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This article was published on February 27th, 2014
With the recent changes putting the squeeze on general personal injury law a lot of firms seem to be claiming to be clinical negligence lawyers – beware!
Recently when discussing a dental negligence case with one of our experts, a Dental Surgeon, he commented that “we are getting inundated with enquiries from firms, unlike yourselves, who don’t really know what constitutes breach in these types of claims”.
It is nice to be recognised as lawyers who really know our area of law!
However, it is when we have really made a difference to our clients that we feel genuine pride in our work…
Going above and beyond…
We were approached by our client Mrs Sykes on the 6th November 2013, who had had an unfortunate experience in March 2013 when she underwent a microlaryngoscopy procedure. When she awoke she immediately felt extreme pain in both her jaw and teeth, several of which were loose. After raising the issue with the hospital, her dentist and ultimately being referred for specialist treatment, she eventually contacted a firm of solicitors for advice.
She was convinced that she had suffered negligence during that original procedure. Her lawyers agreed to obtain copies of her medical records in order to review the same, which they duly did and thereafter they took advice from an ENT Surgeon. The medical expert advised (without seeing the records) that there was no case to answer as Mrs Sykes had suffered an unfortunate complication of the procedure. On the face of it, the correct steps seem to have been followed and the case was closed.
Mrs Sykes contacted Thorneycroft Solicitors on the 6th November 2013 for a second opinion. She was not satisfied that the extent of the damage which she sustained was reasonable. The one thing we pride ourselves with, at Thorneycroft, is listening to the client.
Mrs Sykes had been given negative advice from a reputable firm who had seemingly reviewed the records and obtained a medical opinion.
Limitation was in 4 months time!
However, having listened to Mrs Sykes, we agreed that the level of damage seemed extreme. We further agreed to request the previous solicitors file of papers in order to review the records ourselves.
The file was received on the 21st January 2014, which gave us less than 2 months before limitation. We thoroughly reviewed the medical and dental records and realised that they had been misinterpreted by the previous solicitors. This led to an incorrect version of events being relayed to the medical expert, which of course led to him providing a negative opinion. The Claimant’s witness statement reflected the incorrect interpretation of the medical records instead of the evidence which the Claimant had, quite properly, passed on to her lawyers.
We could see there was a case but by now limitation was less than 6 weeks away and there was a lot to do in order to protect the Claimant’s position.
An out of hours call was arranged for a Friday evening, to discuss this case with a leading ENT Surgeon, who thankfully like us, was adamant that there was a positive case; however he was unable to turn a report around in the time frames that we required, due to work commitments. He did, however, agree to speak to his colleagues to find someone else who could provide us with a report in order to allow us to protect our client with regards to limitation.
Whilst the medical evidence was being processed, we then set about getting the correct version of facts from Mrs Sykes into a formal witness statement, which accompanied the instructions to the expert for the various reports.
Insurance was arranged to protect the client’s position and we were ready to go.
It was a rush, but bearing in mind the problems this lady had experienced we were determined to help.
Because of the relationship we have with our experts, we were able to arrange an out of hours call, request appointments to be fitted in on days when clinics were not originally running and to request the reports to be turned round in an unusually quick time frame.
This case shows the importance of listening to the client at the outset in order to correctly understand the facts and it also shows that it is vitally important to go to a lawyer who truly specialises in Clinical Negligence Law. It is important that they can correctly review medical records, in house and that they have the relationships required with an eminent team of medical/dental experts to provide the very best possible service to the client.
“I am delighted that I have found Thorneycroft Solicitors, they have done more for me since they have had my claim than anyone else previously. Importantly they have listened to my concerns and have believed in me and my claim, even though they were up against tight time frames and the NHS! I would happily endorse them as absolute specialists in the area of Clinical Negligence Law and of Client Care”.
We pride ourselves in going above and beyond for the benefits of our clients.
If you think you may have been injured as a result of dental negligence, you need to contact a specialist solicitor. Our dental negligence claims solicitors have consistently achieved excellent results for our clients. We offer a free initial interview in order to review your specific circumstances and assess your claim. Call us now on 0800 1979 345.