We can offer you a free no obligation consultation with one of our specialist lawyers to discuss whether you can make a claim. We can provide a clear explanation of the claims process and the various options open to you.
There are a number of ways you can get in touch and a member of our team will contact you to discuss further:
A group action is a means of individual claims being brought together. It will allow all claims to be managed collectively where multiple individual claims are brought against the same defendant(s) for the same cause of action. We typically split the group action into two elements of work; these being generic work (sometimes referred to as “common costs work”) and individual work. The generic aspects of the claim will deal with those issues common to all the claimants in the group. The individual aspects of the claim are specific to each individual claimant.
A group action also involves claimants agreeing to share the costs of the case that are generic or common with other cases within the group including a share of costs that have already been incurred when they join the group.
How much will it cost?
The vast majority of cases are funded on a no win, no fee basis, also known as Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs). This means that if your case is unsuccessful you will not have to pay anything. We will only take on your case if, after assessing your claim, we decide that there is a reasonable chance of success. Our initial consultation is free, so you won’t pay a penny if we don’t accept your case.
Is there a deadline to start a claim?
Yes. The sooner you instruct solicitors the better. There are strict time limits for individuals wishing to pursue claims for personal injury. Court proceedings must be issued within three years of the date you suffered your injury or your date of knowledge i.e. the date that you knew, or ought to have known, that the injury was significant and that the injury was attributable to the acts or omissions of the defendant. Failure to issue court proceedings is likely to result in your claim being statute barred (out of time) which means you will not recover any damages.
Each claimant, even in a group litigation like this, is unlikely to have the same limitation date. However, we know that the MHRA’s inspection of Calea’s Runcorn facility took place on 24 June 2019. The critical and major failures identified by the MHRA were communicated to Calea in a letter dated 28 June 2019. Consequently, the disruption to the supply of HPN bags to patients appears to have started in around June/July/August 2019 for most patients.
Therefore, setting a conservative date that would apply to all claimants within the group, we have calculated the limitation date to be 28 June 2022 as being the date by which Court proceedings must be issued.
We will need to issue court proceedings before the end of June this year. Any new enquiries that we receive after this date will run the significant risk of being out of time to join the group. Any new enquiries that come to us after May 2022 will need to be carefully assessed as to whether there is sufficient time to prepare the case for issuing. Therefore, if you think you may have a claim, do not hesitate in contacting us.
Who can bring a claim?
If you were/are reliant on receiving your prescription parenteral nutrition (PN/TPN/HPN) from Calea and that supply was interrupted or substituted, then you may be able to join the group action. Please contact us to discuss your specific case for us to advise you appropriately. There is no charge for us discussing this with you.
We act for clients from across England and Wales that have been affected by this disruption.
Can someone else act on my behalf?
In the vast majority of cases the person we will deal with on a day-to-day basis will be the individual who has suffered as a result of the disruption.
In certain, restricted circumstances, an official litigation friend will need to be appointed to make decisions on behalf of the injured party. This will include cases where the injured party is under the age of 18 or lacks the mental capacity to carry out the litigation.
More commonly we are asked whether someone else can deal with the day-to-day running and correspondence of the case, often because of persistent illness or the demands of ongoing treatment of the injured person. This is not a problem and something that can be easily accommodated. We will still need to take instructions from the injured person but day-to-day correspondence can be handled by someone else, usually the partner/parent/child of the injured person.
Sadly, we also have a number of cases where the injured party has passed away and we are continuing the claim on behalf of the deceased’s estate.
Will the case go to court?
It is possible that your case may ultimately be decided in court. Whilst the majority of personal injury claims are settled out of court, we always need to consider what a judge would decide if your case did go to court. In group action cases it is usual for a small number of individual cases to be chosen to illustrate the types and severity of the injuries suffered.
We will need to issue court proceedings to prevent the claim being time barred. This will start the court process. The court will look to set a timetable to manage the case through various aspects including the exchange of relevant documents, witness statements and expert evidence. Ultimately, the court will look to set a date for a formal trial to take place.
Every case is prepared for trial. However, both sides are encouraged to engage in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) whereby matters are resolved outside of the court process.
How long will it take?
It is difficult to provide a precise timescale for the claim at this stage. Group actions tend to take longer to resolve than individual claims.
Will I need to see a medical legal expert?
An expert gastroenterologist will be instructed to provide their expert opinion and write a report in each individual case. It is likely that you will have to meet with an expert to discuss your medical history, although in these cases, the expert is likely going to be satisfied doing this remotely without the need for a physical examination.
Can my treating doctor do the report?
No. The medical legal expert needs to be independent of your treatment to avoid any potential for a conflict of interest. Their duty is to provide an impartial report for the benefit of the Court. Therefore, the expert needs to have had no prior involvement in your treatment.
What can I claim for?
The overriding aim of personal injury litigation is to place a claimant in the position they would have been in if the negligence (in this case the disruption in supply of HPN) had never occurred. Of course, in the majority of cases, this is not possible due to the physical or mental injury caused which is why compensation is sought for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA) in addition to pure financial loss.
You can claim compensation for any financial losses you have sustained as a result of the disruption in supply of your HPN. It is for the claimant to prove they have suffered a financial loss and that the loss was caused as a result of the consequences of the disruption in the supply of HPN. This will often be proven through witness evidence, expert evidence and receipts. Types of losses that can be claimed include:
general damages for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA) you have sustained;
expenses and other losses incurred as a result of your injury. These might include the costs of additional medical treatment or travel expenses incurred;
the cost or value of additional care and assistance you have received. This can be either paid professional assistance or assistance from family and friends;
the cost of making any changes or adaptations to your home;
loss of income or earnings;
interest on all of the above; and
future losses and expenses where there are anticipated ongoing losses
How much is the claim worth?
A claim is made up of general damages (for pain, suffering and loss of amenity) and special damages (out of pocket expenses and financial loss). We can only properly assess general damages after we have received the expert medical reports that are specific to each case so it is not possible to provide a valuation to you at the outset of the matter.
You will be asked to co-operate with us to assist with the preparation of your case. You may be asked to provide us with witness statement evidence, complete questionnaires detailing your specific issues from time to time, provide us with authority to obtain your medical records and attend an appointment(s) with our medical experts. However, everything will be explained to you in writing.
Hugh James is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA Number:303202) and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA Number: 231167)