THE JUDGE, THE EXPERT, CAUSATION AND DAMAGES: THE APPROPRIATE APPROACH WHEN THE DEFENDANT HAS MADE A BAD SITUATION WORSE

Civil Litigation Brief

The decision of Foskett J in Beaney -v- University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust [2014] EWHC 2016 (QB) contains important observations on the role of the judge and the expert in assessing damages for care. It also contains a careful consideration of the principles that apply when a defendant has made someone with serious symptoms worse. Whilst it is obviously essential reading for personal injury and clinical negligence lawyers some of the observations in relation to assessing damages when there is a pre-existing problem and the role of judge are of greater significance.

THE ISSUES

The claimant suffered from transverse myelitis  a condition which rendered her paralysed below the mid-thoracic level, she had no feeling below that level and no control over her bladder or bowels.  During a stay in hospital she developed a number of deep pressure sores with consequent infection of bone marrow; contractures of her legs…

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