As lockdown begins to be lifted, everyone wonders what will be the new “normal” and the same applies to the legal system and clinical negligence claims. We are pleased to say that it is now possible for all procedural aspects of claim up to an including a Trial can be completed, but with some slight changes. I will set out below the changes we have noted, to give you an idea of what to expect:
Appointments – whilst we all prefer face to face appointments, in the current pandemic this is not possible and even when this restriction is fully lifted we appreciate our clients, many of whom have medical issues, may not feel comfortable with this for some time. As a result we have the facility to arrange video calls or to conduct appointments by telephone and can offer this to any clients. Please feel free to ask about this.
Delays – some steps in a case such as applying to a hospital for records can take a little longer. Under the circumstances we will continue to chase these up but are finding these steps are taking longer than expected due to the demands on the NHS, GPs and other medical professionals. We are not concerned by this and will keep you updated on when we apply and when the records come in.
Medical Evidence – In the course of investigating the case we need to obtain the views of independent medical experts and as many of these doctors and nurses also work in NHS roles and are in high demand at the moment getting their reports and views on the case can take a little longer than usual. Again this is entirely manageable but just may take a little longer than usual. We will keep you updated on when these reports are due.
Medical Examinations – As part of the investigation into cases our medical experts often need to meet with our clients to assess injuries and medical needs. Many of our experts have now started to offer these appointments again, albeit socially distanced and with appropriate Personal Protective Equipment [PPE]. However, if as a client you are concerned about this you should speak to your solicitor as there are many ways in which this can be handled, including some experts assessing you by video call, depending on your injuries. In other cases it may be possible to simply delay the examination until a later date.
Court Hearings – all hearings whether they are short or full trials have been continuing in lockdown, conducted by telephone or in some cases for more important hearings by video conferencing. If your attendance is required we will make all of the arrangements to ensure that this is possible.
I can therefore reassure you that there is no reason why a clinical negligence claim cannot progress in this unprecedented time. We are well aware of the uncertainty surrounding life and the concerns our clients have in this unusual time are important to us. You should not hesitate to tell us about your worries and we wish to reassure you that they will be taken into consideration and we can work with you to ensure that we can find a solution that works for both you and your claim. If you have any questions at all or require any reassurance about how your claim will proceed please do not hesitate to contact us on 01642 231110.
This is a strange and unusual time in our Country’s history. Here at Armstrong Foulkes we are committed to our clients but we also value the health and safety of our staff. We have therefore made some changes to the everyday running of our office during the current Coronavirus [COVID-19] Pandemic and set out below is a summary of the changes:
We have changed our opening hours. The office is now manned between 10:00am and 4:00pm. This allows us to reduce the time our staff are out of their homes.
Our clerical staff are rotating their time in the office to minimise their exposure to others. We are therefore running on a skeleton staff in comparison to our usual levels, please bear with us if your call takes longer to be answered or there is a delay in a response. We will endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible.
Our Solicitors are working remotely in their homes as much as they can, but remain contactable by e-mail or by telephoning our office. Our clerical staff will ensure your message is passed on.
To maintain social distancing as advised by the Government our office is now closed to the public including our clients.
The building in which our office is located is now also closed to the public. If you need to drop any letters off you can use a post box located on the outside of the building to the left of the main doors as you approach.
This is an unprecedented and uncertain time in which recommendation may change. We will continue to keep the measures for our office and staff under review. Please check our website for updates.
How will this affect my claim?
We remain committed to our clients and ensuring your claims continue to be progressed, as our solicitors are still working daily on their cases we can reassure you that there will be no negative effect on your claim. We are however conscious of the demands on the NHS at present and cases in the early stages may see some delays as we are generally postponing applications for medical records.
For cases in the later stages of investigation or where Court Proceedings have been issued we can confirm that Defendant’s solicitors are also working remotely and so claims continue to be progressed. The only effect we envisage is that things may take a little longer than usual. For example, our medical experts may take longer to reply to us if they are working on the Coronavirus “Front Line” in hospital, similarly the Courts are prioritising certain types of work and we may find they take longer to deal with clinical negligence claims unless it involves an urgent or time sensitive issue. Our solicitors all remain well aware of deadlines and the work needed on your case and will continue to ensure nothing is missed.
If you have any worries or concerns about your case, please do not hesitate to contact your solicitor who would be happy to reassure you and answer any questions you may have.
Partners: Hilton Armstrong, Joanne Dennison and Ashleigh Holt. Armstrong Foulkes LLP is a limited liability partnership registered
in England and Wales (registered number OC385318) which is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
A list of members' names is available for inspection at our registered office Cleveland Business Centre, Watson Street, Middlesbrough, TS1 2RQ.
The word 'partner' refers to a member of the LLP who is a solicitor in England and Wales. We have a Legal Aid Franchise for Clinical Negligence work.