Clinical Negligence Claims

What is involved in pursuing a claim

This information is intended to provide a brief overview of what is involved in pursuing a clinical negligence claim.

Compensation (Money Damages)

The sole purpose of compensation (Money Damages) is to put you back in the position you would have been in had it not been for any negligence identified (as far as money can do this).
Damages

There are two types of damages:
General Damages – designed to compensate for pain, suffering and loss of amenity.
Special Damages – out of pocket expenses (e.g. loss of earnings (past and future), care, etc).

Negligence

In order to succeed in a claim for clinical negligence compensation it is necessary to prove, on the balance of probabilities, that the medical care and treatment received by a patient fell below a reasonable standard and that the substandard treatment caused injury and loss.
In order to be successful in bringing a claim it must be proven that:-

There has been a breach of duty;
That you have suffered an injury/loss;
That the injury/loss was caused as a direct result of the breach of duty.

In order to prove the above we require an appropriately qualified independent medical expert of the same medical discipline as the Defendant to say whether the treatment provided by the Defendant was inadequate and whether, as a direct result of that inadequate treatment, you have suffered injury.
It must always be remembered when considering a potential clinical negligence action that it does not follow that there has been negligence just because someone has not achieved full recovery or where further treatment has been undertaken that was not initially envisaged or recommended. Even the best care can result in a poor outcome for the patient due to the nature of the initial injury or pre-existing features.

Procedure

The usual procedure is to obtain the client’s medical records from all treating healthcare providers including the GP. Thereafter, these are arranged in their correct chronological order and indexed and examined.

Following examination of the records, provided it is deemed appropriate to do so the next step is usually to obtain a preliminary liability report where the medical records will be examined by an appropriate independent medical expert who will consider whether the care and treatment received was negligent or not. Sometimes it is necessary to obtain a report from more than one expert.

The report from the expert will enable us to determine whether or not a claim for clinical negligence compensation is likely to be successful. It is at this stage that we will have to reassess the likely prospects of success and advise accordingly.

Provided we receive supportive medical evidence from the expert in relation to bringing a claim against the Defendant we will be able to proceed to the next stage, which is usually to submit details of the claim to the Defendant. At this stage we may also make arrangements for any additional reports to be obtained, which are deemed to be necessary in the pursuit of the claim.

A Letter of Claim will be sent to the Defendant who will then have 4 months in which to investigate the case and either admit or deny fault. If fault is admitted then the claim will be valued and thereafter it can usually be settled by negotiation between the parties. If fault is denied then it may be necessary to go to Court. Further advice on going to Court will follow at that stage, if applicable. The majority of clinical negligence claims settle without the need to go to Court. Of the cases that do go to Court only approximately 1% goes as far as a Trial
.
At each stage of the case the likely prospects of success will have to be reassessed and if at any time the prospects fall below 51% we will let you know. If this happens we may not be able to proceed any further with the case.

Timescale

Generally, it takes in the region of 18 months to investigate the claim to the point where we know whether fault is admitted or denied. Clinical negligence claims can take several years to come to a final conclusion and it is important that clients are aware of this from the outset.

Limitation

As a rule, you must investigate and file a claim at Court within three years of the date of knowledge of the substandard treatment. A failure to do so can result in the claim being statute barred by the Limitation Act 1980. There are some exceptions to this rule; particularly where the claim concerns a child or a deceased person. In these cases the three year time limit does not begin to run until the child reaches the age of eighteen or in the case of a deceased person; provided the date of death occurs within the original three year time frame then the time restarts from the date of death.

If you, a family member or friend believe that you have been subjected to negligent medical treatment our clinical negligence team will be happy to discuss the circumstances of the case with you, without any obligation. Please contact us today.

Commercial Property Law

At Wadsworths we understand that dealing with commercial land transactions, buying or selling property or entering into leases can be very complex. Our experienced Commercial Property team provide a comprehensive range of legal services to our clients. We invest time to understand your needs and consider the long term objectives of your property requirements, providing you with the advice and expertise which you require for your commercial matter.

Whether you are increasing your existing property portfolio or entering into a new commercial venture we will assist you or your business with all aspects of your matter. At Wadsworths we will endeavour to ensure that your matter proceeds as cost effectively and as efficiently as possible.

Our legal experts deal with a wide range of transactions, handling all aspects of Commercial Property and property acquisitions and disposals including:

  • Freehold Sales and Purchases
  • Commercial Leases and all other Landlord and Tenant matters
  • Development work, site acquisition and disposal
  • Option Agreements
  • Overage
  • Commercial Borrowing including Bridging Finance

Like with all of our work, our dedication to customer service is what we hope you will take away from dealing with us and also what we hope will set us apart from our competitors.

If you would like any further information pertaining to Commercial Property matters please do not hesitate to contact us.

Court of Protection

You may know a family member, friend or neighbour who you think is having difficulties in making decisions about their finance and property or their personal welfare and you want to be able to help them make these decisions.

If they have not already set up an Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney and are now incapable of doing so then an application needs to be made to the Court of Protection to appoint a Deputy to act on behalf of the person who lacks mental capacity.

The court can appoint a deputy to act and make decisions on behalf of a person who lacks capacity in relation to their property and financial affairs and /or personal welfare. The court order will set out who they appoint as the deputy and what decisions the deputy can and cannot make.

A deputy must be at least 18 years old. They should have sufficient skills to take on the role. The applicant will be required to complete a deputy declaration to ensure they understand their responsibilities.

Before an application can be made medical evidence must be obtained to verify that the person does lack mental capacity to make decisions. There are also numerous forms to complete in respect of the assets and expenditure of the person who lacks mental capacity.

Wadsworth Solicitors can help appoint a Deputy to manage that person’s affairs. Our Trusts and Estates team will guide you through the process of appointing a Deputy and be there to guide you through the decisions that follow. If there is no suitable person to act as a Deputy, a member of the firm may accept a professional Deputyship.

We offer a friendly, empathetic, and professional service, at fixed fee rates. If you would like any further information pertaining to a Court of Protection application please do not hesitate to contact us.

PRICE GUIDE*Office of the Public Guardian Registration fee – £82 (per LPA document).

(*Prices correct as at 22 November 2018)

THE TEAM

Our Wills department consists of Michael Wadsworth and Laura Bates.  Please visit “meet our team” to find out more.

Dispute Resolution

Inheritance Disputes

A dispute over a will or an inheritance can occur all too easily if someone didn’t make their will properly, didn’t update it as the years went by or simply forgot to make proper financial provision for someone who was dependent upon them.

At Wadsworths, we can advise you whether you are the Executor responsible for dealing with the estate where there is a dispute or whether you believe that you should have received something from the estate but have been left empty handed. We can advise you whether a will is valid or should be challenged or whether you should bring a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

IMPORTANT- Please remember that you only have six months from the date of the issuing of the Grant of Probate to bring your claim.

Making or Defending a Claim in the County Court

At Wadsworths we recognise that whether you are a business or an individual, going to court to either bring or defend a claim is an extremely expensive, stressful and worrying experience for our clients. What may have started out as a perfectly friendly or amicable agreement with a customer, client, friend or even a member of the family can end up in a costly and expensive confrontation. Where necessary and appropriate, we will take a firm approach but drawing upon our considerable experience in such matters means that we will try and seek a cost-effective way resolution first before resorting to litigation. That is why we will always explore where appropriate alternative dispute resolution such as negotiation, early neutral evaluation or mediation as a way of sorting matters out quickly and economically in a way best favourable to you.

In most types of cases there are pre-action protocols to be followed before proceedings are issued.
Whether you are bringing or at the receiving end of a claim then we will always give you an honest and candid assessment of your chances of success and your prospects of successfully recovering any damages and costs and take you through the process and explain the likely costs involved.

We have considerable experience of a wide variety of legal issues including:

  • Debt collection
  • Consumer problems
  • Landlord and Tenant issues
  • Disputes between neighbours
  • Disputes between business partners or shareholders
  • Professional negligence claims
  • Breach of contract claims
  • Property and land disputes

If you would like to arrange an appointment to discuss your requirements, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Employment Law

Employment Law Services for Employees

If you are having problems at work, it can be a stressful and daunting process attempting to deal with them yourself, especially if you are facing dismissal or redundancy.

We can help you and offer advice on any issue relating to your employment or engagement with a business. We can offer you guidance on a wide range of issues including:

  • Your employment rights including maternity and paternity rights, equal pay, flexible working and retirement
  • Potential claims arising out of employment or its termination – including unfair dismissal, breach of contract, whistle-blowing and discrimination.
  • Redundancy
  • Advice on settlement agreements. These are binding agreements whereby an employee who is leaving agrees to accept a lump sum in full and final settlement of all employment claims. We will always check your agreement carefully and give you clear and understandable advice as to your options
  • Reviewing and negotiating terms of Directors service agreements and Consultancy Agreements
  • Negotiating terms for exit from a business.
  • Claims for Unfair Dismissal, Constructive Dismissal and Wrongful dismissal.
  • Advice on how to pursue a grievance against your employer.
  • Advice upon disciplinary proceedings and how to defend yourself at a disciplinary hearing.
  • How to appeal against a decision made by your employer.
  • Your rights and what to do if you are the victim of unlawful discrimination or harassment because of your gender, age, disability, personal orientation (LBGT), personal faith or belief, or ethnic origin. These are called protected characteristics. The law also protects you from both direct and indirect discrimination, associative discrimination (for example, if you the carer of a disabled person) and perceptive discrimination (this is where you are treated less favourably because you are perceived to have a protected characteristic even if you do not in fact possess that characteristic). You do not have to be an actual employee to enjoy protection under the Equality Act. It protects job applicants and agency workers. Negotiating a settlement with ACAS.
  • Representing you at the Employment Tribunal.

For more information please ask to speak to a member of our Employment Law team.

If you would like to arrange an appointment for us to visit your company and discuss your requirements, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Family Law

Family law is often complex. At Wadsworths Solicitors, we can assist you to separate the emotional difficulties involved with relationship breakdown from the practical issues that must be addressed. Faced with what can be complex issues, our aim is to make the process as efficient and non-confrontational as we can for you.

We can assist with:-

  • Divorce Law

  • Separation Agreements

  • Financial Remedy

  • Clean Break Orders

  • Help with Children issues (Child Arrangement Orders)

  • Civil Partnership Dissolution

  • Cohabitation

  • Mediation

  • Annulment

  • Domestic Violence issues

If you would like to arrange an appointment with a member of our Family Law Department in order to discuss your requirements, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Lasting Powers Of Attorney

More and more people are now, when making or amending their Will, also creating a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). An LPA is a document in which a person can set out their desires, both in terms of finances, and their health and wellbeing, should they lose mental capacity for any reason.

It is unfortunately a sad reality of life that while we are all living longer, the prevalence of dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease and strokes is increasing, meaning there may come a time when we are unable to manage our own affairs.

An LPA nominates a person, which is usually either a family member or friend, to act as your ‘Attorney’ should you no longer be capable of managing your affairs. In such an event, the Attorney is able to register the LPA with your bank, and various other organisations, and will be able to handle your finances, pay bills and do all of the other day to day tasks that you are no longer able to do.

It is also possible to set out in an LPA your desires for your future medical treatment – there may be certain procedures, or outcomes that you do not wish to have to endure – setting these out in an LPA ensures that your wishes in this regard will be honoured, even if you are no longer able to express those wishes yourself.

The important aspect of LPAs is that they must be made while you still have mental capacity. They cannot be made once a person becomes incapable. As such, at Wadsworths we advise all clients, however old and in whatever state of health, to consider making an LPA, to ensure that should the worst happen and mental capacity is lost, their wishes are already recorded and will be honoured.

We keep these prices deliberately low in the hope of encouraging people to make LPAs – rather like Wills, they can often be put off, or thought of as being something unnecessary at the present moment – but it is often the case that when they are really needed, when mental capacity begins to deteriorate, it is too late to take one out.

We also offer an entirely free, no obligation LPA review service, to discuss your circumstances and whether an LPA would be of benefit to you.

PRICE GUIDE*Lasting Power of Attorney – Property and Financial Affairs – £375 plus VAT
Lasting Power of Attorney – Health & Welfare – £375 plus VAT

Home Visit Fee – £50

(*Prices correct as at 3 April 2019)

THE TEAM

Our Wills department consists of Michael Wadsworth and Laura Bates.  Please visit “meet our team” to find out more.

Personal Injury Claims

Have you been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault? If so, you could be entitled to compensation…

We understand that being injured is often a very difficult and stressful time. That’s why here at Wadsworths Law we make claiming the compensation you deserve easy! With our totally free service we help thousands of injured people every year with their accident claims. Our aim is to remove the stress out of claiming by doing all the work for you.

There are NO loans to pay, NO credit agreements to sign and NO third party payments of any kind. One phone call to our friendly team of advisors is all it takes. Remember, Wadsworths Law guarantee – you pay nothing, win or lose.

To find out whether you are entitled to receive compensation for an injury you have suffered, please complete our online claim form using the link below.

If you would like any further information pertaining to Personal Injury matters please do not hesitate to contact us.

Probate

Losing a loved one is always a very traumatic experience. This trauma is often compounded by the need to administer their estate, which can often be complicated, time-consuming, and involve highly charged emotions.

Often, the thought of instructing a Solicitor at this stage can itself be equally daunting.

At Wadsworths, we pride ourselves at being able to help to take the stress of administering the Estate off the shoulders of our clients. We offer a service, entirely bespoke to those instructing us, ensuring that we neither do too much, nor too little towards the administration of an estate. We can act either just to obtain the Grant of Probate, just to deal with the financial matters or handling the entire estate.

We are able to offer a fixed fee, giving clients peace of mind that they will not be hit with a large unexpected bill at the conclusion of the matter.

Clients are often very surprised at how reasonable the costs of administering an estate are, and feel that they represent excellent value for money for the service involved.

We offer a free, no obligation half hour consultation to discuss your particular needs – and to give you general advice on whether you need the input of a Solicitor, and if so what the likely fees would be.

Deeds of Variation

We have over 25 years’ experience in dealing with issues relating to probate and administering estates and, as such, we know what a distressing time it can be for family and friends of the deceased.

We understand that there are occasions, following the death of a loved one, where a beneficiary may feel that the Will left by the deceased, for many reasons, may not have catered appropriately for a particular beneficiary or may have missed one our altogether.  We also know that receiving an inheritance from a loved one can often create tax implications for the beneficiary which might not have been apparent at the time that the Will was made.

We are able to advise you of any actions that you can take to rectify such a situation; whether to provide for someone that you feel has been missed out or to vary the asset that you have received through the Will to help with Inheritance Tax or Capital Gains Tax.

One way of achieving this is to create a Deed of Variation.

A Deed of Variation allows a beneficiary under a Will or intestacy to vary or re-direct their entitlement, whether wholly or in part, to someone else.  By making a Deed of Variation, the beneficiary who is entitled to part of a deceased’s person’s estate under a Will may change the way the inherited assets are owned.  The Deed of Variation essentially replaces the old Will with a new one for distribution and tax purposes.

This may be done for many reasons, but mainly:

  • to save Inheritance Tax;
  • to alter the type of gift made in the Will;
  • to make a provision for someone who has been left out of the Will, or who has not been given adequate financial provision in the Will;
  • to clarify an uncertainty or defect in the Will;
  • to sever a jointly owned asset to avoid this passing directly to the surviving owner upon death.

It is important to note that an asset cannot be varied more than once in different deeds.  However, more than one deed is allowed as long as they each deal with different assets.

The main tax implications of a Deed of Variation relate to Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Income Tax.

Inheritance Tax (IHT)

A Deed of Variation can be used to ensure that the assets of an estate are distributed in the most tax-efficient way.  Any alterations made through a Deed of Variation are treated as having been made by the deceased, and not by the beneficiary who wishes to vary their gift under the Will.  This means that the gift is considered as being free from Inheritance Tax even if the original beneficiary who made the re-direction of the asset passes away within seven years thereafter.

Capital Gains Tax (CGT)

A Deed of Variation can also be used to reduce a Capital Gains Tax liability.  A re-direction of an asset in this way is not classed was a disposal for Capital Gains Tax as long as it is made within two years of the date of death, and a declaration is included in the Deed.  The new beneficiary is deemed to have received the re-directed asset as though they were the original beneficiary at its market value at the date of death.

Income Tax

Depending on an individual beneficiary’s own personal circumstances, there may also be Income Tax implications to consider.  Our expert team will evaluate your circumstances and advise whether this applies to you.

It is important to consider all of the potential tax implications fully before going ahead with a Deed of Variation.  We can offer professional advice on whether it is the right course of action for you.

PRICE GUIDE*
As probate matters can vary so much we offer a free consultation to discuss the estate and provide a no obligation clear and transparent price to the Executors for our services.

THE TEAM

Our Probate department consists of Charlotte Cramp, Victoria Wadsworth, Michelle Harvey and Lily Franklin. Please visit “meet our team” to find out more.

Residential Conveyancing

Wadsworths have been assisting the people of Solihull to move house for more than 25 years

We are experts in both the field of property law, and also the local property market. We have excellent links with all of the major estate agents, as well as all of the other, local Solicitors.

As such, we are able to draw on this experience to provide a personal and dedicated service to all of our conveyancing clients and to do everything possible to ensure that the process runs smoothly and successfully.

Whether you are a first time buyer or a property developer, we have experience in acting for people just like you, and are able to tailor our service to suit you.

We also fully appreciate that, whatever type of property owner or purchaser you are, the conveyancing process can be very stressful. We pride ourselves on being able to minimise that stress, and we do everything we can to try to ensure that matters run smoothly and simply for you.

We offer fixed fee services for most conveyancing services, and prior to your instructing us we will have provided our estimate, for you to agree. That way, you will neither incur any fees before the transaction commences, nor will you be hit with any additional costs that you weren’t expecting.

In some cases, it is not possible to provide a fixed fee for the service, for example if there are uncertainties about what will be involved. In those circumstances, we will give you an estimate of costs, which will not be exceeded without your express permission.

Like with all of our work, our dedication to customer service is what we hope you will take away from dealing with us and also what we hope will set us apart from our competitors.

HOW MUCH DOES CONVEYANCING COST?

As at July 2019, our legal fees are as follows:

Sale of Freehold Property: £750 – £2,500
Sale of Leasehold Property: £850 – £2,500
Purchase of Freehold Property: £850 – £2,600
Purchase of Leasehold Property: £950 – £2,700
Remortgage: £650.00
Transfer of Equity/Assent: £600.00
Remortgage and Transfer of Equity: £800.00
Purchase of Freehold: £650.00
Lease Extension: £650.00

Additional Fees

Purchase of New Build Property: As above plus £250
Help to Buy Mortgage: £150.00
Help to Buy ISA: £50.00

(Prices shown above are excluding VAT and Disbursements)

There may also be payments to third parties for checks, searches and other services. The exact checks and searches carried out will vary depending on the type of property being purchased/sold.

All prices are subject to change dependant on various factors including property value. For an up to date and no obligation quote, please click here.

HOW LONG WILL THE CONVEYANCING PROCESS TAKE?

Unfortunately, no one can predict the exact time a conveyancing transaction will take. The length of the chain (i.e. how many properties are involved), the type of transaction and the speed of other parties in responding to and submitting paperwork will all affect the process. For a straightforward transaction, completion should usually take place within 6-8 weeks of instruction, however this can never be guaranteed.

THE TEAM

Our Residential Conveyancing Department consists of Gemma Dempsey, Alexandra Tait, Molly Cook, Carol Wadsworth, Laura Staines, Nicole Walker and Sarah Brotherton.  Please visit “meet our team” to find out more.