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Claims and the Elderly.

Morgan Jones Pett Solicitors are a local law firm, based in the centre of Norwich, Norfolk. Experts in medical negligence and personal injury claims, our specialist team of solicitors have seen a steady increase in the number of cases involving those over the age of 55 in recent years.

With an aging population nationally this is hardly surprising, but for a law firm based in  Norfolk, where more than half of the population are aged over 55 (and with this projected to increase at a greater rate than the rest of England), it is likely that the number of cases involving the elderly are set to rise.

With an aging population comes an increased pressure on a number of healthcare services, including hospitals, GPs, ambulance services and local care and nursing homes. Inevitably this will unfortunately mean higher instances of medical negligence and personal injury claims involving the elderly.

In this blog we look at the most common medical negligence and personal injury cases involving those over the age of 55.

Slips and Trips

The great majority of both fatal and non-fatal accidents involving older people are falls,* including falls in the home and also whilst out and about.

Non-fatal falls can result in a serious injury to an individual including fractures to hips, wrists and arms that require hospital treatment.

Failure to keep for example pavements safe may constitute an act of negligence, meaning it could be possible for a person who has fallen, to make a compensation claim. Such trips can result in a fractured bone, often a hip or wrist.

Chartered Legal Executive Simon Bransby has previously acted on behalf of an elderly lady who tripped on an uneven paving slab in Norwich. After obtaining an early admission of liability the claim settled for just over £4,000, the sum included pain and suffering, care and aids purchased.

A&E claims and the elderly

Unfortunately, things can occasionally go wrong, particularly for A&E staff who are often under immense pressure, dealing with a high volume of patients in a busy and stressful environment. When there are failings of care the impact can be devastating for patients and their families, and at this point the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital remains in 'special measures' after being rated as ‘requiring improvement’.

Only two years ago, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital opened the first specialist A&E department in the country for patients over the age of 80. This department was opened to tackle the increasing number of elderly patients being admitted, offering a more dedicated service and aimed at enhancing emergency care for the average 50 admissions every day of those aged 80 and over.

Chartered Legal Executive Simon Bransby has previously acted for a client who attended hospital having fallen in a shopping centre. The hospital failed to identify her dislocated shoulder following an x-ray, resulting in her requiring surgery to relocate her shoulder. Our client recovered £5,000 for pain, suffering, travel and care losses.

Orthopaedic claims

An aging, yet increasingly active population means that the number of people requiring orthopaedic procedures is on the rise.

Common orthopaedic problems in the elderly include acute fractures following a fall, muscle and tendon tears and arthritis. Often surgery is required to enable the patient to return to their maximum level of function and in most cases these surgeries are successful.

However, things can go wrong, and patients can be left in severe pain. Solicitor Sara Westwood has previously acted on behalf of a client following negligent hip replacement surgery. It was found that the hip replacement components had not been inserted properly, resulting in wear and tear and the claimant requiring revision surgery.

Care home claims

Many elderly people live in care or nursing homes, by 2041 it is expected that nearly 61,000 people in Norfolk will be aged 85 and will probably require a care home of some description.+

Once a family have made the often-difficult decision to move a loved one into a home, they do so, trusting they will receive the best care possible.

Unfortunately, there are occasions where an elderly person in a home receives poor care. If you have been the victim of poor care, or a representing an elderly family member or friend who has they may be able to claim for negligence.

Solicitor Sara Westwood recently represented a client at inquest following the death of his wife in care. His wife suffered from Alzheimer’s and had not been fed for a period of 17-18 hours, when she was finally given some food, she choked to death on it. A civil claim followed, and the case was settled for £32,500.00.

Can I claim for a loved one after they have died?

Losing a loved one as a result of medical negligence or personal injury can be particularly devastating. Some people may die immediately following negligent treatment and others may simply never recover.

Whether a claim was started before your loved one’s death, or if one was never started, you may still be able to make a claim for your spouse or next of kin.

Compensation amounts will depend on your loved one’s circumstances, but may cover any pain and suffering, damages, trauma suffered by a close relative and funeral expenses.

Our expert team have experience of dealing with sensitive cases and will be able to guide you compassionately through the options open to you and your family.

*RoSPA
+Norfolk Insight

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Morgan Jones & Pett Ltd is a company registered in England and Wales Registered No: 06236869. Registered office at: 18-20 Prince of Wales Road, Norwich, Norfolk, NR1 1LB. Authorised and Regulated by: The Solicitors Regulation Authority registration: 569813. www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/handbook/code/content.page