Category Archives: Views

What Can I Claim?

Following on from Kathryn’s article entitled “What is needed to prove medical negligence” (October 2013) I wanted to briefly explain what happens next in your claim.

If we can say that there is a claim for negligence we will then look to determine what we call the Quantum of your claim, or how much your claim is worth.

When assessing how much compensation you can claim we look at the following:

  • Pain, Suffering and Loss of Amenity – which is the injury itself and the impact on your daily living; this is all confirmed by one of our medical experts.  This is a subjective award based on guidelines and previous awards in similar cases.
  • Special Damages – these are any other ‘financial losses’ that we can put a figure on.  Such losses can include, but are not limited to:

Loss of earnings/pension

Care and assistance – whether professional or from family members

Accommodation

Aids and Equipment

Treatment Costs

Travel Expenses

Dependency Claims, i.e. loss of childcare, DIY, housework

Funeral Expenses

Bereavement Award – a set sum of compensation for the loss of a husband or wife or a child under the age of 18

We will look to recover everything we can for you, subject to any deductions for State Benefits received.

We recommend that all clients keep a record of any losses that they suffer throughout the case so that we have as much information as possible when it comes to working out what compensation you are due.

Andrew Walker – November 2013

What is needed to prove medical negligence?

What is needed to prove medical negligence?

In order to prove medical negligence and get compensation, you need to prove that the doctor, hospital or other medical professional provided you with substandard treatment (i.e. breached their duty of care to you) which caused you an injury. You do not need to prove that this definitely happened, just that it is more likely than not that it did. In order to succeed in any medical negligence claim, there are therefore 2 hurdles we have to get over:

1.   Breach of duty

We will need to prove that the doctor (or dentist, nurse etc.) breached their duty of care to you by providing treatment which was not up to an acceptable standard.

The legal test states that:

“A doctor is not guilty of negligence if he has acted in accordance with a practice as accepted as proper by a responsible body of medical men skilled in that particular art.”

What this means is that we need to prove that the treatment provided to you was substandard and that no reasonable doctor would have acted in that way.

2.   Causation

It is not enough to just prove that the doctor’s treatment was substandard.  We also need to prove that you were injured as a result of this treatment.  If you have not been injured as a result, the claim will fail and you will not get any compensation.

For example, if your doctor prescribes you incorrect and potentially dangerous medication, this is clearly a breach of his duty to you.  However, if you realise his mistake and do not take the medication, you have not been injured and there is no claim as there is no injury to compensate you for.

Causation can often be very difficult to prove.  We need to compare how you are after the substandard treatment with how you would have been if you had received the correct treatment.

In order to get over these hurdles and prove both breach of duty and causation, we need the evidence of medical experts e.g. orthopaedic surgeon, dentist.  Depending on the difficulty of your case, we may need to involve a number of different experts.  It is their evidence confirming whether a doctor acted negligently and whether it caused you an injury which will make or break the case.

Kathryn Watson – October 2013

“All Rise” – a poem by Mr D Pearson

We received the following poem from a client who we act for in a clinical negligence claim relating to the death of his wife. We recently represented him, with the assistance of a barrister, at the inquest into her death. About a year ago he wrote this poem to reflect his feelings about the upcoming inquest in particular the difficult questions that would be asked, the hope that the truth would be made clear and that nobody would forget that this was about his wife and not about avoiding blame. We are grateful to him for letting us share this with you all as it reflects a very personal view of how the whole Inquest process affected him and the frustration and anxiety felt by a spouse or family during this difficult process.

Joanne Dennison

ALL RISE

All rise.

Who told lies,

and swear.

Some can’t bear

however they try,

breakdown and cry,

all laid bare

or, hidden in their

false testimony.

 

All rise.

Is it too much to ask

to reveal and lift the mask,

with training and decency,

combined for leniency.

Who could stand this task

to be in the dark and bask

in their fight for clemency

forgetting who is in the cask.

 

All rise.

Now, it’s certified

a life now denied

a creed now broken

truly, outspoken.

How did it go then,

a well done deed.

That’s all we need.

All rise.

 

14 August 2012

Mr D Pearson

Legal Aid to be abolished….

A Bill is going through Parliament that will withdraw the availability of Legal Aid for victims of medical accidents.  It will also reduce the amount of compensation successful claimants receive.  The Government believes that these measures will save the tax payer money and curb unmeritorious claims.

In future legal aid will not be available.  Practically nowadays only children who have suffered a severe injury, such as oxygen starvation at birth, get legal aid.  These are complex  expensive cases which are usually strenuously defended.  If legal aid is removed, most of these cases will not be pursued – they are far too expensive for the solicitor to fund the investigation on a no win no fee basis.   

In future all successful claimants will have about 25% of their compensation deducted to pay legal costs.  Currently this burden is on the party that caused the damage i.e. the defendant.  It is proposed to transfer this burden to the victim.  General damages will increase by 10% to compensate this but however you add up the figures the injured party will still be worse off.

These reforms are not good news for people injured as a result of medical malpractice. 

 Hilton Armstrong:  September 2011