Clare Evans of MW’s specialist inquest team represents the bereaved family of Robin Richards. The lengthy inquest into Robin’s death concluded on 9th March 2015.
Robin’s death highlights the lack of provision in the community for those diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. The ongoing concern gave rise to the Coroner’s decision on 9th March 2015 to prepare a ‘Report to Prevent Future Deaths’, which will be sent to the Department of Health to respond to.
The Coroner will also send a report to Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust arising out of the concerns highlighted at this inquest.
The jury at Somerset Coroner’s Court found that the following factors contributed to Robin’s death:
Robin died on 3rd July 2015, aged 33, further to hanging himself from a staircase at Highbridge Court in Somerset, on 29th June 2015. Highbridge Court is a private Care Home run by Tracscare (now re-branded ‘Accomplish’), which at the time, advertised itself as a specialised forensic Mental Health service.
Robin was transferred to Highbridge Court on 15th June 2015, followed a prolonged in-patient stay - initially detained under the Mental Health Act before becoming a voluntary in-patient - on a psychiatric ward at Wellsprings Hospital, Taunton.
It is well-documented that the transition from in-patient care to the community is a time of high-risk of suicidality, particularly in the first two weeks after hospital discharge.
In spite of this, when Robin was transferred to Highbridge Court, independent expert evidence confirmed the view Robin’s discharge was not adequately planned for, and staff at Highbridge Court had not been informed by staff of Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, of the potential risk of harm from Robin, to himself.
The incident on 29th June followed a 2 week period in which Robin regularly expressed suicidal thoughts, and had started to act upon his thoughts by harming himself, including walking in front of moving traffic.
The inquest heard evidence of
Details of the Preventing Future Deaths Reports to the Department of Health and Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust are eagerly awaited. The family hope that lessons will be learned from Robin’s tragic death, so that others with similar presentations will not have to suffer the same fate.
This inquest is timely given the recent Guardian article which reveals fundamental shortcomings in mental health care provision, which puts lives at risk. For example, failures in training, flawed processes and errors in judgement (link to article below).
Further, it is understood there are ongoing concerns in relation to other Tracscare Homes in England and Wales, linking into the broader national concern as to the increasing use of private care homes for the purpose of mental health care provision. It is of note that under the Human Rights Act, private care homes can be ‘public authorities’ and, therefore, obliged to comply with the European Convention on Human Rights.
At MW Our Mission is "to make quality legal services accessible to everyone", including those who have lost loved ones whilst in care. Our experienced and expert Lawyers will represent you at every step of the way. From Inquest to prosecution and if applicable, in a claim for compensation. We will be on hand to ensure that you get the access to Justice that you deserve.
Sarah Corbett of MW Solicitors Clinical Negligence team acted for a woman who has been awarded damages of £5.8 million after St George’s Hospital in Tooting failed to make a timely diagnosis of meningitis.
Our client, who was pregnant at the time, attended St George’s hospital in Tooting in January 2011 as she was feeling unwell. She was admitted to the maternity unit but despite clear symptoms of meningitis, including the classic rash the hospital failed to diagnose meningitis in good time. As a result of the delay in diagnosis she developed severe sepsis causing gangrene. Her unborn son was stillborn, her legs were amputated below the knee, she had partial amputations of 3 of her fingers, sustained partial hearing loss and had to come to terms with what had happened to her.
Sarah Corbett, Partner and Clinical Negligence Lawyer in our Guildford office said of the settlement:
“Meningitis can affect anyone and is very serious if not treated quickly. I am delighted to achieve this £5.8 million settlement for my client but hope that the NHS learns from this error. It is unacceptable that the hospital failed to diagnose such a well known condition when the classic signs were exhibited. Had she been treated in time she would not have lost her unborn son, her lower legs, parts of 3 of her fingers or suffered partial hearing loss. No amount of money can compensate for what my client has gone through but the compensation will be used to provide her with the equipment, care and assistance she needs for the rest of her life as a result of her injuries.”
At MW, our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone", including those who have been let down by the medical profession or have suffered clinical negligence. Our team of dedicated and experienced Medical Negligence Solicitors offer a free initial assessment and can discuss your case to see if you might have a valid claim.
Our dedicated professionals can help you progress your claim and help you get the support you need. If you think that you have a claim for Medical Negligence and need a Clinical Negligence Lawyer, don't delay, call us on 020 3551 8500 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Clinical Negligence team at McMillan Williams Solicitors Limited acted for a woman who has been awarded damages of £1.1 million after complications from vaginal mesh surgery performed by Miss Jayne Cockburn, Consultant Gynaecologist, at Frimley Park Hospital in July 2010. She has been left with severe and life changing complications due to unnecessary surgery.
Following surgery, our client experienced mesh related complications and underwent mesh revision surgery in October 2010. Unfortunately, after this operation our client reported severe groin and vaginal pain. Miss Cockburn examined the client and recommended further surgery for mesh removal. In February 2011 our client received a letter from Frimley Park Hospital, stating that Miss Cockburn would be unable to perform the planned surgery and her care was transferred to an alternative Consultant Gynaecologist. Following a review her treatment plan was changed and in May 2011 and July 2013 our client underwent further surgery in an attempt to resolve her condition. Sadly, these operations were unsuccessful and our client has been left with severe and life changing complications as a result of the unnecessary and extensive surgery performed by Miss Cockburn.
Miss Cockburn practiced as a Consultant Gynaecologist at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey until she was suspended in 2011 and resigned from the Trust in December 2014. During 2014 Frimley Park Hospital carried out a review of Miss Cockburn’s cases and wrote to over 100 patients offering them the opportunity to be seen by an alternative Consultant Gynaecologist and to have their care reviewed.
As a result, a significant number of Miss Cockburn’s patients were found to have undergone extensive and unnecessary surgery, with conservative management options, such as physiotherapy, not being considered. It was also noted that Miss Cockburn had often failed to obtain the patient’s informed consent for the procedures performed.
The General Medical Council investigated the treatment provided by Miss Cockburn. It is understood that, following their investigation, Miss Cockburn has been allowed to return to work, and is currently practicing in the South East but with 16 undertakings on her registration.
Mr Andrew Bentham, from McMillan Williams Solicitors in Fulham said of the settlement:
“We are pleased to achieve this £1.1 million settlement for our client, however no amount of money can compensate for the severe and life changing complications she has experienced due to the unnecessary surgery performed by Miss Cockburn. The care that our client received at Frimley Park Hospital was completely unacceptable. As a result, our client has suffered ongoing loss of sexual function, ongoing bowel and bladder incontinence, nerve damage and chronic pain in the vagina, pelvis and back. She has also been diagnosed with a persistent depressive episode and is at risk of further mesh erosion in the future. The compensation obtained will be used to provide our client with the care and assistance she desperately needs, and to enrol her on a pain management programme which we hope will provide her with some respite from the pain”.
At MW, our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone", including those who have been let down by the medical profession or have suffered clinical negligence.
Our team of dedicated and experienced Medical Negligence Solicitors can help you progress your claim and help you get the support you need. For a free initial assessment of whether you might have a valid claim, or to discuss your case with one of our dedicated professionals call us on 020 3551 8500 or email us at email@example.com.
We continue to act for Miss Sheen, who was referred to us by Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA). We were instructed to investigate the standard of treatment Morgan Sheen received from Dr Amali Subesinghe on the 5th November 2013 at Queens Road Surgery. The claim arose from the failure to prescribe the correct inhaler on the 5th November 2013, following which Morgan suffered a deterioration in his asthmatic condition on the 12th November 2013, which resulted in his death on the 13th November 2013.
An inquest was held on the 5th and 6th May 2015. The Coroner’s narrative verdict was as follows:
Morgan Sheen who was seven, had brittle asthma using bronchodilators and steroids, and after an unplanned move of home, ran out of his usual inhalers and became wheezy. At a consultation to seek a repeat prescription at a new general practice on 5.11.13, he was unintentionally prescribed bronchodilator salmeterol, instead of seretide, which contains both bronchodilator and steroid. He became restless due to hypoxia and collapsed with cardiorespiratory arrest in the car taking him to hospital. Despite prompt attendance and appropriate resuscitation by LAS (London Ambulance Service), he died of status asthmaticus at 02.24 on 13.11.13 at KCH (King’s College Hospital). The unintentional change of prescription and failure to ensure he returned for an early consultation and review by a doctor contributed to his death.
A claim was successfully pursued against Dr Subesinghe on behalf of Morgan’s estate under the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934 and the Fatal Accidents Act 1976.
We were instructed by Miss Sheen to pursue a nervous shock claim against Dr Subesinghe. Following several Court of Appeal and High Court authorities in the past 3 years (Taylor v Novo, Ronayne v Liverpool Women’s Hospital, Shorter v Surrey), it has become increasingly difficult for a Claimant to succeed with a nervous shock claim.
Proceedings were served on the 8th March 2017. The Defence acknowledged that the Defendant was in breach of the duty of care owed in mistakenly prescribing the wrong inhaler and that this error materially contributed to Morgan’s death. However, the Defence also positively asserted that Miss Sheen did not satisfy all of the Alcock criteria necessary for the recovery of damages for a psychiatric injury as a secondary victim.
The Defendant served an Application to strike out the claim pursuant to CPR 3.4(2)(a) and 3.4(2)(b). The Defendant’s Application was founded on the argument that Miss Sheen failed to meet the Alcock criteria, primarily because there was no proximity in time and space between the breach of duty on 5th November 2013 in prescribing the incorrect inhaler which caused the injury to Morgan and the psychiatric injury to Miss Sheen on the 12th and 13th November 2013.
The hearing of the Defendant’s Application was heard before Master Eastman on Monday 11th December 2017. Miss Sheen was represented at the hearing by Mr John de Bono QC. Master Eastman declined to strike out Miss Sheen’s secondary victim claim. This was the second failed strike out application for a nervous shock claim before the Queen’s Bench Masters in 2017, following on from Master Robert’s decision in Werb v Solent NHS Trust on the 15th March 2017.
In Sheen v Subesinghe the Defendant submitted that proximity was required to the breach of duty. Mr John de Bono QC argued that proximity was required to the ‘event’ and that this was the fact and consequence of the breach of duty rather than the breach of duty itself. Mr de Bono noted that there was no authority which definitively ruled on whether proximity was required to the breach of duty or only to its consequences. This argument is of particular importance in clinical negligence cases where it is common to have a material gap between the breach of duty and the moment of physical harm.
Currently, the law relating to nervous shock claims remains unclear in relation to the position, as in this case, where there is a delay between the breach of duty and the primary victim suffering an injury. It has been assumed by many, primarily due to the decision in Taylor v Novo, that cases of delayed injury lack the proximity required to succeed. It should be noted that there is no authority for the argument that there must be proximity to the breach of duty. Proximity must be to the ‘event’. It would be a strange situation where a breach of duty alone, without any damage, could give rise to a claim in tort. It is logical therefore, that no cause of action for nervous shock can accrue until damage has been caused to the primary victim.
Mr John de Bono QC has lectured and written widely on nervous shock claims and is a specialist in this area. Please find below a link to John de Bono’s recent article on nervous shock claims in which he has considered the position where there has been a delayed injury to the primary victim.
The Personal Injury team at McMillan Williams Solicitors Limited has been instructed on a number of personal injury and clinical negligence nervous shock claims.
At MW, our mission is "to make quality legal services accessible to everyone", including those who have suffered the trauma of nervous shock. If you would like to speak to a specialist to discuss your case call us today on 0203 551 8500 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
MW Solicitors are delighted to announce that its Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence teams have been named UK Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence Law Firm of the Year at the 2017 Lawyer Monthly Legal Awards.
Head of MW’s Personal Injury Department, Helen Clifford said:
“We are extremely proud to have received this award which recognises the hard work and achievements of every member of the department. Our focus is on providing the best possible service to our clients whilst obtaining the highest possible level of damages. ”
The Awards recognise the achievements of the most knowledgeable and solution-orientated lawyers in the profession today, with a primary focus on their achievements over the past 12 months. Over several months, the Lawyer Monthly research team collect and collate nominations through an online voting system. Each nominee was compared against a strict set of measurable criteria which were combined with additional industry research to help produce the list of winners.
Over the last 35 years and through our network of more than 25 High Street offices we have helped hundreds of clients recover compensation for catastrophic or life changing accidents. We have particular expertise in dealing with claims of maximum severity, be they as a result of medical accidents, incidents in the workplace, industrial disease, accidents in a public place or road traffic accidents.
Our priority is to achieve the maximum amount of compensation for clients whilst ensuring that they are provided with appropriate rehabilitation, accommodation, care and equipment to meet their needs.
In the last 12 months we have recovered damages in excess of £26m for our clients. We are currently acting for more than 20 survivors of the Croydon Tram Crash. We regularly deal with complex high profile cases and have recently settled a claim arising from vaginal mesh surgery.
We strongly support the work of organisations such as the BackUp Trust, the Spinal Injuries Association, Headway and the UK Acquired Brain Injury Forum who do so much vital work in helping rehabilitate those who suffer serious and life changing personal injuries.
Our Solicitors are professional and highly regarded. We feel honoured to have been recognised by Chambers, the Legal 500, Super Lawyers, the Black Solicitors Network, Modern Claims, Lawyer Monthly and The Law Society for the work we do for our clients.
We believe that Justice is a Birthright and we are proud of our commitment to Diversity. We have one of the most diverse workforces in the legal world, taking people directly from the communities in which we operate. At all levels and in all areas we are recognised as an equal opportunity employer and invest in our people and their community.
We are proud to be supported by the Business Growth Fund (BGF), an investments firm who back fast growing British businesses. We are the largest provider of legally aided services to attract such a backer, and are excited by the opportunities to service more clients in more areas that BGF's backing provides.
Recent articles in The Times (“New pothole policy is deathtrap for cyclists’” and “Pothole Loopholes”) highlight the dangers and risks faced by cyclists from potholes and road defects present to cyclists every day.
A cyclist who hits a pothole or swerves to avoid one could fall and collide with another road user such as a car or worse. The consequences of such an accident could be serious injury or even fatal.
Should such an accident occur, a personal injury or fatal accident claim can be commenced against the Highway Authority responsible for the maintenance of the highway. For the claim to be successful it has to be established that:
However, even if the above conditions can be established, section 58 of the Highways Act 1980 provides a defence to any claim made under section 41.
To raise this defence the authority has to show that it had taken such care in all the circumstances as was reasonably required to secure the relevant part of the highway in a way so that it was not dangerous for traffic.
In view of the requirements of the Highways Act, such claims are not straightforward. Evidence is all important, and if you are involved in such an accident, the first thing to do is to obtain good quality photographs and, if possible, a video of the road and potholes where the accident occurred. Try to obtain these from the direction of travel of the cyclist and at the same time of day that the accident occurred. The photographs and video should include measurements of the potholes.
Obtaining evidence is a key part of the work we do at MW Solicitors. When investigating and acting in these types of cases we will make immediate site visits, cycling the road if appropriate. We will obtain evidence from the police and ambulance services and interview police officers and paramedics, if required. We will also investigate any CCTV footage of the locality and we will investigate the history of accidents of the road. We can also engage cycling and engineering experts. Our dedicated cyclist injury specialist, Philip Scarles, is a keen cyclist of many years giving him a particular interest and advantage when acting for cyclists who have suffered serious injuries in such accidents.
If you or a loved one have been injured in such an accident, do not delay, call us today on 020 3551 8500 or email us at email@example.com. The earlier you contact us the better chance we have of gathering the evidence to fight your case before any potholes are filled in, records are destroyed or memories have faded.
Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of the Croydon Tram Disaster which occured at Sandilands Junction on 9th November 2016.
A permanent memorial to the victims will be unveiled at a memorial service at Central Parade, New Addington, starting at 10.30am
7 people tragically lost their lives, with a further 51 people injured, 16 of them with very serious life changing injurues.
The driver of the tram was arrested at the scene and has since been bailed twice. The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) are continuing their investigations with the final report hopefully being published by the end of 2017.
British Transport Police’s investigations are ongoing and the Coroner’s enquiries will recommence once the outcome of the police investigations are known.
Despite civil liability for the accident being admitted by Transport for London / Tram Operations Limited in March 2017, the cause of the accident is still not known which has lead to many continuing to demand answers. Unfortunately investigations into this type of incident are often lengthy and due process must be followed. That is however of little assistance to the victims, many of whom suffered significant psychological trauma.
There have been many suggestions about what happened but at present all we know is that the tram entered the curved part of the track between the Sandilands Tunnels and Sandilands Junction at 46 mph, some 30 mph greater than the imposed speed limit. This excessive speed would seem to have been the root cause of the derailment.
The reason for the excessive speed cannot yet be fully understood and it would be wrong to speculate while the investigations are ongoing.
McMillan Williams in New Addington have been instructed by over 20 victims of this accident and are working closely with Transport for London’s representatives to ensure that the victim’s rehabilitation needs are met.
Many of the victims have suffered both physical and psychological injuries which have prevented them from returning to work which in turn has caused financial pressures on them and their families.
We have been able to successfully agree regular interim payments for victims from Transport for London’s representatives, which has helped to soften the financial burden.
It is vital that this support continues.
MW Solicitors Head of Personal Injury, Helen Clifford, presented a cheque for £6,000 to the Construction Safety Campaign (CSC).
This cheque being a donation from Marta Tkacikova, in memory of her son Rene Tkacik who was killed on 7 March 2014 while working on Crossrail. Marta said:
“We would like to thank the CSC for their words of support & empathy. This donation is in memory of Rene. He always strived to help & inspire others. There is no doubt that thanks to Rene other workers’ lives have been saved. Rene’s name should not be forgotten, it should live on. If each place where a worker lost his life while performing his duties were named after him, then Holborn station would bear Rene’s name. Our world is empty without you, our dear Rene.”
Mick Gilgunn, Treasurer of the CSC, said:
“We would like to Thank Rene's family for this kind donation, we can only imagine the pain they must be going through. These funds, together with our existing funds in the bank along with the help of fellow activists, and with a new enthusiasm, make it possible to build upon, and we will continue the struggle for justice for Construction workers.”
At the AGM, Helen was elected to the CSC committee in the role of legal adviser. Helen Clifford said:
“I am honoured to be elected to the CSC committee. Since it was set up in 1988 the CSC has played a vital role in campaigning for improved health & safety in the construction industry & has secured many significant improvements. In addition, they support the families of those who have been killed at work. My dad was a founding member, the CSC is part of my heritage & I look forward to playing a role in the future of this vital campaign.”
The Construction Safety Campaign is a grass roots organisation which campaigns against the criminal injustices done to Construction Workers Health and Safety.
Formed in 1988, it aims to further the concerns of Health and Safety Workers in the Construction Industry and to campaing for changes in Law to extend criminal charges in cases of corporate manslaughter and Health and Safety negligence. Many others from both public and private sectors are now taking up our demands that we deserve far better health and safety at work.
New ways of working has intensified the pressure on all groups of workers and as such workplace stress is having an increased and severe detrimental effect on all of us.
Relatives of those killed at work have joined the CSC to campaign for a Safety Bill, which will make it far easier to jail guilty employers whose recklessness leads to their workers deaths.
CSC has also led the fight to ban asbestos imports into the UK, resulting in changes to the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations.
Helen Clifford, Head of MW Solicitors’ Personal Injury Department and a solicitor specialising in accidents in the workplace will be attending this year’s Construction Safety Campaign (CSC) AGM.
Helen has a strong commitment to CSC as did her father, Frank Clifford, also a lawyer, a founding member of the CSC back in 1988.
Helen recently represented the family of construction worker René Tkacik tragically killed whilst working on Crossrail. She will be speaking about the inquest and HSE prosecution, which brought £1m fines against the three companies comprising the Joint venture BFK (BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman & Keir Infrastructure & Overseas Ltd).
The Tkacik family have generously donated the £6000 expenses they were given by BFK to the CSC in appreciation of the support they have provided and Helen will be presenting a cheque to the CSC at the AGM.
Deaths at work are tragic and sudden, leaving family members with many questions about the circumstances in which their loved one was killed.
The Inquest process is designed to answer these questions, but can be a traumatic and confusing process for families without legal representation.
At MW Solicitors our Personal Injury Lawyers are experts at representing families at Inquests and helping them to understand the process and to get the answers they deserve. Our work in this field is endorsed by Families Against Corporate Killers (FACK) and the Hazards Campaign.
A recent example of this was the case of René Tkacik, who was killed whilst employed by the joint venture BFK on the Crossrail project. Helen Clifford, MW's Head of Personal Injury, represented René's parents at the Inquest in February 2015 and on 3rd March 2015 the Inquest Jury determined that his death was accidental, but raised concerns about health and safety on site.
In some cases, particularly where breaches of Health & Safety Legislation or Corporate Manslaughter are concerned, prosecutions may follow.
Following the Inquest, Helen Clifford liaised with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to provide essential information to assist them in considering a prosecution for breaches of Health & Safety Regulations against the three companies comprising the Joint venture BFK (BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman & Keir Infrastructure & Overseas Ltd)
On 7th Dec 2016 the HSE announced their decision to prosecute the companies involved under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The companies were charged with four breaches relating to Mr Tkacik's death and to injuries sustained by two other workers on the same project, including Alex Vizitiu who is also represented by Helen Clifford.
On 19th July 2017 BFK pleaded guilty having reached agreement with the HSE that they would do so on condition that the prosecution be brought against the Joint Venture BFK rather than the individual companies BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman & Keir Infrastructure & Overseas Ltd.
At a sentencing hearing on 27th and 28th July 2017 BFK were fined £300,000 for the offences which resulted in René’s death; £600,000 in relation to serious injuries suffered by another worker and £165,000 in relation to Alex Vizitiu’s accident.
Helen Clifford gave continuous support to her clients from Inquest through to the final sentencing and made several statements both to the court and outside to awaiting press on behalf of René's mother, Marta Tkacikova.
“We (Rene's family) are very disappointed with the sentence, the fine is inadequate. BFK have agreed to pay my expenses in attending court. I am donating that blood money to the Construction Safety Campaign in memory of René, to assist them in their campaign to prevent further deaths”.
At MW Our Mission is "to make quality legal services accessible to everyone", including those who have been injured or the families of those killed in workplace accidents. Our experienced and expert Lawyers will represent you at every step of the way. From Inquest to prosecution and if applicable, in a claim for compensation. We will be on hand to ensure that you get the access to Justice that you deserve.