1COR Quarterly Medical Law Review – Winter 2019/20 – Issue 4 - Mar 2020
Cara is instructed mainly by claimants in complex and catastrophic injury cases. She has represented claimants who have suffered spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury and amputation. Her wealth of experience in brain injury and spinal cord injury Clinical Negligence cases is invaluable when acting for claimants with similar injuries in personal injury cases.
Whilst many of her cases are quantum-only, she has also contested liability in road traffic and employer’s liability cases.
Cara would be happy to accept instructions from defendants, and she regularly acts for defendants in Clinical Negligence cases.
As a member of the Ogden Working Committee, Cara has a detailed understanding of issues such as multipliers, discount rates and periodical payments which she uses for the benefit of her clients.
- R v Aviva (2015): Represented a family of claimants injured in a road traffic accident. The father suffered a mild to moderate brain injury but there was a dispute about the aetiology of his cognitive impairments. The effect of his cognitive impairment on his future earnings was also in dispute. After the claimant rejected several low value offers, the case settled for £205,000. The daughter’s claim for severe brain injury is ongoing.
- H v Kings College Hospital (2015): Represented D in a case in which an elderly C had been rendered tetraplegic whilst undergoing surgery to decompress his cervical spine. Breach of duty involved consideration of the following issues: positioning of the patient, the standard of surgery, what could be seen on the imaging before and after surgery and the management of C after the operation. There were numerous factual and expert witnesses. Liability was hotly contested. Settlement of damages and costs reached at an RTM. The damages settlement included periodical payments and was worth c. £780,000.
- A v Barnet Hospital & Dr Hodge (2014): Instructed to act as junior by Claimant in a case about delayed diagnosis of spinal tuberculosis, which led to tubercular meningitis and caused incomplete tetraplegia. Liability disputed by defendants who embarked on a cut-throat defence. Liability settled at 97.5% very shortly before trial. Quantum complicated by the fact that the Claimant’s condition had improved substantially in the months before trial and the Defendant was postulating further improvement in condition. The case required two RTMs; D’s valuation increased substantially by the second RTM. Quantum settled for a lump sum and periodical payments worth in excess of £8 million.
- K v Generali L’equite (2013): Acted as junior for a young male claimant who sustained very severe brain injury in a road traffic accident in France. Very large claim for future loss of earnings. Case settled for well over £15 million.
- RXB v Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust (2013): Together with David Westcott QC, acted for Claimant who sustained a spinal cord injury during surgery which was not recognised or remedied until 11 days later, ultimately causing tetraplegia. Complicating factor: C had been seriously disabled from birth. D admitted breach but difficult issues of causation and quantum arose, especially relating to C’s outcome with proper treatment and how damages should be quantified in a case of serious pre-existing disability. At RTM D counsel, unusually, persuaded fundamentally to reassess the case. PPO settlement worth c. £7.0 million achieved post RTM.
- N v Imperial College Healthcare Trust (2013): Together with David Westcott QC, represented Claimant in action against 2 hospital trusts for failure promptly to respond to symptoms of paraplegia after the removal of an epidural catheter. Detailed evidence about breach of duty and complicated arguments (by reference to published literature) on causation. Settled on advantageous terms (capitalised value of PPO >£1M for claimant aged 75).
- AC v Motor Insurers Bureau (2012): Acted as junior counsel for the Claimant in a contested High Court quantum trial. Claimant sustained a severe brain injury in a road traffic accident. All heads of loss other than future care agreed prior to trial.
- Noble v Owens (2011): Junior counsel for the Claimant in a contested 7 day fraud trial. The Defendant appealed against the award of damages, seeking an order for a retrial, on the grounds that surveillance evidence demonstrated that the judgment had been obtained by fraud. The Defendant failed to prove the allegation of fraud. The expert views were accepted that improvement was multi-factorial and it was held that the Claimant did not dishonestly conceal from the court or the expert witnesses his then true state of disability or dishonestly emphasise his disability. Landmark case in insurance fraud for Claimants.
1COR welcomes Cara Guthrie to 1 Crown Office Row - Jun 2019