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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.

 

 

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 

 

hip surgery

 

For anyone who has been affected by the DePuy Hip Replacement claims, there is a very good article which explains, in some detail, how these claims arose and the history behind them along with an explanation of how and why the Court came to their recent decision that DePuy were not negligent in the manufacture of the various metal on metal hip prosthesis.

Click here to read more: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/case-analysis-colin-gee-others-v-depuy-limited-2018-james-bell

 

If you have any questions, please give me a call on 024 7653 1532

 

Dawn Slow

An orthopaedic injury refers to an injury of the bones, muscles and joints of the human body.

A practitioner specialising in orthopaedics will often look after patients that have suffered bone fractures,  who need joint replacement, ligament reconstruction surgery, hand, shoulder and elbow surgery, foot and ankle surgery and back and spine surgery.

Orthopaedic negligence is when a practitioner makes an avoidable error which causes injury to the patient. Examples of orthopaedic negligence include: inadequate assessment of a patient before surgery, surgical errors, including mistakes in placing prosthetic joints, using an incorrect treatment such as a partial knee replacement when a full replacement is needed, inadequate postoperative care leading to infection, misdiagnosing fractures, poor operative technique and damage to nerves or circulation due to medical procedure.

If you feel you have suffered as a result of orthopaedic negligence and may have an orthopaedic injury claim, please get in touch.

Our team of expert clinical negligence solicitors are on hand to advise you on the legal steps that are available to you.