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Vanessa Harris

Senior Associate

Home office: Bristol
Vanessa Harris photo

Vanessa is a Senior Associate in the Clinical Negligence team undertaking a broad range of complex clinical negligence claims.

Vanessa has particular expertise in claims involving amputation, delayed diagnosis of cancer and injuries to mothers and babies that occur during birth. Through her experience in the field Vanessa has developed a growing interest in acting for mothers who suffer obstetric anal sphincter injury or where delay in proceeding to timely delivery results in brain injury to the baby causing stillbirth, neonatal death or disability.

Vanessa joined Clarke Willmott in 2007. She has worked exclusively in the field of clinical negligence since qualification in 2009. She regularly drafts blogs for the department’s website. She has also published articles in legal journals, most recently in Expert Witness Journal and speaks on the subject at seminars and events.

Find out what our clients say about Vanessa.


  • Paediatrics: C suffered hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy as a result of the Defendant Health Board’s delay in proceeding to delivery. C’s mother was admitted for induction of labour, however, the Health Board failed to follow the appropriate care pathway and failed to progress to artificial rupture of the membranes. C was eventually born four days later, via emergency caesarean section. As a result of her injuries C sadly passed away six days after birth. Vanessa negotiated the settlement of the claim in the sum of £52,500. She also obtained a Letter of Apology from the Health Board.
  • Gynaecology: O suffered a third degree tear which was not recognised at the time of the delivery of her first child and was repaired as though it were a second degree tear. O suffered from faecal urgency and occasional faecal incontinence. Liability was admitted. The matter settled for £62,500.
  • Surgical Negligence: G was admitted to hospital for hernia repair. There was a failure to identify the extent of the hernia and therefore extent of repair required. As a result G was admitted as a day case. Unfortunately, rather than delaying the surgery, the surgeon proceeded with an attempted repair that was inadequate for the extent of the hernia. As a result G went through many months of pain and suffering and had to undergo extensive abdominal reconstruction surgery. The claim settled for £75,000 without admission of liability by the defendant.
  • Ophthalmic Injury: C suffered ophthalmic injury following surgery to correct a squint. Following surgery the Claimant developed torsion in the eye which resulted in double vision. He subsequently underwent three further procedures in an attempt to correct the double vision. Unfortunately, his symptoms persisted. Liability was vehemently denied by the Defendant. The matter proceeded to trial where the Claimant was successful and awarded damages of around £43,000. Following receipt of the Judgment an appeal was lodged on the basis that the Judge erred in her calculation of damages. Settlement was eventually agreed prior to the appeal hearing in the sum of £70,000.

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