Recent Case Wins
Testament to our national reputation of winning cases and securing maximum compensation for our clients, below is a list of our recent case wins.
Substandard care causing birth injury in North Devon leads to substantial damages
RXH-v-Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust
Endurance Arthur achieved an award of £19,919,380.00 for RXH, a 9 year old girl, after negligent care during her birth at North Devon District Hospital left her with severe brain damage and a reduced life expectancy.Her injury affects all four limbs and her speech, swallowing and eating. She cannot walk but can scoot around on the floor and stand briefly with support. She needs 24 hour care and assistance but her intellect is preserved and she is keen to communicate with those around her. As she uses signing, which is only understood by a few who are very close to her, she often struggles to make herself understood and she is keenly aware of the differences between herself and others
As well as helping to overcome the physical impact of her injuries, a major concern in quantifying the claim was to improve her means of communication, her learning opportunities and to provide psychological input to help her come to terms with her plight.
The substantial award will provide security for life in terms of her future care, therapy and equipment needs. It also provides maximum opportunities for the RXH to fulfil her potential despite the devastating injuries she suffered during her birth.
A hearing took place at the High Court in London, where Mr Justice Maloney QC gave his approval to a financial settlement comprising a lump sum and annual payments for the rest of RXH’s life. Mr Christopher Gibson QC representing RXH, paid tribute to her parents “who have devoted themselves to making RXH (a) happy and delightful child”. The hospital Trust’s barrister also paid tribute to RXH’s parents and “apologised wholeheartedly to RXH, her parents and her siblings” on behalf of himself and all at the Trust. He said that he recognised that “no amount of money can ever turn back the clock” to undo the damage done.
Endurance said of RXH, “Anyone who meets (her) cannot help but be charmed – she is bright and lively and funny. RXH has much potential to succeed in life despite the extent of the problems she must live with. I cannot wait to see the major difference that the sum awarded to her will make to her life.
Errors during birth led to damages of £6.5m
Child H was left with Cerebral palsy and significant brain damage as a result of the mismanagement of her birth at the Princess of Wales Hospital, Bridgend.
After an extensive legal battle, the hospital’s solicitor admitted that the hospital had managed the birth negligently leaving Child H suffering from significant and lifelong brain damage – she is unable to walk unaided, talk or feed herself and she will in addition, require 24 hours care and assistance for the rest of her life. The award the clinical negligence partners negotiated was made up of a significant lump sum payment as well as tax free annual payments for life, which will cover the cost of providing additional nursing care, equipment and various therapies. This settlement, known as a structured settlement, equates to a lump sum of £6.5 million.
Highest ever Record damages for girl with Erb’s Palsy – £1,250,000
Simon Mansfield, Associate Solicitor was instructed by a 20 year old girl (C) who suffered a severe brachial plexus injury during her birth at a West Hertfordshire Hospital in 1996.
Despite undergoing 10 operations many of which were attempting to stabilise the shoulder joint, C sadly made a very poor recovery from her injury. She was left with limited function in her left arm and generalised muscle weakness throughout the limb, including her wrist and hand. As a result she was only able to move her arm through a limited range and required help with many activities of daily living.
In addition, and rather uniquely, she also suffers from severe muscular and neuropathic pain which required extensive medication including, gabapentin, morphine and amitriptyline in the past. The medication required to manage the pain had significant side effects, leading in particular to fatigue and dizziness. When taking the medication her sleep is particularly disturbed and as a result C was left in a catch 22 situation of either being in excruciating pain or drifting through the day in a haze, asleep for up to 18 hours per day.
The severe muscular and neuropathic pain, the cause of which has never been fully understood, has also had psychological consequences and led to C suffering from severe depression.
Tozers were instructed to take over conduct of the claim at a late stage in proceedings when the family lost faith in their solicitors. With only a matter of weeks before crucial quantum evidence was due to be served, Tozers took over conduct of the claim and negotiated a postponement. This enabled the obtaining of updated witness evidence, preparation of expert reports and of a coherent case to properly value the claim.
The projection of C’s future was particularly difficult given an uncertain prognosis – both physical and psychological. The medical evidence however was that severe pain was likely to be present for between 4 to 6 months out of 12 for the remainder of C’s life.
At a recent settlement meeting a few weeks before Trial, Tozers negotiated a settlement of £1,250,000, a record figure for an Erb’s Palsy claim. The settlement figure included significantly more than £300,000 in lost earnings to reflect the fact that C’s working capacity was likely to be limited to those months of the year when she was not in severe pain.
The case had previously almost settled for £200,000 before agreement at this sum was abandoned, literally at the Court door.
Damages of £1,062,500 (reduced to £850,000 to account for litigation risk) for child birth injury (Erb’s Palsy)
A 13 year old boy, (known as Child T) who was born at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, suffered Erb’s Palsy (serious damage to his arm, shoulder and hand) at the time of his birth. Child T’s parents instructed our medical negligence team to pursue a claim for negligence on their son’s behalf. Child T has undergone two major operations to try to correct the injury but suffers ongoing pain and is still unable to do most two-handed activities. At best his left arm is used as a support and it is likely that he will get arthritis in this arm as well. The pain experienced has led to Child T missing out on time at school because of the many inpatient admissions. We secured the highest ever payment of damages for an injury of this type with an award of £850,000. A significant proportion of the damages award is to go towards ongoing treatment.
Negligence following successful spinal surgery leads to 6 figure award for claimant
In a claim settled by Endurance Arthur, our client had a complicated history of pre-existing back problems, minor incontinence, mobility issues, and pain. She underwent successful surgery to decompress a slipped disc, but, months later, when she suffered disc problems again, her GPs failed to heed warning signs of a Cauda Equina syndrome. In the course of the claim it was established that their failures led to a delay in surgery to decompress the affected nerves. The result of their negligence was a worsening of her incontinence and pain, severely restricted mobility, exacerbation of pre-existing mental health issues and new problems involving sexual and bowel function.
As an example, her worsened condition meant that the client was no longer able to walk a reasonable distance with a stick or to walk her dog. Following the negligence, her reduced mobility, the increased pain and low mood contributed to a lack of exercise leading to severe weight gain and obesity.
Liability remained in dispute throughout and it was alleged by the Defendants that the client had suffered a further cauda equina episode after the negligent one, which was not the GPs’ fault. If established, this would have reduced their liability. Early on in the claim, Endurance Arthur, a partner who specialises in cauda equina claims, made a thorough analysis of the client’s pre-existing problems before the negligence so these could be discounted. Consequently, the damage caused by the negligence was established. The claim was settlement out of court for approximately £664,000.
Compensation awarded for errors during birth leading to tragic death of 10 month old baby
Michelle Beckett has managed to successfully negotiate a sizeable 6 figure sum settlement in respect of conjoined psychiatric injury and fatal accident claims. The tragic circumstances of the claim arose during the delivery of the Claimant’s son. Due to the negligence of the staff at the hospital, their son was born with severe hypoxic ischemic injury and sadly passed away when he was 10 months old. The parents brought claims on behalf of the estate and on their own behalf with them both being diagnosed as suffering from PTSD.
During the time when their son was alive, he spent significant time in hospital and at a local hospice. During the time in which he was at home he required 24 hours per day care to include the administration of medication and pump feeding with water flushes. He required constant monitoring as he could have a seizure at any time.
Liability was admitted early on in the case but given the fragile nature of the Claimants psychological conditions, negotiations were not entered into until a final prognosis was known. Both Claimants were unable to work in their chosen careers and incurred significant financial loss. After serving the expert evidence, statements and and drafting a detailed schedule of loss including claims for care, loss of earnings and loss of pensions the parties managed to negotiate an appropriate settlement figure.
The settlement represents one of the highest awards for this type of claim and a very good result given the complex nature of nervous shock claims.
Settlement achieved the day the discount rate changed – G v Cwm Taf Local Health Board
Michelle Beckett, Associate Solicitor was instructed by a 12 year old girl (G) who sustained a Group II brachial plexus injury to her right shoulder during her birth at a Hospital in Wales in 2004. As a consequence G has Erb’s Palsy, which presents with reduced function in her right arm and shoulder.
G engaged in an intensive physiotherapy regime from birth and underwent an arthroscopic shoulder release procedure in 2014. The combination of the physiotherapy and the surgery led to G making what was described as an “absolutely outstanding recovery” in terms of function in her right arm. Despite this she is left hand dominant, needs assistance and takes longer to do every day tasks than her peers. Although she was able to engage and indeed was encouraged to take part in sporting activities she did not demonstrate the same standard as her peer group.
Liability was admitted relatively early in the case but the valuation did not occur until we were sure that G’s condition was stable and her prognosis was able to be predicted.
Trial was listed to take place in May 17 and a settlement meeting went ahead on 27 February 2017. This was the day that the Lord Chancellor announced that the discount rate was to be revised from 2.5% to -0.75. Following some very quick re-calculations by Michelle on the morning of 27 February 2017 settlement was finally achieved at £755,000. A large proportion of the damages represented expenses that G was likely to incur in the future, such as care and domestic assistance, items to aid with day to day tasks and a sum to compensate her for periods that she was likely to be unemployed as a result of her injury.
£250,000 lump sum for a missed cancer leading to death of wife and mother of four
Stuart Bramley, Partner, was instructed by the father of a young family of 4 children, after the death through cervical cancer, of his wife and their mother. Mrs H had what she was told was a negative cervical smear in 2000. This was followed up by a further negative smear in 2003. However, tragically Mrs H died of cervical cancer in 2007. Stuart successfully argued that Mrs H should have been referred following her initial 2000 smear test as it showed dyskaryotic (abnormal) cells. If this had been done, Mrs H would have been treated for the cancer and on the balance of probabilities would have survived.
Although upsetting circumstances, this was an exceptional result: the case was very finely balanced due to its inherent complexity and sensitive nature. Most importantly, the compensation has gone a little way in helping the family to move on with their lives.
Substandard cardiac surgery at Bristol Royal Infirmary leads to damages of over £3.85 million
Endurance Arthur, Partner, was instructed by the parents of a 19 year old man (B) after negligent heart surgery left him with severe brain damage, epilepsy, severe behavioural problems and autistic traits; he also has a significantly reduced life expectancy.
B underwent surgery to correct a heart defect at Bristol Royal Infirmary in 1992. As part of his case it was argued on B’s behalf that he was denied the better operation for his condition because Bristol had such poor results for it. When the less optimum operation was eventually carried out, it was done incompetently and exposed B to brain damage. However, whilst Bristol conceded that surgery was done in a substandard manner, it argued that the resulting damage was not the type it would have expected to see as a result of the negligence. Endurance secured an award of compensation totalling more than £3.85 million, comprising a lump sum of £1m and annual payments for the rest of his life.
Damages secured for parents of new-born infant who died from negligently acquired Group B Streptococcus infection
Stuart Bramley, represented the parents of an infant who died shortly after birth, having negligently acquired Group B Streptococcus during her delivery. The mother of the deceased baby, one of twins, was not provided with intravenous antibiotics during the delivery stage of labour despite the fact that ante-natal tests had revealed the mother was a carrier of the infection.
As well as securing damages for the parents, Stuart had earlier represented the family at the inquest.
£132,000 awarded for gynaecological injuries sustained at birth
Stuart Bramley and Michelle Beckett successfully acted for R who suffered a tear of the bowel during the birth of her child. R subsequently suffered a fistula and subsequently surgery seems to have made the problem worse. The result of the above events led to R suffering from a fistula which did not resolve itself until several years later in addition to her a portion of her rectal muscles being irreparably severed leaving R with no bowel control.
As a result of her injury R was not able to return to her chosen career and faced the prospect of a colostomy in the future.
A complicating factor that arose in this case was that Tozers were approached some 5 years after the injury meaning that the claim was technically too late to bring a claim. Due to R’s continuing treatment, despite the Defendant contesting that the claim was statute barred, Tozers managed to successfully argue that R did not appreciate the severity of her condition and did not have the requisite “date of knowledge” for Limitation to have expired.
Following exchange of evidence and detailed negotiations, Tozers succeeded on behalf of R to bring a claim despite the time elapsing, we went on to win the claim itself, securing her over £100,000 in damages.
Damages settlement achieved for claimant for failed breast reduction surgery
Clair Hemming, Partner, who specialises in cosmetic surgery claims, was instructed by a 41-year-old woman, after her breasts were left misshapen and scarred following a breast reduction operation in December 2005. Two weeks after the initial operation, she returned to the hospital to have the dressings changed and was told that the sutures had dissolved and that the wounds were gaping.
After the wounds had healed, she realised that her breasts were almost the same size as they had been before the operation and that they had a misshapen, boxy appearance with marked indentation down the sides. The vertical and horizontal scarring was wide and red, contrary to what she had previously been told. She was left embarrassed, her relationship was affected and she required further surgery. Our case was that the surgery was performed negligently and, in addition, that our client had not been alerted to the possibility of wide, prominent scarring.
Two years later, our client underwent a further breast reduction at a different hospital and as a result had appropriately shaped breasts of the size she had initially wished for and with less obvious scarring.