Terrence Donovan

Partner and Head of Department

Medical Negligence & Personal Injury

a "superb" lawyer who "not only has enormous experience and is able to think outside of the box, but is also absolutely brilliant with clients."

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession 2017

"The full package; he has an in-depth knowledge of the field and can make it easy for others to understand."

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

Terry is the Head of the Clinical Negligence and Personal Injury Department.  He has a national reputation, and is one of the most respected and senior solicitors in the field.

In his medical negligence work he acts exclusively for Claimants.  He has always specialised in brain injury cases, particularly children with cerebral palsy as a result of birth injury, but his cases have included many conditions, including meningitis, spinal injury and prostate cancer.

He is also very experienced in dealing with medical inquests, particularly those concerned with suicide, and failings in psychiatric healthcare.

Terry’s Personal Injury work is mostly for clients who have very serious injuries, or for the families of people who have died in accidents (Fatal Accident claims).  Most of his cases arise from road traffic accidents, or injuries in the work place.

He has considerable experience in financial dependency claims where a fatal accident or serious injury has meant that the owner of a business can no longer work, and it becomes necessary to value the business, and the income that it would have provided in the future.

A number of Terry’s cases have involved foreign accidents.  He acted in the inquest for Horatio Chapple, a young man who was killed by a polar bear whilst on an expedition to Svalbard in Norway.  He also represents the widow of Sir Ian Brownlie QC whose case Brownlie v Four Seasons Holdings Inc went to the Supreme Court in 2017.  The case continues, and is concerned with whether the English Courts have jurisdiction to rule on fatal accidents that occur in other countries.

Terry also has significant experience in dealing with sexual abuse compensation claims.  He works closely with our Criminal Law Department, and is one of the few solicitors in the field who acts for both victims of abuse, and those who have been accused of it.  This gives him almost unique experience in this ethically challenging area of the law. Terry prides himself on the high professional standards and integrity that he brings to the work.

Terry has huge experience in dealing with catastrophic brain injury cases, and before we set up our Specialist Court of Protection Team, he acted as a Professional Deputy for many of our clients, dealing with things like the purchase and adaptation of homes.  This has given him a very real and practical understanding of the long-term needs of severely injured people.

Terry is an AvMA Panel member, and the former Chair of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers Clinical Negligence Special Interest Group.  He has lectured widely on Medico-Legal subjects, and is a frequent blogger. Terry is always recognised as a leader in the field in the legal directories.

Terry has been a solicitor for over 30 years, but he never forgets that his clients are usually facing a legal case for the first time, and that it is his responsibility and privilege to represent them.

Outside of work Terry’s favourite activities are spending time with his family, playing tennis, gardening and reading.  He is also a member of the Kingsley Napley Choir and a keen guitarist, but unfortunately in both activities his enthusiasm is more notable than his talent!

What Clients and directories say

"highly experienced litigator'"

Legal 500 2019

"experienced practitioner who impresses market sources with his work on brain damage, cerebral palsy and fatal injury claims" - 

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession 2019

"Terry Donovan is very experienced; he's been in the market for a very long time and knows as much as anyone"

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession 2019

"Terry Donovan is very experienced; he's been in the market for a very long time and knows as much as anyone."

"the full package; he has in depth knowledge of the field and can make it easy for others to understand"

Chambers UK

"great at keeping the client on board - a really reassuring lawyer"

Chambers UK

"incredibly good with clients"

Legal 500

"personable and utterly professional"

Legal 500

 

Recent cases

  • Cerebral palsy arising from obstetric negligence/birth injury claim for a child.  The parents transferred their case from another firm of solicitors who lacked the necessary expertise.  We settled the case shortly before trial on the basis of annualised periodical payments and a lump sum with a total capital value in the region of £28 million.

Client feedback:

From the moment I first met with Terry I was impressed at how knowledgeable and understanding he was, and felt he wanted to help our family and cared about us as people and not just a paperwork claim.  This is the reason I decided to move our case to Kingsley Napley, and it was the best decision I made.

  • A catastrophic brain injury claim arising from neonatal negligence.  Admission of liability at an early stage and settled on the basis of periodical payments and a lump sum with a total capital value of £20 million. 
  • Failure to diagnose prostate cancer, with the result that the opportunity to treat it was missed, and by the time it was diagnosed it had metastasised.  Sadly the claimant’s life expectancy was severely limited as a result.  Confidential settlement.

Client feedback:

The service we received from Kirsty and Terry was very efficient, reliable and trustworthy, and they were always willing to help.  We are very happy with the outcome.”

  • Fatal accident dependency claim for the widow of a man who was killed in a road accident.  The financial dependency calculation was very complicated, and involved the ownership and valuation of the business.  It was also very difficult to trace the driver of the vehicle, because he was convicted and sent to prison, and it was difficult to clarify his insurance position.  The case settled for £650,000. 

Client feedback:

From the very beginning our expectations were carefully managed… and this was hugely helpful to us as we had obviously never had to go through something like this before.  At all times it was professional but caring… I could not have hoped for a better team to help me at a terrible time in our lives.”

  • Clinical negligence in psychiatric care.  We acted for the widow of a young father who had become severely depressed.  Following a suicide attempt he was taken to hospital, and seen by the psychiatric nursing care specialist.  Rather than admitting him, as should have happened, he was discharged home, and the next morning he took his own life.  We acted for his widow and children, representing them in an inquest, shortly afterwards obtaining an admission of liability from the Hospital Trust.  Confidential six figure settlement. 
  • Failure to diagnose pneumonia and pleural empyema resulting  in the death of a married father of two.  Liability admitted and dependency case on behalf of his wife and two young children.  The dependency claim involved the valuation of a family owned business.  Settled for £465,000.
  • Clinical negligence.  Failure to diagnose spinal injury by ambulance service and Accident and Emergency.  Husband and father paralysed as a result.  Liability admitted, and settlement agreed. 

Client feedback to the legal team:

From the moment we met you at the hospital, I believed you and your team were the people to help us navigate this beyond difficult situation we found ourselves in …”

 It is such a huge relief knowing that he will now receive the care and support he deserves and this is entirely down to your efforts, commitment, patience and professionalism”.

  • Catastrophic brain injury claim for a woman in her mid-40s.  Failure to diagnose and treat infection following minor surgery.  Infection travelled to brain and caused major injury.  Liability admitted, and settled for a lump sum of £6 million. 
  • Brain injury.  Failure to diagnose bacterial meningitis.  Caused serious brain injury in a two year old child.  £2 million lump sum settlement.
  • Meningitis.  Failure to diagnose meningitis in a young child, despite repeated visits to the hospital with his parents.  Child left with severe physical disabilities.  Liability admitted and confidential settlement.
  • Urology.  Young husband and father.  Failure to diagnose testicular cancer, resulting in his death.  Confidential settlement.
  • Gynaecological claim.  Unnecessary hysterectomy for a mother of two children.  Liability admitted and confidential settlement. 
  • Young father killed in a road traffic accident.  Liability admitted.  Settlement of £600,000 on behalf of widow and two young children. 
  • Road traffic accident.  Cyclist hit by a car, and suffered fatal injuries.  We represented the family at the inquest and subsequently settled a civil claim for £400,000. 
  • Young husband knocked over and killed by a bus.  Confidential settlement. 
  • Motorcyclist knocked off and injured by a bus.  Confidential settlement. 
  • Schoolboy sustained serious arm injury in playground – confidential settlement.
  • Young husband and father suffered brain injury in a farming accident.  Subsequently died from his injuries.  Dependency claim on behalf of widow and children.  Confidential settlement. 

 

Publications

  • Contribution to Inns of Court Bar Finals Training Material 'Dealing with the Professional Client'
  • Contributed chapter to 'Advising Clients with HIV and Aids', Butterworths

 

Professional societies and memberships

  • Member of the AvMA Specialist Panel for Clinical Negligence.  
  • Co-ordinator of the APIL Clinical Negligence Special Interest Group.
  • APIL Senior Litigator

Terry is also regularly invited to speak at industry events, and has lectured on Inquests and the Human Rights Act, the role of the professional deputy, and the future of clinical negligence practice, and many different aspects of clinical negligence law.

He is the APIL clinical negligence media spokesman, and regularly provides commentary and support for APIL campaigns, most recently, in relation to the Medical Innovation Bill, and the proposed introduction of fixed costs in clinical negligence claims.

 

"very personable, insightful and experienced."

Chambers UK, A Clients Guide to the UK Legal Profession 2020

"experienced practitioner who impresses market sources with his work on brain damage, cerebral palsy and fatal injury claims."

Chambers UK, A Clients Guide to the UK Legal Profession 2019

"Terry Donovan is very experienced; he's been in the market for a very long time and knows as much as anyone"

Chambers UK, A Clients Guide to the UK Legal Profession 2019

"exceptionally good with clients."

Chambers UK, A Clients Guide to the UK Legal Profession 2018

the ‘excellent’ Terrence Donovan, who heads the practice and is a ‘leading’ specialist in maximum severity cases,

Legal 500 2017

“ very professional and easy to deal with” 

A client, 2017

"He is acknowledged by sources as a "superb"lawyer who "not only has enormous experience and is able to think outside of the box, but is also absolutely brilliant with clients.""

Chambers UK, A Clients Guide to the UK Legal Profession 2017

"Terrence Donovan litigates clinical negligence claims of the utmost severity, involving such matters as cerebral palsy and fatal accidents. He is known for having “enormous experience” and described as “meticulous, imaginative and intelligent.”"

Chambers UK, A Clients Guide to the UK Legal Profession

"The one I'd go to for a personal service"

Chambers UK, A Clients Guide to the UK Legal Profession

"the full package; he has in depth knowledge of the field and can make it easy for others to understand"

Chambers UK

"great at keeping the client on board - a really reassuring lawyer" - Chambers UK
"incredibly good with clients" 

Legal 500

"personable and utterly professional"

Legal 500

Insight from Terrence

View all

Blogs

Children unlawfully killed in Corfu hotel - should Thomas Cook be compensated?

Haemophilia and hepatitis compensation

Insult and injury - how much is 'fair' compensation?

The Medical Innovation Bill

The law on psychiatric injury for secondary victims - unfair and in need of a change

Clinical negligence claims: Punishing doctors’ mistakes or compensating patients’ loss?

Should the NHS pay damages for incorrect advice about waiting times?

Should Pret a Manger pay compensation to the family of the teenager who died after eating a Pret sandwich?

Will Oxfam and other charities face legal claims for sexual abuse?

Medical Mistakes

Cerebral Palsy Medical Negligence Cases – Can we improve the system?

Choosing a Solicitor for a Brain Injury Compensation Claim

IWD: A note from a bloke

Setting the Discount Rate and Achieving Fairness for Victims of Accidents

Blame the system, not the staff

Healthcare Safety Investigations – Why we should not be afraid of being truthful and open

Injured abroad whilst on holiday? A modern take on the story of David & Goliath

The Medical Innovation Bill - will it ever be a good idea?

A Duty of Candour – Will it encourage more compensation claims?

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Contact Terrence

+44 (0)20 7814 1260

tdonovan@kingsleynapley.co.uk

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