The ceaseless battle for justice … (for ‘Disability Review’)

Pattinson & Brewer’s Clinical Negligence department is praised in Chambers Directory by legal professionals and clients alike who ‘appreciate the practice for its clear, responsive advice and skilful handling of serious claims.‘  

At its head, Linda Levison – acknowledged as a ‘skilled practitioner’ in the Legal 500 – leads an experienced and passionate team, many of whom are members of the expert panels run by the Law Society, the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) and AvMA (Action against Medical Accidents).

The following recent case exemplifies how diligently and determinedly the P&B team works to get justice for its clients…

A 17-year-old boy attended the casualty department of his local hospital complaining of severe earache and serious headache. He was examined, blood samples were taken, and he was told that he would be contacted if there were any problems. The hospital recalled him to casualty the same night, as his blood tests results were abnormal. However when he was seen again in casualty, he was given no treatment, reassured and sent home. He collapsed at home a week later, was rushed to hospital, and diagnosed as having a brain abscess and empyema. He underwent brain surgery on several occasions to save his life, and was left with severe brain damage, including serious memory problems. He now needs care and assistance with most aspects of his life, unable to live independently or to deal with his own affairs.

P&B alleged many failures on the part of the hospital, which denied liability for the brain damage when the claim was made. P&B undertook in-depth investigations, obtaining opinions from several experts in brain injury. High Court proceedings were served. Limited admissions were then made by the hospital in respect of the breach of duty leading to the brain damage, but the client was ‘put to strict proof’ of the losses and injuries he had suffered.

The case proceeded. Evidence was exchanged between the parties and the case listed for trial in the High Court. Then the defendants made an offer to settle. The boy’s solicitor advised rejection, as it was too low. Terms of settlement were eventually agreed between the parties shortly before the trial was due to start. These needed formal court approval, as the client was unable to manage his own affairs because of the brain damage.

The settlement included a lump sum and index-linked periodical payments each year. If the claimant lives for his expected life span, the total value is over £7 million.

The P&B Clinical Negligence team never gives up. And never settles for second best.

Editorial, Linda Levison,
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