The number of GP-related medical negligence claims made by patients has undergone a sharp increase over the last year, according to the Medical Defense Union.
Nearly 20 per cent more files were opened on GPs in 2010 than in the previous year, said the Medical Defence Union. The industry body provides more than half of the family and hospital doctors in the UK with insurance cover and medical negligence solicitors to defend against claims.
The organisation remarked that while claims had been up across the board the general practice sector had experienced the most marked rise. Late or wrong diagnosis was the most common accusation against GPs, with 60 per cent of cases concerning the issue.
Other common accusations were neglecting to refer patients to specialists – at 15 per cent of cases – while medication errors made up an additional 10 per cent of complaints. Additionally, claims involving more than £1 million in damages last year numbered thirteen – a stark increase from 1995 figures, when there was only one such case.
Due to commercial confidentiality concerns, however, the MDU declined to disclose the total figure in regards to the number of files it currently had open. MDU claims head, Jill Harding, remarked that the rising number of claims against GPs has been a more recent trend in the wake of a relatively stable period in this area.
The MDU has long been aware of the rising costs of medical negligence compensation, said Ms Harding. One contributing factor to these increased costs could be attributable to so-called no win no fee arrangements in which claimants can pursue litigation with little to no financial risk to themselves.
Industry experts predict that the likelihood of the Ministry of Justice reporting on the progress of its year old RTA claims process is high.
As more cars end up clogging our nation’s roads, the risk of having to end up submitting a car accident claim to an insurer has risen exponentially. In order to cope with the increased number of personal injury claims associated with these incidents, the MoJ decided in April of 2010 to introduce a new low value claims process for road traffic accidents with damages between £1,000 and £10,000.
Anticipating that the new process would end up encompassing the lion’s share of claims arising out of road traffic accidents, the MoJ estimated that it would aid in improving the claims process for accident victims by making the system cost effective and more swift.
Industry experts have commented on the success of the new scheme, stating that personal injury lawyers have been submitting large numbers of claims through it. The new system has been found to be an aid in securing early liability admissions, which then lead to earlier settlement payments for the clients of solicitors.
Adding that matters now get resolved in a far more quick manner than they used to, one expert called the new scheme a breath of fresh air for anyone who had the ill fortune to be involved in an accident in any capacity whatsoever.
The main purpose behind the new process was to expedite claims for injured parties and also reduce the costs associated with such litigation. Insurers had 21 days to acknowledge a car accident claim once they received notification of it under the previous claims process and then 90 days to either admit liability or blame the driver of the vehicle they insured.
£4,000 in personal injury compensation was recently awarded to an HGV driver from Newcastle after he filed an accident claim in the wake of a injury whilst on the job.
Ian Burridge, aged forty two, slipped and injured his knee whilst making a delivery to the Stanley, County Durham Asda store. Mr Burridge was employed by the retail giant at its Washington, Tyne and Wear depot at the time, according to his work accident claim.
Mr Burridge noticed that a bag of cat litter had split and spilled its contents across the floor whilst attempting to move a pallet heavily laden with wines and spirits during his delivery. As soon as he spotted the spill, he asked a colleague to provide him with a brush to clean up the mess, but instead began to use his foot to clear up the spillage once he learned that there were no brushes available.
Unfortunately Mr Burridge lost his footing whilst attempting to clear the cat litter from the floor, striking his knee on a pallet truck that was nearby. While the worker was given a prescription for potent pain-killers in order to manage his intense pain, he later discovered that he had developed osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease, after an MRI scan of his knee.
Also referred to as degenerative arthritis, osteoarthritis has no known cure. The symptoms of the condition can increase in severity as time goes on, and those who suffer from it can experience locking of the joint, stiffness, tenderness, and pain.
After Asda made admitted that it was liable for 80 per cent of the incident, the retail giant awarded Mr Burridge £4,000 in damages in an settlement out of court.
After a mis-diagnosis that led to a double leg amputation for one Devon schoolgirl, one GP has been successfully sued for nearly £2 million in damages in a medical negligence claim.
According to accident claim experts familiar with the case, ten year old North Devon native Lydia Cross, of Braunton, fell ill when she was two years old. Naturally concerned for her well being, her parents telephoned their GP but were told that because of so-called ‘surgery policy’ the doctor would not make any house calls.
The doctor instead dispensed advice over the telephone under the incorrect assumption that young Lydia was merely suffering from a virus. Unfortunately the young child’s symptoms did not abate, which led her to being given an emergency appointment.
Lydia was subsequently diagnosed with a rare type of meningitis that can cause blood poisoning called haemophilius influenza septicaemia. According to the details of the young girl’s personal injury compensation claim, she began to suffer from not only multiple organ failures but gangrene as well – which necessitated an amputation of each leg just below the knee.
Jodie and Tony Cross, the girl’s parents, claimed that but for the diagnosis delays Lydia’s illness could have been treated properly and cured. They took the GP to London’s High Court, where Lydia was awarded damages of £1.78 million in order to aid in paying for the costs of her ongoing care.
In the wake of the hearing Mrs Cross remarked that Lydia had recently taken part in her school’s sports day thanks to a pair of prosthetic limbs. The two prosthetic legs, which can coast as much as £15,500 for a pair, can now be easily afforded thanks to the substantial compensation award being given to the family.
One Worcester-based road haulage firm has recently had a traffic accident claim brought against them for an incident involving a pedestrian being knocked down on a zebra crossing by one of the firm’s drivers.
Wisbech native Anatolij Kuzmenok, of Mount Pleasant Road, is suing the haulage company for £300,000 in personal injury compensation for the injuries caused when he was struck trying to cross Wisbech’s Churchill Road in Cambridgeshire. Mr Kuzmenok claims that the lorry struck him and then dragged him down the street, which resulted in serious personal injuries to his person.
Mr Kuzmenok was injured so severely that it was necessary for him to be airlifted to hospital where he could receive treatment for a serious head injury, a severe injury to his left arm, numerous broken ribs, and crush injuries to his chest.
The injured man has filed personal injury claims at the High Court against both the driver of the lorry and his employers. Worcester native Trevor Cracroft, of Upper Tything, was operating the lorry at the time of the incident, on behalf of Worcestershire’s David Curnock Ltd, which is based in Lower Town Claines.
According to the High Court Writ, Mr Kuzmenok will not only have an increased risk of developing epilepsy in time as a result of his brain injury, but will run into profound limitations in the job market due to his injuries as well.
When sought out for comment regarding the legal proceedings, the haulage company would only state that the matter was being dealt with by their insurance company and the firm’s legal counsel. The firm declined any further comment in regards to the details surrounding Mr Kuzmenok’s injuries.
Injury solicitors recently won a personal injury compensation case on behalf of a Stoke-on-Trent female horse rider in the wake of an equestrian accident that left her with a broken neck.
According to Horse & Hound magazine, Mrs Maxine Wright had been taking horse riding lessons with her husband Phil in Newcastle-under-Lyme at the time of the incident. The Wrights had been attending Shut Lane Head’s Whitmore Riding School when Mrs Wright’s horse fell upon attempting to clear a jump, accident claim experts writing for the magazine reported.
Mrs Wright’s horse ‘Marmite’ clipped its rear legs on the top of a barrel as it was attempting a cross country jump. Unfortunately both the clipped barrel and those it was adjacent to were not properly weighted down, causing them to move forward with the horses impact and trigger a fall.
Mrs. Wright sustained serious personal injuries in the incident, which included breaks to two of her vertebrae at the top of her spine. As a a result the woman was hospitalised for nearly two weeks and was unable to return to work for a total of four months.
Stating that the riding school demonstrated a lack of awareness in regards to the potential risk, one legal representative of Mrs Wright added that the jump had been inherently dangerous. Her legal team negotiated a £60,000 personal injury compensation award for the injured woman in an out of court settlement after the insurers of the school made an admission of liability.
A spokesperson for British Eventing, the sports governing authority, also commented on the case, remarking that the importance of securing temporary or portable obstacles could not be stressed enough. The BE spokesperson also said that it offered training in course building and design as well.
After he became paralysed when his car became involved in a RTA with a stolen one, one man has recently won his £5 million car accident claim.
Mark Seabrook, father of two and aged forty nine, sustained serious and life-threatening injuries when his car was struck by the stolen car after it refused to give way at a junction. Mr Seabrook suffered a myriad of injuries including serious head injuries, lung and chest damage, a broken leg, several fractures to his ribs, and damage to his spinal cord as well, according to personal injury claims specialists.
Mr Seabrook spent six months in hospital while he has being treated for his many injuries. However the man’s wounds were severe enough to leave him with paralysis and in the confines of a wheelchair.
Having faced charges of aggravated vehicle taking, Watford-native Salliaman Khan of Jellicoe Road, the man behind the wheel of the nicked car, was sentenced to a prison term of eight months.
Mr Seabrook initially made a £5 million claim for personal injury compensation at the High Court. However during a break in the proceedings the injured man reached a settlement for a damage award whose exact figure that has not been disclosed to the media at this time.
Thought to consist of a substantially significant lump sum in addition to yearly tax free and index linked payments, the confidential settlement will aid Mr Seabrook in helping to pay for the costs in the man’s ongoing care for the rest of his natural life.
No further comments were available from either the claimant or the defendant in the wake of the out-of-court settlement.
One businesswoman and mother of three from Surrey recently won a personal injury compensation claim after suffering from a botched cosmetic surgical procedure.
Godstone native Penny Johnson, aged forty nine, stated in her personal injury claims that she was left with permanent injuries in the wake of her facelift operation. Mrs Johnson blamed Mr Le Roux Forie, her cosmetic surgeon, for using experimental surgical techniques during the procedure.
In the wake of the surgical procedure, Mrs Johnson sustained nerve damage to the right side of her face, according to her injury claims. The forty nine year old made the claim that her injuries were responsible for the failure of her IT and financial consultancy that she had been actively running with her husband.
Mr Fourie fully admitted liability for the incident. However the plastic surgeon denied that any procedures done were experimental, calling the businesswoman’s claim for her potential loss of income both deluded and unrealistic.
Mrs Johnson received a compensation award of just a bit more than £6 million from the High Court in London. That figure included an £80,000 payment for both the loss of amenity and her pain and suffering, while the remaining figure was to be put towards her potential lost earnings both in the future and in the past.
Mrs Johnson had been a successful businesswoman who had a rewarding and full social life and family before her surgical procedure, the court was told. However the operation has left its toll upon the woman, and she now suffers mentally through depression and anxiety. This is in addition to her continuing physical issues related to the botched surgical procedure, insider sources close to the woman reveal.
Accident solicitor experts have recently reported a serious injury occurred in Hayes when one man was pinned by two-and-a-half-tonne stone slabs that fell off a truck at the granite company at which he was employed.
The injured man, who has requested his name not be released to the media in order to preserve his privacy, had been working with his employer, Mr Monzer Mahmoud Alrayes, unloading stone slabs from the back of an articulated lorry. However, one pack of stone slabs fell off the back of the truck, pinning the man between two pallets, state accident claim experts.
After sustaining serious injuries to his arm and his upper body, the worker was rushed to hospital where he needed to undergo several surgical procedures to correct the damage. The man also needed months of rehabilitation and therapy in the wake of the incident – and may be considering a work accident claim as well.
Both Mr Alrayes, the company for which he is a director, M & R Granite and Marble Ltd, located in the Brook Industrial Estate, Hillingdon, were brought before the Magistrates’ Court for the City of London for a hearing in which the Health and Safety Executive prosecuted them for being in breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act. After entering a plea of guilty, both the firm and the director were given a fine of £5,000 for their role in the man’s injuries.
In the wake of the hearing, one inspector for the HSE called the accident entirely avoidable. The HSE inspector remarked that the inherent dangers involved with both the loading and unloading of heavy, dangerous objects such as stone slabs had not only been highlighted by the HSE, but the manufacturing industry as a whole.
With the average cost of insuring a vehicle in the UK has risen to £1,000 a year, insurance companies have stepped up their call for a ban of no win no fee arrangements and referral fees paid to ‘ambulance-chasing’ legal firms.
The Government has already taken steps to reform personal injury compensation cases in the civil courts. Both growing fraud and higher numbers of personal injury claims through solicitors specialising in no win no fee arrangements have also been blamed for the rampant increase in insurance premiums.
Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke recently put forward a proposal that those who enter into a no win no fee arrangement with their legal representation should not be eligible to recoup their court costs if they prevail in their case. Instead these claimants will be required to pay the ‘success fees’ of their lawyers out of any compensation awards they may receive.
The rationale behind the proposal was to act as a deterrent for the majority of people seeking damages after an RTA. The last major overhaul of the compensation system was the Access to Justice Act in 1999, which was instituted by the Labour government in order to allow the recovery of success fees from the defendants in civil cases.
Those legal professionals that specialise in no win no fee schemes will be barred from using certain language in their adverts, while a cap of £200 will be placed on referral fees, which are kickbacks given to law firms by third parties for referring the personal details of someone injured in a road traffic accident in a bid to generate business. Some industry bodies – such as the Association of British Insurers – would prefer a complete ban on the activity.