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Falls and

Handling Errors

Have you received negligent care?

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    The experts in Medical Negligence

    Oakwood Solicitors Ltd’s specialist Medical Negligence department has an in-house team of Solicitors and legal professionals dedicated solely to this area of law. With decades of combined experience, we are dedicated in assisting clients who have suffered physically, mentally and financially as a result of negligent medical treatment.

    Our specialist team pursues an array of medical negligence claims ranging from prescription errors and misdiagnosis, to complex birthing injury and spinal claims and everything else in between.

    'Fall risks' and risk assessments

    Care Homes are a very difficult and expensive decision most families will have to make at some point in their lives. Many will search for a while to find the right Care Home for their loved one.

    Paying specifically for the care received can mean it often feels more of a wrongdoing when the patient is injured, especially when it could have been avoided if the proper care and attention was given.

    Many old people enter Care Homes as they become what is known as a ‘fall risk’. Meaning, it is likely that this person will fall over whilst mobilising throughout the day. Because of this risk, they need to be kept an eye on so as not to be constantly injuring themselves.

    In many instances where a fall occurs, the nurses/carers should have done more to prevent the fall, and therefore prevent any subsequent pain and suffering the patient endures.

    It is important to note that to bring a negligence claim, there has to be some injury caused. It is not sufficient for just a fall to take place.

    When a patient is admitted to a Care Home, a risk assessment needs to be carried out to assess their needs. In this risk assessment it would become apparent which measures need to be put in place to offer the patient the safest stay possible.

    How might the risk of a fall be lessened?

    A patient who is prone to falling may need:

    • Bed rails on the side of their bed
    • Alarms when they are getting out of bed
    • Assistance getting between sitting points within the home
    • Zimmer frames
    • Shoes that help with stability
    • 24hr monitoring of their activities in more extreme cases.

    A failure to meet one of these needs, which later results in a fall and subsequent injury, is negligent on the care homes behalf. They have a duty of care to attend to the patients in a manner which prevents them coming to harm.

    The same may apply in cases where the patient is not a known fall risk, for example if the patient slips on a wet surface that is unmarked, or over unstable or uneven flooring. This too could constitute a negligence claim.

    What is a 'handling error'?

    Handling errors, although often resulting in the same type of injuries (bruises, broken bones, cuts), is different to slipping and falling. Handling errors are usually cut and dry as a certain piece of a equipment has been used incorrectly, or a certain technique has not been done sufficiently resulting in negligence.

    A common handling error is dropping a patient whilst they are being moved in a hoist. Hoists are designed to easily hold the weight of a person and manoeuvre them to the required position. Therefore, dropping a patient in the hoist will more than likely be due to user error, and if it causes injury, is therefore negligent.

    Who can bring about a claim?

    The victim of the negligence can bring about a claim in their own right. However, it is often sadly the case that the victim is either unable to bring about a claim or has sadly passed.

    In such circumstances a claim can be brought about on their behalf either by an appropriate person, litigation friend if the victim is still with us, or by the executor of the estate of surviving dependant if the victim has passed.

    Our specialist team will be able to discuss whether you have a right to bring about a claim so if you or a loved one has been affected, do not hesitate to contact us.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How do I make a claim?

    If you feel that your treatment has been negligent, then you may be entitled to bring about a claim.

    The team at Oakwood Solicitors will be able to give you free advice on the prospects of your case and whether you would be eligible to make a claim.

    How long do I have to claim?

    Claims of this nature are subject to a three year limitation period. This means that claims have to be commenced within the Courts in three years of rather the date the negligent act occurred, or the date you became aware that negligence had occurred.

    In cases involving deceased victims this limitation period commences from the date of death and in cases involving minors, the limitation period starts when they reach their 18th Birthday.

    The law surrounding limitation periods is complex. Our specialist team will be able to advise further.

    How long will my case take to run?

    Given the complexities involved in pursuing Clinical Negligence claims, they can often take 18-24 months to conclude and longer if Court proceedings have to be issued.

    Our investigations start by obtaining all relevant records and protocols before approaching independent medical experts for their opinion. We will provide you with regular updated on the progress of your case to ensure that you are kept up to speed.

    How much is my claim worth?

    It is often difficult to value clinical negligence claims at their outset given the complexities involved. However, we will pursue two forms of compensation for you:

    • General damages – This is an award of money for the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of the negligence.
    • Special damages – An award of money for all of your out of pocket expenses such as travel expenses, medication costs, loss of earnings, treatment costs both past and future. This list is not exhaustive and is very case specific.

    How is my case funded?

    The majority of Clinical Negligence cases are funded by a Conditional Fee Agreement, more commonly known as a “no win no fee” agreement. This means that there will be nothing to pay up front and nothing to pay if the claim has been lost.

    If you are successful in your claim a deduction of 25% of damages will be taken to cover the success fee and the shortfall in legal fees.

    It may also be the case that an After The Event (ATE) insurance policy will be obtained to cover the costs of expensive medical reports and investigations. If an ATE insurance policy has to be obtained the cost of the same will be discussed with you at the appropriate point.

    The cost of the ATE insurance policy is again taken from your damages and only payable if you are successful with your claim.

    Why use Oakwood Solicitors to make your Clinical Negligence case?

    We have a dedicated team of solicitors and paralegals who have many years’ experience between them in running cases of this nature. They are highly trained to deal with all aspects of clinical negligence.

    We want to ensure at Oakwood Solicitors that clients are not overwhelmed by legal jargon, medical terms that they don’t understand and to allow the claims procedure to be as transparent as possible.

    For some examples of successful cases and claim amounts awarded, read the case studies featured here.

    What do I do now?

    If any of the above has happened to you or your loved ones, then please get in contact with our clinical negligence team who will lend an ear to your problems and see if we can help:

    Carol Cook
    Carol Cook — Head of Department

    Carol Cook joined Oakwood Solicitors in May 2017 to lead the Medical Negligence department. She handles a wide range of Clinical and Dental Negligence claims and has a specialist interest in Birth Injuries.

    Carol has years of experience in handling complex clinical and Dental Negligence claims securing substantial amounts of damages for her clients. Carol studied her law degree (LLB honours) at Salford University.

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