Ophthalmology Claim - Delayed diagnosis of glaucoma
Sight loss in one eye leading to damages recovery of £125,000
Funding a clinical negligence claim
Medical Negligence and Personal Injury claims: what you need to know. Funding a claim, part 2
Settlement secured for an elderly lady who was blinded following a delayed diagnosis of Giant Cell Arteritis
We are experienced in acting for people who have suffered visual impairment (blindness), hearing loss (deafness), or other sensory impairments, as a result of being injured or through medical negligence.
These are inevitably life changing injuries, which can have devastating effects. They may alter how you carry out the most basic daily activities and can make it difficult to return to work or caring responsibilities.
If the injury is to a child, they will often need additional help in education and throughout their lives.
Our aim is to support you through the process of bringing a claim, whether for yourself or a loved one, so that you are able to obtain much needed compensation to adapt to life with these injuries.
If you or a family member has suffered a personal injury or an unexpectedly poor outcome from medical treatment, please contact us to discuss how we can help.
Situations in which we often assist
Sensory impairments may be caused by disease or injury to the sensory organs themselves (e.g. the eyes, ears, nose, tongue or skin). Alternatively, they may be caused by neurological problems; typically when the brain has difficulty interpreting the sensory information it receives.
Some of the ways in which visual impairments, hearing loss, and other sensory impairments arise, include:
- Injury to the eye(s)
- Noise induced hearing loss
- Delay in treating corneal ulcer, glaucoma, or giant cell arteritis (also called temporal arteritis - this particularly affects the elderly)
- Damage to the optic nerve
- Failure to treat retinopathy in premature babies
- Visual impairments caused by oxygen deprivation (hypoxia) at birth
- Hearing loss caused by inappropriate medications
- Sub-standard cataract surgery or laser eye procedures
- Sensory loss from a road traffic or work place accident
We investigate every case carefully. This typically involves working with experienced medical experts (such as ophthalmologists, optometrists, audiologists, ENT surgeons, and neurologists) to understand the injury. We consider how the injury was caused and its impact.
If the injury was caused by negligence, funds can be claimed to put in place an individualised package of care and support. Compensation may also be claimed for losses, such as lost earnings or pension.
For further information about compensation we have secured for clients with visual and other sensory impairments, see cases we have acted in.
VISUAL AND SENSORY IMPAIRMENTS FAQS
How long do I have to bring the claim?
There are strict time limits for bringing a negligence claim for injury in England and Wales. This is called the limitation period.
For adults, the usual rule is that a claim must be formally started at Court within three years of the date the negligence occurred, or of the date on which the injured person should reasonably have been aware that there might be grounds to bring a claim (if that date is later).
If a child is injured by negligence, they usually have until their 21st birthday to formally start their claim at Court.
There are circumstances in which the rules differ; for example, where the claim is for someone who does not have mental capacity to bring a legal claim.
It takes time to investigate a claim, so you should contact us as soon as possible.
Can I bring a claim on behalf of a child or a family member who is not able to do it themselves?
If a claim relates to injuries suffered by a child or an adult who does not have ‘mental capacity’; a family member (or other trusted person) can act as a ‘Litigation Friend’ and bring the claim on their behalf.
If you are unsure about whether you can bring a claim on someone else’s behalf, we will be able to advise you.
What is the process for bringing a claim?
We start by obtaining evidence such as medical records, accident reports, witness statements, and expert evidence to prove that your injury was caused by negligence.
We also calculate the amount of compensation that can be claimed. Typically this involves instructing experienced experts to advise on your needs, in order to maximise the level of compensation. We then try to reach a financial settlement with the Defendant (the individual or organisation legally responsible for the injury) or their insurer.
In some cases settlement is agreed at an early stage. In other circumstances, it may be necessary to begin Court proceedings.
For further information on this process, read Our Guide to Making a Claim.
Will my case be decided by the Court?
Probably not. The vast majority of personal injury and medical negligence claims are not decided by the Court.
Successful claims are usually resolved by agreement of a settlement either before or during formal Court proceedings.
Occasionally, the Court will decide a case, if it cannot be resolved any other way.
How is the amount of compensation decided?
Compensation should be tailored to meet the needs of the injured person.
The first step is to consider how your sensory impairment has affected your life and whether that will alter in the future. We then calculate the amount of funds required to meet your additional needs and compensate you. Depending upon your circumstances, this may include funds for:
- Private care
- Private therapies and medical care
- Specialist equipment
- Adapted accommodation
- Support with education and work (if that is possible for you)
- Compensation for loss of earnings and pension
- Compensation for losses in self-employment
We regularly use leading experts and barristers to assist in identifying all aspects of an injured person’s needs.
I am struggling with the effects of sensory impairment. Will it take a long time before my case is concluded?
Medical negligence and personal injury claims typically involve detailed investigation and expert evidence. They often take several years to resolve.
Our approach is to seek an admission of liability (i.e. that negligence occurred and caused injury) as early as possible in the process.
When liability is established, the Defendant usually has to pay part of the compensation immediately. This allows your needs to begin to be met while the work to quantify the full amount of compensation continues.
How do I access medical records?
Medical records are usually the starting point for our investigation of a claim. With your permission; we request these records directly from the treatment provider(s).
Our clients sometimes wish to obtain copies of their records themselves before deciding whether to begin a claim. Please see our Guide to Accessing Medical Records for further information on how to request records.
Other organisations and resources that may help
- Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)
- Action on Hearing Loss
- AvMA (Action against Medical Accidents)
- APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers)
- Serious Injury Guide
- DEMAND (Design and Manufacture for Disability)
Partner and Head of Department