There are two stories, in particular, that have caught our eye in the last few weeks.
Medical Negligence Compensation Claim.
Firstly the tragic case of Helen Edgar who died, aged 41, after medical staff failed to diagnose that she was suffering from a serious infection of necrotising fasciitis. Her illness started on the 18th May and she sadly died a week later on the 26th May, despite the disease being finally diagnosed shortly before her death.
The West Sussex NHS Trust Foundation admitted liability in the claim and damages were awarded in the sum of £415,000.
Even though cases like this are thankfully very rare, it does illustrate that hospitals have to be extremely vigilant in treating patients who may be suffering from diverse symptoms where the diagnosis of the underlying condition is not immediately obvious.
Dog Bite Injury Case
In this report, two dog walking friends found themselves against each other in court following an incident when Kay Benstead was pulled over by Anne Finnies nine month old German Shepherd and suffered a fractured hip and broken arm as a result of the fall.
The circumstances appear to have been that Mrs Finnie gave her friend the lead for her dog, while she get coffee for both of them.
The dog, which was young, proved to be too excitable for Mrs Bentstead who had a much more sedate 12 year old cockapoodle. She coundn't manage the strength of the young dog and was pulled to the ground.
The judge in the case found Mrs Finnie negligent in handing over the larger, more excitable dog to her friend, who was unable to control the animal.
This is an interesting decision, which we think must have been very specific to the facts of the case and somewhat against the grain of recent court cases involving dog injuries, where courts have been willing to give dogs and their owners a deal of latitude in respect of injuries caused by a dogs behaviour.
The award of damages in the sum of £115,000 was substantial and is understood to have been paid by Mrs Finnies insurers.
If nothing else, this case shows the importance for dog owners to make sure that they have suitable insurance in place, to meet any claim related to their dog and it is well worth checking your home insurance cover and pet insurance, if you are unsure about this.
The fact that the condition and treatment are complex does not lessen the standard of care expected.
Our last word this month is in respect of the courts increasing intolerance toward fraudulent claimants.
In particular, the courts will not tolerate attempts by claimants to inflate the value of their case.
Two very different types of cases reported in the general press, illustrate this point:
In the first case, serving prisoner P.Barnes rejected an offer to settle his case against HMP Manchester for the sum of £1200 in respect of minor injuries, which he had suffered as the result of a slip and fall.
It was not disputed that he had suffered an accident and been injured to some extent, as a result.
He continued his case in an attempt to claim £5000 from the prison, but was subsequently convicted of fraud for trying to exaggerate the extent of the injuries.
The second case reported in the national press, is that of Aleksander Kovacic, who was seriously in a road traffic accident in 2010.
He had rejected an offer of settlement in the sum of £350,000 and was instead claiming over £900,000 in compensation.
However, the insurers in the case suspected him of exaggerating his symptoms and video footage was shown in court to demonstrate that he was not as severely disabled by his injuries as he claimed to be.
The trial judge accepted that evidence and found that he had deliberately exagggerated his problems.
He awarded him £97,525 in compensation, but found him in contempt of court and further ordered that he pay a fine of £10,000 and handed down a 3 month custodial sentence, suspended for 18 months.
The point here is that both claimants turned down reasonable settlements, ended up being found guilty of serious offences and we would imagine that the costs at the end of the claim, would have left them out of pocket.
Honesty is, most certainly, the best policy !
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