Legal beagle?

Salut, can anyone tell me if " no win no fee" solicitors exist here and, if they do , how do I find one please. Failing that, how about Citizen's advice? I want to sue someone but I really have no idea how to go about it. In case you think it is a trivial matter, I want to sue a surgeon for the state he has left me in after a recent operation. Thanks for your help.

My specialist in Bordeaux is one of the top five shoulder replacement surgeons in the world. The problem is once I have the money the waiting list is very long because he also practices in very expensive clinics in the USA and another in Bangkok. I don't mind the operation but three months of so of rehab before continual physio irks a bit.

Best of luck sorting yours out. The informal, which is what I am actually doing in effect, takes time but they close ranks anyway. So simply get some support, go for it and let's hope you win.

Many thanks for your reply. I was hoping that it could be resolved informally. I want an operation to repair the damage done by the surgeon, NOT him again, and not have to pay for it and I would like the clinique to know what he has done and keep a close eye on him in the future. Heaps and heaps of compensation would be nice but I'm not holding my breath. When my GP saw what had happened she looked horrified but only said I could have another op to fix it so she does know something is wrong.

If it is any help, I know 2 people who have had replacement shoulder joints with great success but it is a long job. Thanks again, good luck with your problems.

Owww. As members of SFN who have been around for the last two years and a bit will know, one hospital has made two mistakes. An inexperienced, junior surgeon repaired a broken shoulder wrongly then tried to re-operate to correct it but two late. I shall need a replacement, in the meantime I have had kinesitherapy continually for now pushing two and a half years and four out of five days varying degrees of pain up to excruciating at times. Then, on a emergency admission for something else during April last year I was kept 'overnight' in cardiology although my problem was neurological. The hospital has no neurology department. However, they did not follow the procedure required for another condition thus the stress on my heart gave me a heart attack. Off I went in an ambulance to a specialist, normally expensive clinic and had two operations over a couple of weeks. The surgeon there shook his head several times.

My wife began to seek legal advice immediately. Strictly speaking I qualify for legal aid on the basis of age, the two conditions and other factors. So, she and eventually I had consultations with lawyers. We found that legal aid does not extend to suing a hospital for the errors, both responsible physicians having 'moved on' to other hospitals. Apart from that we were more than once advised that their lawyers are usually better than any mere mortals can find unless we can find big money to get someone big. The process between consultations, getting the case taken into arbitration, then perhaps court, various instances of appeal and so on can take easily eight years!

Anyway, my OH has a notaire she has a lot of contact with in her job and with whom she is now very friendly whose wife is a solicitor. She has informally advised us how to go about it and that is to negotiate compensation with the hospital director. He is under threat of formal legal process if he does not bend to my demands which is merely for the entire bill of a replacement joint, the clinic, surgeon and rehabilitation of function and not some kind of fortune to squander on compensatory luxuries. She also advised going to the see the local Maison de la Justice as VĂ©ro is suggesting. It is free but very limited. They also suggested starting by trying for compensation, the legal process is much as the solicitor has advised.

So far the negotiation has lasted over a year and letters have been exchanged, it is slow to say the least and talk about penny pinching telling me about cheaper places to have the operation, type of joint and surgeon and so on. The lawyer is doing it informally and cannot be named or else she is in trouble. As for her advice on no win, no fees here, she said that a few top Paris and perhaps a small number of highly principled and talented provincial lawyers who read the case thoroughly and know they will win might do it. It does no formally exist in France but a few who have international practices are learning it is profitable. Then that is usually conditional on the compensation being pretty big so that their cut is worth the effort. It still takes a long time though.

That is not encouraging I know, but that is after very exhaustively going into it on our part. As our advising lawyer says, hospitals have everything going on their side and the whole of the medical profession will close ranks to defend them rather than have the risk of exposure.

You can get legal aid depending on your resources, go & see your local Maison de la Justice & they will tell you everything you need to know. I don't think no-win no-fee exists but then nor do ambulance-chasers like the US & UK thank goodness. You should get good advice from the maison de justice & it is free, then you decide what to do next.

I have no idea if I qualify for Leagal aid , I have never applied for any sort of benefit in France. I am a complete novice at this even tho we have lived here for 21 years. thanks .

Are you entitled to the French version of Legal Aid? Not that I know much about it but I know if you are receipt of some benefits it does exist. What kind of cases it can be used to bring forward I don't know.