Jonathan Zimmern recovered £850,000 for his client, Mr Darren Stuart, from North Devon Healthcare NHS Trust following the treatment Mr Stuart received at North Devon District Hospital after a road traffic accident in June 2005. Whilst in hospital, there was a significant before Compartment Syndrome was diagnosed. This delay caused irreparable damage and led to an amputation of Mr Stuart's right leg four years later.
The case was particularly difficult as Mr Stuart had previously been awarded compensation for the injuries sustained in the original Road Traffic Accident. The case therefore involved first of all demonstrating that Mr Stuart had received negligent treatment, and then showing that that treatment caused injuries over and above those caused by the original accident.
Prior to his accident, Mr Stuart was a very fit and healthy young man who ran his own business as an osteopath and was in the Territorial Army. On 2 June 2005, he was involved in a road traffic accident on Exmoor and suffered substantial injuries to his right leg. He underwent an operation in the early hours of 3 June 2005. Throughout the following day, doctors at the North Devon Healthcare NHS Trust failed to diagnosis his developing Compartment Syndrome. The diagnosis was not made until that evening, after which he underwent an emergency operation to release the pressure in his right leg caused by the Compartment Syndrome.
Unfortunately, due to the delay in diagnosing and consequently treating Mr Stuart's condition, he required numerous unnecessary operations and suffered seven pain and disability. This ultimately led to the amputation of his right leg in August 2009.
Jonathan was instructed by Mr Stuart in summer 2012. The Hospital Trust argued that Mr Stuart's claim against them should be struck out because they believed it constituted a double claim for damages as a result of Mr Stuart's initial claim for the road traffic accident. Jonathan instructed Lizanne Gumbel QC for the hearing in the High Court in July 2012, at which the Defendant's application was denied.
Jonathan then instructed an orthopaedic expert to consider the case and argued on Mr Stuart's behalf that but for North Devon Healthcare NHS Trust's delay in diagnosing and subsequently treating his Compartment Syndrome, he would only have had to undergo three operations and would not have had his right leg amputated due to the pain. He was consequently able to negotiate an out of court settlement of £850,000 on 7 April 2014, just one week before the trial was due to begin.
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