In this edition of our Career Highlight series, we speak with Clair Wilson, a senior clinical negligence solicitor at our Newcastle-Upon-Tyne office, about one of her career highlights.
Clair has worked for Thompsons Solicitors for the last 16 years. She was attracted to the profession by her love of debate and a belief in justice and equality.
Married with two sons, in her spare time Clare likes nothing more than to go fell-walking and visiting the Lake District. It is her mission to reach the top of the 214 English Peaks – otherwise known as the Wainwrights.
Tell us about the case
I acted on behalf of a former firefighter who suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of elective surgery to remove a benign brain tumour in December 2012, which left him with life-changing injuries.
Was there anything especially challenging or complex about the case?
The basis for our case was that the treating neurosurgeon had used a novel surgical technique, which is used by very few neurosurgeons anywhere in the world for this type of surgery.
We argued that he had not advised our client that the technique was unusual and, had he done so, our client would not have consented and instead would have requested a more tried and tested procedure. Proving that to be the case was very difficult, but we relied on the fact that my client previously worked as a firefighter and therefore had a safety-conscious nature. He had also previously refused X-rays for fear of radiation.
What was the outcome?
Judgment was entered for my client after a five-day liability trial in the Royal Courts of Justice. We continue to gather evidence to allow us to assess the financial value of the claim and it is hoped that settlement will be achieved in 2021.
What did the outcome mean for the claimant?
He immediately received a substantial interim payment which allowed him access to rehabilitation, improving his quality of life.
Why was it so important to you?
Consent cases are particularly difficult to win. It is hard to show that someone would have taken a different course of action had they been given more information, particularly when faced with a diagnosis of something like a brain tumour.
What impact did it have on you?
The case had a huge impact on me personally as I have developed a good relationship with both my client and his wife and I have seen first-hand the impact that his injuries have had on them. It is rewarding to know that the settlement of the claim will secure my client a better quality of life.