Here, we chat with Helen Cornforth, a 43-year-old solicitor who works in our Newcastle office and has been at Thompsons for a year. Helen, originally from Darlington, lives in Yarm with her husband and two children.

How do you start your week at Thompsons?

Eager, organised and with a plan! Every week is a busy one at Thompsons, so my first task is always to review my calendar to ensure I’m prepared for meetings with my clients – always a highlight of my week - and to meet deadlines.

 

What are your day-to-day responsibilities at the firm?

Helen Cornforth, one of our clinical negligence solicitors
Helen Cornforth, one of our clinical negligence solicitors

I work in a team of specialist clinical negligence solicitors.

My clients are all people who have suffered as a result of substandard medical care and it is my job to investigate and pursue the compensation they deserve, alongside getting them any interim financial support they may need.

Every clinical negligence case is unique. The types of cases I deal with include delayed diagnosis, surgical negligence, nursing care negligence, GP negligence, dental negligence and a failure to obtain informed consent from women who had vaginal mesh implants and suffered complications.

 

What do you have planned for the week ahead?

This week, I will be finalising witness statements and instructing experts to prepare reports. The reports the experts do on breach and causation are crucial in winning clinical negligence claims because we have to prove that not only was there a breach of duty of care but also that the breach resulted in avoidable harm.

I’ll also be reviewing clients’ medical records, assessing and advising clients on the value of their cases, and drafting detailed letters of claim setting out our allegations against the hospital(s) and/or GP(s).

 

Looking back at last week, what was your most memorable moment?

Last week, I received an admission of liability for a client who suffered a traumatic brain injury when she fell whilst in hospital. The hospital trust has now admitted that inadequate steps were taken to prevent my client’s fall and whilst there is still a lot of work to do I am glad we have secured an admission of liability as I can now focus on proving the symptoms and conditions that have been caused by the brain injury.

 

How do you like to unwind after a working week?

Usually with a tasty takeaway and a glass of red wine, while making weekend plans with my family. Our favourites include a walk up Roseberry Topping near Great Ayton, a day out to a National Trust place and a walk to Yarm for breakfast.

 

Helen Cornforth paddle boarding
Helen Cornforth paddle boarding

What is your favourite part of the job?

I enjoy it all, but I would say the most rewarding or satisfying part is seeing the difference our support and expertise can make to a client’s life.

They live with the consequences of medical failures every minute of every day, so I am passionate about ensuring their voices are heard and about securing the best possible remedy for them, both in terms of access to rehabilitation but also financial security.