Cerebral Palsy claims often surround the most significant and devastating claims stemming from obstetric errors. Most often not delivering the baby when there are signs of foetal stress. CP is a condition that affects the brain. A useful analogy to think about is imagine the brain is like an alphabet and each letter of the alphabet is responsible for making sure certain developmental mile stones are reached. Just like the alphabet the brain’s development follows a sequence as the child gets older. If the sequence is interrupted at an early stage, before brain development is completed, then nothing beyond that break can develop.
Typically, although not always, CP is caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain during labour and/or while the baby is being delivered. When we are born our brains are not fully developed, for example we cannot speak, walk or comprehend the world. In the most extreme cases, when the brain injury happens at this early stage of development, the injured child will never be able to walk, talk, see and hear properly, care for themselves or live any kind of normal life. These children will often have extremely complex and expensive care needs which will be needed for the rest of their lives.
If you think your child’s condition was caused by a mistake which may have been caused by clinical negligence, you may wish to seek legal advice from a specialist birth injury solicitors about bringing a claim for compensation.
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Many children with CP have very complicated care needs and require specialist input from many different disciplines. Generally any medical support you need will be provided for by the NHS or Local Authority. However, due to budget restrictions it is not always possible to fund the best possible care package. Securing compensation where there has been negligence will make sure that your child has enough money in trust for them to pay for the best possible care money can buy for the rest of their life.
You may have heard of wrong site surgery, this is where a patient has been operated on but the surgeons have operated on the wrong part of the body or carried out the wrong procedure. This type of event is called a ‘never event’ by Hospitals and means that it should never happen under any circumstances. Unfortunately, from time to time these types of events do happen and it is caused by human error, usually because medical records have been muddled up or misread by the pre-operative doctors. It may also be caused by inaccurate record keeping or a failure to follow Hospital guidelines.
Fortunately, not all never events result in serious harm. They can be as simple as a surgeon making the incision in the wrong place which can be instantly spotted and treated. Other types of incorrect surgery may be having the wrong tooth extracted. The most severe of these types of incorrect surgery claims are those where patients have the wrong limb amputated. For example, a patient may have a severely infected left leg and a perfectly healthy right leg, but due to an error the healthy right leg is amputated. After this the bad left leg will still need to be amputated so this person will lose both legs instead of only one.
Most recent data released from the NHS confirmed that between 1st April 2015 and 31st March 2016 there were 179 recorded incidents of wrong site surgery. Provisional data released by the NHS for 1st April 2016 to 28th February 2017 records 156 wrong site surgery events.
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Fortunately, most errors are relatively benign. However, there are circumstances where incorrect surgery can have devastating and life-long effects on patients. If you think you have been the victim of an incorrect surgical error there are a number of things you can do before contacting a specialist Incorrect Surgery Claim solicitor.
- Make a written complaint. In your complaint ask the Hospital to confirm:
- What surgical procedure should have taken place and what procedure actually took place.
- If there was an error, ask why that happened.
- Ask if a ‘never event’ took place.
- Has a formal investigation been undertaken.
- If an investigation was undertaken ask for a copy of the ‘Root Cause Analysis/Report.
2. Insist on a written response to your complaint. If you remain unhappy with the Hospital’s response then you may wish to consider contacting a specialist Solicitor. If you do make sure you provide a copy of the complaints letter and the response as this is very useful for the early investigative stages. I cannot stress enough that the most important thing you can give your solicitor is information, one thing I always say to my Clients, “tell me everything you think is relevant, I would rather have too much information than not enough”.
Most often the earlier cancer is diagnosed and treated the better the outcome is likely to be. When people learn there has been a delay in diagnosing cancer they worry that it might be too late to treat, or, if treatment is possible, that there is a risk that the cancer might come back. When the delay negatively impacts a person’s chances of relapse they might have a loss of chance cancer compensation claims.
As the law stands at the moment in order to have a loss of chance claim a claimant must be able to show that if the delay had not happened they would have had a better than 50% chance of achieving a complete cure. This leads to what in my mind is a perverseness in the law. For example, take Patient A who has had a negligent delay in diagnosing his cancer. Patient A obtains medical evidence which states had the delay not happened he would have had a 52% chance of never having cancer again. But because of the delay that chance has now been reduced to 48%. No we look at Patient B. Patient B also had a negligent misdiagnoses of cancer. However, perhaps because of the nature of the cancer, had the delay not happened he would have had 50% chance of never having cancer again. But because of the delay he now only has a 10% chance of not relapsing. As the law stands today Patient A whose chances have been reduced by 4% will have a claim but Patient B whose chances have been reduced by 40% cannot bring a claim because he never had better than 50% chance in any event.
When this issue was considered before the House of Lords (as it then was) the requirement of having more than 50% chance was considered to be good law by a 3 – 2 majority. However, Lord Nicholls in particular gave a strong dissenting judgement and questioned whether the correct approach the Courts should be taking was to compensate anyone who suffered a material diminution to their chances, regardless of whether those chances were ever above 50% prior to negligence.
Not so long ago we the law of clinical negligence was shaken up when the Supreme Court decided the case of Montgomery. I would not be surprised if there was a departure from the law as it today if the case was to be decided again.
There are a number of things you should consider before speaking to a Solicitor if a loved one has died and you think someone is to blame. Below is a list of the common things your solicitor will want to know:
- When did the person die? This is important because the time allowed to commence formal Court proceedings is three years from the date of death. If a claim is not made by this time it will become statute barred.
- What was your relationship to the deceased?
- Did the deceased leave any dependents behind? A dependent is defined by statute. An example of a dependent might be a wife, husband, child or cohabited. It is important when you speak to your solicitor that you are aware of all of the deceased’s personal relationships.
- Certain individuals are entitled to receive a bereavement award. This is an amount of money fixed by law, the amount is currently £12,980.
- It is preferable for the person instructing the solicitor in a fatal accident claim to hold either a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. This avoids any potential future complication when it comes to beginning formal Court proceedings. If a Claim Form is issued in the name of someone who does not have authority to act it will be invalid and the claim will not be allowed to proceed. This is particularly problematic if the Claim Form has been issued close to the three year period explained above.
- As with any claim information is key and you should aim to provide your solicitor with as much of it as possible. Some of the things that are likely to be spoken about (including the above) are:
- What were the circumstances of the death? If this was in a hospital what hospital was it, why was the deceased in hospital?
- What medical conditions, if any, did the deceased have?
- How much did the deceased earn?
- Has there been an inquest into the death? If this has not happened yet ask your solicitor to attend with you.
- Have you or the family received any letters, documents or reports from the Hospital?
The above is a non-exhaustive list. The most important thing to do is speak to a specialist solicitor as soon as possible as fatal accident claims can be very complicated.
The discount rate is something that is used to make it easier to calculate future losses in personal injury and fatal accident claims. When someone dies those who are finical dependent on the deceased can make a claim and receive a lump sum for the money the deceased would have contributed in the future had they not died. When the Courts assess this future compensation they need to take into account how much interest the lump sum will earn when it is put in the bank.
The discount rate is designed to work out how much interest money will earn and discount the lump sum accordingly to avoid over compensating a claimant. This means the higher the discount rate the more the lump sum is reduced. Recently the discount rate has been reduced from +2.5% to -0.75%. This change has had a significant effect because the lower discount rate means higher compensation for claimants for future loss claims.
This change has sparked a divide between claimants and defendants. Claimants are of course in favour of the change because it is argued that interest rates are so low that money in the bank was never earning the level of interest necessary to reflect the level of discount made.
The moral argument here was that it meant claimants who were dependent on the benefit of that lump sum to last them for the rest of their life were not receiving adequate compensation. The change to the rate, which came into force on 20th March 2017, has been welcomed by claimants. Conversely, large insurance companies, on behalf of Defendants, attempted to challenge the change in the High Court, where they lost.
The main thrust of the argument against the change is that insurance companies will have their eye watering profit margins reduced. Direct Line for example have stated that a reduction to the discount rate of 1% would see £190 million wiped off of their profit.
For more detail or inquiry Please Contact us @ Medical Negligence Group
Before having any non-essential medical treatment, including dental implants, it is important to have a thorough and full discussion with your clinician. As a patient you need to know exactly what procedure you are having done, why you are having it done (what outcome do you want) and what are the risks associated with the procedure. If you are unsure after speaking to your dentist ask for time to think or get a second opinion. Some things you may wish to discuss with your dentist before undergoing the procedure are:
- First, and perhaps most important, pick a reputable dentist / dental practice that has a good trading history.
- Are there any reasons why you are not suitable for dental implants?
- What are the risks and benefits? When thinking about risk ask your dentist how often things go wrong, is the risk high or is it low? Make sure you understand what additional treatment you will need to have if things do not go according to plan – is this included in the price?
- Take some time to consider whether dental implant treatment is really for you. Remember, just because you have been to a consultation does not mean you are obligated to undergo treatment.
- Make a diary note of the discussion you had with your dentist before getting your dental implants.
- Make sure your dentist explains properly how to care for your dental implants after surgery.
- Ask for a follow up appointment and if you have any concerns raise these with your dentist.
The above is a non-exhaustive lists of things you should consider when having dental implants claims. The most important thing a patient can do is arm themselves with as much information to ensure they are making an informed decision.
Unfortunately, even the best laid plans can go awry. If you find that you are not happy with your dental implants then you should go back to the dentist that carried out the surgery as the fix might be simple. If you do not want to go to the same dentist then ask to see another dentist. If you remain dissatisfied with the treatment or feel that you have suffered damage then you may consider some of the following:
- Make a written complaint. In your complaint ask the Dentist to specifically explain why the results were not as expected. Ask if anything could have been done differently to have avoided the unwanted outcome. Also, you are entitled to ask the Dentist outright if they feel they made an error.
- Insist on a written response to your complaint. If you remain unhappy with the Dentist’s response then you may wish to consider contacting a specialist dental negligence solicitors. If you do make sure you provide the following: a copy of the complaints letter and the response, this is very useful for the early investigative stages, provide a copy of the notes you have made of any consultations you had with your dentist, explain why you are not happy with the results and why you think the dentist is to blame. I cannot stress enough that the most important thing you can give your solicitor is information, one thing I always say to my Clients, “tell me everything you think is relevant, I would rather have too much information than not enough”.
Over recent years the number against dentists for failed dental implants claims has increased significantly. Figures released by the Dental Defence Union (DDU) showed that 115 cases out 311 settled for an average of £34,000, with one claim settling for over £200,000. Obviously not all dental implant cases will see settlements as high as this, but the figures do show that when dental work goes wrong the cost of putting it right can be very high.
The most common reason cited for bringing a claim was a complete failure of the treatment with unsatisfactory results being the second most common reason why people consider bringing claims.
The number of claims and settlement figures show that this type of non-essential dental work carries a large amount of risk for both dentists and patients.
For more detail or inquiry Please Contact us @ Medical Negligence Group