Complex Claim for Patient in a Mental Health Unit
Kevin was detained in a Mental Health Unit when he was 17. His family was already worried about his behaviour when he absconded from the Unit. He was attacked and seriously injured while he was out. We successfully pursued a complex case for compensation and so that Kevin can get the care he needs.When Kevin was 17 he was detained in a Mental Health Unit and his family was concerned about a recent change in his behaviour. They wondered if the change in his character was related to cannabis use.
Kevin had already run away from the Unit on three occasions. When he got out for the fourth time, he was viciously attacked in the street by three men. The men were subsequently convicted and sent to prison but Kevin was badly hurt. He sustained a very severe head injury and remained in a coma for five days. Although he made a reasonable physical recovery he continued to experience severe behavioural problems. As a result, he now needs full time care and is not capable of working.
Understanding the liability
The case presented many legal and medical challenges. We needed to establish whether or not the Unit was negligent for failing to heed the high risk that Kevin would abscond. We obtained expert evidence on Kevin’s behalf which supported allegations that the Unit were negligent. Kevin should have been placed under closer supervision and been placed on a locked ward. The second question was, did the Unit’s duty extend to being responsible for injury sustained in an unprovoked attack in the street? Thirdly, how much compensation could Kevin claim? We could only obtain compensation for Kevin for the consequences of the head injury. The expert psychiatrist found it difficult to distinguish between the effects of the injury and the underlying psychiatric condition.
We helped Kevin to agree settlement terms shortly before trial date. He received substantial compensation which will be administered by the Court of Protection. The money will allow Kevin to obtain specialist further rehabilitation and care and support.
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