I have just received a rather worrying call from a new client…The client, a semi-professional footballer, damaged his wrist while attempting to save a goal. The local hospital failed to diagnose a scaphoid fracture, such that he continued to suffer with a painful, swollen wrist.
After further dismissal of his symptoms by his GP, he went to see a sports therapist who recommended he undergo an MRI scan immediately. This had to be arranged privately at a cost of £400 to the client's mother. The MRI confirmed the fracture, which led to our client undergoing further surgery. He has been informed that he may not be able to play football again.
When speaking to our client's mother, she informed me that she had complained to the hospital concerned. The hospital admitted that they failed to spot the fracture and offered to reimburse her for the cost of the private MRI scan. Nothing wrong with this you might think. However, it transpires that the hospital tried to get her to sign an agreement saying that the £400 offered was in 'full and final settlement' of her son's claim!
Our client's claim is worth significantly more than this, a fact which the hospital's legal advisors will be fully aware of. They are clearly trying to 'buy off' our client's claim at an early stage, before she has had the opportunity to seek legal advice.
If you are offered any such sums in the course of making a complaint about your treatment, do not sign or accept anything without consulting a solicitor first! It may be that you are signing away your right to bring a claim for a much larger amount.
Michelle Woolls is an assistant solicitor specialising in clinical negligence. If you or a member of your family have a clinical negligence enquiry please call our expert clinical negligence solicitors on 0800 916 9049, fill in our short online claim form or email email@example.com and one of our specialist clinical negligence team will be in touch.