Smith v Leicestershire Health Authority: CA 29 Jan 1998

The plaintiff appealed a finding that she had sufficient knowledge of her possible claim for medical negligence against the defendants, and that she was out of time. She had known of her condition, but said she had no sufficient reason to see that it might have arisen from the negligence now found.
Held: The court looked at whether the claimant was in a position where she should reasonably have been aware of the cause her loss: ‘what would the reasonable person have done placed in the situation of the plaintiff?’ The court accepted that her ‘individual characteristics which might distinguish her from the reasonable woman should be disregarded. Thus her fortitude, her lack of any bitterness at becoming a tetraplegic and the determination and devotion she has shown to making herself as independent and useful a member of her family and society as she can, which have surpassed what might be expected, are to be put on one side. ‘ Against this background ‘there was no basis on which the judge could accept the defendant’s submission that sometime in the 1970’s at the latest, the plaintiff should have taken advice. ‘ She was told in 1984 that she had no possible claim. The defendant had not established constructive knowledge in the plaintiff, and the appeal succeeded.
Roch LJ, Mantell LJ and Sir Patrick Russell
[1998] EWCA Civ 107, [1998] Lloyd’s LR (Med) 77
Limitation Act 1980 11 14
England and Wales
CitedForbes v Wandsworth Health Authority CA 21-Mar-1996
The plaintiff had a history of circulatory problems in his legs. He underwent surgery losing his leg. The question was when he should have sought advice as to why an attempted by-pass operation had resulted in one leg having to be amputated. He . .
CitedHalford v Brookes CA 1991
The plaintiff, the mother and administratrix of the estate of a 16 year old girl, alleged that her daughter had been murdered by one or both of the Defendants. The claim was for damages for battery. Rougier J at first instance had decided that: . .
CitedNash v Eli Lilley and Co CA 1993
The court was asked as to the extent and nature of knowledge required to start time running against a plaintiff in a negligence case.
Purchas LJ said: ‘It is to be noted that a firm belief held by the plaintiff that his injury was attributable . .
CitedHartley v Birmingham City District Council CA 1992
The writ was issued one day late; there had been early notification of the claim; and the defendant’s ability to defend the case was unaffected. The plaintiff asked the court to exercide its discretion to allow the claim t proceed.
Held: The . .
CitedYoung v The Bristol Aeroplane Co Ltd CA 28-Jul-1944
Court of Appeal must follow Own Decisions
The claimant was injured and received compensation. He then sought to recover again, alleging breach of statutory duty by his employers.
Held: The Court of Appeal was in general bound to follow its own previous decisions. The court considered . .
CitedHallam-Eames and Others v Merrett Syndicates Ltd and Others CA 25-Jan-1995
Members of Lloyd’s who faced re-insurance underwriting liabilities alleged negligence on the part of the active underwriter, their members’ agents and their syndicates’ managing agents. Limitation defences were raised.
Held: Mere knowledge of . .

Cited by:
CitedAdams v Bracknell Forest Borough Council HL 17-Jun-2004
A attended the defendant’s schools between 1977 and 1988. He had always experienced difficulties with reading and writing and as an adult found those difficulties to be an impediment in his employment. He believed them to be the cause of the . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 09 March 2021; Ref: scu.143585