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How Much Spinal Injury Compensation Could I Claim?

One of the most important parts of your body is the spine and if that gets damaged or injured then it could lead to partial or complete impairment. Your spinal cord comprises of several nerves and tissues which are connected from the base of your brain down the length of your back. These are protected by the vertebrae which makes up the spine.

According to the Back-Up Trust, there is an estimated 50,000 people in the UK living with a spinal cord injury. In addition, over 2,500 people are newly injured each year. Spinal injuries affect a large number of people in the UK.  If you have suffered a serious back injury or a spinal injury that was a result of medical negligence, then you could be entitled to compensation.

At BTTJ Medical Negligence, we have specialist spinal injury solicitors that can offer expert advice and support during this difficult time. We can help you investigate the cause of the accident and help you seek the compensation that you need. To help you understand more about spinal injuries and how much a spinal injury claim could be worth, we have provided more information below.

 

Common Spinal Injuries

In most cases, spinal injuries can be categorised into two groups; partial spinal injury and complete spinal injury, with complete spinal injury being more serious. It’s important that you know this information before you make a spinal injury claim.

Partial Spinal Injury – These types of spinal injuries involve damage that is done to the sensory pathways in the spinal cord. Damage to this area can lead to difficulties with movement and coordination.  One of the most common type of partial injury is anterior cord syndrome.

Complete Spinal Injury – Injury of this type may result in varied paralysis of your body from the neck down. Paralysis typically affects your bowels and your legs. This type of injury is also one of the most severe and it typically receives the maximum amount of compensation for a claim.

 

What can I claim after an accident causing a spinal injury? 

The compensation you may be awarded for your spinal injury claim depends on the extent of the injury.  In addition to pursuing a claim for the injury itself it is possible to pursue a claim for out of pocket expenses both past and future.  It is possible to claim for a range of costs relating to your injury, to include but not limited to:-.

Loss of Earnings – if you have been off work or are unable to return to work as a result of your injury

Rehabilitation Costs – The costs of rehabilitation can be a significantly long-term expense for a victim of back injury. These costs may include regular scheduled visits to a physiotherapist and more.

Unavailable Treatment on the NHS – Necessary visits to private clinics or foreign health specialists in the event of unavailable treatment from the NHS. The costs of visiting private clinics could be compensated.

Home Care – In the event that you are unable to fully care for yourself, you may need to hire care in your home. This cost can be compensated if your injury has affected your independence.

Modifying or Buying a New Home – If you have sustained a long-term back injury, then you may need to adapt or modify your home to make it a suitable living environment. These costs could be claimed in the case.

 

Severities of Spinal Injuries

There are different severities of spinal injuries which affects the amount of compensation that can be claimed. The table below is not a definitive list of compensation amounts, but they are average guidelines for what you could expect for the severity of back injury.

Severity of InjuryDescription of InjuryPotential Compensation Amount
Minor Back InjuryAn injury that does not require surgery. This could be a strained muscle or a slipped disk.Up to £10,970
Moderate Back Injury An injury that does not require surgery. This could be a strained muscle or a slipped disk.Up to £34,000
Severe Back InjuryAn injury resulting in partial paralysis or a permanent organ failure.Up to £141,150
Paraplegic ParalysisInjury that leads to paralysis of the legs or paralysis from the waist down.Up to £249,270
Quadriplegic ParalysisInjury resulting in paralysis of the body or paralysis from the neck down.Up to £354,260

Note – It is possible to also claim for out of pocket expenses as referred to above.

 

 

Contact BTTJ Medical Negligence for Spinal Injury Claims

We understand how upsetting it can be to talk about what has happened and how overwhelming the consequences of clinical negligence are. At BTTJ Medical Negligence, we have a team of legal professionals and medical negligence specialists who are exceptionally experienced at handling these types of cases. All advice and information are treated with total confidentiality, compassion, and care.

If you have suffered from negligence and you would like to discuss spinal injury claims, then please get in touch with us to see how we can help.

You can call us on 0800 032 2474 or you can send us an email here.

5 Common Birth Injuries

 

By nature, birth injuries to babies are unexpected and it can be completely devastating for parents and the family. A birth injury is when a baby suffers injury before, during, or after birth. It can be upsetting and you may have feelings of anger and confusion over what has happened.

Some injuries are not foreseeable or may not have been preventable, however, some birth injuries may be due to the substandard level of care provided by medical professionals, such as the doctors or midwives. The injury may have been due to an issue that was overlooked during pregnancy or may have been due to a problem that was not correctly treated which may have led to a birth injury.

If your baby had suffered a birth injury and you are concerned about the care that you received during pregnancy or labour, then please get in touch with our birth injury solicitors. Our expert medical negligence solicitors are vastly experienced in helping parents seeking medical compensation as a result of birth injuries.

Many of our cases involve birth injuries as shown below:

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy is characterised by the lack of motor skill development, muscle spasms, and weak muscles. In many cases, this condition can be caused by damage to the baby’s brain during birth. There could be various reasons for the damage occurring, such as improper birthing techniques, inadequate monitoring of the mother in labour, and/or inadequate monitoring of foetal distress during labour.

These situations may lead to cerebral palsy and whilst surgery can help the child, it is not a permanent cure. This condition could lead to other health issues, such as hearing and vision impairments, speech difficulties, and learning disabilities. To help manage the symptoms of cerebral palsy, long-term therapy may be needed.

 

Brachial Plexus

A brachial plexus injury (BPI) occurs when the nerves in the baby’s neck are damaged during delivery. These injuries may involve nerve damages from the upper spins to the neck, shoulder, arm, and hand. The most common type of brachial plexus injury is known as Erb’s Palsy, or Erb’s Duchenne palsy, and this usually affects the shoulder and the upper arm.

If a baby has a BPI, then it could result in either a temporary or permanent loss of sensation or movement in the arm. The nerve damage can occur if the nerves are compressed, stretched, or in severe cases, separated from the spinal cord. The more severe cases involving torn or ruptured nerves may fail to heal correctly.

 

Shoulder Dystocia

Although shoulder dystocia is a rare problem which could occur during the baby’s delivery, it can happen and it approximately affects about 1 in every 150 deliveries. This complication is when the baby’s head is born but one of its shoulders becomes stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone. It’s important to know that this is not a birth injury in its own right, but the risks that are associated with shoulder dystocia are serious. If this complication is not managed and handled correctly, then it could lead to birth injury of the baby.

Doctors and midwives are trained to recognise the signs of shoulder dystocia and will have the right measures to carry out a safe delivery. However, if an inadequate level of care was provided, then there could be serious consequences.

 

Broken Bones During Delivery

During the delivery stage, babies are at risk of broken or fractured bones due to a variety of reasons. These broken bones or bone fractures can be caused by excessive pulling or twisting of the baby during delivery, overly forceful use of forceps, or simply due to shoulder dystocia.

Fractures in the shoulder bone are the most common type and babies that have bone diseases are particularly at risk. With ultrasound, certain types of bone disease can be detected but it may not be possible in every case. It’s important to know that some bone fractures are unavoidable as giving birth can be physically demanding on the mother. The natural force of the mother’s contraction may sometimes be enough to cause a fracture; however, this is rare and the baby can make a full recovery with the right care and treatment.

 

Oxygen Deprivation

Oxygen deprivation could occur during the delivery of the baby which could lead to brain injuries. As a result of these brain injuries, it can cause cerebral palsy or chronic seizures. If the doctor does not properly monitor the baby during birth or after, or the baby remains in the birth canal for too long, then brain injuries may occur.

There are two main types of oxygen deprivation; anoxia and hypoxia. Anoxia is when a baby is completely deprived of oxygen which means that the baby’s brain could sustain an injury. Even just a few minutes without oxygen could have a lifelong impact. Hypoxia is when there is a reduced flow of oxygen to the baby’s brain. The restricted flow of oxygen to the brain could also cause lifelong effects.

 

Although some birth injuries may not have been preventable, there are babies who should have been born healthy but have been injured due to an inadequate level of care. Parents want to ensure that their baby has a good quality of life and we can help parents through this situation. Our medical negligence solicitors are committed to finding an explanation of what happened and we can help parents to seek settlement to help alleviate the financial pressures associated with caring for a child who has sustained a birth injury.

 

Contact BTTJ Medical Negligence for Birth Injury Claims

We understand how upsetting it can be to talk about what has happened and how overwhelming the consequences of medical negligence are. At BTTJ Medical Negligence, we have a team of legal professionals and medical negligence specialists who are exceptionally experienced at handling these types of cases. All advice and information are treated with total confidentiality, compassion, and care.

If you have suffered from birth injury negligence and you would like to discuss a birth injury claim, then please get in touch with us to see how we can help.

You can call us on 0800 032 2474 or you can send us an email here.

Whilst all types of surgery involves an element of risk, as a patient, you have the right to receive a certain standard of care. In most cases, the standard of care provided is exceptional and the outcomes are positive. However, not all types of surgery may go as planned and sometimes it can result in an injury.

Surgical negligence covers a variety of cases. It may occur when the medical team fails to provide the appropriate standard of care either before, during, or after surgery. If this has resulted in an injury, then you may be able to make a claim against the hospital. Our medical negligence solicitors can help you to investigate whether or not this is the case.

If you think that you might have been the victim of surgical negligence, then it’s important to act as soon as possible. The details of the case will be clear in your mind and the records may be easier to find. Generally speaking, there is also a three-year time limit for most types of personal injury claims. However, there are also exceptions to this time limit for children under the age of 18 and patients who are unable to claim on their own due to their capacity and/or disability.

 

What’s Involved in a Surgical Negligence Claim?

In order to be successful in bringing a claim, you will need to prove that the surgery you received fell below a reasonable standard, and that you have suffered an illness or injury because of this. These types of claims can be quite complex as the details of your medical treatment may be debated by different experts.

To increase your chances of making a successful case, your solicitor will need to gather as many details as possible and they will also need to use medical experts to show that the surgery performed was negligent and resulted in causing your illness or injury.

 

What’s The First Action?

It is open to you where you think  you may have been a victim of surgical negligence to make an official complaint. Making a complaint may be helpful when it comes to building your case and it won’t affect any future legal action.

Once you have submitted a formal complaint, you should expect to receive a reply either by written means or verbally within three working days. The reply should include an agreement to meet and to talk about how your complaint will be handled and how long it is likely to take.

 

Initial Information Gathering

When investigating your case, your solicitor will need to gather information about your illness or injury in order to decide what the best way of moving forward with your claim is. As an example, here are some of the details that your solicitor will try to get:

  • The reason for needing medical treatment.
  • The names of the medical staff that were involved.
  • Details of any witnesses. (Can also include friends or relatives)
  • Details of any later consultations.
  • Details about whether you made an official complaint or a complaint directly to the clinician.
  • Obtain your medical records

 

Getting Appropriate Medical Knowledge and Expertise

To help support your claim, your solicitor will find an independent medical expert with the right knowledge and experience to be involved in your case. Although the medical expert may be referred to as part of your ‘team’, the medical expert will have a duty to provide an independent and honest opinion to the Court.

Your medical negligence solicitor will choose the medical expert that knows the area of medicine relating to your case, and will be able to present their findings in court.

 

Contact BTTJ Medical Negligence for Surgical Negligence Claims

We understand how upsetting it can be to talk about what has happened and how overwhelming the consequences of negligence are. At BTTJ Medical Negligence, we have a team of legal professionals and medical negligence specialists who are exceptionally experienced at handling these types of cases. All advice and information are treated with total confidentiality, compassion, and care.

If you have suffered due to medical negligence and you would like to discuss your surgical negligence claim, then please get in touch with us to see how we can help.

You can call us on 0800 032 2474 or you can send us an email here.

During such an emotional time for parents, you expect the highest standard of care for both mother and child. Most cases are positive and successful, however, when doctors and midwives fail in providing their duty to a reasonable standard, mistakes can happen. In the worst cases, this could result in them causing injury to the mother, child, or both. These tragic incidents will often lead to legal proceedings against the hospital, doctor, and the staff.

If your child has been injured during birth, then you could be entitled to compensation.

Who Can Make a Claim for Birth Injury?

As a parent, you could claim compensation for any birth injury that was a result of medical negligence. If your baby had been injured by mistakes in labour or delivery, then it’s important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible. Although some injuries can be minor and relatively easy to recover from, some injuries may be life-changing for the child. You may be entitled to make a claim if your child has been injured due to the negligence or mistakes by medical staff, whether it’s before, during, or after giving birth.

Our experienced medical negligence solicitors have helped families with a wide range of cases including birth injury claims. Many of our cases involve:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Erb’s palsy
  • Bell’s palsy
  • Shoulder dystocia
  • Still birth
  • Birth trauma
  • Poor delivery technique
  • Ventouse or forceps injuries
  • Negligent management of high-risk births
  • Failure to perform a timely Caesarean section

These situations are often life-changing for the child and parents. In cases of birth injury, seeking legal advice can be the best course of action.

 

How Long Do I Have To Make A Claim?

As with many other types of claims, there is a time limit for claiming compensation. For birth injury claims, you can claim on behalf of your child at any time before their eighteenth birthday. After they turn eighteen, they have three years to bring the claim.

If you are claiming for a child who has passed away as a result of birth injury, then you have three years to make a claim from the date of their death.

 

Contact BTTJ Medical Negligence for Birth Negligence Claims

We understand how upsetting it can be to talk about what has happened and how overwhelming the consequences of birth injury are. At BTTJ, we have a team of legal professionals and medical negligence specialists who are exceptionally experienced at handling these types of cases. All advice and information are treated with total confidentiality, compassion and care.

If you or your child has suffered due to medical negligence and you would like to discuss birth injury claims, then please get in touch with us to see how we can help.

You can call us on 0800 032 2474 or you can send us an email here.

Similar to other medical negligence claims, head and brain injuries can vary greatly in terms of severity. As a result, the amount of compensation that you could receive varies too. It’s unlikely that an online compensation calculator can adequately value your claim.

If you have suffered a brain injury in the last three years that was caused by someone else’s negligence, then you should get in touch with our experienced medical negligence solicitors. Our team are legal professionals with medical knowledge and they can let you know if you have a valid case for brain injury compensation. We can talk you through the whole process.

To help you understand more about brain injury compensation, we have listed the different severities of brain injuries below.

 

Different Severities of Brain Injury

The figures below are taken from the government published Judicial College Guidelines, which are simply lump sums to illustrate the pain, suffering and loss of amenity you have suffered. However, these figures provide a guideline as to what compensation you  may receive. The figures below are not definitive but they serve as a rough guideline as to what may be expected in various cases.

Severity of InjuryInjury DescriptionPotential Compensation Amount
Very Severe Brain Damage Serious brain damage that has a significant effect on the senses and severe physical limitation. The need for full-time care. The court will consider the degree of understanding the victim has, their life expectancy, and the extent of physical limitation.£247,280 – £354,260
Moderately Severe Brain DamageCases of severe physical or cognitive disability which leave the victim substantially dependent on others and need constant care or other medical requirements. The court will consider the victim’s life expectancy, degree of understanding, degree of dependence on others, the extent of their physical limitations, their ability to communicate, and behavioural abnormalities.£183,150 – £235,790
Moderate Brain Damage (Upper Tier)Moderate to severe damage to intellect and/or changes in personality. An effect on their sight, speech, and other senses, and a serious risk of epilepsy.£131,620 – £192,090
Moderate Brain Damage (Middle Tier)Moderate to modest damage to intellect. The possibility of the victim returning to employment is either greatly reduced or completely removed. Possible risk of epilepsy.£79,530 – £131,620
Moderate Brain Damage (Lower Tier) Concentration and memory are badly affected, and there is a lower risk of epilepsy. There is a reduction in the ability to work, but have very limited dependency on others.£37,760 – £79,530
Less Severe Brain Damage A good recovery has been made with a return to normal social and work life. There may be potential for on-going impairments such as poor concentration, memory loss or mood problems. For the upper end of this bracket, there may be a small risk of epilepsy. The court will consider any permanent disabilities or the chance of permanent disabilities, the severity of the initial injury, any changes in personality, and any depression.£13,430 – £37,760
Minor Brain or Head Injury Cases of minimal brain damage or non-existent. The court will consider the severity of the initial injury, time of recovery, any on-going symptoms, and the presence of headaches.£1,940 – £11,200

 

Contact BTTJ Medical Negligence for Brain Injury Claims

We understand how upsetting it can be to talk about what has happened and how overwhelming the consequences of negligence are. At BTTJ , we have a team of legal professionals and medical negligence specialists who are exceptionally experienced at handling these types of cases. All advice and information are treated with total confidentiality, compassion, and care.

If you have suffered due to medical negligence and you would like to discuss pursuing a claim for brain injury compensation, then please get in touch with us to see how we can help.

You can call us on 0800 032 2474 or you can send us an email here.

Coventry lawyer and Head of the Medical Negligence team at BTTJ, Tom Barnes, has been awarded membership of the AvMA (Action Against Medical Accidents) Specialist Clinical Negligence Panel for a further five years.

Tom and his BTTJ medical negligence colleague Richard Stanford are the only AvMA panel members within Coventry and Warwickshire.

AvMA was established in 1982 and today the specialist clinical negligence panel is a highly sought after quality mark for medical negligence specialists.

Tom, who is also a member of the Law Society Clinical Negligence Panel, has focused on medical negligence claims since 1988 and represents clients nationwide.  He has also been recognised recently by the Legal 500 which acknowledged Tom’s huge amount of experience in this field.

 

If you need any advice on medical negligence, please feel free to contact Tom directly on tom.barnes@bttj.com or call 024 7653 1532

What is Needed for a Successful Brain Injury Claim?

Head or brain injuries are often the most severe types of injuries as they can cause serious and life-changing impairments. Even seemingly mild head or brain injuries could cause some unwanted side-effects. Medical professionals may sometimes miss subtle brain injuries as it can be difficult to assess the severity of a head injury. This means that the affected person may not get the appropriate care that they require.

If you have suffered a head or brain injury in the last three years that was caused by medical negligence, then you could be entitled to compensation. In order to make a successful brain injury claim, you must be able to prove that the injury was a result of the negligence of the Defendant..

 

What You Must Prove

To successfully make a claim for a brain injury, there are several elements which we will need to show:

  1. The Defendant must have owed you a ‘duty of care’.
  2. The Defendant must have failed to uphold their duty of care to you known as a breach of duty. This is required to substantiate a brain injury compensation claim and it can be through either something they didn’t do, or something they did do but didn’t meet the appropriate standard of care.
  3. As a result of the Defendant’s breach of duty they must have caused you to suffer a brain injury. This is known as Causation and is often the most disputed component of any medical negligence claim.

 

We must prove all of the elements above in order to be successful in your claim. It is for you to prove your case and not for the Defendant to disprove it.

These points may make the entire process sound quite difficult and challenging, but our experienced medical negligence solicitors at BTTJ have the legal and medical knowledge required to guide you through every step of the way, ensuring that making a claim is as easy as possible.

 

Contact BTTJ Medical Negligence for Brain Injury Claims

We understand how upsetting it can be to talk about what has happened and how overwhelming the consequences of negligence are. At BTTJ , we have a team of legal professionals and medical negligence specialists who are exceptionally experienced at handling these types of cases. All advice and information are treated with total confidentiality, compassion, and care.

If you have suffered due to medical negligence and you would like to discuss pursuing a claim for brain injury compensation, then please get in touch with us to see how we can help.

You can call us on 0800 032 2474 or you can send us an email here.

There are a number of types of brain injuries ranging from an acquired brain injury (ABI) arising from birth, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) usually caused by trauma to the head or other forms such as tumor, stroke or brain haemorrhage.

If someone suffers an injury to the brain, the effects can be wide ranging and can depend upon factors such as the type, locality and severity of injury.

For many people who have suffered as a result of medical negligence, compensation is the only way that they can afford to cope with the life-changing effects of a brain injury and to ensure that they receive adequate care and that their dependents are also looked after.

Perhaps it is someone close to you that has suffered from a brain or head injury?  If that person is not able to manage their own medical negligence claim, then you can do this on their behalf.

To help you understand more about brain injuries and how it might affect you, we have detailed some of the effects of brain injuries and provided more information about claiming on behalf of others.

 

Effects of Brain Injuries 

Even after a minor head injury, brain function can be temporarily impaired and is sometimes referred to as concussion which can cause further difficulties such as dizziness, fatigue or depression.

The more severe the brain injury, the more pronounced the long-term effects are likely to be. Those with more severe brain injuries are likely to have complex long-term problems affecting their personality, their relationships and their ability to lead an independent life.

Each area of the brain accommodates various mental and physical functions, so it can be difficult to quantify and cover the impact that a severe brain injury may have. There are three main groups as a general outline:

Cognitive Functions: Impairments to a person’s cognitive functions can result in severe problems and it may restrict their ability to function independently afterward. Memory loss, changes in personality, and intellect deficits can make reintegrating with society after an injury quite challenging. This may require extended therapy to regulate or overcome.

Motor Functions: The physical abilities of a person could be heavily affected which may restrict or reduce their mobility. This will increase their reliance on others for everyday activities and, ultimately, reduce their independence. The effects of the loss of independence may bring upon negative emotional reactions.

Emotional Responses: Emotional responses can be altered which makes symptoms harder to diagnose or quantify. Changes in emotional responses mean that this can be more complex to treat. They can be relatively minor responses such as mood swings but they can also be significant, such as depression or apathy.

 

What if my loved one does not have the capacity to claim?

If someone close to you had experienced brain injury from medical negligence and they are not able to manage their own claim, then a trusted friend or relative will be able to bring the claim on their behalf. By claiming on their behalf, you will take on the role and responsibilities as if they were acting themselves.

Generally speaking, there is a three-year time limit to make a medical negligence claim. However, in some cases where the individual has lost the mental capacity to make a claim without the assistance of others, there may be no time limit.

 

Contact BTTJ Medical Negligence for Brain Injury Claims

We understand how upsetting it can be to talk about what has happened and how overwhelming the consequences of negligence are.  We have a team of legal professionals and medical negligence specialists who are exceptionally experienced at handling these types of cases. All advice and information are treated with total confidentiality, compassion, and care.

If you have suffered due to medical negligence and you would like to discuss pursuing a claim for brain injury compensation, then please get in touch with us to see how we can help.

You can call us on 0800 032 2474 or you can send us an email here.

Dawn Slow, Medical Negligence lawyer at BTTJ, is currently involved with a complex case that for our client, LWR, combined a claim involving his employer as well as a claim involving medical negligence.

 

What happened?

The client had an accident at work and injured his knee.    He had pre existing arthritis.  7 months after the accident LWR was still in a lot of pain and underwent an arthroscopy, following which he could barely move his knee at all.

 

What did the experts say?

Experts agreed that LWR should not have undergone the arthroscopy due to the complications his arthritis would cause and to do this operation was negligent.

 

What did this mean in terms of who should settle?

This made the case much more complex and we now needed to ask “Did the client’s ongoing pain arise from the accident or did it arise from the medical negligence?”.  This was a difficult question as on the face of it the accident injury was a relatively minor one.  However it was necessary to ensure that there was no link between the accident injuries and the injury that occurred as a result of the arthroscopy before making any decision to settle the accident claim.

If there was any link at all between the ongoing pain and the accident injuries then the whole claim for all the injuries, including those arising from the medical negligence, would have to be settled by LWR’s employers.  This is because LWR would not have been referred for the arthroscopy had the accident at work not occurred and therefore all the pain and suffering he had could be directly linked back to the accident at work.

Anyone who suffers an accident where they are making a claim from any third party, who then suffers what is potentially a further injury at the hands of the NHS, must first look to see if the further injuries can be linked to the original accident.   If they can, all the injuries regardless of any negligence on the part of any NHS employee (or other medic), must be claimed as part of the original claim.    Only injuries arising from any medical negligence that there is a fair degree of  certainty cannot be linked back to the original accident should be dealt with as a separate medical negligence claim.  It is extremely important that a client understands the link between the two events and how that link may or may not have been broken so the two events might end up as separate claims.

Two separate experts advised that LWR would have been back to his pre accident condition within 3 months of his accident at work which was before the medical negligence took place.   This meant that the two potential claims could be separated – but, there was a risk that the NHS could argue that the ongoing injuries were due to the accident at work and not due to any negligence on their part – and if a Judge agreed that argument, then, by settling the accident at work claim early, the client might risk not being able to claim for his ongoing injuries against the NHS.

 

What was the outcome?

LWR needed a lot of very complex and technical legal advice on this which Dawn Slow gave in a way that was easy for LWR to understand – this meant he could make a fully informed decision on which step to take next and whether or not to settle his claim for his accident at work before finalising the medical negligence claim.

LWR’s accident claim was recently successfully settled at £5000 and his medical negligence claim is continuing.

 

image of doctor in office

It is probably little known to most that General Practitioners (GPs) do not have insurance to treat you.

Instead, GPs are required to be a member of a “Defence Union”, which provides discretionary indemnity arrangements in the case of a negligence claim.    However, as this arrangement is discretionary, and either the GP or the Defence Union can avoid their indemnity requirements, it means that if you are injured by a General Practitioner’s negligence, they might not have the cover in place to meet your claim for damages.

The Government has recently carried out a consultation and plans to replace existing discretionary indemnity arrangements with regulated cover, backed by the Government and similar to the arrangements with NHS doctors and hospitals.   The case made by the Government to switching to a regulated model is that under the current discretionary system – and unlike commercial insurance companies – there is  no contractual obligation to meet the cost of any claim against the professionals they cover and no legal obligation to ensure they have reserves to cover the cost of claims.

The Government plans to ensure that all healthcare professionals in the UK are covered by an appropriate indemnity scheme so that all clinical negligence cases are covered.

Not surprisingly, GPs and the Defence Unions are opposed to the proposals, fearing higher insurance premiums and that it will take away a significant amount of funding from the Defence Unions.

 

The present discretionary indemnity arrangements also extend to hospital doctors carrying out private consultations and treatment.   It is clear from the Ian Paterson (Breast Surgeon) experience that under the present scheme Defence Unions will try to avoid their financial responsibility if they can.

Unfortunately,  I have experienced over the years a number of cases where both GPs and private doctors have not had the appropriate indemnity cover for the treatment they are providing or that the Defence Unions have refused to indemnify the doctors under the discretionary scheme, leaving injured people without any real redress.

 

Tom Barnes

Head of Medical Negligence

 

About the Author

Tom is a partner of BTTJ and Head of the Medical Negligence department.  He is a member of both the Law Society Clinical Negligence Panel and the Action against Medical Accident panel and has been recognised by the Legal 500.

If you need any help with medical negligence you can call Tom on 024 7653 1532 or email tom.barnes@bttj.com

Each Baby Counts, an initiative led by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, have recently published their second annual report  looking at the number of babies who die or are left severely disabled as a result of incidents occurring during term labour.

The report findings are based on the analysis of data from 2016 and key points include:

  • Of nearly 700,000 term babies born in the UK in 2016 the total number of babies that fulfilled the “Each Babies Counts” criteria was 1123. Of these there were 11% stillbirths, 13% early neonatal deaths and 765 severe brain injuries.
  • Of the 955 babies where the review had sufficient information to draw conclusions about the quality of care, the Each Baby Counts reviewers concluded that 674 babies, equating to 71%, might have had a different outcome with different care.
  • The main themes identified where improvements could have been made were failure by health professionals to identify or act upon relevant risk factors, issues related to monitoring of fetal wellbeing with CTG and blood sampling, and education or training issues.

 

More details on the findings and recommendations can be found by clicking here.

 

 

NHS Resolution, which was formerly NHS Litigation Authority, has published research on the motivation of patients making a compensation claim when something has gone wrong with their healthcare.

The research, which was conducted in partnership with The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT), surveyed 728 patients who had made a claim and looked at the incident that had occurred, how the patient felt it had been handled, how any subsequent complaint had been handled and the factors that led to the patient making a claim for compensation.  BIT also did an in-depth telephone interview with 20 past claimants.

The findings show that, in general, the research participants were not satisfied with the reactions of NHS staff following an incident or how their complaint was handled within the NHS.

It found that:

  • 63% of patients who responded felt that they did not receive an explanation for why the incident occurred.
  • Only 31% said they felt they had received an apology.
  • 71% of the people responding did not think that their healthcare provided undertook any actions to investigate the incident in the first instance.
  • Only 6% of respondents felt that actions were taken that would prevent the same incident happening again.
  • The majority rated the response to their complaint as ‘poor or very poor’ in terms of accuracy, empathy, speed of the response and level of detail.

 

It also found that both internal and external factors motivated patients to make a claim.  Personal motivations included:

  • Wanting to prevent similar things happening to others.
  • Wanting to receive an apology or an explanation for the incident, or to trigger a detailed investigation of the incident.
  • Wanting the clinicians involved to be held to account.
  • Emotional responses (e.g. frustration and anger) brought about by poor incident or complaint handling.
  • Financial compensation.

External motivations included:

  • Suggestions from NHS staff that making a claim would be appropriate
  • Advertising
  • Conversations with friends, family and wider social network

 

Helen Vernon, who is Chief Executive at NHS Resolution, said “This research confirms that claims for compensation can sometimes be made in the search of answers, which could have been provided when the incident occurred. Being open with patients when they suffer avoidable harm and taking tangible steps to learn from what happened are essential. We would like to thank the patients who spared the time to contribute to this valuable research, which will help us to build on our work with the NHS to improve the response when things go wrong.”

 

Full details of the research conducted can be found on the NHS Resolution website.

The Legal 500 has recognised Brindley Twist Tafft & James and recommended our Clinical Negligence department.

Seen as the leading guide to law firms and solicitors across the UK, the Legal 500 is an independent directory.

 

The 2018 results, which were recently published, recommends BTTJ’s clinical negligence department with the results reflecting the work the department covers relating to cerebral palsy, brain damage, gynaecology and orthopaedics.  Tom Barnes, Partner, and Richard Stanford, Solicitor from the Clinical Negligence department both received a special mention.  The publication recognises that Tom Barnes is ‘highly experienced‘, ‘has  a great case load‘ and ‘is popular with clients‘ and that Richard Stanford is ‘excellent‘, ‘clever‘, ‘hard working‘ and ‘canny‘.

Also recognised from Brindley Twist Tafft & James was our Corporate and Commercial department.  Samantha Wright, who is the Senior Partner at BTTJ, was recommended for her work in this field along with John Chadaway, Partner and Public Notary.

More information on the Legal 500 rankings can be found on the following links:

bttj.info/2JHjWnG

bttj.info/2JIYdvG 

 

As a qualified nurse working in the Clinical Negligence team it is likely that I will be the first person in the team that you speak with when you get in touch with Brindley Twist Tafft and James to discuss a potential claim.  It is my role to listen to people, to find out about their situation, to ask appropriate questions and to obtain the specific details surrounding their medical negligence complaint.

I know that patients who contact us about medical negligence are going through a traumatic time and that it can be difficult to speak to someone about what has happened.  It is very important that our clients and potential clients know that they are really being listened to and taken seriously;  I will always do everything that I can to support the people that I speak with, and to reassure them that their concerns are genuine.  People are often unsure if they have a case that can be pursued so we will work together to determine whether they do.

During our initial conversation with new clients I will ask questions about times, places and the events that took place.  Because of my extensive medical training and experience (12 years’ experience as a nurse working across a variety of medical settings including Emergency Care, Critical care and Community) I am able to quickly understand the medical details involved when people are describing the events that led them to get in touch with us.

Once I am content that I have obtained all of the relevant information, it is my role to present the facts of each potential case to the rest of the team.  Together we will go through what has happened and discuss how we can help you.

If we are able to help you pursue a claim, one of our specialist lawyers will be in touch to arrange an interview with you, which will normally take place in person.  This will include going through the background facts in detail as well as explaining the legal process.  One of the first steps after the interview is for us to obtain your medical records.  Once the records have been received, I use my medical training to help collate the records into a sensible order and to prepare a chronology of the key events.

Because many medical negligence cases are highly complex, we will often also instruct independent medical experts in the relevant field to assess your case and provide a formal report.

The team prides itself on obtaining the best possible settlements for all of our clients, as well as providing support throughout the whole process.

 

If you have any questions about medical negligence then  please get in touch to see how we can help.

 

John Snowdon

BTTJ Medico Legal Assistant

As a Specialist Clinical Negligence Practitioner, I work solely for clients who have suffered as a result of medical negligence.

It is my role to work with clients from their initial contact with us, all the way through to getting the best possible settlement for them.

I find that clients can sometimes feel unsure about getting in touch with a law firm; they do not know what to expect and are concerned about how daunting it may be on top of the challenges they already face due to the negligence.  When I first talk to my clients, I’ll take them through what steps are involved so that they understand what will happen during the claim process.

I am part of a vastly experienced Clinical Negligence team at Brindley Twist Tafft and James (BTTJ) who have members with specialist accreditation from the Law Society and from AvMA (Action Against Medical Accidents) and who fully understand how emotionally difficult bringing a claim may be.  We pride ourselves on making the process as straightforward as possible and do our best to put clients at ease.

Although each case is unique, the actions that I take to pursue compensation for clients that have suffered as a result of negligence can be broadly broken down into 4 main areas (which I also talk about in this video):

  • First I will obtain any relevant medical records – this helps me to establish a timeline of events.
  • Once I’ve assessed the records, I will ask an independent medical expert to assess the case and provide evidence as appropriate. At BTTJ we have a range of excellent independent medical professionals that we work with and will select an expert specific to each case.
  • Once we have received confirmation from an independent expert that negligence has occurred, I will formally make the allegations to the negligent party (the Defendant).
  • Finally I will obtain compensation for the harm that has been caused.

I support my clients throughout this whole process and am always on hand to explain what is happening and answer any questions.

If you have any queries about pursuing a medical negligence claim, please get in touch with me and I will be happy to help.

Angus Buchanan

Specialist Clinical Negligence Practitioner

 

 

About the author

Angus Buchanan joined BTTJ in 2015.  He has a law degree and has completed the Legal Practice Course and first worked as a paralegal before becoming a Specialist Clinical Negligence Practitioner.