Litigation takes time but, as a High Court case showed, specialist lawyers are more than capable of obtaining interim compensation awards so that negligence victims can have their pressing needs for accommodation and care swiftly met.
The case concerned a pensioner who suffered three strokes of increasing severity over a period of about three years before doctors diagnosed their cause as an underlying heart problem. Only then was she treated appropriately with blood-thinning drugs. She was left partially paralysed, with her memory and cognitive abilities impaired, and was dependent on her husband's full-time care.
After proceedings were launched on her behalf, the NHS trust that ran the hospital where she was treated admitted breach of duty and accepted responsibility for 95 per cent of the damage caused by the avoidable strokes. The woman's life expectancy has been substantially reduced and she is in urgent need of being rehoused in a bungalow that can be adapted to meet her needs.
In ruling on the matter, the Court noted that the trust had already paid her £100,000 in damages. In sanctioning a further interim award of £350,000 in order to meet her immediate accommodation needs, the Court found that, on a conservative assessment, her total compensation will eventually amount to at least £524,000.