Injuries lead to tens of thousands of pounds in compensation

Industry news roundup: week ended 15 Oct 2012:

This week, two personal injury compensation awards were made for a total of more than £75,000 due to a personal injury at work and a medical negligence claim.

First up, one Sunderland car seat factory employee walked away with a massive compensation award of £60,000 for her repetitive strain injury after her employers sett;ed the matter out of court. Angela McGuckin, fifty years of age, had been working as a production operative for Tacle Seating at their Houghton plant over the course of the development of her injury.

The diminutive Mrs McGuckin, just 5ft 2in tall, had been working at a high table using an air gun to staple fabric to foam starting in 2007, requiring her to raise her elbow high above her head over and over again in order to perform her task. However, after performing these tasks, she soon noticed that her shoulder and elbow were causing her pain, but it took more than a year after both Mrs McGuckin’s repeated complaints and the recommendation of the company doctor before the table was actually lowered.

By that point, the damage had been done, necessitating Mrs McGuckin to take time off work to have her injury treated through surgery. The woman missed three months of work as a result, but has since been compensated for her injury thanks to the massive £60,000 payout.

Next up, we have one woman from Lincolnshire who had to suffer through a botched wisdom teeth removal that left her with numbness in her face. Christina Knights, thirty nine years old, had thought she was going in for a routine surgical procedure at Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital in Grimsby, but she was left with numbness in her lower lip and chin after two nerves in her lower jaw were severed by accident.

The woman has since developed severe issues due to the lack of feeling, including difficulties speaking and eating. Ms Knights has also said that her bottom lip will turn completely blue in cold weather as well – information hat contributed to her successful personal injury claims against the NHS Trust for Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals, which settled her claim out of court for a sum of £15,250.

Damages awards set to increase next year by 10 per cent

Judges say that personal injury compensation awards will be increasing by 10 per cent from 2013 in part of an effort to make it less expensive for defendants to lose personal injury claims.

At first blush this seems mad – why raise the damages awards for claimants as a way to reduce costs to insurers or institutions like the NHS? Well, it’s just one side of the coin; the other side will be an end to the custom of having losing defendants paying the ‘success fees’ and legal costs for the winning side’s personal injury solicitors.

Thanks to the new Legal Aid Act that was signed into law this year, this practice comes to an end on 1 April of next year. Now winning claimants will pay their own lawyers’ legal fees out of their compensation awards, which is why the damages awards are being increased by 10 per cent in order to keep up with the change.

The practice could lead to millions being saved in the car insurance industry, as successful car accident claims can generate massive legal costs in addition to any compensation payment directly awarded to a claimant. Medical negligence cases are likely to become less expensive overall as well, as the NHS was in the same rapidly-sinking boat that insurers were prior to the law.

The new change will also lead to fewer spurious claims being brought in the UK, as claimants now no longer claim the entirety of their award on a successful claim and lawyers will not be able to charge exorbitant legal costs – success fees are also capped at 25 per cent of the usual costs, unlike the current 100 per cent fees charged to losing defendants now.

Labour MP criticises government for inaction on claims costs

Labour MP Stella Creasy has once again made her displeasure known with the government for their inaction when it comes to doing more to manage high costs incurred by no win no fee lawyers when it comes to medical negligence claims.

Official figures say that medical negligence claims costs incurred by the NHS have increased by a massive £10 billion over the last five years, resulting in a massive £16.6 billion legal bill. However, Ms Creasy has taken issue with the fact that the Department of Health has neither conducted an investigation into why this has been happening nor have they acted to curb this massive rise.

The Labour MP says that while she has become accustomed to government departments being sluggish when it comes to getting a handle on suddenly rising costs from her time on the Public Accounts Committee, with the National Audit Office reporting that 15 per cent of the government’s liabilities now originate from medical negligence cases, something must be done. Those suffering harm due to mistakes made on the part of medical staff are entitled to make personal injury claims, Ms Creasy said, but with medical technologies leading to longer life expectancies, people with severe conditions are living longer and requiring much larger personal injury compensation payments as a result – but this is not enough to account for the massive liability increases.

The Labour MP says that one out of every three pounds paid out by the NHS Litigation Authority goes directly to law firms on average. However, some claimants have received settlements that have been dwarfed by the costs incurred in pursuing a claim; this must be remedied, Ms Creasy said in order to reduce costs.

Medical negligence plays part in woman’s rampant growth

Medical negligence has played a part in one woman’s rampant growth after medical staff missed a tumour on her pituitary gland that caused her to grow to a massive 6 feet, 5 inches in height, though NHS officials and the woman’s personal injury solicitors have yet to come to an agreement on the amount of personal injury compensation she is entitled to.

Kate Woodward, a former drama student who had attained a height of 5 feet, 9 inches by the age of eleven, recently launched a medical negligence personal injury compensation claim against the NHS Trust for Leeds Teaching Hospitals. Ms Woodward claims that her excessive growth is the result of improper treatment at the hands of both the Leeds General Infirmary and the St James’s University Hospital, and has precluded her from becoming a working actor, her childhood dream, as her uncommon height means that she is a poor fit for any sort of cinema or theatre career.

Ms Woodward, who now resides in Sidmouth, Devon, but spent her formative years in Leeds, took legal advice that led to her decision to make a claim against the NHS for £2 million in damages. Her legal team says that the excessively tall woman also suffers from psychological problems and bone abnormalities due to the effect of the tumour on her pituitary gland, all as a result of medical staff neglecting to diagnose the tumour correctly.

The NHS Trust has agreed that it is liable for Ms Woodward’s abnormal growth. However, the amount of damages the NHS is willing to pay is a much reduced £698,000. A hearing which could result in a final figure being decided upon is currently ongoing.

Northampton woman receives £50k in compensation

One woman from Northampton recently prevailed on her medical negligence compensation claim winning a £50,000 personal injury compensation award after enduring a surgical procedure she did not need.

While it’s not nearly as much as the £4 million in compensation awarded for a similar medical negligence claim, the £50,000 goes to Claire Millward, a thirty seven year old Delapre native that had been told she needed a radical hysterectomy after being erroneously informed that her smear test revealed a form of cervical cancer that could only be treated through surgery. However, this was not the case whatsoever, and the woman – a mother of one who had been hoping for a larger family someday – is now tragically unable to bear any more further children as a result of the hysterectomy.

Mrs Millward launched a medical negligence claim against the Northampton General Hospital, which admitted full liability for the misdiagnosis and needless medical procedure. The smear test’s results had been reported incorrectly, a hospital spokesperson remarked, which could have had a contributory affect on delaying the woman’s actual diagnosis of glandular neoplasia, which is an abnormality of the glandular cells.

The now tragically barren woman reported bursting into tears after being informed of the error in her diagnosis. Her life had been altered dramatically by the medical negligence of just a handful of people, Mrs Millward said, and the Northampton General Hospital agreed, apologising for the mistake and stating with assurance that their procedures have since been reviewed in order to prevent any reocurrence of such a terrible accident.

Multi-million pound negligence compensation for Londoner

One Londoner has recently been awarded a medical negligence compensation payment in the multiple millions of pounds after medical professionals missed her pneumonia diagnosis, it was recently revealed.

Morwenna Ganz, a twenty six year old native of Teddington, sustained serious brain damage twelve years ago after her worried parents took her to hospital.  Morwenna, who had slipped into a coma just prior to being admitted, had been examined at a St Marks Road, Teddington surgery by medical professionals who neglected to properly diagnose her pneumonia, instead believing she was simply fighting off a viral illness.

The young woman, with the the help of her parents, launched a personal injury compensation claim against the surgery’s doctors.  Morwenna’s legal team argued successfully that if her condition had been correctly diagnosed and been treated in a timely manner, the debilitating brain damage she suffered would never have occurred.

While the exact sum of Morwenna’s personal injury compensation payment has not been made public, the High Court in London agreed with the young woman’s legal team and saw fit to award her with a compensation package understood to be in the millions of pounds.  The money will be put to good use by Morwenna, as her injuries left her without the ability to communicate without the aid of sign language and a specially adapted computer; the young woman has plans to use the payment to fund the purchase of crucial equipment needed to improve her quality of life and to ensure that can afford the around-the-clock, twenty four hour a day care that she will need for however long she may live.

£4m in medical negligence damages awarded to young girl

One young girl was recently awarded £4 million in medical negligence damages after it was found that injuries she sustained at her birth were due to mistakes made by medical staff, it has recently been reported.

Little ‘Baby B,’ as she has been known in court – as her true identity has been kept confidential in order to preserve her anonymity – suffered devastating brain damage during her delivery in April of 2007 in Ashford, Kent at the William Harvey Hospital.  Due to the errors medical professionals made at the hospital – which is the responsibility of the East Kent Hospitals University NHS Trust – Baby B was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a condition that leaves her paralysed and unable to care for herself in nearly any way whatsoever.  The young girl’s parents took the NHS Trust to task, making a personal injury compensation claim on their daughter’s behalf, and now London’s High Court has handed down their decision: the hospital’s failure to perform a caesarean section in a timely manner was responsible for the injuries that led to her cerebral palsy.

As a result, the NHS Trust now must pay the family compensatory damages of £1.6 million in a lump sum payment, and then pay an additional payment of between £185,000 and £270,000 for the rest of the child’s life.  The payments will go towards providing the now five year old Baby B with the lifetime care she so desperately needs.

The NHS Trust was not immediately available for comment in the wake of the court decision.

NHS pays £1m to retired paramedic for botched surgery

One retired paramedic finally got more than a ‘sorry, mate’ from the NHS, after he received more than £1 million in personal injury compensation for a surgery that left him severely disabled after a botched brain surgery.

John Tunney, a sixty three year old pensioner from the West Midlands, had been undergoing a surgical procedure in order to biopsy his pituitary gland when surgeons from Coventry’s Walsgrave Hospital removed a healthy part of his brain by mistake.  Mr Tunney had been suffering from problems suspected to be linked to his thyroid, which led to the necessity of a biopsy, medical experts remarked.

Mr Tunney was left severely disabled after the botched surgery and in need of the kind of care that is both expensive and exhausting, as the surgery caused a massive brain haemorrhage that did even more damage.  Nearly helpless without the assistance of family members, the disabled man made a medical negligence claim against the NHS Trust for the area after it came to light that there wasn’t any reason to open up his brain in the first place, as it turns out that medical staff neglected to carefully check one of Mr Tunney’s earlier blood tests.

Instead, the retired paramedic had been suffering from a condition called prolactinoma, easily treated with medication and completely benign, according to the blood test’s results.  The NHS Trust awarded Mr Tunney compensation in excess of seven figures after admitting liability.

Pamela, Mr Tunney’s wife, was understandably outraged upon discovering this little tidbit of information, as she said in a recent interview.  It was bad enough that surgeons completely bungled the procedure in the first place, she added.

Paralysed composer wins medical negligence case

One composer from Birmingham has recently prevailed on the medical negligence case he brought against a West Midlands hospital after a misdiagnosis left him paralysed and wheelchair-bound, personal injury compensation experts recently reported.

Hagley, Worcestershire native, 61 year old Andrew Downes, had suffered a fall in his home in 2009 and was admitted to Russells Hall Hospital shortly thereafter for treatment.  However, medical staff at the hospital refused to have X-rays taken of his back, leading to their failure to diagnose his fractured back properly – even though he had been suffering from severe back pain – leading to the composer suffering a debilitating injury to his spinal cord.

The injured man, who has composed radio and television scores as well as orchestral music all over the world, instead received treatment for a suspected urinary tract infection.   Placed on the powerful painkiller, morphine, Mr Downes said he was left in a dream world where he drifted in and out of consciousness – until upon waking he could not feel his legs any longer, a feeling he described as truly terrifying, especially as he had been walking about 24 hours prior to the incident.

The care that Mr Downes was provided was well below the standard that he should have expected, according to The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust’s chief executive, Paula Clark.  Ms Clark offered the NHS Trust’s sincere apologies to Mr Downes for neglecting to diagnose his injury correctly, adding that additional staff training had been implemented in order to prevent the same mistakes being made in the future.

Mr Downes’ legal team has yet to reach a final settlement figure with the NHS Trust, though hospital representatives have vowed to provide the now-paralysed composer with ‘financial security’ for both him and his family.

Birth injury nets £10.8 million in medical negligence compensation

The serious birth injury suffered by one young girl has led to a £10.8 million medical negligence compensation payout at London’s High Court, legal experts recently reported.

Born in March of 2001 at Lincoln County Hospital, young Milly Evans suffered a seizure and required emergency resuscitation shortyl after her delivery.  The newborn girl sustained life-changing injuries during the birth, leading to Milly being diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a result, necessitating 24 hour a day care, as she is both unable to speak and is confined to a wheelchair, unable to communicate without the use of equipment that tracks the movements of her eyes.

Milly’s family brought a negligence claim against the NHS trust for United Lincolnshire Hospital, claiming that the injuries the young girl sustained were due to mistakes made by medical staff at the hospital.  The young girl’s legal team stated that her delivery would have been carried out earlier and without injury if the young girl’s heart had been properly monitored, as this would have led to the telltale signs of Milly’s  foetal distress being spotted in  time.

The NHS Trust issued a full apology to Milly’s family before admitting that in the wake of the young girl’s birth, procedures at the hospital in question had been changed to avoid other similar injuries.  The settlement amount believed to have been agreed at London’s High Court is said to consist of a £5.86 million lump sum payment and will be supplemented with index-linked annual payments for the rest of Milly’s life for as much as £204,000 a year, and the funds will be put towards paying for the young girl’s care needs, such as adapting accommodation specially for her.