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Issues of medical causation?
It’s time to check the records

Issues of medical causation? It’s time to check the records

Published: 20th September 2019
Area: Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Author(s): Ravinder Johal

A recently-settled case has highlighted the importance of always conducting a thorough review of medical records in any complex injury case. The Claimant in question was a 58-year old window fitter, who unfortunately fell from scaffolding and sustained a serious ankle fracture.

His Orthopaedic expert commented on the possibility of the foot being amputated which had all sorts of implications for our insurer client, including the possibility of future loss of earnings, future care, future orthotics, future surgery and future accommodation claims. On the basis of the claimant’s orthopaedic evidence, the claim was worth in excess of £500,000.

Through an extensive review of the claimant’s medical and DWP records, a long and complex medical history was uncovered that referenced kidney complaints, liver issues and heart failure.

At the Cost and Case Management Hearing, these issues were highlighted to the judge and the court was persuaded that a general surgeon was required to comment on the position and provide the court with an opinion on potential future losses and life expectancy, in light of the medical history.

A  general surgeon was instructed as a single joint expert and commented that it was highly likely the claimant would have had to give up work within six months of the accident, in any event.

In the end, the claim was settled for the gross sum of £10,000, which represented a fantastic result for our insurer client. The claim demonstrates that whilst it may be a very time-consuming task; an early, full and detailed review of the medical and DWP records is invaluable when issues of medical causation arise. This allows the defendant the opportunity to request permission for the appropriate medical experts to comment on medical causation, at the outset of proceedings.

Commenting on the outcome, Nigel Lewers of 12 KBW commented “Ravinder and the team at Shakespeare Martineau did an excellent forensic job in reducing a substantial and medically complicated claim to one which ended up being very modest.”

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