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April 1st, 2020

The top 5 things you need to know about contesting a Will

A concept shot of a couple arguingWhen a loved one passes away, it can be disheartening to learn that the Will of the deceased does not truly reflect their final wishes.

After the loss of a loved one, contesting the deceased’s Will is not a scenario that most family members would like to contemplate. In reality, with many of us having blended family and seeing loved ones losing their mental ability due to neurodegenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s, it is common for people to question if a deceased’s Will truly reflects their final wishes.

If you find yourself in this challenging spot where you (and/or a relative) question the validity of the Will, read on to find out:

  • Common grounds for contesting a Will
  • When complicated scenarios arise
  • Who can challenge a Will
  • The process of challenging a Will
  • How long does contesting a Will take

Alternatively, you can also come and discuss your situations with one of our Wills, trust and probate team at Foys.

What is a Will?

A Will is a legally-binding document that dictates exactly how and to whom your estate (property, cash and possessions) should be distributed upon your death.

1. Common grounds for contesting a Will

Just because a Will seems unfair or unexpected does not mean you have grounds to challenge the Will. So in this section, we will discuss some of the common grounds to contest a Will.

Lack of testamentary capacity

Testamentary capacity is a legal term that is used to describe the mental capacity and comprehension needed of the person writing the Will (the testator). If the person making the Will did not seem to be fully aware of what they were doing, then you could challenge the Will under these circumstances.

Undue influence

If a person was unduly influenced at the time of signing, the Will could become invalid. An example is a carer who has taken control of a person’s day-to-day life and has become a major beneficiary.

How the Will was signed and witnessed

For a Will to be valid, it needs to be signed by the person making it (the testator) and witnessed by two individuals.

Fraud

This could range from someone producing a Will with forgeries, a fake Will, to someone presenting the testator with a Will to sign but telling them that they were signing another document.

Lack of financial provision

Anyone who is financially dependent on the deceased should be given adequate provision in his or her Will. If you are a spouse, civil partner, child of the deceased or an individual who has been financially dependent on the deceased and you have been completely disinherited, you could challenge the Will.

Incorrect Will was used

For some people, updating their Will as circumstances change is a sensible option and the latest Will should cancel the previous Will by default. But if the executors are not aware of the new Will and they have acted on the old Will, then you could contest the (old) Will especially when the latest Will is found.

2. Complicated scenarios

Testamentary freedom, meaning you have the right to give your money to who you like, is upheld by the court time and again. Here are two scenarios under which your claim may not be successful unless you have strong evidence.

Someone has promised you something

It is fairly common to hear a loved one making a promise like your mom would give you her house when she passes, or your granddad would leave you £20k when he passes. When the Will is finally revealed, you are shocked to see that it doesn’t contain the promised made to you.

An unfair Will doesn’t automatically mean you can contest it. If you find yourself in this situation, you may be able to contest the Will if you have contributed financially to your mom’s house, or you have been financially dependent on your granddad. It will be up the judge to decide if you have a right to the estate that you are claiming against.

The complexity of a blended family

In this day and age, it is common for couples to separate and remarry. It is possible that one of your parents has remarried and died without a will or has left everything to your stepparent who then disinherits you.

If you are in this situation, you could contest the Will on the grounds of lack of financial provision, if you have been financially dependent on the deceased.

3. Who can challenge a Will?

In theory, anyone can challenge the validity of a Will. However, usually people who were closed to the deceased may choose to do so.

If you are contesting a Will because it does not give you reasonable financial provision, then you must fall into one of the following categories:

  • A spouse or civil partner
  • A former spouse or civil partner who has not remarried or entered into a new civil partnership
  • A child or a grandchildren
  • An individual who has been financially dependent on the deceased

4. The process of challenging a Will

Before you kick-start the process of contesting a Will, it is worth taking a minute to review the following points:

  • You have a valid reason like the signature was a forgery or the deceased was being bullied into changing the Will
  • You have evidence (medical records, witness statements) to support your claims
  • You have the legal right if you are contesting on the ground of financial provision
  • You do so within the time limit

Time limits

How much time you have to contest a Will depends upon the nature of the claim:

  • You have six months to make a claim from the issue of the grant of probate if you are contesting on the ground of Inheritance Act.
  • You have 12 years from the date of death if making a beneficiary claim against the estate.
  • You can make a claim at any time (no time limit) in the event of fraud, like when the executor has misappropriated assets.

We encourage you to call [phone_number] and discuss your situation with a qualified Will, Trust and Probate solicitor at Foys first. Once we have verified that you have a case, we can help you to submit a formal claim to the Probate Registry office. This claim will stop the probate process, meaning the deceased’s estate cannot be distributed unless the dispute is resolved.

5. How long does contesting a Will take

The process of contesting a Will in court could take years, which is why our Wills, Trust and Probate team at Foys works with you and together we aim to resolve the issues amicably with the estate of the deceased through mediation first. Mediation is less expensive than going to court, saving you time, effort and money.

While mediation is preferred, sometimes it does not work and the case will go to court. If this happens, you can be certain that our legal team at Foys will be with you every step of the way.

Before contesting a Will, call Foys Solicitors first

Contesting a Will is a potentially costly exercise and the estate you are claiming against might not have enough money to pay you by the time the process has gone through court. This is why our solicitors at Foys encourage you to come and discuss your case with us first. Let us give you an honest review so you know your options.

Aiming to reach an amicable agreement with the estate you are claiming against through mediation is also a sensible option. Mediation can save you time and money.

When it comes to cases with evidence to suggest that the deceased did not understand the document they were signing, they were unduly coerced at the time of signing, or fraud was present, you can count on us to protect your interests throughout the process.

To kick-start the discussions about contesting a Will, fill out our Online Form and we would be in touch soon.

Alternatively, you can call your local Foys Solicitors office:

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This post is not legal advice and should not replace professional advice tailored to your specific circumstance. It is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

March 25th, 2020

Will appointments and other private client services

Fountain pen and stamp on paper with gavel behind them - Wills solicitor conceptWe, at Foys understand that we are all going through unprecedented and worrying times.

This may put certain things such as making Wills to the forefront of people’s minds along with Lasting Powers of Attorney and Probate advice. We, at Foys are continuing to offer an uninterrupted service to existing and new clients and in doing so we can still provide these services via Skype and in some circumstances contactless home appointments.

If you wish to discuss these services further, please do not hesitate to contact us on the relevant telephone number for your local office:

You can also contact us via the Contact Us page.

For information about our services, take a look at our Wills, Trusts and Probate page.

With our best wishes,

Foys

March 24th, 2020

Coronavirus update

Offices are closed announcementIn line with government advice, our staff are continuing to work from home.

Please note that our offices are now closed to protect our staff and clients against coronavirus and in line with government advice. However, we are working from home and are continuing to offer an uninterrupted service to existing and new clients. We have systems in place to be able to continue to provide a professional service and quality legal advice. We can be contacted in the usual way and will continue to support our clients however we can. Please contact us on the relevant telephone number for your local office or contact us via the Contact Us page.

With our best wishes,

Foys

March 18th, 2020

Coronavirus – We’re open as normal

Solicitor working

Foys Solicitors is open as usual.

Please note that we at Foys are mindful of the government’s guidance regarding the coronavirus outbreak, and the safety of our clients and staff is our priority. For this reason, while business is continuing as normal, we are taking steps to encourage social distancing. This includes the offering of telephone and/ or video appointments rather than face-to-face appointments where possible. Contact us on:

While all our receptions remain open, we would ask that everyone bear in mind the current guidance regarding social distancing and unnecessary contact. If possible, please scan/ send in documents rather than delivering them in person. We can still be contacted by telephone, email or via the contact us page and we are taking all steps to provide an uninterrupted service to our clients.

Sincerely,

Foys Solicitors

March 13th, 2020

Foys Solicitors is taking part in Will Month!

Grandfather reading with grandsonOnce again, our Chapeltown and Crystal Peaks offices are taking part in Will month.

Throughout April 2020, we will be offering our will-writing services for free, and in return, all we ask is for a donation to St Luke’s Hospice. Our two Sheffield offices (Chapeltown and Crystal Peaks) will be taking part in this year’s charity event.

The consequences of not having a Will can be devastating for the loved ones you leave behind. Our team will guide you through the process of writing your Will. You can find out more about our Wills service on our Wills, Trusts and Probate Law page.

We recommend you take this opportunity to give yourself and your family peace of mind while supporting a brilliant charity. To take part in Will Month, contact the Will solicitors at our Crystal Peaks office on 0114 251 1702 or Chapeltown office on 0114 246 7609.

If you have any questions for St Luke’s Hospice, give them a call on 0114 235 7551.

March 4th, 2020

Thinking about buying a house with your spouse? Our conveyancers can help

Black couple purchase property-woman holding keysBuying a property as a couple can be an exciting time, but it is not without its stresses. Thankfully, a good property solicitor or a licensed conveyancer can make that process more manageable.

In 2019, there were over 350,000 first-time buyers in the UK. If you are looking to buy your first property with your spouse, or even if this is the second time you are buying a property, you are likely to need professional help navigating the process.

Conveyancing, referring to the process by which legal documents are prepared to ensure the lawful transfer of ownership of a property from one party to another, is a vital part of any home-buying process.

At Foys, our property and conveyancing solicitors based in South Yorkshire, North Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire are here to help you buy your dream home, making sure that you have a stress-free move. In this article, we are going to briefly explain the conveyancing process and talk about what you should be aware of before you agree to buy a property in England or Wales as a couple.

What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing refers to the transfer of the legal title from the seller to the buyer. When you buy a house, you engage a conveyancer or a property solicitor to ensure that the seller and you exchange ownership of the property you are buying legally.

At Foys, our conveyancing solicitors will assist you with:

  • Drafting the contract, which describes the terms and conditions of the sale agreed upon by you (the buyer) and the seller.
  • Exchanging contracts when both parties are satisfied with all the terms of the contract before committing to a transaction. The exchange will set a date for the legal completion of a transaction.
  • Handling completion day – the most critical day of any property transaction, which involves overseeing the transfer of funds to pay the balance of the purchase price and the releasing of keys.

Throughout the process of a transaction, your conveyancing solicitor will serve as your legal representative, negotiating on your behalf, guiding you through every step while continually updating you on the progress.

Five things you should know before buying a property

Before buying a property, especially if this is your first time and you are buying it with your spouse, it pays to know the following points.

1. Work out the true cost of buying

When you buy a house, be prepared to have some money set aside to pay for costs associated with the purchase such as:

  • Valuation fee
  • Legal fee
  • Mortgage arrangement fee
  • Survey
  • Stamp duty
  • Home repairs
  • Home furnishings

2. Find a mortgage that best suits you

It is essential that you find out how much you can borrow before you start looking for a house. When talking to a mortgage company, you are likely to be presented with many types of mortgages. Do your homework before signing on the dotted line.

A fixed rate mortgage allows you to pay the same interest rate throughout the length of the terms. The advantage is that you know exactly how much you need to pay each month and you can budget accordingly. The disadvantage is that when the interest rates fall, you won’t benefit.

A variable rate mortgage, on the other hand, means the interest you pay can change at any time – you could be paying more or paying less, depending on the interest rate.

Apart from these two, there are other types like standard variable rate, discount mortgages, tracker mortgages, capped rate mortgages, to name but a few.

3. Beware of risks

When you view a property, it is important to look beyond the décor and check for damp, leaking roof and faulty electrical wiring. The house should also not be in a floodplain or at risk of subsidence (when the ground under the property sinks or collapses).

A property chain, referring to a line of buyers and sellers linked together as each is buying or selling a property from a person in the chain, tends to progress slowly and cause sleepless nights. The idea of a chain is that it gives the seller the money needed to buy their next property but a weak line in the chain can spoil your purchase. First-time buyer is usually chain-free. If you need to sell your current place to buy somewhere, look for a property with a short upward chain or even chain-free, like a probate property or a new-build home.

Fraud is also another issue that can impact the purchase of a property. For more on property fraud, and how to mitigate this risk, read our article on property fraud.

4. Draw up a Declaration of Trust

A Declaration of Trust or Deed of Trust is a legal document outlining the financial arrangements between joint property owners and/or anyone else with a financial interest in the property. In the event that the property is sold, you and your spouse know exactly how much each person would get from the property.

For instance, if you borrow money from your parents as deposit and your spouse does not contribute to it, and subsequently you pay 80% of the mortgage and contribute 80% to its maintenance, then you need a Declaration of Trust to protect your investments, reducing any disagreements in the future. In this case, the document will clearly state how much you will get if your spouse wants to buy you out or if the property is sold.

5. Your choice of conveyancer matters

The proficiency and diligence of a conveyancing solicitor can make an impact on your move.

Inexperienced conveyancers may not know how to react when unexpected circumstances arise and they could be overworked too, handling many transactions at one time without support from a team of colleagues.

A good conveyancer knows when to speed up a deal if you are in a hurry or slow it down if you need more time. This is particularly true if you are involved in the property chain as your conveyancer (and estate agent) need to be in agreement with all parties over the key dates and arrangements. Internal support is also key. At Foys, we have over 45 years of experience in property and conveyancing. We also have a team of trusted colleagues who can step in to ensure the process goes smoothly should your conveyancer go on holiday or off sick.

Does any solicitor provide conveyancing services?

When it comes to conveyancing, you can either get a conveyancing solicitor or a licensed conveyancer.

Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), a conveyancing solicitor is a professional who specialises in property law. Their sound knowledge comes in handy when the buying process uncovers a few legal issues.

Regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC), a licensed conveyancer is a specialist who has trained only in property law. They can be a CLC Technician (entry level) or a fully qualified CLC lawyer.

At Foys, we have a team of solicitors and conveyancers working together to assist you with your property purchase.

Qualified conveyancing solicitors at Foys can help

At Foys, our property and conveyancing solicitors are members of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS), dedicated to upholding standards and credibility in conveyancing practices. We pride ourselves on the quality of our conveyancing and property services.

We handle new builds, freehold, leasehold, and property under the government HTB scheme. If you are buying a council house, the council will first determine whether or not you are eligible. Once it is clear that you can buy, our team can step in to assist you with the transaction.

We work closely with you and help you purchase your dream home. Our personal touch ensures that we will help you break down the lingo so you understand the buying process better. With over 45 years of experience in all areas of property law and thousands of property sales under our belts, we have the experience and people power to handle many situations.

To get started, take advantage of our FREE initial consultation where we will listen to your specific needs, guide you through your options and be upfront with you about the kind of costs you should expect. In addition, we can assist you to set up a Declaration of Trust, making it easier for you and your spouse to receive the appropriate portion of the profit when you sell the house in the future.

To get access to our expert legal advice and talk to one of our conveyancing solicitors today, simply call your local Foys Solicitors office for your FREE initial consultation.

Our offices are:

This was initially written in 2018 and updated on 04-Mar-2020.

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February 19th, 2020

Care home negligence claims

Gavel, stethoscope and justice scalesAccording to a 2017 gov.uk report, there are about 11,300 care homes for the elderly in the UK. We believe the numbers would have increased by now as we have an ageing population.

The CQC (Care Quality Commission) regulates all care homes in England. Whether they are for-profit or voluntary organisations, NHS or local-health authorities, all care homes are regularly checked by CQC inspectors to ensure that standards are met. In other words, all care homes should provide a safe and comfortable environment for their residents.

As CQC can take actions against care homes that fail to reach expected standards, in theory, all care homes should offer the best levels of service to their residents and patients. But in reality, inadequate staff can fail the trust that you and your family put upon them. Negligence happens more often than we would like to think, resulting in residents or patients suffering serious injuries or even death. When neglect happens, residents and their family members can take action against the care home involved and claim compensation.

In this article, our professional medical negligence solicitors in South Yorkshire, North Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire explain how negligence can arise in care homes, how to spot the signs of care home negligence, what evidence to gather, how to make a claim, and what the compensation will cover.

What are common negligence claims in a care home?

Negligence in a care home can arise when the care given to its residents (often elderly and vulnerable) breaches the expected duty of care, leading to serious injuries, health issues or even death.

Common negligence in care home claims can include but not limited to:

  • Medical neglect, anything from dosage errors to failure to treat bedsores
  • Physical abuse
  • Mental or emotional abuse
  • Basic needs neglects including patient hygiene
  • Catheter mistakes
  • Failure to keep the premises reasonably safe and free of hazards
  • Lack of supervision

In cases involving physical and emotional abuse, the Crown Prosecution may step in to launch criminal charges against the perpetrators while residents (and their family members) may launch civil negligence proceedings against the company.

What are the signs of care home negligence?

When you suspect that your loved one or residents in a care home have been neglected either intentionally or unintentionally, the first step is to look for signs, which may include but not limited to:

  • Bedsores
  • Regular infections
  • Bruising, cuts, and/or broken bones
  • Lack of cleanliness
  • Unusual changes in mental health and behaviour
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Becoming reclusive
  • The presence of hazardous equipment or furniture

Gathering evidence to prove a care home negligence case

A few years ago, the BBC Panorama secretly filmed a nurse giving morphine to a resident “to shut her up” – the footage shocked the nation when aired. Since then, undercover reporters and family members have shared a string of abuse and neglect incidents from various care homes, anything from malnourished residents to patients left sitting for a day in wet and soiled incontinence pads.

They gathered the evidence through CCTV, hidden cameras, hidden voice recordings, medical records, social service documents, as well as eyewitness reports from other residents, visitors and staff.

The moment you notice that something is wrong and you believe negligence is present, start gathering evidence and also seek legal advice from one of our medical negligence solicitors.

How do you claim for care home negligence?

The resident or patient who suffers does not usually seek help due to several reasons. For instance, they may be afraid of the perpetrators, they may believe that neglect is normal, they are simply embarrassed, or their illnesses may prevent them from speaking out.

This means a large number of care home negligence cases are initiated by the family members instead. If you have a loved one who suffers in a care home, give us a call to discuss the case. In order to prove negligence, we will work with you to establish:

  • A duty of care exists between the resident and the defendant (the care home in this case)
  • A beach of that duty has occurred
  • The negligence has caused the resident to suffer

The wellbeing of your loved ones should also be the top priority. In theory, when you make a claim against the care home, your loved one should continue to live there without discrimination. But if the care home has breached the duty of care, it may not be safe for your loved one to continue living there. Most family members either transfer the resident to another care home immediately to avoid further harm or step in to provide care.

What will the compensation cover?

In cases of negligence in care homes, the most common compensation is money, which aims to rectify the harm done to the quality of life to the residents who have suffered unnecessarily.

Compensation helps to:

  • Pay for private medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation
  • Loss of earnings from family members who have to step in and provide care
  • Home care help
  • Other related expenses

Start your care home negligence compensation claim today

Once you start proceedings against the care home, a few things may happen. The ideal scenario is that the care home agrees with the claim and pays you the full compensation you have asked for. However, in most cases they will negotiate for a reduced amount.

Also, the care home may disagree with the claim. In this instance, we will discuss options like mediation and reaching an out-of-court settlement with you. If it goes to court, we will work relentlessly to represent you.

Our medical negligence solicitors are here to advise, represent and also negotiate on behalf of you. So take advantage of our FREE initial consultation today. The aim of the consultation is to discuss your case and thereby allowing us to provide an honest assessment of your chances of success.

Our offices are:

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February 5th, 2020

Claiming compensation with Foys Solicitors

Man with his arm in a sling is looking at a legal document, woman is behind him with a supportive hand on his right shoulder. They are claiming compensation

Claiming compensation can be a tricky process, but with a specialist and highly trained solicitor by your side, you can leave the legal jargon at the door and get the remuneration you deserve.

We’ve all been there. You pick up the phone, and it’s another company telling you that you’ve been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault. Most likely, you put the phone down in frustration. But when you’ve actually had an accident and you weren’t to blame, do you know who to turn to?

This is where Foys Solicitors comes in. The compensation process can be very complicated, but with the right legal representation and support, you can navigate the claim with ease and gain the maximum amount you deserve. In this article, our team of expert personal injury solicitors explain the claims process and what you could get with Foys by your side.

What does it mean to claim compensation?

Compensation is generally money awarded to a person who has been involved in an accident that wasn’t their fault and suffered an injury or loss. A common case for compensation is a personal injury claim, which is the formal process of seeking payment from the party responsible for your injury. This can be as a result of a road traffic accident, a violent crime, a slip, trip or fall, an accident at work or due to a faulty product or service. However, there are many forms of compensation.

You can be compensated for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Personal injury
  • Financial loss from fraud
  • Medical expenses
  • Travel expenses
  • Loss from theft or damage to property
  • Time off work or loss of income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Mental health issues and trauma

Suffering from an injury, whatever the cause and severity, is never pleasant. Often, you’re forced to take time off work to recuperate, and can even face financial difficulties. In the worst-case scenario, your life may be changed entirely due to a catastrophic injury. This could result in you needing extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation, and you may also need to alter your home or car to cope with your injuries. All of these things can be very expensive and can leave you in a bit of a financial bind. This is why it is important to start the claims process as quickly as possible so that you can get your life back on track.

The process for claiming compensation

Dealing with the aftermath of your accident is complicated enough without the added pressure of dealing with the claim process alone. This is why you need to work with a solicitor who has had plenty of experience helping people get the compensation they deserve.

The process of pursuing a claim begins with an honest conversation with a reputed solicitor. Our personal injury solicitors will aim to understand your situation and assist you in arranging the necessary paperwork. This will include a medical report outlining your injuries, estimated recovery time, proof of loss of earnings and evidence of additional expenses such as physiotherapy costs and medication.

By working with you to understand every detail of your case, we can establish the value of your claim, the likelihood of it winning and help you negotiate a settlement with the offending party. If the case goes to court, we will represent you and help get you the justice you deserve.

Are you eligible for compensation?

There are strict time limits in place for claiming compensation. Normally, you have three years from the incident to begin legal proceedings. However, if the effects of your injury weren’t realised until years later, you have three years from the ‘date of knowledge’ from which to pursue your claim. There is no amount of time that you have to wait to start your claim, so the sooner, the better. One advantage of filing a claim shortly after the incident is that details will be fresher in your mind and easier to find witnesses.

If a child has been injured, a parent or guardian can claim compensation on their behalf. This may be from a traffic road accident or even a work-related injury if the child is old enough to work. Sometimes, an injury may have been sustained during birth or as a result of medical negligence during labour. This too is a case for compensation and can be pursued via a medical negligence claim. Alternatively, you can wait until the child is 18 years old, and they can make a claim themselves. Once the child is 18, they have three years to start legal proceedings.

Reach out to Foys Solicitors

With Foys, you can rest assured knowing that we’ll be with you every step of the way throughout the entire claim process. We can determine the value of your claim and help you to negotiate a settlement that’s in your best interest. If you have to go to court because a settlement can’t be agreed on, we will be there to ensure you’re well represented.

Choosing Foys as your personal injury solicitors mean that you’ll be working with people who genuinely care about your claim. We are dedicated to getting you the compensation you need to make your life more comfortable following your accident.

So, if you’ve been in an accident that wasn’t your fault and you need someone to fight in your corner, we can be there for you. For a FREE initial consultation or more information on our personal injury claims services, contact one of our local offices today. Alternatively, you can email us at enquiries@foys.co.uk or complete our Contact Form.

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January 22nd, 2020

Medical negligence claims in England

shocked male doctor

Medical negligence (aka clinical negligence) happens when a medical professional, hospital or a medical facility fails to exercise an expected standard of care, resulting in injury, damage or loss.

Most doctors and nurses, either they are with the NHS or serving privately-run clinics and hospitals, exercise a high level of care to their patients. But inevitably, there are occasions when they make mistakes – and some of these mistakes can negatively affect your lives for many years to come.

Just look at the media and it is easy to find news relating to medical negligence. Some real and upsetting headlines include:

  • Another person died after ‘Brazilian butt lift’
  • Botox party mishap left woman housebound
  • Son left severely disabled after medical treatment went wrong
  • Boy sustained life-changing injuries during birth

Broadly speaking, medical negligence can include but not limited to:

  • Misdiagnosis
  • Failure to get informed consent to treatment
  • Failure to provide the appropriate treatment
  • Surgical errors
  • Failure to warn patients about the risks of a particular treatment
  • Prescribing wrong medications
  • Incorrectly reporting on test results

The upshot of it is that when medical professionals provide care that falls below acceptable standards, patients suffer. If you are affected by medical negligence, talk to one of our medical negligence solicitors today, give us a chance to review your case and discuss your options with you.

To make a medical negligence claim, you must prove that:

  • There was negligent
  • The negligence caused an injury or harm that would not have occurred otherwise

The two points above can make or break a case. In other words, if you have not suffered physical, psychological and/or financial harm as a result of negligent treatment, you cannot make a medical negligence claim. For example, if the attending doctor had made a wrong diagnosis but corrected themselves two minutes later while you were still in the room, you cannot make a medical negligence claim because in this ‘medical accident’ or ‘patient safety incident’, you have not suffered any harm. If that has happened to you, the best option is to make a formal complaint to the management.

Why pursue a medical negligence claim

A medical mistake can leave you with life-altering injuries, limiting your ability to work and affecting your mental wellbeing. At Foys, we believe that no one should have to suffer and endure the repercussions of someone else’s negligence, which is why we take time to listen to you, review your case, and give you an honest preliminary assessment so you know if your case has the best chance of success. When you are ready to take things forward, we are here with you every step of the way, from engaging expert witness to discussing options (like mediation or an out-of-court settlement).

We work hard to secure you the compensation you deserve because the money will help to alleviate your suffering to a great extent by:

  • Paying for ongoing and future treatments
  • Paying for extra care or equipment that you may need
  • Paying for adapting your home
  • Compensation for the loss of earnings
  • Compensation for psychological damage
  • Compensation for physical limitations

If your compensation claim is successful, you may be offered two types of compensation and they are known as general damages and special damages.

General damages

General damages aim to compensate you for the pain and suffering (physically and emotionally) that you have sustained as a result of the negligence. They can include:

  • Physical injury, pain and suffering (e.g. chronic pain, limited mobility, disability, etc.)
  • Mental pain and suffering (e.g. mental health problems, ongoing trauma, worsening of mental illnesses, etc.)
  • A loss in quality of life (e.g. physical and mental challenges affecting everyday life, career opportunities and hobbies)
  • A loss of career (if you had to change careers as a result of your injury, then you are entitled to damages for the loss of your unique career)
  • Employment issues (if you cannot get another job as a result of the negligence)
  • A loss of companionship (if a loved one suffered wrongful death as a result of negligence, you are entitled to make a claim)

Special damages

Special damages aim to compensate you for your out-of-pocket expenses. They can include:

  • Loss of income (e.g. if your salary was cut, you missed out on monetary bonuses or other special perks, etc.)
  • Short-term medical costs (e.g. hospital charges, consultation fees, medication, etc.)
  • Long-term medical costs (e.g. physiotherapy, specialist treatment, mobility aids, etc.)
  • Transportation fees (e.g. car costs, taxi fees, bus or train fares, etc.)
  • Loss of capacity for earning (if you are forced to take a lower-paying job as a result of the negligence, you can also make a special damages claim)

How do you prove medical negligence?

For a medical negligence claim to result in compensation, you (the claimant) must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a duty of care was breached and that you have suffered injury, damage or loss because of this breach.

Here is an example of a successful medical negligence case – Claimant A underwent laser eye surgery to correct her vision problems. The procedure went terribly wrong and as a result, the patient developed complications. In this case, Claimant A could prove that the negligent procedure had taken place. As a result, Claimant A suffered damage to tear ducts and chronic eye inflammation – not an underlying eye condition, but something she would not have suffered if the laser eye surgery had not taken place. Claimant A proceeded to seek financial compensation and corrective treatment. The clinic agreed to pay and they reached an out-of-court settlement.

Having accurate and documented evidence is vital when it comes to making a medical negligence claim. Apart from you keeping good records of all the key events leading to and after the alleged negligence, your full medical records will also be submitted to independent medical experts who will review and provide a detailed report.

Additionally, you must also demonstrate any emotional (mental health issues, counselling, impacts of trauma) and financial (loss of income, medical costs, cost of medical equipment) impacts from the negligence. Working with you, our medical negligence solicitors are here to:

  • Discuss your case in detail
  • Assess if processional care of duty has been breached
  • Assess your chances of success
  • Request your full medical history
  • Engage independent medical experts to review your records
  • Obtain expert witness testimony
  • Prepare accurate events that led to you suffering the injury or worsening of a condition
  • Start proceedings

How long do you have to make a medical negligence claim?

In general, you have to take legal action within three years of the alleged negligence.

In some cases, when the effects of negligence are not known until years later, you may be able to make a claim three years on from the ‘date of knowledge’ (as specified in the Limitation Act 1980).

Can you bring proceedings against a doctor/clinic overseas?

With the rise of medical tourism, more and more Brits are now seeking treatment abroad. When the treatment went wrong, most people would sue in the country where the treatment had taken place. Having said that, they have been cases where patients could sue in England against a doctor or clinic overseas, provided that they had reasons to do so. As every case is unique, we should review your case before commenting.

Medical negligence solicitors in South Yorkshire, North Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire

If you are affected by medical negligence, you need some closure – it could be the attending medical professional provides corrective treatment free of charge or you are awarded compensation for the damage they have caused.

So gather your medical evidence and come to discuss it with one of our medical negligence solicitors. Doing so will allow us to review your case, give you an initial assessment and discuss your options with you. When you have all the information presented to you, you can make informed decisions accordingly. With years of experience handling a wide range of medical and health-related cases, we are well-positioned to advise, represent and also negotiate on behalf of you.

We can support you through a range of medical negligence issues, including:

  • Gynaecology/obstetrics/birth cases
  • Other hospital cases including orthopaedics and general surgery
  • GP, dental and optical cases
  • Claims relating to residential care
  • Fatal accidents
  • Private cosmetic surgery
  • Medical misdiagnosis

For an initial free consultation, contact your local Foys office today.

Alternatively, fill out our handy Online Form.

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January 8th, 2020

What is negligence?

Negligence on paper on clipboardNegligence can take many forms, but it always causes wide-ranging effects. The highly skilled and dependable solicitors at Foys are here to shed some light on what negligence is, offer advice on how to prove negligence and tell you how Foys Solicitors can help.

What is negligence

To be ‘negligent’ is to have failed to take reasonable care to avoid injury or loss to another person. The responsible party would normally have had a duty of care to the other person and did not meet the standards of that care. All workplaces, medical organisations and businesses have a legal obligation or duty of care to ensure that persons within their establishment are fully protected against physical or emotional harm. To have been a victim of negligence is to have suffered an injury or loss which they could not avoid, at no or little fault of their own.

If you have been involved in an accident, and it was the direct result of the negligent actions of someone else, you could claim compensation. The objective of the compensation is to alleviate your suffering and give you a chance to focus on recovery and rehabilitation. The compensation usually covers loss of income, payment for current and ongoing medical treatment, psychological damage and medical equipment. To receive compensation, you must be able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant was directly responsible for any losses incurred.

Donoghue v. Stevenson – the original negligence case

Claims for compensation against doctors or businesses for negligence was all but unheard of before the early 20th century. But in 1932, a case appeared that defined negligence laws still applied in court today. The case in question was that of Donoghue v. Stevenson, and strangely enough, it was started by a bottle of ginger beer.

The case

In 1932, Mrs Donoghue visited a café where her friend bought her a ginger beer in a dark, opaque bottle. They had no reason to suspect that the bottle contained anything other than the said ginger beer. Donoghue had consumed most of the contents of the bottle before noticing a snail, in a state of decomposition, floating in the bottle. In consequence, Donoghue suffered considerable shock and nausea, as well as serve gastro-enteritis.

Donoghue sought to claim against the beverage manufacturer, Mr Stevenson, and asserted that the defender should have exercised the greatest care in ensuring the ginger beer was safe for human consumption. It also stated that it was an obvious duty of the manufacturer to provide clear coloured ginger beer bottles to facilitate inspection. Stevenson pleaded that Donoghue’s claims were insufficient due to the fact that the drink had been bought for her by her friend.

This case, deceptively simple, was a benchmark in modern negligence law, prompting the establishment of three things you need to legally prove negligence. They are as follows:

  • That you were owed a legal duty of care under the circumstances
  • That the defendant breached this duty of care by failing to uphold certain standards
  • That you were harmed or injured as a direct result of that breach

Though the case never went to court, Donoghue was found to fit into all of these requirements and was paid £200 in compensation.

Types of negligence

Negligence can take many forms and go through many avenues of law. Common forms of negligence include but not limited to:

  • Medical negligence (or clinical negligence) – substandard care from a medical professional that resulted in injury or worsening of an existing condition.
  • Legal negligence – poor legal representation or incorrect legal advice.
  • Accountant negligence – negligent behaviour of an accountant or financial advisor that resulted in loss of finances or income.
  • Architectural negligence – failure of architect, engineer or firm to adhere to regulations, to provide accurate architectural advice or to properly oversee a project.
  • Real estate agents or surveyors negligence – failure to provide accurate reports that form the basis of property transfer.

How do you prove negligence?

For a negligence claim to succeed and result in compensation, it is necessary to establish that a duty of care was breached and that the claimant’s (person making a claim) loss was caused directly by this breach.

When it comes to claiming for compensation as a result of negligence, having accurate and documented evidence is vital. Let’s take medical negligence (one of the most common claims) for example. If you are seeking a medical negligence claim, we will work with you to:

  • Discuss your case in detail
  • Assess if professional care of duty has been breached
  • Assess your chances of success
  • Request your full medical history
  • Engage independent medical experts to review your records
  • Obtain expert witness testimony
  • Prepare accurate events that led to you suffering the injury or worsening of a condition
  • Start proceedings

During the process, our medical negligence solicitors will work with you every step of the way so you are fully informed. No matter the circumstances, we can help you understand the process of medical negligence compensation claims. Our supportive and efficient solicitors also work to ensure the best chance of success.

Another factor that influences a compensation claim is the financial effects negligence has upon you and your family. Financial loss such as missed work and loss of business should be considered when making a compensation claim, as well as any long-standing health effects (ongoing counselling, rehabilitation, mental health issues, to name but a few).

Types of compensation

If your case is successful and the involved parties come to a decision, you should be paid compensation. There are two types of compensation – General (compensation related to direct effects of the negligence) and special (compensation related to any out-of-pocket expenses).

For more information on the types of compensation you could receive, take a look at our informative Professional Medical Negligence Solicitors page. If you have suffered an injury at work or in a public area which was not your fault, contact our highly skilled personal injury solicitors for more information on the best route to compensation.

How much compensation you receive depends on a multitude of factors. We caution our clients to be wary of solicitors promising astronomical figures because it is impossible to predict an exact figure without having a qualified solicitor reviewing the ins-and-outs of your case. So contact one of our solicitors as soon as possible, give us a chance to review, advise and guide you on the best route possible to get the compensation you deserve.

Time limits for making a negligence claim

It is essential that you start the claims process the moment you know an incident has taken place. This is because you have three years to file professional negligence claims. Additionally, when things are fresh in your mind, it is easier to gather the necessary evidence.

Having said that, sometimes the effects of the negligence are not realised until years later. In this instance, you may start your case from the ‘date of knowledge’ as specified in Limitation Act 1980.

How long will a negligence case take?

It depends on how complex your case is. In some cases, we seek to resolve the case through mediation (and thereby saving your time and money) or work to reach an out-of-court settlement. If the case goes to court, it could take anything from 12 to 36 months.

What about personal injury?

Negligence can also occur at work, on the road and in various places, resulting in personal injury. For example, you slipped and fell at work or in a supermarket, or you suffer from an injury caused by faulty goods. The upshot of it is that you can claim compensation. For more information, please visit our personal injury page.

Foys Solicitors can help

At Foys, we understand how frustrating and upsetting negligence can be, both for yourself and your family.

If you have a medical negligence case or a personal injury case, contact us today. Our solicitors approach every case with the highest respect and work relentlessly to represent you and help you attain the compensation you deserve.

Our medical negligence solicitors can help in:

  • Gynaecology/Obstetrics/Birth Cases
  • Hospital cases
  • GP/dental/optical
  • Claims related to residential care
  • Medical misdiagnosis
  • Private cosmetic surgery
  • Fatal accidents

Our personal injury solicitors can help in:

  • Road traffic accidents
  • Accidents at work
  • Slips and trips
  • Serious injuries and fatal injuries
  • Neglect and abuse claims
  • Criminal injuries
  • Injuries caused by faulty goods

We’ll do everything in our power to help you win your case and get you the compensation you deserve. For an initial free consultation, contact your local Foys office today.

We can begin to understand your case and offer some advice on the likelihood of its success. Alternatively, fill out our handy Online Form.

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