Wright v Barts Health NHS Trust  EWHC 1834 (QB) (26 July 2016)
The Claimant sustained severe injuries in an accident at work when he fell through a skylight in November 2011. He suffered multiple injuries and fractures. He attended the Defendant hospital after which his condition deteriorated to such an extent that he suffered a complete spinal cord injury at T7 and therefore paralysed below this point.
A whole of loss claim was made against the Claimant’s Employer which was subsequently compromised pre-issue for the sum of £400,000 at an 80% reduction for contributory negligence.
A letter of claim was sent to the Defendant Hospital Trust prior to the claim against the Employer settling. The Defendant Hospital Trust was informed of the settlement against the Employer and proceedings were subsequently issued against the Defendant.
The Defendant sought an order that the Claimant’s claim be struck out or that summary judgment be entered for the Defendant. The Claimant had already accepted settlement in another claim for the injuries therefore this claim was an abuse of process. There should not be double recovery.
Mr. Justice Edis dismissed the application. The Claimant had not been fully compensated for his loss; there was a pre-clinical negligence element of the damage for which only the Employer was liable which included loss after the clinical negligence but which would have occurred anyway. After the clinical negligence there was an additional loss which would not have occurred but for the clinical negligence. Both the Defendant and the Employer were liable for that additional loss as because by causing the injury, the Employer had exposed the Claimant to the risk of imperfect medical treatment.
The full judgment can be read here