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Gosport Inquiry – Compensation Claims

Hundreds of Deaths at Gosport War Memorial Hospital

The public enquiry has led to an out cry by the relatives to call for prosecutions concerning the deaths of elderly patients at the hospital between 1988 – 2000 and no doubt in due course there will be questions following the Gosport Inquiry about compensation claims for the loss of a loved one.

The Gosport Enquiry was led by the former Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev James Jones.  It may be recalled that the Bishop has had extensive experience in the Inquiry that led to the tragic deaths of the 96 Liverpool supporters who died at  Hillsborough following a football match.

The tragic deaths at Goport, it is reported in The Times,  was initially raised by nurses about the over-use of the powerful painkillers at as far back as the early 1990’s. but those concerns were dismissed.

The practice of over-use opioids (pain killers) appears to have continued unabated.  The Independent Panel, found that 456 patients had died in hospital due to:

‘..an institutionalised practice of the shortening of lives through administering opioids without medical justification”.

The Gosport Independent Panel investigation, began four years ago in 2014, and considered a voluminous about of documentation.  It concluded that:

“there was a disregard for human life and a culture of shortening lives of a large number of patients” at the Hampshire hospital.’

There is also the possibility that up to 200 more patients may also have died but there were gaps in the record keeping that may have provided a more accurate assessment.

The Inquiry was of the view that it was the ‘norm’ that patients were prescribed powerful pain-killers.  A clinical assistant at the hospital informed the Inquiry had said that it was the norm  “for the practice of prescribing which prevailed on the wards.”

The General Medical Council ruled that Dr Barton, who is at the centre of the Inquiry, was guilty of repeated professional misconduct relating to 12 patients who died at the hospital, but she has never faced criminal charges.

Bishop Jones was of the view that the result of the inquiry was a “vindication” of the families’ “tenacious refusal to be dismissed”. It is reported that his words led to “a collective intake of breath from 150 people”, according to those present.

Gosport Inquiry – The Failure by Those Who Are In Charge to Protect The Vulnerable.

Whilst justice will turn it wheels slowly, it has, it appears it has reached the right result.  It is quite right that the families affected ensure that justice prevails.  Not only has the Inquiry led to mistakes being uncovered but those who are at the centre of the storm be punished for what they have done.

But in addition, lessons must be learnt about those who are in charge of the institutions that are there to protect the vulnerable.  The whistle-blowing that sounded the alarm many years ago  where the NHS failed to act is an important point.  It is reported that nurses attempted to raise concerns with management but were ignored, owing to a culture at the hospital that meant doctors’ decisions could not be questioned, the report said, adding: “The opportunity was lost, deaths resulted.”

The Times reported that the NHS was reluctant to press ahead with its own inquiries because it feared compromising police work. Coroners inexplicably waited nearly two years to carry out inquests after the CPS had decided not to prosecute.

There were  multi-party party failures where the Inquiry must lead to ensure that whilsteblowers are legally protected and full an proper investigations are undertaken.

Patients To Dye Prematurely in Hospital

Patients are likely to be dying prematurely in hospitals today, according to Professor Sir Brian Jarman, director of the Dr Foster Unit at Imperial College London.

Here there is concerns when health safety data, was analysed.  There was a desire among officials “not to know” when things went wrong.

He warned that whistleblowers had been “fired, gagged and blacklisted”.

The need for legal protection for whistleblowers is paramount especially in the NHS. At school or at home when you are a child you take a dislike to anyone who ‘snitches’ you by a ‘mate’ or a sibling. But when lives are at stake, when procedures go wrong, how do you complain to those who are ‘above you,’ are senior, more qualified and respected.

That is the dilemma facing not just the NHS but other organisations. However the NHS is in a position where life and death are at stake. The former High Court Judge Dame Janet Smith (I had a multi-party 6 week hearing before her back in 1996) was on BBC 2 Newsnight and expressed the view that her Inquiry into the Shipman Inquiry into the murders appears not to have made any impact on protection and listening to whistleblowers within the NHS.

Will the Gosport Inquiry make a difference? Let’s hope so. There are patients out there now, in the NHS where I am sure, decisions taken by senior medical staff are questionable. Again the actions of the minority taint the majority, but such actions have a devastating impact when they go wrong. Who protects the vulnerable? The last resort surely should not be the lawyers.

Gosport Inquiry Compensation Claims

The last thing in families minds is compensation. As experienced fatal accident solicitors dealing with bereaved families justice and the truth of what happened to their loved one is a priority. But when the investigation has been completed (or during) it is possible to claim compensation for the loss of life, grief and dependency when a loved one passes in an untimely and unjust way caused as a result of the negligence of another.  The majority of claims will be brought under The Fatal Accidents Act 1976 .

As solicitors who specialise in fatal accident compensation claims, one other avenue could still be open for families is to make a claim following the Gosport Inquiry.  Proceedings may be required in a short period of time due to the fact usually the law only permits claims to be pursued within three years from the date of death.  However there is a discretion by the Courts to allow for Gosport Inquiry Compensation claim to be pursued if it was unjust not to do so.  One major point in the families favour would be due to the fact that it was only following the result of the Inquiry that they knew the full extent of the harm and possible negligence that resulted in the deaths of their loved ones.  They could not have known earlier, for sure and thus a potential civil claim for damages could be made to over come the limitation period.

This article is written by R James Hutcheon, Solicitor specialising in serious injury and fatal accident compensation claims.

 

Fatal Accidents Act 1976 – What Now?

Fatal Accidents Act 1976 – What Now?

The law under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 is outdated and should be amended to reflect society as it stands today not in mid 1970’s.

The law under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 needs updating as the family units have changed since the law came into force.

Death By Dangerous Driving: Fatal road accident

The Family Unit is Different Today

The law that was passed in the 1970’s dealt with a time where the family unit typically was white, husband and wife with 2.2 children.

The husband would be the ‘bread winner’ and thus go to work and provide for the family.  The wife would stay at home and become the house wife.  She will look after the children and the home.  Cook all the meals and generally clean the house.  The children would leave the home at an early age and go to work.  Not as many would go to university, that was for the privileged few.

The children will then repeat what their parents had done and the cycle is complete.

Family Unit Today

The family unit today is more multi-cultural, diverse, same-sex marriages, increase in divorces and more step-children etc.  Further women are more independent and are ‘bread winners’ in their own right.

The problem is that when a loved one is lost in a tragic accident the law can create unjust consequences. For more information in the unjust application of the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 click on the webpage.

Bereavement award – fatal accident claims

Bereavement award – fatal accident claims

We are asked simply out of curiosity and as part of a tragic loss of life due to a accident.  A bereavement award is commonly payable where a close family member loses the life of a loved one.  The  amount payable is a poultry £12,980. Primarily this is due in the following type of accidents:

Fatal accident claims – compensation death by dangerous driving

Fatal accident claims – compensation death by careless driving

Fatal accident claims – compensation death in car accident

Fatal accident claims – compensation death in cycle accident

Fatal accident claims – compensation death in motorbike accident

Fatal accident claims  – compensation accident at work

Child dependency fatal accidents
What is a bereavement award?

 

WHAT IS A BEREAVEMENT AWARD?

Our non-legal definition of a bereavement award:

‘A bereavement award is made following the death of a person involved in an accident or illness due to the fault, in whole, or in part, by another.  A bereavement award may be in addition to other claims the “next of kin” may claim.  Fatal accident compensation for a bereavement award is an amount of compensation simply to serve as a recognition of grief and a financial token or public recognition that the death was wrongful.’

Who is entitled to a bereavement award?

There is a limited class of close family members who can claim.

  1. Surviving spouse of the deceased, including now surviving civil partner.
  2. Parents of child, providing child at the time of death is under 18 years.

That is about it.  Surprisingly a child cannot claim any bereavement award for the loss of his or her parent(s), guardian or grandparent who may have been the primary carer at the time of the tragic death of the adult.  Absolute nonsense and totally unjust.

Fatal Accidents Act 1976

The statutory provision for payment of a bereavement award is found under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 a rather old an unjust piece of law, made by the Government.

It is for the Government to change the law but under the Conservatives, this looks remote.  In fact quite the opposite.

For more information please also see our Fatal Accidents claims guide.

Contact Fatal Accident Claims Solicitors

For expert advice on all fatal accidents claims and to see if a bereavement award is payable contact us now: fatal accidents claims solicitors.

999 and Fatal Accident Claims

Fatal Accident Claims & 999

The Emergency Ambulance service are causing almost 2 deaths per month for failing to get to the accident scene on time and or failures to recognised the severity of the patent’s symptoms.

In a damming acknowledgement by the Coroners in England and Wales it is reported that Coroners have had to notify the ambulance service since 2013 86 times warning them that changes have to be made to avoid possible fatal accident claims.

Fatal Road Traffic Accident

FORTY EIGHT WARNINGS OVER DELAYS

Of the Coroners’ warnings to the Ambulance service 48 of them related to delays in getting to  the patient in a reasonable time.  A former whistle blower said that the volume of reports suggest that:

‘a significant decline in ambulance safety in recent years.’  The whistle blower added ‘action is needed to rectify underfunding, related to workforce and skill mix issues…’

Coroners Duty under Fatal Accident Claims

Under Regulation 28 of the Coroners (Investigations) Regulations 2013 a Coroner  has a duty to write a report if it appear there is a risk of other deaths occurring in similar circumstances.

An analysis into Regulation 28 reports on deaths by the Chief Coroner had revealed that delays were caused by slow handovers at Accident & Emergency Hospitals which findings were similar to the National Audit Office earlier this year.  Further reading on delays and underfeeding of the ambulance service resulting in possible fatal accident claims please click here: Emergency Paramedics

 

 

Fatal Accident Claims – Death by 999

We are all aware of Government cut back over recent times. But when cut back cause unnecessary deaths we have to sit up in society and take action.

It is recorded that almost two patients die a month on average due to the failings of the ambulance service following a 999 call.

Main Causes of Death Following a 999 Call

It appears that many deaths are cause by:

  1. Delays on getting to the patient in a timely manner;
  2. Failure to recognise the severity of symptoms.

The findings follow the Coroner’s reports in England & Wales who have now written to the ambulance services or call handlers over eighty times to warn them they they need to make changes to prevent future deaths; essentially turning an accident into a fatal accident claim.

Fatal Accident Claims

If a friend or family member has been involved in something similar or was sadly killed due to another person please contact us for immediate and sympathetic advice and assistance.  No matter how small the query, were are here to help.

Problems Making a Will Electronically

The Law Commission’s report on making a will needs to be updated so as to reflect modern day society and bring the law in line with the electronic age.

The law on making a will (usually by solicitors) has not been updated for many years.  In fact 40% of people in the UK die without making a will, the consequences can be damaging to the loved ones left behind.

The lack of a will may also cause squabbles and arguments, the estate left with paying the death taxes at 40% when there are simple legal matters that can be done before death to reduce the impact of tax.  After all, the deceased would have paid all those taxes over the years, why pay the HMRC again when you die.  It’s simply a double tax.

Counter Arguments to Making a Will Electronically

The report is thinking that wills can be made by:

  • Text message
  • Email
  • Voicemail

It is also considered that people as young as 16 years of age can also make a will electronically.  It will make the process of drafting a will easier and more accessible.  However there is another serious balance that has to be considered.

Whilst it is welcomed that the law should be simplified and easier to make a will it has to take certain safeguards into account.  Such as electronic documents can provide a treasure trove for dissatisfied relatives.  They could go through every email, text and find out the right one that suits their point of view, or the deceased’s real wishes.

Whatever the law, it certainly must be brought up to date and we welcome such changes providing that the correct safeguards are on place.

Make A Will By Text Message!

Fatal accident claims solicitors can report that there is ongoing investigations that the law relating to will writing in outdated and must be kept up to date with modern technology.

It has been mentioned that text messages, emails or even voice mails could be considered binding on the deceased’s estate on how the testator’s wishes are to be carried out.

The Law Commission’s Report on outdated wills has advised that the Wills and Probate Law needs drastic overhaul as only 40% of adults die without a will.

Importance of Making a Will

It cannot be underestimated how important it is to make a will.  At fatal accident claims solicitors we appreciate that the young especially do not consider making a will and adults only begin to think about it when they start a family or suffer from an illness.  Even then, many still do not make a will.

The Law Commission has called for the documents to be produced electronically on smart phones, tablets, computers and be available to people as young as 16 years.

Such digital intervention is allowed in countries such as Australia and Canada but there are counter arguments that a change in the law could trigger more family arguments than it solves.

We would appreciate your thoughts, should making a will be updated and allowed to be produced electronically or not?

Car Insurers Hike Up Premiums by One Call

Road Traffic AccidentIf you have been involved in fatal car accident or non fatal accident you must report the accident to your insurance company.  Failure to do so may result in you not being covered for the accident claim.

The reason why it is important is because your insurance company need to find out what has happened and protect your position on liability. Put it another way, they will need to ensure the reduce their compensation payout to another party.

What If the Non Fatal Accident Was Not Your Fault?

If it was not your fault there is a report in a national newspaper to suggest that if it was not your fault, or you simply wanted to report a problem and call up your insurance company and never made a non fatal accident claims then your insurance premium may still rise.

Fatal Accident ClaimsAll insurance companies are now linked to a central database called the CUE (Claims and Underwriting Exchange) when they consider what your premium insurance will be when it comes up to a renewal.

If there are any calls logged for road traffic car accidents, claims against your home insurance policy or a personal injury claim, they will take this information into account.

It appears that it matter not about fault it will simply be a flag of on the system which may trigger a higher premium.

 

 

Fatal Injury ClaimsShould You Make That Call To Your Insurer?

The small print is yes otherwise you could face a bigger problem where you insurer could avoid liability for any claim being make against you.

Fatal Accident Claims – Uninsured Driver

When faced with a fatal accident claims road traffic accident there can be worry for the dependent family that the defendant driver does not have motor insurance to provide compensation to the deceased’s estate and family left behind.

Thankfully, even if the defendant driver was uninsured or even untraced at the time of the fatal accident claim the family and the estate of the deceased are still able to obtain compensation from the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB).

Fatal Accidents Claims - The Law

The MIB has been set up to provide compensation for fatal accident claim so that the family left behind do not financially suffer as a result of losing a love one.

The claim procedure will be handled the same by the fatal accident claim solicitors which will include:

  • Investigating the circumstances of the fatal accident claim.
  • Dealing with the police
  • Speaking to the coroner
  • Attendance at a coroner’s hearing if required
  • Establishing compensation award
  • Establishing dependents of the deceased.
  • Providing compensation payments

Fatal Accident Claims – Need Advice?

If you or a member of the family who have lost a loved one and are in need for advice, please contact the fatal accident claim solicitors now.

 

Social Media The New Church

The Church is often what we use to for family and friend to get together on important stages in our lives:

  1. Christenings
  2. Marriage
  3. Deaths

Facebook is Taking Over!

Now Facebook is taking over (at least digitally).  We are still using The Church for such important events in our lives (and death) but Facebook is now so vast and widely used that such events also take place digitally.

Facebook is certainly a place for light-hearted messages, thanks, updates but now even announcements of a death in the family are often an important message board to inform family and friends.

In a recent study by Co-Op funeral care  a third of adults who want their loved ones to post online when the die have already let someone know that tho sis their wish.

We Deal in Grief in Different Ways

Everyone is different.  Some will shudder at the thought of advising loved ones or friends of a loss.  They would want to meet the family in person, make that call rather than announce it on social media platforms.

However others are use to posting anything and everything which includes announcing the death of a loved one.

Announcements of death on social medial ever growing.  Anyone who has lost a loved on in the past 3 years due to an unlawful killing should consider seeking legal advice to help them make a fatal accident claim for compensation and getting to the truth of what happened.

Contact us now for help and support all under a no win no fee solicitors guarantee.