“Absolutely fantastic” service

This was the response from our client, Rae Scudder, who sent a note to Ed Myers and his assistant, Sue, after her road traffic claim settled.

On the evening of 16 November 2015, Rae was travelling home from her late shift,on on her moped, when she was hit by a vehicle which turned directly into her path.  Rae, a keen and talented dancer, sustained serious injury to both legs requiring intensive hospital treatment.  She underwent extensive physiotherapy, but was unable to either dance or teach dancing for many months.  Gradually however, through determination and commitment, she was able to resume her passion for dancing.

Ed Myers lawyer at Barratts Legal

How Did We Help Rae?

At Barratts we prioritise rehabilitation; Ed was able to assist Rae by persuading the insurers of the car driver to agree to an urgent initial assessment of Rae’s needs. This enabled us to get a payment to fund rehabilitation. This meant Rae could recover more quickly from her injuries meaning she could also get back to dancing much sooner.

Rae describes Ed’s advice as “straightforward, honest and trustworthy”. We pride ourselves that clients are recommended to come to Barratts for a personal, specialist service. That is why it’s great news to hear Rae tell us that “You made a difficult time much easier and I felt treated with dignity and respect throughout.”

Sue helped Rae by communicating direct with the Vehicle recovery company, making “complicated and confusing” jargon understandable. Indeed, Rae says that Sue remained “calm and collected” and she had”incredible support and service” from our Personal Injury team.

After lengthy negotiations, Ed persuaded the insurers to accept responsibility for the accident. They paid compensation for Rae’s physical and psychological injuries. The insurers also compensated Rae for her future losses because her injuries were likely to affect her career as a dancer.

We ask clients to tell us how we can improve our service. Rae said there was nothing – she thinks we are “efficient, professional and welcoming- I can’t praise them enough”.

Spinal Injury Association Survey Revealed

The Spinal Injury Association (the “SIA”) polled 136  people with spinal cord injury (“SCI”) to seek their views about litigation. The results show that the current system is too slow but, more importantly, the experience of their lawyer had a significant impact on the person’s compensation. Why are Clients With SCI Unhappy With Their Lawyers? […]

New Member of Staff To Join Us

We are delighted to confirm that Wendy Davies will be joining our accounts department next month. We will be saying goodbye to Karla-Marie Roberts who leaves us to join her sister’s family business. More on Karla’s time at Barratts to follow.

Law Firm Barratts Expands Reach Into Derby

Barratts have been based in Nottingham for over 25 years. We started the New Year by opening a new office in Derby city, responding to increasing demand for our specialism in high value personal injury and clinical negligence claims in the East Midlands.

Our firm, whose Derby office opened on January 24th, has been independently ranked in the top tier in its specialism for over 20 years. It is one of the few in the area with the experience to deal with complex injury claims and is receiving an increasing amount of referrals from the Derbyshire area.

Client care, assistance with rehabilitation and rebuilding lives are principles which underpin the way that Barratts handles cases. We are able to secure funds for clients quickly, which enables them to engage in the recovery process sooner, working closely with professionals, who install home adaptations, supply mobility equipment and provide home care.

Partner Ed Myers, is Chair of Headway Nottingham and he spoke to the media about the decision to open a dedicated Derby Office – “Opening an office in central Derby reflects the increasing number of clients who are based in Derby and the rise in the number of referrals from the Derby area. As part of our strategic development plan we’re anxious to provide the best and most convenient service to all clients who have suffered serious injuries, and we are confident this move will be successful.”

The newly opened office in the Old Court House, St. Peter’s Church Yard will link Barratts to Derbyshire head injury charities and medical professionals, as well as provide a closer base for clients who may not want to travel to Nottingham. If you need advice and are living near Derby please call us on our new phone number: 01332 565395

Associate Debra Morris, who was previously based in Derby for over 10 years, said of her return to the city – “I’m really pleased to have a base here from which we can continue to help and support people rebuilding their lives after serious injury. It makes it so much easier for our clients in this area and is a first step for our continuing expansion plans in the Derby area.”

Word of our expansion into Derby has already made the news. Here are the links:

http://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/nottingham-law-firm-barratts-opens-new-office-in-derby/story-30097457-detail/story.html

http://www.thebusinessdesk.com/mobile/eastmidlands/nottingham-law-firm-opens-derby-office/

Alison Brooks Awarded Honorary Membership of AvMA’s Clinical Negligence Panel

We are delighted to announce that Alison Brooks, head of our Clinical Negligence Department, was invited to become an Honorary member of AvMA. This was “in recognition of her work on behalf of injured patients and their families and her longstanding and continuing contribution in the fields of clinical negligence and patient safety.” The certificate runs until December 2019 so Alison has plenty of time to continue the fight for patient safety and support of AvMA.

AvMA was established in 1982 aftere public response to a TV programme about medical accidents. It is the leading patients’ charity so we are especially proud of Alison’s achievement, which is the result of over 30 years spent acting on behalf of injured patients.

Alison began her career defending doctors but, after qualifying as a solicitor, she decided to help those affected by medical negligence. One of her 1st cases involved a young boy with Cerebral Palsy. He was one of the first claimants in the UK to receive a guaranteed annual income from the NHS to pay for his future care needs. She was even invited to speak to Claimant lawyers, at a conference in Australia, about using compensation to guarantee annual payments. It is still part of our advice for clients today. Alison has taken many cases to trial over the years and knows how stressful this is for our clients. Her ability to put clients at ease and to reassure them is vital in the job we do.

We asked Alison what she recalls about clinical negligence in the 1980’s. Cases would go to trial without any disclosure of expert reports, which meant that neither side would know what the medical experts had to say about the case. The exchange of reports well before trial is obviously one change for the better!

Alison has also been involved in many inquests over 30 years, which are an opportunity to get answers for clients in a less intimidating setting. It can highlight lessons to be learned from medical mistakes. This is still as vital today as it was 30 years ago. The ethos of AvMA and our own approach to clinical negligence is to look beyond the financial compensation; Alison’s work has involved the support of families, seeking answers, in a caring environment. She remains committed to ensuring access to justice and improvement of patient safety for all.

Watchdog to review NHSLA costs

We ended 2016 with another clinical negligence win at Court against the NHS but this comes at a cost to us all. We therefore welcome the decision to review why clinical negligence cases cost so much and how they can be resolved more quickly. This review will be carried out by Parliament’s spending watchdog, the National Audit Office.
Read more

Sheffield Unit Spinal Injury Centre

Here is what the Charity sent to us:

“Guided by our incredible NHS staff, your donation will provide a level of patient care beyond that which NHS funding alone can offer, and so you will be helping patients and their families at a time when they need the most support.

You are helping to provide vital support for patients, their families and the staff who care for them in the Spinal Cord Injury Centre and the Northern General Hospital.

Together, our challenge is to support staff to deliver the best care and treatment they can for patients and families today, in the most modern facilities and with the most up-to-date equipment, and to give their researchers the opportunity to make ground breaking discoveries that will advance patient care and give hope to future patients.

With your support, Sheffield Hospitals Charity can help your doctors and nurses provide the best medical care possible. Just a few examples of the amazing things people like you have made possible for patients with spinal injuries and their families include:

The very first ‘Ekso’ exoskeleton for an NHS hospital supports rehabilitation for patients who are paralysed with spinal cord injuries. This incredible piece of equipment is a bionic suit that allows patients to experience standing and walking again, and to move on two feet, sometimes after many years in a wheelchair.

A reclining cross trainer for the physiotherapy gym that allows both arms and legs to be exercised at the same time. This increases muscle strength, range of movement and improves fitness, meaning that patients are able to engage better with their rehabilitation. Using a reclining cross trainer also helps people to re-learn how to stand and walk following a spinal injury.

A specialist Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) exercise bike which performs an important rehabilitation technique for spinal injury patients. The bike applies a small electrical current to paralysed or weakened muscles in the legs, which reduces muscle spasm, improves strength and range of movement and also increases circulation.

Please do get in touch with me, or any member of the team, if you have any questions about our work or about the charity in general, and please feel free to pass on my details to your friends and neighbours if you think the charity would be of interest. You can contact us on 0114 271 1351 or email charity@shct.nhs.uk.

As always, you can visit us online at sheffieldhospitalscharity.org.uk and on social media (you can find us on both Facebook and Twitter) to keep up with our latest events and appeals.”

The Charity also have a leaflet (available as a pdf file) which can be sent by email to anyone interested in their work.

Lessons From Patient Deaths Missed By The NHS

This was the stark warning from a report issued today by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The year long review found that not even one NHS Trust around the country was getting it completely right.

The CQC have urged the NHS to use their findings to ensure that patient’s deaths are properly investigated with families being involved and heard. The CQC looked into this issue after several high profile cases involving the deaths of patients with mental health or special needs. Here are just some recommendations which the CQC set out:

  • Families should be engaged with the investigation and their voices heard.
  • Families should be informed of their rights and how the death of a family member will be investigated.
  • Families should be kept up to date about investigations.
  • Clinicians need to record when a patient is vulnerable so that other organisations can be informed of the death to decide if an inquiry is needed.
  • Clinicians and staff should have proper training and time to carry out investigations when a patient has died.
  • Medical staff continue to be worried about blame attaching to them and this needs to stop so that there is more openness about the events leading up to a patient’s death.
  • A national framework is needed to give a consistent approach to investigate patient deaths and how to communicate with the patient’s family.

The report was commented upon by the Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges who said ” we have consistently failed and continue to fail too many of the families of those who die whilst in our care.

The Director of INQUEST was also quoted as saying there was ” a defensive wall surrounding NHS investigations, an unwillingness to allow meaningful family involvement in the process and a refusal to accept accountability for NHS failings in the care of it’s most vulnerable patients”

Our own experience mirrors these sentiments. We know that many of our clients turn to us to find the answers to questions which should have been resolved by the NHS. The determination to stop future deaths is also at the top of our client’s reasons for seeking legal advice.

We are saddened to read that many families are still not told about the circumstances of the death of a loved one; the statistcs showed that the NHS could demonstrate in only 3 out of 27 reports that they had considered the family’s perspective.

The changes recommended by the CQC have been presented to the Secretary of State for Health to consider. We hope this will be the wake up call needed to ensure the NHS do not continue repeating mistakes which can lead to the avoidable deaths of patients.

If you need advice about the death of a family member please contact our Clinical Negligence or Personal Injury Departments who can talk to you in confidence.

What Does 2017 Have In Store For Our Clients?

Fixed Fees For Lower Value Cases

This could affect cases as large as £250,000. It has the potential to create a David and Goliath future with Insurers able to fund cases and claimants purse strings restricted. We are proud of our justice system and hope that genuine claimants will still be able to get the right advice and compensation if fixed fees are introduced.

NHSLA Mediation Scheme To Be Extended

There has been an NHS pilot scheme, focussing on elderly care and fatal claims, which tries to settle cases in a less adversarial way by using mediation. So far, both patients and clinicians thought it encouraged resolution with about 80% of the cases settled this way. We do not yet know how well it will work in higher value or more complex cases. Mediation also gave families a “voice” as well as an explanation and apology if appropriate. We welcome any move to speed up clinical negligence cases so long as clients remain properly compensated and represented.

Discount Rate for Future Losses To Be Announced

On 31st January 2017, the Government will set the new discount rate. This is a figure which determines the calulation of future losses in personal injury and clinical negligence cases. For clients with high annual costs this rate can make an enormous difference to the total compensation awarded.
Thanks go to the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), which threatened legal proceedings when nothing had been announced by the Government 4 years after the consultation ended.We hope that when the new rate is announced next year it will ensure future clients receive the right amount for their long term needs.

If you need impartial advice about any of these developments please contact our Personal Injury, Clinical Negligence and Court of Protection teams to discuss how this might affect you.

World Day of Remembrance for Victims of Road Traffic Accidents

We have supported the families of those killed or injured in road traffic accidents for over 30 years. We have seen changes for the better, such as more speed cameras to limit dangerous driving. We have also seen changes for the worse including the aftermath of drivers texting and using phones whilst driving.

The increase in traffic to and from Europe has also led to more claims being brought for accidents abroad and against foreign drivers in England. There has also been an increase in the number of drivers banned or uinsured but still taking to the road without thought for the damage they might cause.

The World Day Remembrance website has information from all over the world. As well as recognising the impact on families and friends of road traffic victims,it highlights the effect on the emergency services and long term cost for our communities.

Wider recognition is needed to prevent future deaths on the road and to reduce those who are bereaved or injured.

The official World Day of Remembrance website can be found at http://worlddayofremembrance.org/about/