Medical negligence victims win multi-million pound settlements through Lincolnshire law

Medical negligence victims win multi-million pound settlements through Lincolnshire law

A man born with permanent brain damage and physical disabilities, and a woman whose gynaecology procedure ended with her having a tracheostomy due to neck injuries, have won settlements totalling £12.5m.

Greater Lincolnshire-based Wilkin Chapman, one of the UK’s top 200 law firms, won the two historic cases in July and October this year, with the settlements awarded to help their clients regain independence.

The first case, which settled in July, centred around an adult with permanent brain damage and physical disabilities sustained in labour. It was found that there should have been an earlier recognition of, and reaction to, the claimant’s foetal distress. This would have led to earlier delivery, which would have avoided permanent brain damage.

Usually, medical negligence claims need to be made within three years of the negligence taking place. However, due to the severity of the injury in this case, the usual time limit to bring claims was not applicable. This meant that the claim could be made years later, even though the negligence took place during their birth.

The case also qualified for Legal Aid funding, which is only available to a few firms, including Wilkin Chapman, for birth related brain injury cases.

The case settled with a lump sum payment of £4.15m followed by yearly payments of £218,000 until the man reaches 50, when payments increase to £275,000 a year. Each of these payments will increase with inflation and it is anticipated that the settlement will eventually be worth in the region of £11.5m-£12m.

The settlement money, which is being managed by Chantal Ul Haq-Weedon and Lucy Butterfint from Wilkin Chapman’s court of protection team, will allow the family to buy a new property and have it specially adapted to suit the individual’s needs.

It will also pay for tailored, round-the-clock care, along with various therapies, aids and equipment to maximise independence. Previously, the claimant was relying on public sector care in a shared facility with residents of differing needs.

Jonathan Baker, partner within Wilkin Chapman’s medical negligence team, said:

“I was pleased to represent the family and secure a settlement which should see my client’s quality of life really improve.

“The family are going to keep in touch, which I’m pleased about. It’s great to secure money for clients, but to see what they do with it and how it will help them get back to the sort of quality of life they would have had if the negligence hadn’t occurred, is amazing.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the transition from what they are like now to hopefully a much better position in a few years’ time.”

The second case, which settled in October, focused on a client who went for a gynaecology procedure and ended up with a permanent tracheostomy due to damage suffered in her neck.

The case was unusual as the defendant argued that it was a case of contributory negligence, where the claimant themselves was partially responsible. The defence claimed that the individual “deliberately withheld” key medical information which would have resulted in the procedure being done under regional anaesthetic, instead of general.

In response, it was argued that if the anaesthetic assessment had been completed properly, the aggravation to a previous neck injury, which led to the permanent tracheostomy, wouldn’t have happened. In addition, even after it was decided to proceed with general anaesthetic, the anaesthetic management was negligent in itself which is what caused the damage.

Eventually, the defence admitted to negligence and agreed to settle for £450,000. This amount is enough to cover the claimant seeing a medical specialist, approved by experts on both sides, who may be able to perform a specialised procedure to remove the tracheostomy. The compensation also covers psychological treatment.

Jonathan Baker from Wilkin Chapman said:

“I was pleased to succeed in this case for our client and secure the money to get their life back on track.

“It is very unusual for contributory negligence to be raised in a medical negligence case, and it made this a complicated case with lots of back and forth between both sides.

“Part of the conversation centred around identifying a medical expert to perform the procedure to remove the tracheostomy.

“In medical negligence cases, we would always prefer to reach a settlement that helps to reverse the impact of the negligence, rather than throw money at them, as that is much more beneficial for the claimant both physically and psychologically.

“We always aim to secure settlements that allow claimants to continue their lives as closely as possible to how they were before the negligence took place.”

Wilkin Chapman is the largest law firm in the Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire region and is ranked at 111 in the Lawyer’s Top 200 UK Law Firms for 2021. For more information visit www.wilkinchapman.co.uk.

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