Amanda Yip QC and Chris Gutteridge from Exchange Chambers have secured a settlement worth more than £6.5 million for a severely injured client from the NHS Litigation Authority two days before the case was set to go to trial.
The 54-year-old client from Manchester was the victim of admitted clinical negligence during spinal surgery in 2009 and was rendered tetraplegic.
During the years of litigation in the case, the claimant’s legal team had repeatedly attempted to reach a settlement with the NHS Litigation Authority with no suitable settlement proposals put forward by the body during that time. However, on the eve of the High Court trial on quantum, scheduled for six days in the Manchester District Registry, the NHSLA decided to settle the case.
The settlement includes annual payments of £226,000 for life to fund the client’s care package. The claimant needs round-the-clock care from a team of carers and a specially adapted home. The defendant NHS Trust will also make a lump sum payment totalling £2.9 million.
The barristers (pictured), who had been instructed by Fletchers Solicitors, had already succeeded in a contested application for an interim payment to fund the purchase of a new more suitable home for the client. The settlement reached will allow for completion of planned adaptation works, including the installation of a hydrotherapy pool and wheelchair-accessible changing facilities at the client’s home.
Yip said that the claimant was very grateful that she did not have to attend court for the next six days but said that it was incredibly frustrating that the settlement had only come about at such a late stage.
“This is a case which should have been settled some time ago,” she said.
“The parties had agreed to attend a joint settlement meeting in October 2014 which was cancelled by the defendant without explanation. There was a failed JSM in April this year and I am confident that this claim could have been satisfactorily settled then if the NHSLA had wanted to.”
Yip added that although the case was not one that would be caught by the new proposals on capped costs, it was “a very good example” of how considerable amounts of public money could have been saved by the NHSLA through earlier settlement.