Thurlaston teenager's care home death case is settled out of court
A teenager's parents have received a £6,000 payout from the care company that was looking after him when he suffered fatal injuries in a fall.
James Brotherhood, from Thurlaston, near Hinckley, died after falling from a windowsill while being supervised by staff at a home for people with brain injuries, run by Rushcliffe Care.
His parents, Suzanne and Dean, started legal action against the firm after a coroner raised concerns about his care.
Yesterday it emerged they had settled out of court.
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The 18-year-old's inquest heard he was strapped into a wheelchair when he climbed up to see a motorbike he had heard outside the Aaron's Unit in Loughborough.
The hearing was told nearby carers did not physically intervene for "health and safety" reasons and that he fell, banging his head on the ground.
He died in hospital the following day – May 30, 2009.
As previously reported in the Mercury, coroner Robert Chapman recorded a verdict of accidental death caused by bleeding on the brain.
He said: "The issue I find the most difficult to deal with is that, for one or two minutes, James was holding on to the window frame with his wheelchair strapped to his back.
"The staff realised it was dangerous. No attempt seems to have been made to take simple action to intervene."
The coroner said his criticisms of the unit did not amount to neglect.
Yesterday solicitor Neil Clayton, of Harvey Ingram Shakespeares solicitors, who represents James' parents, told the Mercury: "James died as a result of a tragic accident that we say would have been avoided if Rushcliffe Care's staff had taken steps to stop him falling.
"We believe there were several opportunities that were missed to prevent him climbing on the window and to get him down safely once he had done so. I hope that lessons have been learned.
"I am pleased it has been settled relatively quickly because Suzanne and Dean have been struggling with this for more than three years."
Yesterday, Mrs Brotherhood, who is separated from James' father, said: "There were carers in the room at the time and they just stood next to him and watched him for several minutes before he fell. I believe they should have just grabbed him and stopped him from doing it, then my little boy might still be here."
She said she "didn't care about the money" but just wanted to understand how her son's death had happened.
James was being looked after by Rushcliffe Care as he had suffered brain damage after surgery to remove a tumour when he was nine.
The Mercury contacted Rushcliffe Care and was told nobody would be commenting.