Amy-Beth Probert, an Associate in Geldards’ Clinical Negligence team, recently concluded a clinical negligence claim on behalf of a client who had suffered a fracture to the cervical spine at C6 and dislocation at C7 during a motorcycle accident. These injuries were not diagnosed until 10 days after the incident.
Following diagnosis, the client underwent open reduction surgery; however, after a number of failed attempts to reduce the fracture, it was placed in situ with plates and screws. The client subsequently required a second operation which would not have been necessary but for the delayed diagnosis.
As a result of the delayed diagnosis, our client suffered greater neurological deficit and permanent neck pain and limitation of movement as a result of the prolonged period of nerve root compression.
The relevant Trust admitted breach of duty in failing to diagnose the spinal fracture in a timely manner. However, causation and the extent of the client’s ongoing deficits remained in dispute.
The Trust made a Part 36 offer of £25,000 in 2019 which was firmly rejected and the case proceeded to a Joint Settlement Meeting in October 2020. During this meeting, a damages settlement agreement was reached in the sum of £275,000.
Whilst the potential value of this claim was greater than the agreed settlement, the client made the decision to accept the Trust’s offer in order to see an end to the claim (which had been ongoing for almost three years) rather than continue to fight on causation. A stark reminder that a good settlement for a client is not always about the settlement figure and it is, sometimes, more important for the client to move on with their life and put a difficult experience behind them.
If you have any questions about the above case study or would like to speak with a clinical negligence specialist solicitor, please contact our Legal Assistant, Linda Williams.
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