Personal injury claims may follow penile and scrotal injuries from various events, including road traffic accidents, work-related accidents, medical malpractice, and criminal incidents.
Types of penile and scrotal injuries
Traumatic penile and scrotal injuries may be caused by any number of events or accidents. Types of traumatic penile and scrotal injuries include:
- Penile fracture: this injury occurs when there is a tear in the tunica albuginea, the fibrous coverings that envelop the corpora cavernosa in the penis. It may be associated with vigorous sexual activity but can occur from other types of trauma as well.
- Penile amputation: this severe injury involves partial or complete removal of the penis. It is often the result of traumatic incidents, self-inflicted harm, or surgical mishaps.
- Scrotal trauma: trauma to the scrotum can cause bruising, swelling, and pain. This can be caused by a direct blow to the area, crush injuries, or accidents involving heavy machinery.
- Testicular torsion: although typically a non-traumatic condition, it can occur as a result of trauma and causes severe pain. In this condition, the spermatic cord twists, cutting off the blood supply to the testicle.
- Testicular rupture: this refers to a break in the protective covering of the testicle, causing the extrusion of testicular material. It usually occurs due to blunt force trauma to the scrotum.
- Urethral injury: trauma to the penis or perineum can result in urethral injury, which can lead to difficulty urinating, blood in the urine, or an inability to urinate.
- Degloving injuries: in this type of injury, the skin and subcutaneous tissues of the penis or scrotum are separated from the deeper tissues. This can occur in severe trauma cases, often involving machinery.
- Fournier’s gangrene: although usually caused by an infection, this condition, characterised by rapidly progressing necrotising fasciitis of the perineal, genital, or perianal regions, can be precipitated by trauma.
Impact of penile and scrotal injuries
The impact of penile and scrotal injuries often extends beyond the physical. Psychological trauma, loss of sexual function, fertility issues and significant impacts on interpersonal relationships may arise from these injuries, significantly affecting the claimant’s life.
The role of an expert witness in penile and scrotal personal injury claims
Penile and scrotal personal injury claims usually require the evidence of a urologist expert witness. A urologist expert witness is needed to determine the extent of a penile or scrotal injury and its future impact in a personal injury claim. Penile and scrotal injuries often require multiple treatments and long-term management. These can include surgical procedures, psychological therapies, and potentially fertility treatments. As such, claimants often incur significant costs, which a successful personal injury claim might help to cover.
Damages in penile and scrotal personal injury claims
In the UK, the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, more commonly known as the Judicial Studies Board (JSB) Guidelines, provide a framework for assessing compensation for various types of injuries. The complexity of penile and scrotal injuries, their potential long-term impacts, and the range of treatments required mean that the financial settlements can be substantial.
Whilst these injuries may have a considerable impact on a claimant’s quality of life, they are not always treated as seriously within the court system as other injuries. Penile and scrotal injuries, while sensitive in nature, are serious and complex, with the potential for significant long-term impacts on the claimant’s quality of life.
Mark Bowman of Field Fisher represented a man who suffered a penile injury during sexual activity. His girlfriend contacted NHS direct to seek advice. The nurse advised that if his condition did not improve, the claimant should visit his GP the next day. The claimant attended his GP the following day. He was prescribed antibiotics. Six days later, he returned to his GP. Later that day, his GP advised him to attend hospital immediately. The urologist diagnosed a fractured penis; however, it was too late to perform corrective surgery, which would have limited the amount of scar tissue that formed at the injury site.
The claimant was no longer able to have penetrative sexual intercourse, suffering emotional distress. A report by a urologist expert witness concluded that surgery needed to have been performed within 12 hours to have reduced the injuries. A claim was made against NHS Direct. An expert nursing report concluded that NHS Direct should have recommended that the claimant attend A&E immediately. A letter of claim was served on NHS Direct, who denied negligence. Following discussions with the defendant, an offer of £40,000, made without an admission of liability, was accepted by the claimant.
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