Nursing negligence claims

Most medical negligence claims can be dealt with on a no win no fee basis.

If your claim is unsuccessful, there is no financial risk to you as all your legal fees will be covered (Subject to entering into and complying with the terms of a No Win No Fee Agreement and taking out and complying with the terms of an After The Event insurance policy, when appropriate).

Nursing claims

Nurses are an essential part of the NHS. The vast majority of nursing care provided within the NHS is of a good standard but, regrettably, sometimes mistakes are made. Examples of mistakes include:

  • failure to perform assessments
  • failure to prepare appropriate care plan
  • failure to follow care plan
  • failure to monitor
  • medical errors
  • prescription drug dispensing errors
  • misuse of equipment
  • signing death certificates
  • failure to escalate concerns to more senior staff

Where nursing errors are made this can have a life-changing impact on a patient. Making a medical negligence claim enables the patient to pursue an appropriate amount of compensation, which in many cases includes rehabilitation support and adaptations to home and work environments.

If you feel that you or a member of your family suffered an avoidable injury or poorer medical outcome which was caused by a nursing mistake, please call our Medical Negligence Solicitors for free legal advice; if only to put your mind at rest.

A specialist Medical Negligence Solicitor at Co-op Legal Services will listen to the information you provide and give you initial legal advice, free of charge.

To book a free initial consultation with a Medical Negligence Solicitor please call 0330 606 9673 or contact us online and we will call you.

As part of every medical negligence claim that we take on, a Medical Negligence Solicitor will investigate the standard of care provided to you by reviewing your medical records and, if necessary, obtaining advice from an independent nursing expert.

If the investigation into your claim concludes that a nursing mistake has caused an avoidable injury or outcome which was caused by a nursing mistake, your Medical Negligence Solicitor will share the findings with NHS Resolution, the NHS Authority that manages compensation claims on behalf of the NHS.

Once NHS Resolution agrees that the nursing care provided had fallen below the reasonable standard, we will work with NHS Resolution to agree the effect of the nursing mistake on the patient’s eventual outcome and the appropriate amount of compensation to be awarded.

If the other side deny liability (fault) for the mistake or negligence your Medical Negligence Solicitor can start litigation to secure compensation, rehabilitation support, future care needs and loss of earnings. Most of our claims settle out of Court, so in most cases it would not be necessary to go to Court.

Nursing negligence case examples

The two nursing negligence cases below (not dealt with by Co-op Legal Services but reported in a legal database*) demonstrate how Medical Negligence Solicitors can work to secure compensation and rehabilitation support.

The case of Mr W

Mr W was a previously fit and healthy 75 year old. He and his wife, Mrs W, were the sole directors of their own company.

On 11 June 2011, Mr W fell onto his left hip whilst out walking his dogs. By 13 June 2011, he started complaining that he was having some difficulty walking and that his hip was painful.

Mrs W thought it was best to take Mr W to the local Accident and Emergency Department. An x-ray was performed but this did not reveal anything concerning so a CT scan was arranged. The scan revealed that he had suffered a left hip fracture and he was admitted to an Orthopaedic Ward that afternoon. He was put into a bed on the ward.

Mrs W visited Mr W on 14, 15 and 16 June 2011. She noted that Mr W was always in his bed. During this period Mr W was given medication to reduce the risk of blood clotting (2,500 units of Dalteparin). He received his first dose of Dalteparin on the evening of 14 June; 28 hours after he was admitted to the Orthopaedic Ward and placed in his bed.

On 16 June 2011, Mr W was reviewed by an Orthopaedic SHO who undertook an assessment to find out Mr W’s risk of developing a blood clot (a Venous Thromboembolism Risk Assessment). The Risk Assessment identified that Mr W was at high risk of thrombosis as:

  1. He was over 60 years of age
  2. He required treatment for a hip fracture
  3. He had significant reduced mobility for three days or more

On the morning of 17 June 2011, Mr W was noted to be unresponsive. The Crash Team was called and CPR was commenced. He was given adrenaline and was intubated but he never regained consciousness. He sadly died shortly after.

A post mortem examination confirmed that the primary cause of death was Pulmonary Embolism (a blockage in the blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the lungs), as a consequence of Deep Vein Thrombosis caused by pelvic trauma fractures. Mr W was survived by Mrs W (aged 66 years) and two adult children from a previous marriage.

Mrs W instructed Medical Negligence Solicitors who started an investigation into the standard of care received by Mr W. The investigation revealed that there had been failings in relation to the performance of adequate risk assessments of the risk of blood clots and in providing adequate prophylaxis. The investigation concluded that the failings in nursing care had resulted in Mr W’s death.

Following the investigation, Mrs W’s Solicitors shared the evidence with NHS Resolution. NHS Resolution, on behalf of the Hospital Trust, considered the evidence and ultimately agreed that Mr W had been provided with substandard care which resulted in his death.

Compensation awarded

Mr W’s Solicitors worked with NHS Resolution to agree an appropriate amount of compensation. In total, £550,000 was paid in medical negligence compensation. The total figure is estimated to have consisted of the following amounts:

  • general Damages £1,000
  • bereavement Damages £12,099
  • funeral Expenses £3,471
  • grant of Probate £979
  • past loss of Income dependency £200,000
  • past loss of Service dependency £15,000
  • loss of love and affection £7,500
  • loss of proceeds of sale of business £140,000
  • future loss of Income dependency £140,000
  • future loss of Services dependency £30,000

The case of Mrs K

Mrs K was 68 years old. She had a significant history of issues with her left foot. By mid-2008 her foot was numb and she had developed significant foot drop; a difficulty lifting the front part of her foot. On 7 May 2008 she was admitted to hospital for planned surgery to assist with her foot drop symptoms.

On 12 May 2008 the surgery took place. Following the surgery, Mrs K remained an inpatient and was fitted with an orthotic splint. Following application of the splint, she complained about pain and discomfort but no action was taken by the hospital staff. She developed bruising to the underside of her left foot which was noted by the nursing staff but no action was taken for 2 days when Mrs K was eventually seen by a tissue viability nurse. However, in the meantime, the bruising had become worse and developed into a pressure sore/ulcer.

On 16 July 2008 Mrs K underwent a left below-knee amputation.

As a result of the amputation, Mrs K suffered substantial mobility restrictions. An attempt was made to fit a below the knee prosthesis but she developed phantom limb pain and neuropathic pain in the stump and was therefore unable to make use of a prosthetic limb. As a result she became a wheelchair user, requiring extensive and ongoing care. She also required occupational therapy interventions as well as structural alterations to her home.

Mrs K instructed Medical Negligence Solicitors to investigate whether the standard of nursing care she had received was acceptable. The investigation concluded that the pressure sore had been caused by the application of and subsequent failure to adequately manage the splint. Specifically, a failure to carry out appropriate risk assessments in relation to pressure area assessment, a failure to implement appropriate care plans and an unacceptable delay in obtaining advice from a tissue viability nurse.

Compensation awarded

Following the investigation, Mrs K’s Solicitors shared the findings of their investigation with NHS Resolution. Unfortunately, on this occasion, NHS Resolution disagreed with Mrs K’s Solicitors’ findings and the matter proceeded to a trial. However, on the 1st day of the trial the parties worked together to agree settlement of the medical negligence claim for £92,715 in compensation saving the time and expense of the rest of the trial.

* Cases reported in the Personal Injuries Quantum Database of LexisNexis.

About Co-op Legal Services

As part of the largest Co-operative organisation in the UK, Co-op Legal Services works to ensure that our clients receive the best legal advice and support services available from our teams of personal injury and clinical negligence solicitors, legal executives and staff.

We are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and several of our Personal Injury Solicitors are members of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).

Co-op Legal Services has over 600 staff working in different businesses with offices in Manchester, Bristol, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sheffield and London.