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Medical negligence is a serious issue that can have devastating consequences for patients. When healthcare professionals fail to meet the expected standard of care, it can lead to injuries, complications, or even death. If you’ve been injured as a result of medical negligence, you have the right to seek compensation through medical negligence claims.
Medical negligence compensation claim
Medical negligence (also known as clinical negligence) occurs when the actions taken by a medical professional – such as a doctor, nurse, surgeon, or dentist – to treat a patient fall short of the expected standard of care.
It makes no difference if the negligence takes place at an NHS facility or a private clinic, as all medical staff have a duty of care towards their patients.
The vast majority of medical negligence claims are handled on a no win no fee basis, meaning that if you’ve been injured due to the negligence of a medical professional, you can get access to justice without having to spend a fortune.
To find out more about make a medical negligence claim, call now on 0800 234 6438 and speak with a trained legal advisor who will be able to determine if you have claim or not. Or, if you’d rather, submit your claim online.
What is medical negligence?
When you entrust your health and well-being to healthcare professionals, you expect them to provide competent and compassionate care. Unfortunately, medical negligence occurs when they fail to meet this expectation.
Medical negligence can take various forms, such as: misdiagnosis, surgical errors or mistakes, GP negligence, hospital negligence, optician negligence, medication mistakes, dental negligence, birth injuries, botched cosmetic surgery, or inadequate post-operative care.
The list above is a small example of the types of medical negligence claims. If your case doesn’t fit in to any of the categories mentioned, don’t worry – medical negligence lawyers handle all the different types of medical malpractice that don’t fall neatly into a category.
What are the different types of medical negligence claims?
In the UK, medical negligence claims encompass a wide range of scenarios. Some common types include:
1. Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
Has a doctor failed to diagnose your condition accurately or delayed your diagnosis, resulting in worsened health or treatment complications? Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis can have severe consequences, and you may be eligible to make a medical negligence claim.
2. Surgical errors
Surgical procedures carry inherent risks, but when errors occur due to negligence, the consequences can be devastating. Surgical errors include wrong-site surgery, organ damage, or leaving surgical instruments inside the body.
3. Medication mistakes
Are you experiencing adverse effects due to incorrect medication or dosage errors? Medical professionals have a duty to prescribe and administer medication correctly. If their negligence has harmed you, you may have a medical negligence claim.
4. Birth injuries
Childbirth should be a joyous occasion, but when medical negligence leads to birth injuries, it can be traumatic for both the child and the parents. Birth injuries can occur during labour, delivery, or in the postnatal period.
5. Inadequate post-operative care
Proper post-operative care is crucial for a patient’s recovery. If you have experienced complications or prolonged suffering due to inadequate post-operative care, you may be entitled to compensation.
These are just a few examples of medical negligence claims. Each case is unique. If you believe you’ve suffered medical negligence, call 0800 234 6438 for free today and speak with a trained legal advisor who will be able to tell you if you’re eligible to claim clinical negligence compensation.
The importance of seeking compensation for medical negligence
When it comes to medical negligence, seeking compensation is not just about financial reparation; it holds a deeper significance that directly impacts your life and the pursuit of justice.
By pursuing compensation, you are taking a stand against the harm caused by medical negligence. It is an assertion that the pain, suffering, and impact you have endured should not be ignored or overlooked. It sends a powerful message that such negligence should never be tolerated.
Medical negligence can have profound and lasting effects on your physical, emotional, and financial well-being. Seeking compensation provides the necessary resources to support your recovery and rebuild your life. It can help cover medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, and future care needs. By obtaining the financial support you deserve, you can access the best possible medical treatment, therapies, and support services, giving you the opportunity to regain control over your life.
As well as helping you get your life back on track, a medical negligence claim can help prevent future incidents from occurring. When you pursue compensation, you shed light on the negligence that occurred and push for necessary changes in medical practices. Your actions will contribute to the collective effort of making healthcare providers more accountable, ensuring that they maintain the highest standards of care for future patients.
How to prove medical negligence
To make a medical negligence claim, certain elements need to be established. These elements include:
1. Duty of care
The first element is demonstrating that a duty of care existed between you and the healthcare professional. This duty of care means that the healthcare professional had a legal obligation to provide a certain standard of care. This is the easiest to prove because this is automatically the case if the victim of clinical negligence was being treated by the accused medical personnel.
2. Breach of duty
Next, it must be proven that the healthcare professional breached their duty of care. This means they failed to meet the expected standard of care, acting negligently or recklessly. Liability is established by showing that the actions of the medical professional accused of negligence were something that no other expert in the field would have undertaken.
You must establish a link between the healthcare professional’s breach of duty and the harm you suffered, and that the injuries inflicted would not have happened if different action had been taken. It must be shown that their negligence directly caused your injuries or worsened your condition. This is determined if there is found to be a greater than 50% chance that the action caused the personal injuries.
Lastly, you need to demonstrate the damages you have incurred are as a result of the medical negligence. This can include physical pain, emotional distress, loss of earnings, medical expenses, and future care costs. E.g. the negligence must have had a direct effect on the victim for compensation to be paid.
For example, if a doctor makes a mistake and a patient requires a limb amputation directly due to this mistake, then compensation should cover these injuries. On the other hand, if a doctor misdiagnosed a patient with terminal cancer, the doctor cannot be held accountable if the patient spends all their money on frivolous pursuits; however, they will still be liable for compensation for the misdiagnosis if it caused pain and suffering, or loss of earnings if the victim had to quit their job.
The Bolam Test
The Bolam test is an important concept in medical negligence law that assesses whether a healthcare professional acted negligently by considering the standard of care within their profession. Understanding the Bolam test is crucial if you are pursuing a medical negligence claim.
Imagine this scenario: You trusted a healthcare professional to provide you with competent and safe care, but something went wrong. You may be wondering, “How do I determine if the healthcare professional was negligent?” This is where the Bolam test comes into play.
The Bolam test takes its name from a landmark legal case involving a patient named Bolam. It establishes the principle that a healthcare professional is not considered negligent if their actions are in line with what a responsible body of medical professionals would deem acceptable. In other words, the test asks whether the healthcare professional’s actions were in accordance with the standards of their profession.
How do you report a medical professional for medical malpractice?
If you believe you have experienced medical malpractice and wish to report a medical professional, there are several steps you can take to ensure your concerns are heard and addressed.
Reporting medical malpractice is vital as it can help protect others from similar incidents and hold the responsible party accountable.
- Gather information: Collect all relevant information about the incident, including dates, names of medical professionals involved, and any supporting documentation such as medical records, test results, or witness statements. This will provide a solid foundation for your report.
- Contact the healthcare body that governs the facility: Start by contacting the healthcare trust that governs the facility where the malpractice occurred. Ask to speak with the patient liaison or complaints department. Explain your concerns and provide a detailed account of what happened. Request that your complaint be investigated.
- Follow the facility’s complaints procedure: Each healthcare body has its own complaints procedure, which may involve completing a formal complaint form or providing a written statement. Follow their instructions carefully and submit your complaint in writing, detailing the incident and its impact on you.
- Contact the General Medical Council (GMC): If you believe the malpractice involved a doctor, you can also report the incident to the General Medical Council. The GMC is responsible for regulating doctors in the UK and ensuring patient safety. Visit their website or contact them directly to initiate the reporting process.
- Other regulatory bodies: Depending on the specific circumstances, you may need to report the incident to other regulatory bodies. For example, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) regulates nurses and midwives, and the General Dental Council (GDC) oversees dental professionals.
How will a medical negligence solicitor prove clinical negligence?
When you work with a medical negligence lawyer, their main goal is to support you and help you seek justice for the harm you have suffered. They will use their expertise and experience to prove clinical negligence on your behalf.
Here’s how they will approach the process to help you make a clinical negligence claim:
- Listen to you: Firstly, they will take the time to listen to your story and understand the impact that the clinical negligence has had on your life. They will provide a safe space for you to share your experiences, concerns, and emotions.
- Conduct a thorough investigation: To prove clinical negligence, your solicitor will conduct a thorough investigation. They will review your medical records, consult with medical experts, and gather all relevant evidence to build a compelling case. They will leave no stone unturned and will diligently examine every detail to support your claim.
- Collaborate with medical experts: They will have medical experts review your medical records and medical treatment and have them provide their professional opinions, and offer expert testimony to support your case. Your solicitor will coordinate with these experts to ensure a comprehensive understanding of your situation and present a strong argument.
Why use specialist medical negligence solicitors?
Navigating a medical negligence case without legal representation can be challenging and may significantly reduce your chances of success.
Here’s why we believe it’s crucial to seek professional legal assistance:
1. Expertise and knowledge
Medical negligence law is complex, requiring a deep understanding of legal principles and procedures. A specialist medical negligence solicitor has the expertise to navigate the intricacies of your claim and maximise your chances of success.
2. Support and guidance
Dealing with the aftermath of medical negligence can be emotionally and physically draining. Having a compassionate legal professional by your side provides the support and guidance you need throughout the process.
3. Negotiation skills
Experienced medical negligence lawyers possess excellent negotiation skills, allowing them to engage in settlement discussions on your behalf. They will strive to secure fair compensation without the need for a lengthy court battle.
4. Access to medical experts
Proving medical negligence often requires the input of medical experts who can provide opinions on the standard of care and causation. Your lawyer will have access to a network of reputable experts who can strengthen your case.
5. It won’t cost you a penny
When you make a medical negligence claim through No Win No Fee, we will partner you with a specialist solicitor who will represent you on conditional fee agreement, meaning you will have the peace of mind that when you make your no win no fee medical negligence claim, if your personal injury claims aren’t successful, you won’t be out of pocket.
How much compensation could I receive?
Determining the exact amount of compensation you could receive for medical negligence is a complex process that depends on various factors specific to your case.
It is important to understand that compensation amounts vary widely and are assessed on a case-by-case basis. As a general rule, the key factors that influence the compensation awarded in medical negligence claims include:
- Extent of injury and impact: The severity of your injury caused by the negligence and its long-term consequences play a significant role in determining the compensation amount. This includes physical, psychological, and financial impacts, such as pain and suffering, loss of earnings, medical expenses, and ongoing care needs.
- Special damages: Special damages encompass any financial losses you’ve incurred as a direct result of the negligence, such as medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, medication, home adaptations, and loss of earnings.
- Future losses: If the negligence has caused you long-term or permanent effects, compensation may also account for future losses. This includes projected loss of earnings, ongoing medical treatment and care costs, and any adjustments needed to accommodate disabilities or limitations resulting from the negligence.
Compensation for personal injury claims of all types are based on the 16th edition of the Judicial College Guidelines.
Remember, the primary goal of compensation is to help restore you to the position you would have been in if the negligence had not occurred. While financial compensation cannot fully reverse the harm caused, it aims to provide support, financial stability, and access to the necessary resources for your recovery and future well-being.
Time limitations on medical negligence claims
British law places a three-year time limit from the date of the accident or injury to initiate legal proceedings. However, there are situations when the time limit begins at a different date, and this commonly happens in cases of medical negligence.
The first exception is when it is not immediately apparent that treatment was negligent, or that an injury was inflicted. As an example, a patient who attends hospital for an operation and has a piece of surgical equipment left in their body has three years to make a claim from the date the mistake is discovered, rather than from the date of the surgery.
The second exception is if the victim is under the age of 18. When this is the case, the three year time limit begins from the date of the person’s 18th birthday.
Occasionally, a judge may decide that the time limit should not apply, but this does not happen very often.
Claiming as a litigation friend
In incidents of medical negligence involving children or people with diminished mental capacity, it is obviously impossible for them to launch legal proceedings on their own behalf.
Injured children can wait until they are 18, but it is also possible for someone – usually a parent or guardian – to be appointed as what is known as a “litigation friend”. A litigation friend can make a compensation claim on behalf of the injured party, and will act in their best interests.
NHS Resolution (formerly NHS Litigation Authority)
The NHS Resolution (formerly NHS Litigation Authority) handles all claims of medical negligence made against the NHS. Whether you make a claim against an individual NHS doctor or medical facility, the NHS Resolution will be involved in trying to settle the claim. In fact, only around 2% of claims made against the NHS actually reach court.
The body has reported a steady increase in the number of clinical negligence claims over the past six years. In 2007/08 there were 5,470 claims of medical negligence made against the NHS, but the number had jumped to 10,129 by 2012/13. The chart below shows the number of negligence claims made over the past six years.
How long does it take to settle a medical negligence claim?
In most claims made against the NHS, the NHS Resolution aims to reach a settlement as swiftly as possible. The vast majority of cases don’t reach court – if liability is obvious, and injuries were caused by the negligence, the NHS Resolution will attempt to make a reasonable offer of compensation within a year.
In more complex medical negligence cases it can sometimes be a matter of years before compensation is awarded. This may be because the injuries sustained are so severe that it takes years to determine the full impact they have on the claimant’s life. You should not, however, let this deter you from seeking justice. If you’ve been badly injured, you deserve compensation, and the fact that taking on a hospital, clinic or even the NHS can seem daunting should not be allowed to put you off. Remember that an expert lawyer will be by your side every step of the way and will do their utmost to ensure that you receive the compensation that will, even if only in a small way, help you to put your life back together.
For claims against private practices, the speed of settlement can vary as different clinics and facilities will have different insurance companies, with contrasting methods of dealing with claims. However, whether claiming against the NHS or a private organisation, No Win No Fee‘s medical negligence solicitors have the expertise to help you win the compensation you are due.
How to start a claim for medical negligence using no win no fee
If you would like more information on the process of making a medical negligence claim, or if you want to proceed with a claim right away, then get in touch with a trained legal adviser by calling 0800 234 6438, or submitting your details online.
Provide as much information as you can about matters such as what medical problems you were suffering, when and where your treatment started, its chronological progress, the names of any practitioners involved and the exact details of what you feel went wrong (it may help to write it all down before you call).
If you’ve got a viable claim, the legal adviser will let you know, and will do their best to ensure your claim for compensation is successful.
- Can I claim for an anaesthetic error?
- Am I eligible for compensation if I’m injured due to a surgical error?
- Can I claim for an error during laser eye surgery?
- What amount of compensation can I expect to receive if my claim is successful?
- What kind of mistakes are categorised as medical negligence?
- Will my compensation come out of NHS funds?
- What if my child has suffered medical negligence, can I claim on their behalf?
- What if my medical malpractice claim is against a private healthcare provider?