My Wife Can't Make Decisions for Herself - Can I Claim For Her?


Simpson Millar LLP has helped a man claim for his wife's fall after she lost the capacity to make decisions for herself.

Accident Report

Fell Over on the Way to the Hairdressers

The husband and wife were on their way to the hairdressers. The man watched his wife walk across the forecourt. As she made her way in front of a restaurant, she tripped on a raised paving slab and fell over. She bruised her face which caused her a lot of pain.

Before she became unable to handle the claim, the woman contacted Simpson Millar LLP to make a compensation claim. We contacted the restaurant to ask for the details of their insurers. They insisted they were not responsible for the forecourt so we conducted a Land Registry check to see who owned that part of the land. In doing so, we found out that the restaurant owners only leased the building and not the forecourt on which the poor old lady fell over. Another company was responsible. On discovering this, we redirected our energies into pursuing the claim against the new party responsible.

Husband Becomes Litigation Friend

As the claim progressed, we found out that the woman had started to suffer from mental health issues. She was later diagnosed with Alzheimer's and eventually lost the capacity to make decisions for herself. Her husband instructed carers to help him take care of her.

However, this put a considerable burden on his finances and they were not sure if they could continue with the claim. We suggested that the man take advantage of a conditional fee agreement. This meant that if we did not win the case the man would not have to pay us our fee. He accepted our offer and decided to continue with the case to get justice for his wife.

The man wanted to act for his wife and wanted to become her lasting power of attorney. This was not possible because she had already lost capacity and he had left it too late to make this claim. A litigation friend can be used to act on your behalf when you‘re not able to make decisions for yourself. It can apply to children as well as adults who lack mental capacity.

Simpson Millar LLP Help the Man to Win Compensation

As part of our normal procedure, we obtained a medical report to diagnose the woman's injuries. At the same time as doing this, we also arranged for an assessment of the woman's mental health. This was to confirm that she had lost the capacity to make decisions for herself. We used this information to support her husband in becoming her litigation friend so that the case could progress.

After finding the party responsible for the forecourt, we got on with building our case and sent details of the incident to those responsible. They admitted they were in the wrong and the case continued to progress.

An offer was put forward of £4,000 which we accepted on behalf of the woman and her husband who acted as her litigation friend. With the help of Simpson Millar LLP, the money we helped to provide is now being used to care for the woman and keep her comfortable after her diagnosis of Alzheimer's.

Top Tips to take Home

  • If you lose capacity during your claim, a loved one can take over – this is called being a 'litigation friend'
  • If you are unsure of who is responsible for your injuries, a solicitor will be able to identify the wrongdoers
  • If you fell over and it was not your fault, contact a solicitor to start a claim for compensation

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