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PI and Civil Litigation

Law - practice - procedure

Anthony Gold Solicitors , 19 MAY 2015

Hamed (a protected party through his Father and Litigation Friend Raymon Hamed) v Mills and another [2015] EWHC 298 (QB)

Hamed (a protected party through his Father and Litigation Friend Raymon Hamed) v Mills and another [2015] EWHC 298 (QB)
Liability - Negligence - Breach of Duty - Apportionment


High Court, Queen’s Bench Division

3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 16 February 2015

Hickinbottom J

Summary
The Court found the claimant’s cardiologist and employer were liable for his injuries and liability was apportioned 30% and 70% respectively.

Detail
The claimant suffered a cardiac arrest and suffered catastrophic brain damage whilst playing football for the second defendant. The claimant claimed that his injuries resulted from the negligence of the first defendant, who undertook the claimant’s cardiac screening, and the claimant’s sports physicians for whom the second defendant was vicariously liable. Neither defendant had arranged a full clinical review following abnormal cardiac scans and had not fully communicated the risks to the claimant of his possible conditions. The first defendant accepted liability and the only issues outstanding were whether the second defendant had breached its duty and if so, the apportionment of liability.

The Court found that one of the claimant’s sports physicians had made a serious negligent error in assuming that the claimant bore no risk of an adverse cardiac event. This followed a telephone conversation with the first claimant’s secretary which alluded that the first defendant had carried out a clinical review of the claimant, when this had not been requested by the second defendant. The medical records kept by the second defendant were inadequate, and so there was no way to show that the review had not taken place and could not be organised by another member of staff. The second defendant failed to ensure that the relevant risks were identified and communicated to the claimant so they could make an informed decision. To the contrary,the claimant’s sports physician gave the claimant’s family false assurances. It would have been at the review that the claimant and his parents would have been advised of the level and nature of the risk involved, and as this did not take place the claimant was never aware of the risk. Had the claimant been aware ofthe risks he would have ceased playing professional football and avoided the cardiac arrest.

Though the first defendant had not been as clear as possible that it was a mandated requirement that a clinical review be conducted by a cardiologist, he had complied with all of his obligations until the date of the telephone call between his secretary and the claimant’s sports physician. The Court therefore found that the first defendant was 30% liable and the second defendant was 70% liable for the claimant’s injuries.

Comment
It appears that many of the issues were capable of being settled prior to trial and this highlights the need to fully engage in alternative dispute resolution.

Adam Dyl and Jodee Mayer, Anthony Gold Solicitors
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The Court found that one of the claimant’s sports physicians had made a serious negligent error in assuming that the claimant bore no risk of an adverse cardiac event. This followed a telephone conversation with the first claimant’s secretary which alluded that the first defendant had carried out a clinical review of the claimant, when this had not been requested by the second defendant. The medical records kept by the second defendant were inadequate, and so there was no way to show that the review had not taken place and could not be organised by another member of staff. The second defendant failed to ensure that the relevant risks were identified and communicated to the claimant so they could make an informed decision.To the contrary,the claimant’s sports physician gave the claimant’s family false assurances. It would have been at the review that the claimant and his parents would have been advised of the level and nature of the risk involved, and as this did not take place the claimant was never aware of the risk. Had the claimant been aware of the risks he would have ceased playing professional football and avoided the cardiac arrest.

Though the first defendant had not been as clear as possible that it was a mandated requirement that a clinical review be conducted by a cardiologist, he had complied with all of his obligations until the date of the telephone call between his secretary and the claimant’s sports physician. The Court therefore found that the first defendant was 30% liable and the second defendant was 70% liable for the claimant’s injuries.

Comment
It appears that many of the issues were capable of being settled prior to trial and this highlights the need to fully engage in alternative dispute resolution.

Adam Dyl and Jodee Mayer, Anthony Gold Solicitors
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