Helen Dolan is Senior Partner and Head of the Clinical Negligence team here at Potter Rees Dolan. Helen specialises in high value complex secondary brain injury, spinal cord injury (including cauda equina syndrome), birth injury, cerebral palsy and wrongful birth cases, and also has extensive experience of orthopaedic and surgical cases.
Education & career
After graduating from the University College of Wales in 1988 with a BA (Hons) in French and Italian, Helen went on to study for a CPE and LPC at Manchester University, qualifying in 1996. When asked what inspired her career in law, Helen comments:
“Having come from a very large family I learned how to speak out at an early age; accountability has been a driver for me, so too the thought that hard work really can achieve great results for those who have been injured”
Helen joined PRD in 1999 and became Partner in 2004, before being promoted to Director in 2014. Helen says of her role at Potter Rees Dolan:
“I really enjoy the camaraderie of my colleagues, counsel and experts and all the cross learning that goes with that; we tend to be in clients’ lives for a good few years – that’s a privilege and makes the job so worthwhile”
Recent reported cases
Recent reported cases of Helen's include; the cerebral palsy case of AB (by her Litigation Friend CD) v North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust (2016), spinal injury case of DD v East Cheshire NHS Trust (2017) and the brain injury case of RM (by Litigation Friend, JC) v East Cheshire NHS Trust.
Helen also acted for a recent appealed spinal injury case of AB v Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust  EWHC 1889 (QB). The first instance hearing was held in June 2018, following which the Regional Costs Judge gave an extempore Judgment that the decision of the Claimant to switch from Legal Aid to a CFA in February 2013 was a reasonable one. The Defendant appealed, and that appeal was heard in July of last year, where the decision of the lower court was upheld. During this appeal, Helen was described by the Regional Costs Judge as “one of the most experienced clinical negligence practitioners in the North West of England, if not the whole country."
Professional memberships & accreditations
Helen's professional memberships and accreditations include: AvMA Clinical Negligence Panel; Law Society Clinical Negligence Accredited. Helen is also recognised by the prestigious Legal 500 guide as a 'recommended lawyer' and is a top ranked lawyer within the Chambers guide.
Chambers 2020 says:
"Helen Dolan has extensive expertise in assisting clients with catastrophic spinal injuries. Dolan is also well versed in cases surrounding surgical negligence resulting in brain damage, as well as birth injury claims. She additionally handles delayed diagnosis of cancer cases."
Previous comments from Chambers 2019 include: "Helen Dolan is noted for her market-leading expertise in brain and spine injury cases, with a particular focus on surgical error and delay in diagnosis claims. Clients say: "She is highly knowledgeable and efficient, with great insight into the whole life of her clients and their families. Helen’s manner is warm and pleasant, her communication is excellent and her work is very effective."
What others say:
Helen Dolan is one of the most experienced and tenacious solicitors around when it comes to clinical negligence litigation. Nothing fazes her and she fights hard for every client.
- Nigel Poole QC
Legal 500 says:
Potter Rees Dolan fields a ‘highly talented group of clinical negligence lawyers that is led by the formidable’ Helen Dolan
Outside of work...
Helen is a keen netballer and enjoys sculpture in her spare time.
Helen's Latest Blogs
At a particularly traumatic time in our lives, Helen Dolan provided an exceptional service on both an interpersonal and professional level. We were kept up to date every step of the process and with Helen’s guidance and advice achieved positive closure to our case. We are very pleased that we decided to choose your firm and we are grateful for your assistance
Mr and Mrs R, Lancashire
When dealing with medical negligence, it is important you have somebody who fully understands what they are dealing with - that was definitely the case with PotterReesDolan.. My case was somewhat difficult to prove. My legal team kept me up to date with all the information regarding the defence team. If I ever had a problem understanding anything, they would be very clear and explain everything to me, that is very important. I would take this opportunity to thank Helen Dolan and her clinical negligence team and anybody else in this matter. Thank you.
Mrs S, West Yorkshire
Helen Dolan was very efficient and courteous and, in many areas exceeded, our expectations. All members of staff were very approachable and helped to make a very difficult situation more bearable
Read the case study here: Misdiagnosis of blood clot on woman's spinal cord results in paralysis
Mrs H, Birmingham
Helen, Hannah and Kirsty guided us through a horrendous part of our lives. We are now able to get on with our lives to the best we can. The outcome of our case was the best we could have thought or hoped. Helen worked really hard for us and we are forever grateful. Thank you.
Read the case study here: Man left tetraplegic after doctors fail to diagnose spinal abscess
Mr and Mrs D, Stoke-on-Trent