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Professional Negligence and Liability

Chapter 2


Authored by SIMON WILTON


2.1 There is in damages for professional negligence a major watershed which must be addressed at the start. Cases where there is personal injury or death lie on one side of the divide, the rest lie on the other. This makes for a fundamental distinction between medical negligence where personal injury and death are the order of the day and all other areas of professional negligence, making up the great mass of such claims, upon which personal injury and death very rarely impinge, the injury being almost invariably economic. Cases in the limited first category are dominated by damages for lost earning capacity, for medical expenses and costs of care, and for pain, suffering and loss of amenities; Roberts v. Johnstone 1 can be taken as a typical example. These heads of damage have marginal relevance2 for the central second category and therefore this does not seem to be the appropriate place to consider them; this is particularly so since they have built up an enormous weight of case law which, if given full rein, would swamp this chapter.3 They are therefore excluded from the text.

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