The dangers of Sepsis

SepsisThere has been quite a lot of media coverage of people being affected by Sepsis since the tragic death of three year old Sam Morrish in 2010 and one year old William Mead in 2014.

Sepsis can happen to anyone, at any age, from any background. The NHS estimated that in 2014 123,000 in the UK suffered from Sepsis and approximately 60,000 people died as a result of sepsis. It is estimated that sepsis kills more people than bowel cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer combined!

Sepsis happens when the body’s immune system – the way the body responds to bugs and germs – goes into overdrive. The initial problem can be quite mild and start anywhere – from a cut on the finger to a chest or urine infection, for example. But when the immune system overreacts this can lead to an unintended but catastrophic attack on the body. If left untreated this sets off a cascade of reactions – from shock to organ failure and even death.

Alisha Butler-Ward of Burd Ward Solicitors is currently dealing with 5 cases of sepsis whereby the failure to diagnose and/or treat the condition in time has resulted in some catastrophic injuries such as a 3yr old boy who had to undergo a double amputation of his legs up to his buttocks, and a father of two who was not treated in time which resulted in the amputation of his arm and total blindness.

When dealing with any possible medical negligence claim, experience is key. Picking up on missed opportunities to spot something like sepsis and/or the failure to provide the right treatment is vital to the case and can only be done by experienced Solicitors and medical professionals. Once this is done getting the right medical professionals involved is the next step and experienced Solicitors will already have relationships with medical professionals in the areas they specialise in. This relationship can make or break a case, so getting the right team behind you in a claim is a must.

What to look out for

So how do you spot signs of Sepsis, the UK Sepsis Trust has compiled a list of the six most common signs include:

  • Slurred speech or confusion
  • Extreme shivering or muscle pain
  • Passing no urine (in a day)
  • Severe breathlessness
  • “I feel like I might die”
  • Skin mottled or discoloured

Get in touch

Alisha Butler-Ward, Medical Negligence SolicitorIf you or someone you know has suffered from sepsis and think that your GP or Hospital may have failed to recognise the signs and/or failed to treat sepsis in time then please do not hesitate to contact Alisha Butler-Ward for a free no obligation discussion about your options.

You can contact Alisha Butler-Ward on our special Freephone number 0800 0190 324 or by email on

Insurance premiums and changes to whiplash

Road Traffic AccidentNearly every week on the television there are programmes about “crash for cash” and bogus personal injury claims. We have all seen them and we all get equally infuriated with the few people in them that have the gall to falsify claims pushing up insurance costs. Then there are the “cold callers” pushing you to make a claim for an accident 2-3 years ago, when you didn’t even suffer an injury. We all get these calls. What you may not know is that Solicitors DO NOT make these calls. We cannot make these calls as we are banned from doing so, and quite rightly so. If you are a good reputable firm then you would not need to do it, or take claims from those who do. It is the “claims management companies” who buy your information, some allege from the insurance companies, who are calling you.

It is this increase in nuisance calls and the ever increasing cost of insurance that has led to these television programmes being made, but is it all as they would have you think or are we being fed information that is not completely true?

For almost 3 years the insurance companies have been lobbying the Government to crack down on Personal Injury claims and more recently to do away with Whiplash Claims altogether so people cannot claim at all for whiplash which lasts 9 months or less. The Government are also talking about raising the Small Claims limit to £5,000 meaning that if you are injured and your claim is worth under £5,000 then you are unlikely to find many Solicitors who will deal with your claim, because they will not get paid. You could fracture your ankle or wrist and be off work for 6-9 weeks and this could still be valued at under £5,000, and so would be a small claim. But to you it could be life changing! What if you don’t get sick pay at work, you cannot afford to pay your rent/Mortgage or bills, or buy food! You could lose your home! Not only that but you would have to fight against the insurers for suitable Compensation for your injuries, a bit like David taking on Goliath.

So what have the insurers been promising in return? Well since 2013, when the Government cut Solicitors fees for dealing with Whiplash claims, under £25,000 to fixed fees of £800 and then again to £500, the Insurers have promised to pass on the savings to the consumers, approximately £40 per person, per policy.

Not many people, if any, have seen this drop in policy prices since 2013. But in the Autumn statement last week Phillip Hammond said that the standard rate of insurance premium tax will rise from 10% to 12% from June 2017! This will be double what it was last year and so if anything premiums will only go up and you certainly will not see this elusive saving of £40 to your premiums!

What the insurers fail to tell the “Joe Public” is that they have made an extra £200 million since the government introduced the cuts to Solicitors costs in personal injury, yet they haven’t, as they promised they would, passed this onto the public they have instead made huge profits.

Yes there have been people making false or exaggerated claims, and this must be stopped. But should we really use a sledgehammer to crack a nut? Should we really be banning ALL whiplash claims where people are not injured for over 9mths? Should we really be taking away people’s right to Justice in circumstances where they are genuinely injured and leaving the decision to the Insurance Companies.

On a personal level, I am disappointed that the Government has not learnt over the last 3 years that despite what the insurers offer in terms of reducing premiums for the public they have still not put passed these costs onto their customers and that would indicate to me that they are not and will not hold up their end of the bargain and people will be left high and dry at a time when they need help the most, when they are genuinely injured.

Written by Alisha Butler-Ward Solicitor – Legal Consultant at Burd Ward Solicitors.

If you want more information please call on 0151 639 8273

Fast payouts for birth injury will avoid courts and ‘improve safety’

This was the headline in the Times paper on 17/10/16 but what does this mean in reality for medical negligence cases?

Parents of babies harmed by the NHS during labour have been promised faster compensation pay-outs without the need to go to Court. Such cases will automatically be investigated and a pay-out made even if negligence is not proven. The Health Secretary – Jeremy Hunt – believes this will discourage hospitals hiding mistakes for the fear of legal action.

The fact that he recognises that hospitals “hide” mistakes is of grave concern. Having been a medical negligence specialist for many years it is no longer a surprise to me when records go missing, documents are changed or we are met with a wall of silence when making enquiries. However, Solicitors and patients are encouraged to inform the NHS as soon as possible that a claim is imminent. But the concern of the Solicitor and the patient, quite rightly it would seem, is that this allows the NHS time to “hide” information, or change it.

It has also recently been reported that in other Medical Negligence cases the NHS settles 70% of them only after Court proceedings have been issued. This highlights the belligerence of the NHS when dealing with Claims. It can take years, a lot of expense and a lot of heartache for the victim to get a claim to a stage whereby you are ready to issue Court Proceedings. It is a big decision for a Claimant to make, to take on the NHS in the hope that they win. Many don’t want to prolong the heartache any further and believe that the NHS would have “owned up by now if they had done something wrong” but this has proven not to be the case.

It would seem that admitting that they have done wrong only becomes necessary when faced with Court action. This is why people need Solicitors advice, expertise, support and experience dealing with the NHS. It is foolish to use a Solicitor that is not experienced in such an area. It would be like using a plumber to plaster your walls.

So if you think you, or someone you know, may have suffered at the hands of the NHS, a Doctor, Dentist or any other medical professional then get in touch with the Experts!

Call 0800 0190 324 and speak with Alisha Butler-Ward or email:

Are you ready to get on your bike?

At Burd Ward we specialise in Motorcycle accidents and our experienced Solicitors know all too well the injuries that can be caused to motorcyclists even at very low speed.

Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to injuries due to lack of protection that a motorcycle affords when compared to a car. Head injuries can be caused in very low speed accidents and motorcycle helmets offer good protection. It is believed that helmets reduce the risk of fatal head injury by around 50%.

The Failure of car driving motorists to detect and recognise motorcycles in traffic is the predominant cause of motorcycle accidents. So at Burd Ward we provide our Motorcyclists with High Vis jackets, in varying sizes to help with visibility.

If you would like to speak to one of our specialist Solicitors about a Motorcycle accidents then please call Alisha Butler-Ward on 0800 019 0324 or email

Are you getting the right treatment?

Alisha Butler-Ward, Medical Negligence SolicitorWhen we seek medical treatment we all place a lot of trust in the experts we see. However, mistakes can be made by
medical professionals, sometimes with devastating and/or serious consequences. We’ve all heard the horror stories and more recently, with the radical changes and cuts happening in both the NHS and the private sector, medical negligence claims are increasing.

These claims can include Dental claims, Surgical mistakes, the misdiagnosis of a condition, incorrect medications prescribed, claims arising out of problems with pregnancy or childbirth, or cosmetic surgery.

All medical professionals have a duty to treat you to the best of their abilities or to refer you to someone who has the correct expertise. Sadly, some of us do not receive the proper care and treatment we deserve whether this is due to a lack of experience, lack of judgment, incompetence or negligent behaviour on behalf of the professional.

If you have had treatment that has gone wrong it is hard to know who to turn to. These are often very sensitive claims and our expert Solicitors will handle your case in a sympathetic manner, listen carefully to what you want to achieve, and provide you with the best legal advice to meet your needs.

Your claim will be dealt with by Alisha Butler-Ward who has over 20yrs experience in Personal Injury claims including Medical Negligence and Catastrophic Injury claims. Alisha deals with all types of medical negligence, serious or catastrophic injury including recent claims involving Amputation resulting from the failure to treat Diabetic ulcers, gout and other medical diseases. She also deals with claims resulting from problems during pregnancy or childbirth as well as poisoning as a result of prescribed medication.

We will inform you of the process from the outset and take you through the stages of a medical negligence claim.

  • We act on a no win, no fee basis.
  • We off er a no obligation 30 minute free appointment with a specialist Solicitor
  • Your Solicitor will deal with your case from start to finish and you will have a dedicated free phone and mobile number for direct contact with your Solicitor 24/7, 7 days a week – not a call center!

If you or someone you know has suffered from medical negligence then please contact Alisha Butler-Ward on 0800 019 0324 or

Client testimonial

Approximately 12 months ago, I contacted Alisha to help me. I was struggling. I was upset because of how poorly I had become.

Through Alisha’s gentleness, understanding and outright empathy, I was able to discuss my requirements and be empowered to stand my ground for my wellness and wellbeing.

In the past 12 months, I have had to talk to Alisha and each time, she has been spectacular. I have struggled at times to keep supporting Alisha in fighting for me and yet she always found a way for me to stay standing and do what was the correct thing for me.

Today, she rang me with a final outcome. Her determination to do the best for me and to make sure that I was empowered to keep going has just been above and beyond.

It will change our life.

NHS Medical Negligence

Having a baby should be an exciting and special time for mothers but last year it was reported that 151 mothers and babies died and 351 suffered severe harm, with approximately 340 mistakes being made on NHS maternity wards every day. NHS England figures show that 124,143 safety incidents were reported by NHS maternity wards last year alone. These figures where only based on those incidents that staff reported.

  • Errors with forceps
  • Epidurals being inserted into the wrong place
  • Midwives not monitoring a foetus’ heart beat
  • Emergency C-Sections being carried out too late
  • Women and babies being harmed due to lack of staff
  • Medical records being mixed up
  • Drugs being incorrectly administered or drug charts being misinterpreted

Burd Ward handle Medical Negligence cases everyday including those involving pregnancy and child birth. One of our most recent cases involves an undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy which led to our client having to undergo the removal of her fallopian tube and subsequently reduced chances of fertility. Another of our current cases involves the failure to recognise an infection following a C-section which has resulted a significant stomach wound and post-natal depression. But other claims can involve stillbirths or babies born with brain damage as a result of poor care.

Other recently reported Medical Negligence cases by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman include:

  • The death of a nine-year-old boy from sepsis could have been avoided if he received the right care and treatment
  • A man who became paraplegic after a road traffic accident was wrongly refused IVF treatment by the NHS.
  • The next of kin were not informed by a hospital that a patient had died, denying them the chance to go to the funeral, due to a series of errors by the hospital trust and a council.
  • Hospital took 72 weeks to arrange hip surgery on straightforward case, leaving patient in unnecessary pain, 17 months after she was first referred by her GP.
  • A failure to x-ray a child’s teeth led to root canal treatment.
  • A GP practice failed to urgently refer patient to a neurologist leading to a long delay in diagnosing his Motor Neurone Disease.
  • A war pensioner had to wait 18 months for travel expenses to be paid by the NHS for trips to have an artificial limb fitted
  • Hospital trust incorrectly diagnosed a woman with schizophrenia.
  • A dental practice’s failure to diagnose decay in a child’s teeth over a three-year period, resulted in her having four teeth extracted and a crown inserted

As it stands NHS trusts often deny liability until the family is forced to instruct Solicitors to investigate what exactly went wrong, thereby dragging out the complaints by months, even years, while the families continue to grieve and suffer.

Please contact Alisha Butler-Ward on 0800 0190 324 or

Volkswagen (VW) Emissions Scandal Update reported today that Volkswagen cut 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) from its investment plan for next year on Friday, as the German carmaker braces for a multi-billion-euro hit from its emissions cheating scandal.

Volkswagen (VW) is battling the biggest business crisis in its 78-year history after admitting in September that it cheated U.S. diesel emissions tests. It said earlier this month it had also overstated fuel consumption in some vehicles.

Analysts have said the scandal could cost the company 40 billion euros or more in fines, lawsuits and vehicle refits.

Whilst in the US it has been reported that “a dealer familiar with Volkswagen’s plans says the automaker intends to offer $1,000 in gift cards and vouchers to owners of smaller diesel cars.

The offers would be a gesture of goodwill to owners with 2-liter four-cylinder diesel engines that have been implicated in an emissions cheating scandal. The offers could be announced Monday.

The dealer says owners would get a $500 Visa debit card to spend on anything they wish and a $500 voucher for oil changes, service or merchandise from dealers. The dealer didn’t want to be identified because details of the program haven’t been announced.

VW has admitted that about 482,000 diesels from the 2009 to 2015 model years have software that turns on pollution controls during government tests and shuts them off on the road”.

In Canberra Australia more than 10,000 Australians have signed onto the Country’s second class-action suit against Volkswagen AG

In the UK no further comment has been made by VW and there are no reports of any offers to those affected.

We will keep you updated as news is released.

If you want to claim fill in our initial questionnaire.

Liability and Car Hire Dispute

Today we sent our client a cheque for £5,600.00 after settling a claim for Personal Injury where liability was in dispute despite CCTV footage of the accident clearly showing the Defendant to be at fault.

The Defendant and his insurers (Direct Line) continued to dispute liability and wanted our client to accept 50% responsibility for the accident. Without legal representation our client said she may have felt pressured into accepting 50% responsibility just to end the matter.

But with our support and reassurance, she instructed us to issue Court Proceedings which resulted in the Defendants Solicitors accepting our offer to settle the claim and they took 100% responsibility.

The Law Society has been running a campaign for over 12 months now highlighting the importance of people using Solicitors.

Statistically Claimants receive on average 50% lower compensation when dealing with insurers direct. Claims can be not only under settled but settled too early, leaving Claimants with ongoing injuries and no recourse against the insurers in the future.

Don’t sign your compensation away with an insurer – get legal advice #goodhonestlaw #injurylawyerBW

Potholes, pavements and personal injury…

Today I’m taking time from my more specific work with two wheels to consider something possibly more relatable to the majority of the public, though absolutely relevant to two wheeled road users too! The condition of the road, highways, and pavements.

Though as road users I’d argue we’ve all had to take evasive action to miss a pothole, grid, or substance on or/in the carriageway, as a pedestrian, cyclist or a motorcyclist sometimes it’s simply hidden from us or it’s a choice between the better of two evils.

I recently had the opportunity to help a gentleman cyclist whose front wheel had become caught in a pothole on a very busy road causing him to be thrown from his bike. On the road in question given the speed and volume of traffic, the rider was unable to simply swerve around it for fear of being run over by other traffic. Instead he suffered a nasty fracture which caused him to take quite a bit of time off work, for which he wasn’t paid until liability was determined.

Now in the case of cyclists and pedestrians, I can hear cries of Road Tax and the like but let’s be quite honest about this, ‘Road Tax’ doesn’t exist anymore, and hasn’t done since 1937! Its replacement ‘Vehicle Excise Duty’ is based upon the emissions of the vehicle and is in fact payable to the General Treasury Fund in any event – in reality it is a tax on pollution. Of course in the vast majority of cases, pedestrians and cyclists will in fact pay towards another form of motorised transport.

In another successful case, my client was crossing a road between a car park and a row of shops when their foot became caught in a rutted groove in the middle of the road. When we obtained measurements the groove was approximately 3 inches deep and 5 foot in length!? What would in anybody’s mind appear to be a busy main road was in fact more like a country lane!

Now it’s easy to suggest that people need to take more care and attention, certainly there are some cases where the judiciary have been keen to comment upon this and rightly so, but this in itself is not a defence, nor an excuse to turn a walk to the shops into an obstacle course.

In certain cases the hazard simply isn’t known about until it’s too late. As a pedestrian this is often the case where paving flags are unsteady or uneven, and as a road user diesel is a prime example. But of course sometimes there just in an alternative route.

But what is reasonable under the circumstances?

Well, I’d say that depends on the location and the environment at the time. In a busy urban environment with lots of traffic which can be dangerous in itself, more care is obviously required but it’s wrong to say that all of these incidents are avoidable. How does the brain process so many hazards? We are only human after all.

£5.85million Brain Damage Compensation

Phillip Coburn, a Solicitor with Burd Ward recently acted for a young man who was awarded damages of £5.85million, following a catastrophic brain injury when he was thrown across a room by his birth mother as a baby.

At a hearing under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme, the Tribunal was told that the child fractured his skull when his head struck the wooden arm of a settee, but his mother failed to seek medical attention for a further 4 days. By the time he was admitted to Hospital, he was suffering from the effects of an extensive brain injury, which had left him profoundly disabled, with significant physical and learning difficulties, together with severe behavioural problems. He was incapable of independent living and would require lifelong 24-hour care and support.

Having been taken into local authority care, the child was later adopted by a selfless and loving family. Aged 20 at the date of the hearing, the Applicant attended a college course and centre for adults with learning difficulties, in order to develop his independence and social skills.


As a result of the head injury the child sustained profoundly severe diffuse brain damage which affects all aspects of his physical, intellectual, communication and behavioural abilities, as well as producing overall and major handicap. The difficulties can be summarised as follows:

  • Profound intellectual and emotional impairment, with very severe learning difficulties, such that he functions at the approximate mental level of a 5 year-old child
  • A very short attention span
  • Relatively mild right-sided hemiplegia, such that his dexterity is poor, he is unable to oppose his fingers to his thumbs on either hand, he has difficulty with any bilateral hand function, and has developed a preference for using his left hand
  • He walks on tiptoes with an unstable gait, and tends to trip and bump into obstacles, his mobility difficulties being exacerbated by his visual deficits
  • Severe visual problems consequent upon the brain damage, with a convergent squint, loss of binocular vision and depth perception and extensive loss of his visual fields, such that he is registered as partially-sighted, and causing significant difficulties with many daily tasks and with mobility, leading him to bump into obstacles and to be at risk of falls on stairs and uneven surfaces
  • His speech is unmodulated, repetitive and inappropriate, and becomes difficult to understand when he is excited
  • He has epilepsy, although this is no longer a significant problem, as it was previously controlled with medication.
  • He exhibits severe behavioural problems, with outbursts of frustration, aggression and self-harm, together with obsessive traits, attention-seeking and low self-esteem, resulting in his causing damage to the family home and injuries to himself and others, particularly if he undergoes any change in his normal routine
  • He has poor bladder and bowel control, with associated urinary infections
  • He sleeps poorly, and frequently demands attention during the night
  • He has no sense of danger, and is unable to go out unaccompanied.

The injuries are permanent. He is incapable of independent living and requires lifelong 24-hour care and assistance with activities of daily living. Although he is able to feed himself with a fork or spoon, he is dependent on others for most activities of daily living, including support when walking, bathing and dressing. He relies on a clear daily structure and routines, finding deviation from them very stressful. He requires suitably-adapted accommodation, and a range of aids and equipment, including transport, appropriate to his needs. He lacks capacity to manage his own affairs and will never be capable of employment. He will have limited insight into the nature and extent of his difficulties but will be aware that he is different from others. His life expectancy is probably reduced by around 7 years, due to the risks associated with impaired bladder function and behavioural problems.


PSLA £240,000.00
Past Losses £612,758.69
Future Losses £4,995,991.90
Total £5,848,750.59


From a legal point of view this was an extremely interesting and complex case, and it is thought to be the highest award from the CICA for this type of case. From a personal point of view it was heart wrenching to see the damage caused to the child, yet heart warming to see the love and care show to him by his adoptive family. The substantial compensation awarded will help look after the Applicant for the rest of his life which is very comforting to know.