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Personal Injury Law Journal: June 2012

Andrew Young considers claims arising from accidents at sea

The recent capsizing of the Italian cruise ship, Costa Concordia, has focused attention on the claims available to passengers involved in such disasters.

Harry Trusted investigates the economic factors that have influenced the approach to valuation for catastrophic injury claims

On 28 February 1973, a 36-year-old senior psychiatric registrar went to hospital for a minor operation. As a result of the admitted negligence of medical staff she suffered a cardiac arrest and sustained severe permanent brain damage. She was intermittently sentient and totally dependent on others for her care. Her name was Dr Lim Poh Choo and her case made legal history.

Bill Braithwaite QC discusses syrinxes and cysts in spinal cord injury

In my world, we’ve all known about syringomyelia for years, and, likewise, provisional damages. I’m not sure, though, that we have realised just how serious the problem can be when it arises, or how high the risk of it developing is in some cases.

Anthony Gold

Stephanie Prior looks at the London Ambulance Service’s need to review their inadequate system

I recently attended an inquest relating to the untimely death of a 27-year old woman who, shortly before her death, had been diagnosed with Graves’ disease. Although she was being treated in hospital, she preferred to be discharged home and the hospital agreed for her to attend the outpatients department on a daily basis to have her pulse checked and medication administered. Unfortunately, the patient, for whatever reason, was unable to attend her daily appointment for three days in a row, but she had an outpatient appointment with her consultant on the fourth day. Unexpectedly, the outpatient appointment was cancelled as her consultant was sick and, despite the patient telephoning the hospital and explaining that she had to be seen as she was running out of medication, a further outpatient appointment was not fixed until the end of the month, some 29 days later.

Andrew Hogan examines issues regarding mitigation

Some credit hire claims, particularly where the claimant is impecunious and without ready funds to replace a wrecked motor vehicle, can swiftly rise to many thousands or tens of thousands of pounds. Sometimes a claimant may have the benefit of an insurance policy, which would provide for replacement of the car or provision of a courtesy car. If called upon, this policy would prevent substantial credit hire charges from accruing.

Charles Gibson QC and Adam Heppinstall review the Supreme Court judgment in the atomic test veterans litigation

In what will become a leading case on limitation, group actions and causation, the Supreme Court has handed down its decision in Ministry of Defence v AB [2012]. The Supreme Court (Lords Wilson, Mance and Brown in the majority; Lords Phillips, Kerr and Lady Hale dissenting) has dismissed the veteran claimants’ appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal, which had held that all nine lead claims in the group action were statute-barred and not permitted to proceed under the discretion under s33 of the Limitation Act 1980 (the Act).

Paul Jones advises that retainers must have sufficient clarity

Every solicitor has horror stories about difficult clients; maybe their expectations were wholly unrealistic, they were demanding to the point of obsession or, simply, they wouldn’t pay on time or at all. So what can a solicitor do when this situation occurs? The recent Court of Appeal case of Cawdery Kaye Fireman & Taylor v Minkin [2012] surveys the options for terminating a retainer in the face of an unreasonable client.

Case management; appeal; limiting expert evidence

In this case, Lord Justice Lewison, with unanimous support of Lord Justices Elias and Ward, dictated support for points raised by Lord Justice Jackson in his report on civil litigation costs: