Reaney v University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust & Anor [2015] EWCA Civ 1119 (02 November 2015) 

R suffers from T7 paraplegia; during an extended stay in hospital she developed deep pressure sores which were complicated by osteomyelitis and musculo-skeletal complications. Liability was not in dispute. The issue before the court concerned the causation and quantification of damages.

In particular, did the defendants cause (i) all of R’s care needs resulting from the pressure sores and their consequences (as the judge held) or (ii) those needs less the needs that she would have had but for the negligence (as the defendants contended)?

There was consideration of the “but for” test, the doctrine of material contribution (as in Bailey). The trial judge concluded: “… she was entitled to full compensation of all her care, physiotherapy and accommodation costs.” (paragraph 14).

The court allowed the appeal. The case was remitted to the judge to assess damages in respect of the claimant’s heads of loss.