S J EDNEY SOLICITORS WISH THEIR READERS A HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND A PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR
IMPORTANT HIGHLIGHTS – 2009
A very warm welcome to the winter issue of S J Edney Solicitors newsletter.
2009 has been another busy year for our firm. We continue to act for clients who have been victims of all types of accidents including patients who have received sub-standard care at hospital or from their GP. Overall, we recovered damages in excess of £1m for our clients during 2009. The recent scandals involving the failings in patient care at the Basildon and Thurrock NHS Trust in Essex is a very good reason why firms like S J Edney should exist. It is important that accident victims and patients have access to justice if something should go wrong.
Chris Evans has entered into a formal training contract with the practice during 2010. He had previously worked as a dentist and his medical background is invaluable when advising clients who are unhappy with their treatment either at hospital or at their GP surgery. Maggie Milsom (Mr Edney’s PA) approaches her 10 year anniversary with the firm and continues to be an important member of the team. Due to the continuing expansion of our clinical negligence department, we are hoping to recruit another solicitor in the new year to assist Mr Edney with this important work.
As we report in the current newsletter, the RTA claim process is also set to change during April 2010 and is hoped that we can move towards a more transparent process; closer communication between the parties and a faster turnaround time. Also in 2010 we should receive the final recommendations of the Jackson Costs Review concerning fixed legal costs in other personal injury cases. It is hoped that both these measures will help to control the costs incurred by the parties which can sometimes be very high and disproportionate to the amounts being claimed.
In 2010 the Legal Services Commission will also be introducing new contracts for their clinical negligence solicitors. One of their requirements is that their franchised solicitors are successful in at least 30% of those cases where certificates are issued to investigate the merits of a potential claim. The success rate increases to 60% for those cases where proceedings are issued. Failure to meet these requirements may result in those solicitors losing their contracts.
As we commented on in the previous issue of our newsletter, the Legal Services Act will continue to cast a shadow over smaller law firms next year as big companies will soon be able to offer legal services to their customers which could represent a threat to the more traditional high street practice.
Mayra’s case was in the national news again during November and December 2009 as Great Western Hospital faces a prosecution over health and safety breaches linked to her death during May 2004.
As our readers will recall, Mayra, who was only 30 at the time, suffered a heart attack when Bupivacaine, a potent epidural anaesthetic, was mistakenly attached to an intravenous drip feeding into the vein of her hand on the 11 May 2004 shortly after she gave birth to her son, Zac.
The Hospital Trust have now been prosecuted by the HSE for a breach of Section 3 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 which reads as follows:-
“3.1 It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as reasonably practical, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety”
During the Inquest at the beginning of 2008, the jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing against the Hospital Trust due to the negligent storage of Bupivacaine which contributed to a fatal dose of this drug being given to Mayra. “Persons not in his employment in this context would cover patients receiving treatment at the hospital.
It has now been over 5 years since Mayra died and her husband, Arnel, is pleased that a prosecution is being brought. He is hoping that once the prosecution has been concluded, which is now likely to be during the early part of 2010, this will give him some closure and he and his young son can put this tragedy behind them.
MoJ announces new RTA process
The Ministry of Justice has announced details of a new claim process for low value road traffic personal injury claims of between £1,000.00 to £10,000.00 as from April 2010.
Under the new system, fixed costs will be established for the three stages of the claims process as set below:-
- £400.00 for Stage 1 (the Claimant solicitor completes the claim notification form and sends it to the insurer who may admit/deny liability);
- £800.00 for Stage 2 (where liability is admitted, the Claimant obtains a medical report and the process continues with offers and negotiations of a settlement to a strict timetable); and
- £250.00 paper hearing/£500.00 oral hearing for Stage 3 (where the parties cannot agree a settlement and the case goes to Court)
The procedures will also be subject to very strict time limits. These changes will have a major impact on RTA cases which account for some 75% of all PI claims submitted.
A Civil Procedure Rule Committee sub-committee will work with officials to bring forward draft rules, practice directions and pre-action protocols in order to ensure the process is clear by next April.
Death is ‘cheated’ five times in a life
The average Briton cheats death five times in their lifetime, a new study claims. Two fifths of people over 60 have survived a potentially fatal road accident, according to insurer More Than. The next most common escape is just missing being struck by lightning, which 36 per cent have experienced. Six in ten believe they have a guardian angel.
S J Edney Solicitors’ Advice on tripping and slipping
Should a person trip, slip or fall whilst on somebody else’s premises as a result of their negligence, they may be able to sue for compensation. This would cover situations, for example, where a customer is visiting a supermarket and slips on a slippery substance on the floor.
In the event of an accident, they should:-
- Report it immediately to the owner or Manager of the premises and make sure that it is entered into their Accident Report book;
- Obtain the names and addresses of any witnesses and photographic evidence as soon as possible;
- keep a diary of events to include visits to the GP/hospital and how the injury has affected them;
- contact a reputable personal injury solicitor for advice about making a claim for compensation. This solicitor should be a member of the Law Society Personal Injury Panel.