If you are reading this, then the chances are that you believe you have a clinical negligence claim.
Prior to assessing your case, Tollers will always ask potential clients to make a formal complaint to the hospital, GP or treating clinician, if they are unhappy with their care or treatment.
Making a complaint can seem like a daunting process, but Tollers are here to guide you through it. Here is a helpful guide to making a complaint. The first port of call is usually PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) or a Practice Manager at GP surgery.
However, If you are unsure where to send your complaint, then speak to our clinical negligence team, who can point you in the right direction.
- Explain where the treatment took place. If the treatment took place in a hospital, you should list the departments and/or wards where you were seen.
- State the date or the dates of the treatment or the date of the incident, or when you first became aware that something had gone wrong.
3: Details as to what happened and a timeline of events:
- You should include as much information as possible as to what happened. If you are unhappy with a course of treatment or sequence of events, you should explain things in date order.
- Try to remember the names of people that you saw, as well as their position within the Trust.
4: Your complaint:
- You should explain why you are unhappy with your treatment.
- If you have since been told that your treatment was incorrect, detail who has told you this.
- Include copies of any relevant documents that you hold
- You should then include a list of questions that you would like answered.
- This will be individual to each particular case, however, it is your opportunity to ask the questions that you would like answered.
- For example, if your treatment relates to failing to X-Ray your arm which you later found out was broken, you should ask why an X-ray did not take place the first time you went to hospital.
- Ask that your complaint is acknowledged and a timeline as to when you can expect a full response.
- Conclude your complaint by providing your full name. If you are acting on behalf of somebody else (for example a minor), state your relationship with the person.
- You should also keep a copy of your complaint for your own records.
- Tollers always recommend that the complaint is sent in via email or recorded delivery.
- The clinical negligence team at Tollers will also request that you send a copy of your complaint so that it can be placed on your enquiry.
What happens next?
You should receive an acknowledgment from the Trust after sending in your complaint. If you have not heard within 14 days, you should telephone to check that your complaint was received.
With the acknowledgment you will often be given a timescale for their investigation and when you should receive a full response.
It is probably best to put this deadline in your diary or calendar as Trusts more often than not do not stick to their own timescales. Chase them up as soon as the date passes. They may ask for an extension which is usually given. Remember, to investigate properly they will need to speak to quite a number of staff and doctors before putting their response together.
During this time, the Clinical Negligence team at Tollers will remain in contact. We usually telephone or email you every four weeks to see if you have received any correspondence from the Trust.
How will the complaint be investigated?
The complaints department will often review your medical records, meet with your treating staff and respond to the questions you have raised within your complaint.
Once you have the formal written response, you should send this to the Clinical Negligence team at Tollers. They can review this to see if they are able to pursue the matter for you. If we are unable to assist, we will write to you with our advice and explain why.
As part of your complaint response, you may be offered a meeting with the complaints department and treating clinicians. You do not have to attend this and can ask for a formal written response instead. If you do attend the meeting, you should take somebody with you (such as a family member or friend) and ask to be provided with a copy of the meeting minutes.
If you are unhappy with your complaint response:
If you do not feel as though the complaint response addresses the questions you raised, you can normally revert back to the complaints department for a second time and outline the concerns that you still have. They can investigate the matter again and provide you with further clarity.
If you are still unhappy with your response, you may be able to take the complaint to the Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman.
The impact of making a complaint and bringing a legal claim:
Tollers will always ask you to make a complaint before we take the case on for a number of reasons. The first is that your complaint helps us to identify the main issues you are unhappy with. The complaint response may also lead to admissions of failings within your care.
For your Clinical Negligence claim to succeed, a patient must prove two legal tests: breach of duty and causation.
Breach of duty means that a patient has to show that their care fell below an acceptable standard, which would not be supported by a responsible body of practitioners. If the Trust in their complaint response makes any admissions, this helps the Tollers clinical negligence team assess the prospects of success of your claim.
What happens next?:
After reviewing the complaint response, our clinical negligence team will know if they are able to assist. If we can take the case on for you, we will take the case on a No-Win, No-Fee basis with insurance in place to protect you from having to pay any costs at the end of the claim.
If you believe that you have a clinical negligence claim… Talk to Tollers clinical negligence team who is on hand to guide you through the process.
Types of Clinical Negligence claims Tollers can assist with…
Concussion in Sport is under the spotlight again following the release of The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committees report which considers the link between sport and long-term brain injury. Their report found that urgent action is needed by the government and sporting bodies.
In January of this year, the team at Tollers highlighted in their article Do contact sports cause brain damage?, that many people do not consider concussion to be a traumatic brain injury, but it is.
Five of England’s 1966 world cup winning squad have been diagnosed with dementia, along with a number of ex-rugby players pursuing personal injury claims for brain damage. Whilst the Concussion in Sport report does not conclude for certain that there is a link between dementia and sporting activity, there is evidence to suggest that concussion and head injury are not taken seriously enough in sport. This can then lead to neurological problems later on in life.
There is concern from the elite playing levels down to the amateur games that concussion and head injury in sport is not dealt with effectively or safely. Those playing grassroots sports are without medical teams to advise them to come off the pitch after a head injury. Such games are often organised without structure and the decision as to whether to play on is often down to the individual. Many players deem themselves fit to play on, but risk second impact syndrome. This is when the brain has not had enough time to recover from an initial concussion and then sustains another blow to the head – which can lead to permanent damage and whilst rare, can be fatal.
The Committee recommends that knowledge and awareness of concussion should be made more readily available so that those injured can seek the required treatment. They believe that the responsibility for taking concussion seriously starts at the professional and elite levels, who should lead by example.
Since the publication of the report, the Premier League and the FA have announced the introduction of heading guidance, which will apply from amateur games up to professionals. The guidance recommends limiting the number of times heading practice takes place but also recommends that players should be responsible for monitoring their own heading activity. It remains to be seen as to whether amateur players will understand the significance of a blow to the head and highlights how far down this knowledge must reach.
The signs of a concussion injury are not always immediately apparent and can appear either immediately or in the days following the injury. The NHS website lists the symptoms to look out for and if in any doubt, medical advice should always be sought – NHS advice on Concussion.
If you are concerned about yourself or a member of your family following a concussion/brain injury…Talk to Tollers on 01604 258558, our highly experienced Brain Injury specialists are on hand to advice and guide you through the process of making a claim.
To review The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committees latest report click here: Concussion in Sport Report.
The 2nd – 6th August 2021 is Injury Prevention Week, an awareness week hosted by APIL (Association of Personal Injury lawyers).
This year, the theme is taking care of others and using common sense to prevent injuries. Worryingly, a YouGov survey commissioned by APIL found that the majority of people do not think about the safety of others.
Tollers are supporting Injury Prevention Week, by encouraging workplaces, employees and members of the public to take care of one another.
Did you know that your employer has an obligation to keep you safe at work?
Employers should have robust risk assessments in place, advise you about the risks of your work and provide you with the relevant PPE or equipment to keep you safe. Your employer must also offer training to help you complete your job safely alongside your colleagues.
Did you also know that you also have a duty to keep yourself safe at work?
This includes taking care of your own safety and completing the job in a way that you have been trained. If you are worried about your safety, you should stop what you are doing immediately and report it to your manager.
We can also play our own part in keeping each other safe. Reporting defective pavements and potholes to the local council means that you could have prevented somebody from tripping. Many councils use ‘Street Doctor’ so that hazards can be quickly and easily reported.
Injuries are preventable and each year hundreds of people are injured through no fault of their own. Injuries can be life-changing and can impact your day-to-day life, your family and your job. By taking care of others and using our common sense, we can help ‘prevent’ rather than ‘cure’ injuries.
If you have been injured through no fault of your own… Talk to Tollers on 01604 258558, our experienced Personal Injury team is on hand to guide you through bringing a claim and will help you with each step of the process.
There is increasing evidence that contact sports cause brain damage, though the signs are often not immediate or obvious.
In recent weeks we have had two high profile events in the UK highlighting the deficiencies in protections and protocols for sportsmen and women. The terrible consequences now coming to light in retired rugby and football players with the diagnosis of early onset dementia and probable CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) which is a disease that develops following multiple blows or hits to the head which causes a breakdown of brain cells. This results in progressive loss of memory and other brain skills.
Although rugby has had head injury protocols in place for a number of years football has not. This raises the question is it now time for the FA to take the bull by the horns and learn from other sports before it is too late and we suffer a fatality after a game or worse, on the field of play?
In the game between Arsenal and Wolves the other week, David Luiz suffered a serious blow to the head. The severity of the clash was obvious with the injury to Raul Jiminez sufficient to cause him to be rushed to hospital for surgery to a fractured skull. Yet Luiz who himself had 7 stitches, was allowed not only to return to the pitch but continue to play until he said he could not head the ball!
Recently 8 rugby players have come forward having been diagnosed by neurologists at King’s College, London, with early onset dementia and probable CTE. They have taken the first steps to sue their professional body for compensation. Steve Thompson who won the World cup in 2003 is only 42 and faces the prospect of being in a care home by the time he’s 50. Tragically he can’t remember anything about any of the games or being there at England’s triumphant 2003 World Cup in Australia.
Generally people do not associate concussion as a traumatic brain injury, but it is. It might seem to be short lived but the real hidden danger is the phenomenon of secondary concussion (Second Impact Syndrome). For example, a player gets hit on the head and ‘sees stars’ for a few seconds but says he’s fine and goes back to the game. On its own that initial head injury may well be minor and a full recovery made in time but by going back onto the field of play immediately before he has recovered, even a very minor second blow or collision can cause catastrophic injury to the already injured brain. Those who don’t die are almost always seriously disabled.
What is troubling is that whilst the link with early onset dementia and CTE is gathering pace, the issue is not a new one. Boxing is an obvious example at one end of the scale with Muhammed Ali famously suffering brain damage through the repeated impacts in fights.
However contact sports, and football in particular seem reluctant to act and put in place even the most basic protections and protocols.
Calls are growing for the FA and PFA to act now before professionals follow their rugby counterparts into the world of litigation. It is argued that these changes must start at grass roots level and at the children’s game.
It shouldn’t have to wait until someone decides to litigate before change is implemented but if you are concerned about yourself or a member of your family…Talk to Tollers on 01604 258558, our highly experienced Personal Injury specialists are on hand to advice and guide you through the process of making a claim.
The combination of good weather, pools in the garden, kids in lockdown and now a lack of lifeguard cover at our beaches, means water safety should be high on the list of our priorities.
Children are particularly vulnerable. Almost 1,000 children drown each year making it the second leading cause of accidental death of those aged between 5 -24.
A young child can actually drown in less than 2 inches of water. Some might seem obvious but here are Tristan Holdom, Head of Tollers Personal Injury Team top tips for staying safe:
- Don’t swim alone – Using a buddy system will ensure someone is always looking out for you and can help, or get help if needed. This applies to both adults and children.
- Do not swim if drinking alcohol or taking medication – Alcohol affects your judgement and reduces your reaction time and co-ordination as can certain medication.
- Consider Water Temperature – ‘Cold Water Shock’: This is the body’s short term involuntary response to being suddenly immersed in cold water. The waters around the UK are officially cold (10 – 15°) and when the body enters this cold environment there are a number of physiological responses. The sudden lowering of skin temperature is one of the most profound stimuli that the body can encounter. The responses tend to be short lived, but threaten survival. The responses are:
- Closure of the blood vessels in the skin which results in increased resistance to blood flow. The heart then has to work harder and blood pressure increases.
- At the same time there is a “gasp” response which can result in water being breathed rather than air.
- One effect of cold water shock is to induce a heart attack, regardless of age or health.
- Fence in pools and hot-tubs – Fencing should be 4-foot-high or higher and should have a self-latching gate, the latch should be out of reach of children.
- Learn CPR – This could be the difference between an incident and a death, make sure your CPR skills are kept up to date, methods will vary from children to adults.
- ALWAYS supervise children – Do not substitute flotation devices or alarms for supervision.
- Teach your child about water safety – Teach your child about how to be safe around water, not to run around a pool, where lifeguards are and what they do, and also about diving and when it is safe to do so.
- Follow the rules – This is especially important at water parks. Always listen to the lifeguards and follow their advice when it comes to water slides, ‘face-up, feet first!’
- Have swimming lessons – Making sure both yourself and your child can swim is one of the single most important things you can do to ensure your safety in and around the water.
- Life vests – These should be worn on any kind of boat trip and when taking part in any water sports where you are in open water. They are also advisable for children when playing near any body of water such as canals, lakes and rivers. This can help prevent Cold Water Shock too.
- Don’t wear loose clothing in the pool – this can get caught in the pumps and pull you or your children under.
- Protect yourself from the sun – reapply sunscreen regularly if you are in and out of the water.
- If your area of the beach is cordoned off stay within the swim section as outside this is usually reserved for leisure craft like jet skis.
- Watch children like a hawk – it only takes a couple of seconds for them to slip under and despite what you have seen in the films, drowning people do not wave their arms and shout it is silent and over in seconds.
- Pool covers – do not assume if you use a pool cover this is safe for children, they often think it is safe to walk on them and can become trapped underneath.
The best way of ensuring the safety of your child, or anyone, in and around the water is to make sure they are educated. Teach them that it’s not safe to swim near the pier when swimming in the sea as the waves can knock you against them, and not to stand with your back to the water as waves can catch you unawares. Teach them that if they are caught in a rip or undercurrent to swim parallel with the beach and call for help. Make sure they know about the dangers of walking on frozen lakes and ponds and that freezing water kills quickly. These are all things that anyone going in the water should know about, if you know what to do in a situation, you are much less likely to panic and make things worse.
Unfortunately, you cannot cover every eventuality. Whilst the vast majority of water leisure time creates happy holiday memories, there are occasions where, through neglect or a lapse in safety standards, the unthinkable happens and a happy holiday quickly turns into a nightmare. If you or a loved one experience an injury or loss due to unsafe holiday environments…Talk to Tollers on 01604 258558 and get in touch with our specialist team.
In January 2017 Dr Jasjot Singhota, 30, was on her way to work at St Thomas’ Hospital in Lambeth, as she crossed the road on a pedestrian crossing on Tulse Hill she was struck by a Ford Fiesta. The driver of the car had set off earlier without defrosting the windscreen.
Jasjot suffered a traumatic brain injury and died the next day.
The driver claimed that because his windscreen was covered in frost he could not see Jasjot on the crossing.
Had he have just taken the two minutes or less to make sure that the glass areas of the car were clear of frost then Jasjot may be alive today.
It takes less than a few minutes to clear a car or van window and yet some people make a conscious decision not to do it.
It may be reckless bravado or the thought of “it’ll never happen to me” but if it does happen the consequences can be tragic, as proven in Jasjot’s death.
No one should have to go through the pain of loss and grief, and certainly not because of such a simple omission.
Jasjot’s family have teamed up with the Metropolitan Police’s Command for Roads and Transport Policing and are campaigning to make motorists think twice before starting their journeys. More details of the campaign can be found by here or on twitter under #readyfortheroad
Jasjot’s sister Neha Santasolo has a clear message. “People won’t drive with their eyes closed so why do it when you can’t see out of the windscreen?”
Jasjot’s death continues to impact the family’s lives every single day
Jasjot had dedicated her life to helping others. Before working at St Thomas’ Hospital in Lambeth she had volunteered in children’s hospitals in New Zealand.
Even after her death, she saved five lives through organ donation.
The Royal College of Anaesthetists have set up a bursary in her memory.
Are You Ready For The Road?
With the cold weather upon us it will not be long before we have to reach for the de-icer spray or the ice scraper before turning a wheel and so please make sure that you have cleared your windows and windscreen before setting off.
Please spread the word, share the hashtag #readyfortheroad and think before you drive.
By Tristan Holdom
I feel a midlife crisis coming on!! I am taking part in a ‘Legal Leap’ on 20th October 2018. Please form an orderly queue to tamper with my parachute.
Giving to charity is a very personal thing and I am sure you all have your own preferences and priorities. However, if you feel able to give up a few quid, if only to ensure I get kicked out of a plane at 13,000 feet, it would mean a great deal to me and of course the SIA.
As many of you may know, I represent those who have suffered catastrophic brain and spinal cord injuries. Coming to terms with spinal cord injury and the rehabilitation journey is traumatic not just for the individual but their families and carers, whose world has been turned upside down.
Now it’s my turn to give something back (probably upside down too).
My job and the recovery path of my clients would be so much more difficult without the charities who support the injured and their families and the Spinal Injuries Association is no exception.
The tireless work of the SIA is phenomenal but relies on charitable donations to continue to provide such a valuable service to those who have suffered life changing injuries.
Thank you to my employers, Tollers for supporting me in my madness! You can visit my Just Giving page by clicking here.
On Tuesday 12th September 2017 Tollers Solicitors will once again be exhibiting at the Milton Keynes Healthwatch event.
Healthwatch 2017 will see Middleton Hall in Centre:MK host 80 stalls consisting of local charities, voluntary, private and public sector organisations to provide support, advice and guidance for all your health, welfare and social needs. The event is completely free to attend and runs from 10am-4pm.
Tollers Solicitors, whose Milton Keynes office is located just 10 minutes from Centre:MK, specialise in the provision of vulnerable and elderly client services, including acting for incapacitated clients, challenges against incorrectly charged care fees and action for abuse and neglect in care. Tollers also offer specialist injury claim services for those with brain injuries and clinical negligence claims.
A number of our specialists will be on hand throughout the day to answer your queries or concerns. We will also have a brief interactive and informative quiz to take part in and a number of factsheets on hand for you to take away.
Specialists attending include:
- Dr Darren Conway – Clinical Negligence Solicitor
- Veronica Male – Chartered Legal Executive specialising in Elderly Abuse and Neglect claims
- Tonina Ashby – Solicitor dealing with Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection applications for the incapacitated.
Tollers at HealthWatch MK 2016
This year, Tollers are proud to support Charities Carers MK, Spinal Injuries Association and Headway, who will also be exhibiting at the event. Carers MK offer support, information and advice to unpaid carers in Milton Keynes, whereas the SIA and Headway help people to live better after sustaining life-changing injuries.
If you would like to ask one of our specialists a legal question, or if you just want to have a go at our quiz, please come and pay us a visit at Stall 2. You can find us just outside of Pret A Manger in Middleton Hall, Centre: MK. For more information from the Healthwatch website, Click Here
RoadPeace the national charity for road crash victims have August as National Road Victims Month. This is a month-long vigil to remember those killed or injured on our roads every day. The awareness campaign culminates with a service on 31st August on the steps to Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, the date is the anniversary of the car crash which resulted in the death of Princess Diana.
RoadPeace offers an internet memorial site at www.remembermememorials.org which has been created to remember those who have lost their lives because of a road crash. RoadPeace say: “Our hope is that this site provides individuals, families and communities opportunities for remembrance that hold personal and collective meaning.”
Formed in 1992, RoadPeace work in three ways, they provide support services for road crash victims, campaign for justice and campaign to reduce road danger. You can find out more about RoadPeace and the services they offer by visiting their website, click here.
National Road Victims Month
In the UK 5 people die on our roads every day.
Despite this RoadPeace say:
- Crashes are still seen as unfortunate ‘accidents’, instead of preventable collisions
- Society tolerates road death and disability as an acceptable price to pay for increased motorisation and convenience
- Crash victims do not have the same rights or support as other victims of crime or trauma.
This statement resonates rather strongly with the Tollers Personal Injury team who work tirelessly to gain the financial support road crash victims and their families need. Financial support that will be needed to pay for rehabilitation and adaptations for survivors and whilst money can never compensate for the loss of a loved one, we work hard to make sure the families left behind are not left struggling financially as a consequence. We see the devastating effects road deaths have on family members and friends left behind. We particularly resonate with the last point “Crash victims do not have the same rights or support as other victims of crime or trauma”. They are right, in recent years we have seen the government impose restrictions on legitimate injury claims of what they perceive to be less serious, we are now at the point if you have an accident you can claim for the damage to your vehicle but in some cases, not the personal trauma to the victims involved. Does that then make an object more valuable than a person? Surely there is something wrong with that kind of thinking?
If you have been affected by a road crash and need support RoadPeace have a national helpline you can call 0845 4500 355 which is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm alternatively visit their website to find out how you can get involved National Road Victims Month.
Signature Flight Support London Luton Ltd, who operate a private jet service for corporate and VIP clients from Luton Airport, have been fined £250,000 for Health & Safety breaches leaving a worker with catastrophic brain injuries.
Suzi Dorbon, now 47, was employed by the defendant as an aircraft mover. On 28th April 2015 she was working on her own in a hangar, opening the mechanically operated doors to Hangar 219 at Luton Airport, when she became trapped between two sections of the doors. She suffered serious crushing injuries resulting in catastrophic brain damage of such severity that she remains in a persistent vegetative state to this day.
Her employer pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of employees by failing to provide adequate information, instruction, supervision and a safe system of work for the operation of the doors at Hangar 219 Luton Airport.
The Judge when delivering the sentence said, “I have heard read aloud in open court the very moving Victim Personal Statement of Michael Dorbon, Suzi Dorbon’s husband and carer, in which he sets out the appalling consequences of the injuries his wife suffered and the life-changing effect that her on-going condition has had and continues to have upon him, her parents and their friends and family. No punishment I can impose can ever make up for the dreadful human tragedy which this case represents and I must strive to decide upon a penalty which is just when looked at from every angle.”
Speaking on BBC Three Counties Radio, Tristan Holdom, a specialist lawyer in catastrophic brain injuries at Tollers Solicitors who is representing Mrs Dorbon said: “Unfortunately, despite the guilty plea by Mrs Dorbon’s employers, their insurers have maintained a denial of liability in the civil claim for the past 2 years, forcing the family to rely on NHS funding for Suzi’s care and their own savings for equipment such as a wheelchair accessible vehicle. I hope that they will now do the right thing and agree to compensate Suzi and ensure that she is looked after for the remainder of her life.”
Hangar 219 was fitted with two mechanically operated doors, each of which consisted of three very large solid sections or ‘leaves’ which could be moved horizontally along tracks using a hand-held control panel. Despite the manufacturer highlighting the crush risk, the Company’s formal Risk Assessment document failed to identify the risk of a person being crushed by the doors or any steps which needed to be taken to reduce that risk. Although CCTV was present in the hangar staff were not monitored or supervised to ensure that they operated the moving the doors safely.
The prosecution pointed to the fact that following the terrible accident, the Company took a number of simple steps to reduce the risks to employees including painting yellow lines on the floor to show employees how far to stand back from the doors, new warning signs, a new operation manual with additional entrapment warnings, retraining, monitoring and supervision of staff.
The Judge agreed that all these steps were simple and inexpensive and should have been taken when the doors were first installed. Had they done so, it would have prevented the risk which resulted in the catastrophic injuries to Suzi Dorbon.
Mrs Dorbon’s condition is unlikely to improve and will require 24 hour care for the rest of her life.