Admissions were made promptly by the Defendant and negotiation discussions took place. Settlement was agreed in the sum of £15,000 which included an award for general damages, and funeral expenses. Clarke Willmott were also able to assist LW’s father in obtaining a grant of probate which was required before damages could be paid to him.