The Claimant's partner committed suicide while being detained under s2 Mental Health Act. The Claimant and the deceased were not married but had been cohabiting for a number of years. The deceased was also the Claimant's full time carer as a result of the spinal fusion surgery the Claimant had undergone some years previously. The deceased had a history of mental illness which was depressive in nature. At the time of his death his mental health had deteriorated significantly. While detained under the Mental Health Act, the deceased was initially assessed as not having capacity nor insight into his illness; he was also becoming aggressive and a risk to himself and others. However, an assessment by the duty doctor the following night did not indicate that the deceased was a self-harm risk, nor were there any known acts/plans since admission. Later that evening the deceased killed himself. The Trust carried out a Serious Untoward Incident investigation which highlighted a number of failings in the care of the deceased. The Defendant made some admissions of liability in its Letter of Response. However, the Defendant put the Claimant to proof as to the nature of his relationship with the deceased and the level of care he required. The Claimant made a claim for dependency as the deceased had been his full time carer. A claim was also made under the Human Rights Act 1998 for a breach of Article 2, the Right to Life. It was acknowledged by the Claimant that there would be no monetary award under this Act (only an acknowledgement of the breach) as compensation was sought under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. A Round Table Meeting was held in June 2014 and the Claimant accepted a settlement of £185,000. (Summary provided by claimant's solicitor.)
The case was settled on a global basis with no particular breakdown of damages.
Henry Whitcomb instructed by Wolferstans (Plymouth) for the claimant. John Coughlan instructed by NHSLA for the defendant.
Trial/settlement date: 19/6/2014
Claimant: 38-year-old male
No Bailii link: no transcript
The summary was kindly provided by Elizabeth Smith of Wolferstans, solicitor for the claimant