Lawyers Secure Rule Change After Helping Brain Injury Victim Secure Long-Term Support

Six-Figure Settlement After Doctors Failed To Properly Assess Condition

29.04.2015

Specialist medical lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have secured a change to the rules used in civil cases in England and Wales after helping a woman left with a severe brain injury secure a six-figure settlement to support her for the rest of her life after doctors failed to assess her condition correctly.

Irwin Mitchell’s Medical Law and Patients’ Rights team represented a client, who cannot be named, left permanently disabled when she fell into a coma less than 24 hours after being discharged by doctors at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton following a fall in the street.

Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust admitted that it failed to admit the woman for observation after the fall and made a settlement offer on July 3rd last year.  However, complications arose when the Trust attempted to withdraw their offer on July 23rd – on the same day that Irwin Mitchell lawyers accepted the settlement.  The Trust then made a ‘secret’ application to court to withdraw its offer on 24th July without explaining why to Irwin Mitchell or its client.

The Royal Courts Of Justice subsequently ruled against the offer being withdrawn, stating that the other party involved in such a case should be informed of the reasons behind the proposed withdrawal before such a request goes to court.  The Defendant then lodged an Appeal against this decision which was subsequently discontinued.

The ruling led to a change in Civil Procedure Rules in April, which means the court may give permission for an original offer to be withdrawn or its terms changed only if satisfied that there has been a change of circumstances since the making of the original offer, as well as if it is “in the interests of justice” to give permission.

Expert Opinion
"The proceedings in this matter were unduly protracted due to the Defendant’s attempt to withdraw a Part 36 offer after it was accepted.

"There were a total of six court hearings relating to the Part 36 offer and the issue of whether the Defendant should have been permitted to withdraw, with this ultimately meaning that our client faced a long delay in finally securing this vital financial support.

"While nothing will change the catastrophic, life-changing injuries that our client has suffered, this settlement will ensure she is able to access the long-term care and support she will need to get the best from life.

"We are delighted to have helped her secure this, but are also happy that the outcome of this case has provided important clarity on the procedures that must be following in civil cases when it comes to the withdrawal of Part 36 offers.

"It is hugely important that those taking civil action are kept comprehensively up-to-date on all actions taken by the Defendant, with the Defence also recognising that an offer can only be withdrawn if there is sufficient reason to do so."
Rosalie Reading, Associate

Our serious injury solicitors could help you claim compensation if you have suffered a serious head or brain injury as the result of an accident. See our Brain & Head Injury Compensation Claims page for more information.