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Common work-related amputation claims

Accidents at work are not uncommon in the UK and can lead to severe, lifelong, disabling injury, including amputation, whether caused directly in the accident (traumatic amputation) or indirectly as a later complication of the original injury. 

Losing a limb is always life-changing, affecting mobility and independence, and reducing earning capacity by limiting the amputee’s ability to return to work. An employee who has suffered an amputation from a workplace accident may be able to recover compensation where the accident and injury were caused by the employer’s failure to provide safe working conditions and should have been avoided.

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 says that employers have a duty of care towards their employees and are responsible for putting proper precautions in place to ensure that the workplace is safe for all employees. All equipment should be properly maintained, all employees should receive training and supervision on proper and safe use of machinery and protective guards should be installed, where necessary, to prevent injuries.

Common accidents at work which may result in amputation include:

  • Severing by machinery

Working with machinery, tools or sharp objects poses an obvious and significant risk to workers across a broad range of industries, including agriculture, engineering, construction and woodworking industries. Amputations are most common when workers operate unguarded or inadequately safeguarded machinery, mechanical equipment and tools.

  • Crush injuries

Crush injuries can be caused by a heavy item falling directly onto a part of the body or when part of the body becomes trapped in machinery. Faulty equipment or lack of training in operating equipment is often the cause of a crushing injury accident.

  • Being struck by an object

Workplaces are full of objects which pose a risk to employees, such as falling construction material on a building site, pallets in a warehouse or moving objects or vehicles such as forklift trucks. Regular inspections and effective management are essential to prevent accidents occurring.

  • Electrocution

High voltage electric shock from unsafe working conditions can lead to impaired blood circulation, gangrene and amputation.

  • Laboratory accidents and explosions

Unsafe handling of materials can also result in burns, restricting blood flow to the limb or causing serious infection and consequent limb loss.

Boyes Turner’s personal injury team are experienced in recovering high-value damages awards for clients who have suffered serious disability from workplace accidents. Once liability is established we secure early interim payments to help pay for our clients’ essential care and rehabilitation, adapted vehicles, specialist prostheses and adapted accommodation, and to ease the financial hardship that often occurs after a disabling accident, restoring mobility and independence whilst we work on valuing and settling the claim. The team always seeks early rehabilitation under the Rehabilitation Code, as well as interims when liability is established, to allow the best opportunities for our clients to regain as much quality of life as possible.

If you have suffered an amputation in a workplace accident and want to find out if you have a claim, contact the team on piclaims@boyesturner.com.

I was exposed to asbestos by Turner & Newall - can I make a claim?

Turner & Newall were a leading manufacturer of asbestos products. They were based in Manchester but operated all over the country.  

The manufacture and use of asbestos products is now banned in the UK. Turner & Newall went into administration in 2001 but their use of asbestos has left a very sad legacy. Former workers and their families have contracted asbestos-related diseases, as have others who lived in close proximity to Turner & Newall factories. In many cases, the disease is terminal.

Turner & Newall concealed the dangers of asbestos

The danger to Turner & Newall workers was apparent as early as 1924, after the death of Nellie Kershaw, a worker at their Rochdale factory. At the inquest into her death, Dr William Edmund Cooke testified that his examination of the lungs showed extensive fibrosis in which were visible "particles of mineral matter... of various shapes, but the large majority have sharp angles”. Cooke concluded that they "originated from asbestos and were, beyond a reasonable doubt, the primary cause of the fibrosis of the lungs and therefore of death".

Despite this, the company denied liability and refused to pay any compensation to her family. Although Turner & Newall were aware of the dangers, they continued to manufacture and use asbestos products into the 1990s.  

Over the years, the lengths the company went to in order to conceal the dangers of asbestos are shocking. In 1955, an academic named Richard Doll completed an epidemiological study in Rochdale, home of the factory where Nellie Kershaw worked. This established a link between asbestos exposure and lung cancer. After trying to prevent him from publishing the findings, Turner & Newall then persuaded its own scientist, Dr John Knox, to draft a paper discrediting Doll’s work.  

They were also assisted by Cyril Smith, the Rochdale MP. In 1981, he wrote to Sydney Marks, head of personnel at Turner & Newall, informing him that the House of Commons were to debate European regulations on asbestos and asking him what he would like him to say in the debate. The draft sent to him by Turner & Newall is almost identical to the speech delivered by Smith, which argued that there should be less regulation and that the public were not at risk.  

The company went into administration in 2001. Does this mean that former Turner & Newall workers and other people affected by Turner & Newall’s practises are unable to claim compensation if they are diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease?

The Turner & Newall scheme

A trust fund has been set up to process and pay all valid asbestos disease claims for which Turner & Newall companies have legal responsibility.  This means that, if you have an asbestos-related disease as a result of being exposed to asbestos by a Turner & Newall company, you may be eligible to claim compensation through the Turner & Newall scheme.

The process is different from asbestos disease claims against other companies, however, Boyes Turner’s specialist asbestos disease lawyers have extensive experience of dealing with such claims and can guide you through the application process.  We have made claims on behalf of people who worked for various Turner & Newall companies, including:

If you or a family member has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, we may be able to help. Contact us on 0800 884 0718 or email claimsadvice@boyesturner.com for a free initial discussion.

How can we support decision making when someone lacks capacity now or might in the future?

“ There are growing numbers of people in England and Wales, estimated as around 2 million, who may lack capacity to make decisions or themselves because of illness, injury or disability. There are also concerns about variations in quality, consistency and availability of support to facilitate decision making.”

This is where the 2018 NICE Guidelines on Decision Making and Mental Capacity, which was published back in October, becomes an invaluable tool.

The guideline covers decision making in people aged 16 years and over who may lack capacity now or in the future. The guidelines suggest ways to help people make decisions and maximise personal autonomy. They are aimed at health and social care professionals but the guidance can also be used by other professionals who may come into contact with people who lack mental capacity, independent advocates, deputies, family, friends or carers.

The guidelines apply to a range of decisions, from financial matters, day to day living and care. It also includes various recommendations including supporting decision making, best interests decision making, assessing mental capacity, training and support from staff and advance care planning.

How can NICE guidelines help you?

Every effort needs to be made to support people to make decisions when they have the mental capacity to do so and for them to still be the centre of the decision making process when they don’t have the mental capacity to do so, in which case a bests interest decision should be made on their behalf.

The guidelines contain a summary of key points and helpful reminders. The guidelines support the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and its Code of Practice which should be read alongside. They do not cover Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards processes.

What is supported decision making and how do you do it?

Section 1(3) of the Mental Capacity Act sets out that “a person is not to be treated as unable to make a decision unless all practicable steps to help him to so have been taken without success.”

Supporting decision making requires collaboration and trust – you need to understand what is involved in a particular decision, what aspects of the decision making a person may need support with and why. This may involve helping a person with their memory or communication or helping them understand and weigh up the information relevant to a decision.

Providing relevant information is essential in all decision making. All practical and appropriate steps must be taken to support others to make a decision for themselves.

A personalised approach must be taken during the decision making process accounting for any reasonable adjustments and the wide range of factors that can have an impact on a person’s ability to make a decision, for example a person’s physical or mental health, their communication needs, the effects of drugs or other substances or cultural or religious factors.

In terms of communication, it might be appropriate to use pictures, objects or illustrations. Find out from people who know the person well what the best form of communication. It is also helpful to know if there is a particular time of day when it is best to communicate with them.

You should involve significant and trust people in line with the person’s preference. If there is no one then it might be appropriate to involve an advocate.

An example of supported decision making

P lacked the mental capacity to manage his own property and affairs and a Professional Deputy was appointed. P was still able to make some decisions with support and wished to purchase his own property.

We encouraged P to research and identify properties of interest and his family and case manager were actively involved in this in order to support P to fully participate and make decisions. Fatigue was an issue for P so property viewings were arranged later in the day as that time suited him best. Notes were taken during the viewings and revisited with P after the viewings so that he could understand and weigh up the information – for example did he want to live near to a noisy main road - in order to make a decision as to his preferred property.

Once P had made his decision, we negotiated with the agents to secure the property for him and dealt with the property purchase.

How can we help?

It’s clear that there is a lot to think about when supporting an individual who lacks the mental capacity to make their own decision or might lack capacity in the future to make a decision.

Our specialist Court of Protection team has a wealth of experience in supporting individuals who lack capacity and their families.

If you have any queries or questions about how to support someone to make their own decisions then please contact our Court of Protection team by email on cop@boyesturner.com.

A level playing field in gaming

For years, like in most digital sectors, there has been a drive to make gaming more inclusive. In-game features like subtitles have had an overwhelmingly positive effect not only for those with hearing impairments, but for all players. Despite this progress, the hand-held controller can still be a barrier.

For many with physical impairments the world can be very isolating. Video games can provide an outlet for them to explore different worlds, interact with new environments and open avenues of social interaction that might otherwise be unachievable. In the digital world their disability becomes non-existent.

The early days

From the early days of video games in the 1980’s, right up to modern consoles, the way people have interacted with them has been through the handheld controller. The early models of the controller were developed for the Nintendo Entertainment System, and this standard has been refined and developed into the ergonomic controllers used on consoles today. There have been occasional deviations from this standard over the years, the Nintendo Wii’s motion controlled ‘Wii motes’ or the three handed controller… I’m looking at you Nintendo 64. But most have maintained the same formula, being developed for the two thumb stick, two index finger user, creating a barrier for those unable to use their hands in this way.

How research has helped

Research by Muscular Dystrophy UK found that 60 per cent of those with disabilities under the age of 24 consider gaming to be their favourite pastime. As Lauren West, manager of Muscular Dystrophy UK’s youth campaign group Trailblazers, explained it’s an area where “there’s increasingly limited care hours… [so] games provide a good opportunity to interact socially” but that “the industry hasn’t been hugely supportive” in providing accessibility technology. Microsoft has sought to change that and has partnered with a number of US charities including the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, The AbleGamers Foundation and SpecialEffects to design and develop a new style of controller that aims to remove these barriers.

The result

What came from that research is the Xbox Adaptive Controller which is specifically designed to make gaming more accessible to people with disabilities.

Three years in development, the Adaptive controller acts as a hub for a range of external devices such as track pads, joysticks and switches so that the controller can adapt to the unique needs of disabled gamers trying to enjoy a game. What’s more, the Adaptive controller has multiple input standards, from 3.5mm jack to USB 2 and Bluetooth for these external devices. A lot of people with physical impairments already have a range of similar devices for interaction or physiotherapy, the Adaptive controller can handle the inputs of these devices eliminating the need to buy a whole host of new equipment, you just unplug the switch from whatever device it was attached to and plug it into the Adaptive Controller. The controller also supports button customisation to enhance its adaptability to the play style of the individual user. Combined with Xbox’s efforts to enable play between the Xbox console and PC’s, the controller can work on both, adding to its versatility.

How equipment can be adapted

Thought has been put into how the controller can be mounted. Through its research, Microsoft discovered that gamers would mount their controllers with Velcro, so they added Velcro loops to the back for ease of securing. They also worked with third-party equipment manufacturers to ensure that mounting equipment for wheelchairs was compatible with the design. Even the packaging for the Adaptive controller, often an overlooked aspect, was designed so that it was accessible. Disabilities shouldn't prevent you from being able to enjoy the simple pleasures of opening your new controller.

Building on the in-game accessibility already included by game developers, Microsoft’s release of the Adaptive Controller is sending out a clear message; People with physical impairments can enjoy all the benefits the gaming world offers; and that this level of inclusivity will benefit the gaming community as a whole and put everyone on a level playing field.

For more information on how we help our clients get assitive technology to enhance their quality of life and how we can help with other Court of Protection issues please contact our Court of Protection team by email on cop@boyesturner.com

Can an office holder act as a Deputy?

The recent case of Re SH [2018] EWCOP 21 answers the question as to whether the Court can or should appoint as Deputy the holder of a specified office or position rather than a named individual.

Background

An application was made by the current holder of the post for the appointment of “The Head of Business Development & Client Finance” of Focus Independent Adult Social Work C.I.C. rather than a named person as property and affairs Deputy for “SH”.

SH was 71 years old and lacked the capacity to manage her own property and affairs. SH had modest assets.

The September 2018 hearing considering the following:

  1. Whether the Court can, or should, appoint as Deputy the holder of a specified office or position (as distinct from a named individual holding such office at the time of the appointment);
  2. If such appointment is made, the effect of any change to the holder of the office on the Deputyship; and
  3. If the Court is minded to appoint the applicant as property and affairs Deputy for SH, whether there should be any specific requirements in the order of appointment in respect of notification to the Court and/or the Office of the Public Guardian of any change to the holder of the office of Head of Business Development and Client Finance at the applicant company.

At the hearing additional background issues were also addressed. Namely:

  1. Whether acting as property and affairs Deputy is within the powers of Focus Independent Adult Social Work C.I.C.; and
  2. The extent of the professional indemnity insurance cover held by Focus Independent Adult Social Work C.I.C. and the Court’s approach to the application in light of any limitations.

The Office of the Public Guardian objected to an appointment of the Head of Business Development & Client Finance without specifying the name of the individual holding such post at the time of the appointment. This was based on concerns that the person initially selected may leave and his/her replacement may not be suitable.

The appointment of a Deputy is a ‘best interest’ decision for the Court – a generic role would deprive the Court of that decision if or when the postholder left. Whilst this could be overcome by returning to the Court if the postholder ceases to hold office, this would have a financial impact to the individual the application concerns.

The Court’s decision

Having considered all of the information available, the Court was satisfied that Focus Independent Adult Social Work C.I.C. was a suitable organisation and that the current holder of the office of Head of Business Development & Client Finance was a suitable person to be appointed as property and affairs Deputy for SH.

The appointment of an office holder continues with successive holders of the office. The Deputyship order specified that the holder of the office of Head of Business Development & Client Finance at the date of appointment was to notify the Office of the Public Guardian if they ceased to hold that post and/or if there is any change to the ability of Focus Independent Adult Social Work C.I.C. to carry out the functions of a Deputyship.

The Court was not satisfied that sufficient professional indemnity insurance cover was in place and a security requirement of £10,000 was set having in mind SH’s known assets, the nature of potential risk and the absence of alternative protection.

Do we still need professional Deputies?

Now we know that the Court is willing to appoint as Deputy the holder of a specified office or position rather than a named individual, as long as certain conditions are met, the question may be asked by some as to whether a professional Deputy is still worth it.

Whilst it is a true that you are not required by law to have a professional Deputy, no two cases are the same and sometimes there is no one willing to be Deputy or able to do it.

If an individual has been injured and is making or has made a personal injury claim for compensation then there is a strong case for having a professional Deputy. In fact, the Court is likely to insist on a professional Deputy where there is or is likely to be substantial assets. The Court wants to be satisfied that money will be managed properly and that decisions are made in the individual’s best interests.

The role of Deputy can be onerous and involve dealing with complicated matters. A good professional Deputy will work with you to make life easier. Professional Deputies are experienced in handing large sums of money and dealing with the complex and often sensitive issues that arise from sustaining an injury which limits a persons capacity, for example purchasing and adapting a property and putting in place a care team, both during the claim and in the years that follow.

For more information on professional deputyship and how we can help please contact our Court of Protection team by email on cop@boyesturner.com

Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill Part 2

In the second part of this series we explore the current status of the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Act Bill. We look at how the proposed changes would reform the legal arrangements surrounding those who lack capacity, ensuring that such arrangements do not amount to a “Deprivation of Liberty”.

What is the current status of the Bill?

The first and second readings of the Bill took place in the House of Lords in July 2018. During the readings the Bill was criticised by the House of Lords, the Lords were concerned that many of the recommendations from the Law Commissions’ Report in 2017 were missing from the Bill.

The Bill then went through the Committee stage of the House of Lords and on 22 October 2018 the 3rd sitting took place. Many amendments were debated by the Lords but, following the address by Lord O’Shaughnessy, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, they were withdrawn.

The next stage of the Bill will take place on 21 November 2018 when the Bill will go through the Report stage in the House of Lords.

Whilst no changes have been made to the Bill it is accepted that there will be amendments proposed at the Report stage by both the House of Lords and the Government.

What issues did the Lords raise?

Some of the questions raised by the Lords include:

  • Why the new safeguards only applied to those who are 18 or over.
  • There being no statutory definition of the term “deprivation of liberty” within the proposed legislation.
  • The burden on Care Home managers and concerns as to whether there would be a conflict of interest in them carrying out the assessments and pre-authorisation reviews.
  • The Code of Practice and how it will be implemented.
  • The assessment procedures.
  • The reliance on previous medical and capacity assessments whilst reducing duplication.
  • Training and how this could be facilitated.
  • The role of the Approved Mental Capacity Practitioner.
  • The need for wishes and feelings to be obtained and considered as part of the liberty protection safeguards process.
  • Consultation with others, particularly family members and carers.
  • Independence in the system.
  • The renewals procedure, particularly where there has been a change in circumstances and the existing authorisation ceases to have effect.
  • The use of the term “unsound mind” which is widely considered to be stigmatising and inappropriate.

Lord O’Shaughnessy set out a number of responses to the amendments made by the peers in a lengthy speech. He has indicated an intention to make a number of changes to the Bill. He announced that amendments to the Bill will be made including:

  1. Extending the scheme to 16 and 17 year olds - This is currently a grey area as in November 2017, LJ Munby giving the leading judgment in the Court of Appeal held that where a child over 16 lacks capacity to make the relevant decisions for themselves the consent of someone with parental responsibility is sufficient to mean there is no “Deprivation of Liberty” that needs authorisation, even if the other elements are satisfied. The Supreme Court decision on this issue which was heard in October and is awaiting judgment.
  2. Replacing the term “unsound mind” with a new definition - There are concerns that the new language may create a gap but Lord O’Shaughnessy was confident that work could be done to prevent any ambiguity when drafting the new language.
  3. Introducing a requirement to consult with the relevant person as well as others nominated by the person and consider their wishes and feelings obtained in that process.
  4. Defining the term “Deprivation of Liberty”.
  5. Implementing a procedure for safeguards to be justified where there is a risk of harm to others.
  6. Ensuring independence by confirming that care home managers will not carry out three core assessments, instead they must be commissioned or previous assessments relied upon.
  7. Preventing any conflict of interest in the pre-authorisation reviews which must only be carried out by the responsible body.
  8. Expanding the code of practice to ensure that certain cases are referred to an Approved Mental Capacity Professional.

Lord O’Shaughnessy stated:

“I hope that in responding to these amendments I will be able to show further that we are taking a positive and constructive view on improving the Bill, making sure not that it removes rights but quite the opposite—that it provides access to liberty-protection safeguards for people who do not currently enjoy them.”

The joint (Commons and Lords) Committee on Human Rights published on 26 October its report on the Bill addressing the need for a definition of the term “Deprivation of Liberty” and their concerns regarding the potential conflicts of interest for care home managers. This signifies a real commitment to change and is an important step in this process.

There are still many outstanding issues with the Bill in its current form. Some critics have labelled it “unworkable” and lacking in clarity. Some have even suggested that the Government should go back to the drawing board and start again using the Law Commissions Report as a basis.

The next stage of the Bill will be crucial to its progression and ensuring that sufficient safeguards are in place for the vulnerable adults to whom this legislation is designed to protect.

What about those who are deprived of their liberty now?

The existing “Deprivation of Liberty” safeguards under Schedule A1 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 will remain in force.

How can we help?

If you have any concerns queries regarding the care arrangements of a person you may know then contact our specialist team for confidential and friend expert help and advice.

At Boyes Turner, our community care and court of protection teams are experienced in supporting individuals who lack capacity and their families through the legal, administrative and practical challenges that arise in relation to their care and residential arrangements.

Our legal experts provide our clients with a range of support, depending on the individual’s needs, from background legal advice and support in achieving appropriate levels of social care to managing local authority and ombudsman complaints or representing the individual and their family in judicial review proceedings.

By ensuring that you understand the system and know your rights, we can help you obtain the right social care and support for your family member.

Contact us at cop@boyesturner.com or telephone the team on 0118 952 7219.

All #AGloHa for Child Brain Injury Trust

Over the last week, the staff at Boyes Turner Solicitors have been supporting #GloWeek and raising funds in support of the Child Brain Injury Trust. 

As the autumnal evenings draw in, the Child Brain Injury Trust (CBIT) work to highlight the message; “Be seen not hurt”

It is important to educate primary school age children across the UK about the need to stay safe on the roads, given that they will be making their way to and from school in darker conditions at this time of year. 

On Tuesday last week staff, friends and family took part in a #GloZumba event donning fluorescent clothing, fluorescent face paint and waving glow sticks whilst completing an hour-long fitness session. We would like to thank Vodka Revolution for providing a venue for the event, and our fitness instructor from Buzz Gyms for donating her time and giving us a great workout to some very Latin beats! 

On Thursday, solicitors from Boyes Turner’s medical negligence and personal injury claims teams, together with Partner, Laxmi Patel, and her colleague, Janata Ali, from the Special Educational Needs Team attended the #AGloHa event organised by @CBIT to raise funds to help children and families affected by brain injury.

The Child Brain Injury Trust provides invaluable help for parents and families of those affected by an acquired brain injury. They offer a child and family support service, as well as advice and information and online referrals to other organisations that can help support those affected by a brain injury.

Boyes Turner’s brain injury solicitors know that when a childhood brain injury strikes, the whole family is affected, as their entire way of life is irrevocably altered. The road to recovery can seem like a long and bumpy journey.

Boyes Turner are proud to participate in the Child Brain Injury Trust’s efforts to help brain- injured children and their families access invaluable advice and support at what is, for everybody in the affected family, a very difficult time.   

To read more about the work that Boyes Turner specialist solicitors do to help those with a brain injury please click here.

60 seconds with Fran Rothwell: What to expect when you call us with a medical negligence enquiry

After suffering a serious injury from inadequate medical care, the thought of contacting a solicitor to discuss a medical negligence claim can be daunting. At Boyes Turner we understand that you will have many questions about the process and prospects of success, which is why we have a team of qualified, experienced solicitors on hand to take your first call and to guide you through those important first steps.

We asked one of our solicitors, Fran Rothwell, to answer some of our new clients’ FAQs:

  • What information do you need to advise me whether I have a medical negligence case?

It is important for me to have a really clear and detailed account of what has happened. It helps to know why you are concerned about your treatment, how you have been injured and whether your condition is likely to be permanent.

It is also useful to have the relevant dates and the names of the treatment providers. I do appreciate, however, that you are not necessarily going to remember everything - exact dates, for example - especially if treatment has been carried out over a long period of time. In these cases, as long as I can obtain a general outline of the key events, concerns and dates, then that is sufficient for me to advise whether further investigation is needed.

The first call is very much a conversation back and forth and so you should not be worried at that stage if you can’t remember all of the information.

  • Do I need to make a complaint to the hospital and have my medical records before seeking advice?

No, this is not vital. In fact, most people come to us for advice before making a complaint. However, if a complaint or hospital investigation has already taken place, you should let us know, even if you disagree with the outcome, as it can provide valuable information.

If we accept a case then we can request the medical records on your behalf but, again, if you already have the records, please let us know when you call.

  • What happens next and how long does it take?

I will often be able to advise there and then whether we can take your enquiry forward.

Alternatively, if you do have additional information which I think will be helpful, such as, complaint correspondence or medical records, then it is often helpful for me to review the documentation with the medical negligence partners to establish whether you have a claim that we can help you with and call you back.

  • What determines whether a medical negligence case can succeed?

In order to bring a successful medical negligence claim there are two legal tests which need to be proved. Firstly, there must have been a breach of duty of care; this means that the medical treatment you received fell below an acceptable standard of care as viewed by a medical professional in the same field. Secondly, we must prove causation; this means that the breach of duty caused your injury. If I believe that we can prove both of these, I will then also need to consider the likely value of the claim. I will also need to ensure that we have enough time to thoroughly investigate your claim in line with the legal time limits.

  • What are the legal time limits?

Generally the time limit for a medical negligence claim is three years from the date of negligence. There are, however, notable exceptions. For example, in cases involving children who are under the age of 18 at the time they receive the treatment, the three year time limit starts to run on their 18th birthday and so will end on their 21st birthday. The time limit may also be extended for those who through mental incapacity cannot manage their own affairs.

  • Will I be charged for the initial call?

No.

  • If you accept my case, how will your fees be paid?

I will ask you to check whether you have legal expenses insurance, which is legal cover often provided as part of an insurance policy you will already have taken out for something else, such as home insurance. If the cover was in place at the time of the treatment and includes legal costs of a medical negligence claim then I can contact your insurer to find out whether Boyes Turner can work with them under the terms of your policy.

If you do not have legal expenses insurance then an alternative option is a conditional fee agreement, more commonly known as a ‘no win no fee’ agreement. This means that unless you win, there is no charge to you. If you are successful, then some of the costs involved to investigate your case will be deducted from your compensation.

If you are calling on behalf of a child or adult who has suffered a neurological injury resulting in a severe disability which happened either during the pregnancy, during their birth or the first eight weeks of life, then I will look into whether the case is eligible for public funding and we will make an application for Legal Aid.   

If you or a member of your family have suffered serious disability as a result of medical negligence, contact us by email at claimsadvice@boyesturner.com.

Valuing an amputation claim - prosthetic provision

At Boyes Turner, we understand that you cannot put a price on the loss of a limb. However, as experts in medical negligence and personal injury amputation claims, we also understand that it is imperative that any award of compensation fully takes into account the cost of the amputee’s current and future prosthetic needs.

How are personal injury damages calculated?

Under English Law, there are two main elements which make up the value of a personal injury compensation award. The first part of the compensation reflects pain, suffering and loss of amenity experienced by the injured person as a result of the defendant’s negligence, and is known as ‘general damages’. These awards generally follow set guidelines and are based on what the court has previously ruled as an appropriate level of compensation for that particular injury. The second part of the compensation reflects the individual’s additional past and future needs and financial losses arising from the negligence, set out as ‘heads of damage’ such as the cost of care, adapted housing and loss of earnings.

Can I claim for a bespoke prosthesis?

One category of damage that is unique to amputation claims is the cost of prosthetic (artificial) limbs. The NHS provides basic prosthetics for those who have suffered limb loss, however the law accepts that the amputee claimant is entitled to recover the reasonable cost of a bespoke prosthesis. Privately funded prosthetics come in a wider range than the NHS is able to provide and can be tailored to the individual’s particular pre-accident interests, including aquatic and sporting limbs. Finding the right prosthesis, which often means a privately funded prosthesis, can make a huge difference to the amputee’s independence and mobility, enabling them to return to work and sporting activities that would not otherwise be possible.

Each step of the process of choosing, fitting and ultimately using a bespoke prosthesis has associated costs which we can include and recover in our clients’ claims, so long as these are reasonable.

Where liability for the injury has been established, we can obtain interim payments to help meet the amputee’s urgent needs and to get their rehabilitation and trial of prosthetics underway as soon as possible, restoring independence, mobility and self-esteem, without them having to wait until the conclusion of the claim.

The sooner we are involved in our client’s journey towards restored mobility, the more thoroughly we can assess their needs and support them through the prosthetics process. Having established that the prosthetic trial has been a success and meets our client’s needs, we can then ensure that provision for ongoing costs, such as for servicing and renewal/replacement is included in the final settlement of the claim.

We also recognise, however, that no matter how good the prosthesis, there will be times when the individual will need additional mobility support. A claim for prosthetic limbs does not replace the claim for additional adapted vehicles and other mobility aids. We work with our medical experts to ensure that our clients’ needs for specialist equipment, such as wheelchairs, now and in the future, are also included in the claim.

If you have suffered amputation as a result of medical negligence or a traumatic injury caused by someone else, contact us by email at claimsadvice@boyesturner.com.

Child Brain Injury Training Day

On Friday 12 October we at Boyes Turner were delighted to welcome case managers, therapists and many others who work with brain-injured children to our Child Brain Injury Training Day. 

The aim of the day was to highlight the issues a child with a brain injury can face but with an emphasis on the wider impact this can have on the family.

We hosted a number of wonderful speakers including: 

  • Sharmin Campbell - Director, Celsior Management - spoke about Care and Case Management reports - the legal perspective
  • Lindsay Oliver - SLT, Independent Living Solutions - gave a 30 minute guide to Speech and Language Therapy with Children with Brain Injuries
  • Marc Beale - Director, Malvern Solutions Ltd - spoke about how assistive technology can help increase independence for brain injured children and their families
  •  Joanne Foster & Kate Correal - Case Managers, North Star Case Management - gave us an insight into case management on the ground
  • Cheryl Newton - Consultant Paediatric Neuropsychologist - spoke about the invisible injury of children with brain injuries 

We are grateful to all who attended the day and hope the programme offered food for thought for all.

As part of the programme we were delighted to welcome Louise Wilkinson and Lucy Perkins from CBIT (Child Brain Injury Trust). This fantastic charity work closely with the injured child and their family, providing support and information, helping to access appropriate services and educating schools about their role in the rehabilitation process for a brain injured child.

The charity has regional family liaison and support coordinators all over the country who can help and support injured children and ensure as far as possible their needs are met. Lucy is the Thames Valley Coordinator and we were delighted she could join us to talk about the focus of her work with local families.

We are focused on providing treatment, care, and support to brain-injured children and their families but not all families will have the financial support of a claim and therefore CBIT coordinators play a vital role in trying to plug this gap and signpost children and families to local services.

We look forward to working with CBIT in the future and will be signposting clients to them for help where extra support is needed.

Our next fund raising event for the charity will be a GloZumba event held locally to raise awareness about their latest child safety campaign. Be safe. Be seen.

If you would like to support the event or join us please contact Claire Roantree for more information. 

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The service was personal, professional and considered. I was treated so kindly and in the end I knew that not only had I found the right organisation but also the right person.

Boyes Turner client

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