What is medical negligence?
Medical negligence (also known as clinical negligence) is when a medical professional’s patient care falls below reasonable standards, and as a result causes harm to a patient. When medical mistakes occur, they can have devastating impacts on patients and their families, affecting not only their health but also their personal and working lives. That’s where our team of specialists can help. We have represented many people who have brought clinical negligence claims get the compensation and aftercare they deserve.
Our team of clinical and medical negligence experts will look to help ease the burden during this difficult time by also considering care plans, home adaptations, corrective treatments, counselling and rehabilitation where appropriate.
Examples of clinical negligence claims
Our clinical negligence solicitors deal with thousands of medical negligence compensation claims, which can include any of the following:
- anaesthetic negligence
- birth injury and obstetrics
- cancer misdiagnosis
- cerebral palsy
- childhood illness and injuries (paediatric care)
- clinical trials
- cosmetic surgery
- care homes and nursing homes
- dental negligence
- Erb’s palsy
- gallbladder surgery
- geriatric / elderly care
- GP, NHS and private hospitals
- hip or knee replacements
- missed IVF and fertility opportunities
- misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
- neurosurgery and neurological matters
- ophthalmology negligence and blindness cases
- psychological and psychiatric neglect
- sepsis compensation claims
- surgical errors
Members of Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA)
Our clinical and medical negligence solicitors are members of the Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) and can also provide assistance with coroner and inquest hearings.
Medical Negligence Claims FAQs
We understand how stressful and daunting medical negligence claims can be, especially if you’re unsure about how to take legal action due to NHS neglect or med malpractice. As such, we have answered some of the most common questions surrounding medical negligence claims below:
What is a clinical or medical negligence claim?
Medical negligence is where a healthcare professional (this could be a GP, a surgeon, a dentist or other medical role) provides treatment that is below reasonable standards, and results in patient injuries or other health complications.
If you’ve fallen victim to medical negligence and are suffering as a result, you may be eligible to claim compensation. Call our medical negligence solicitors now on 0808 164 0808 to discuss your situation, and how we could provide medical no win no fee legal advice.
Is there a time limit for medical negligence claims?
Yes. If you believe you could be eligible to receive medical negligence compensation, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible.
Generally, medical negligence claims should be brought within 3 years from the date that you became aware of the negligence. If you do not issue court proceedings within that time, the court may not allow you to proceed with your claim.
There are exceptions to this rule. Children have until they are 21 in which to bring a claim, and those who are unable to manage their own affairs (in other words they lack capacity) are exempt from this time limit, where other time limits apply. Regarding time limits, it’s always best to speak with one of our medical negligence solicitors.
How much compensation will I get for medical negligence?
Every NHS negligence or private health negligence claim is different, meaning the amount of compensation you receive will depend entirely on your unique case. If you’re wondering how compensation for medical negligence is calculated, the following will be taken into account:
- The severity of your injury(ies) or ongoing health problem(s)
- The rehabilitation process
- Loss of income
- Pain and suffering
- Whether any home adaptations will need to be made
Throughout your case, your solicitor will keep you updated on compensation and will usually give you an indication of how much you can expect to be rewarded.
How do I sue the NHS? Can I do this as part of my NHS claim?
If you’re considering suing the NHS, there is a formal complaints process that you should look into first. Your complaint must be made within 12 months from the date the event happened, or 12 months from the date you first became aware of it. If you do not, then the NHS will not consider your complaint.
If you need further assistance, you can get help from the Patient Advice & Liaison Service (PALS) whose officers are in most hospitals. If you are unhappy with the response you get, you can complain to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.
In terms of how to sue the NHS, it’s important that you seek legal advice. Please contact us on 0808 164 0808, or visit our contact us page for more information. We recommend that you speak to one of our solicitors in the first instance, and, depending on your circumstances, you may need to speak with PALS to alert them of the negligence.
How do I prove my medical negligence claim?
In order for your NHS lawsuit or private hospital negligence claim to succeed, you will have to show that the standard of care you received fell below that of a reasonably competent doctor or healthcare professional, and that you have suffered an injury as a result of that negligence.
Just because a doctor has done something wrong, does not mean you have a claim. Also, your injury or health problem may not have been caused by the medical treatment you received.
We will assess your case once we have spoken to you. With your permission we will then obtain all of your medical records, and subject to a review of those records, we will instruct an independent medical expert to complete a detailed report on your case.
Subject to that report, we will then negotiate settlement of your claim. If that is not possible we will issue court proceedings on your behalf.
Will I have to go to court with my medical negligence claim?
In all likelihood, no. Approximately 95% of our cases are settled without the need to go to court. Most are negotiated and settle many months before any trial date.
If you do need to go to court, you should rest assured that our legal team will ensure you are looked after, and that your case is presented to the highest professional standard. Call us today on 0808 164 0808 or request a call back, and we will call you.
What does the medical negligence claim process involve and how long will it take?
If you’re wondering how to claim compensation for medical negligence, we recommend you speak with one of our solicitors immediately. In terms of how the procedure works, the burden of proof will rest with you. However our team are here to help ease that burden and guide you through the process:
- We will take detailed instructions from you regarding the claim
- Then, with your permission, we’ll obtain your medical records
- We will have your medical records professionally sorted and paginated
We will then instruct one or more medical experts to assess whether the treatment you received was substandard, and whether that treatment caused you any injury.
How long does a medical negligence case take?
These investigations can take several months. Once they are successfully concluded, we will send a letter of claim to the proposed defendant. They in turn will provide a letter of response. It may be possible, at that stage, to negotiate the settlement of your claim. More often than not it will be necessary to issue court proceedings, where the court will then put in place a timetable for your claim.
Your clinical negligence claim could settle at any time. The average length of a medical negligence claim is between 3 to 4 years, but every case is different. We will try our very best to provide you with realistic estimates as to how long your claim will take.
Who will pay my legal costs?
The vast majority of our clients enter into a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) with us (otherwise known as ‘no win, no fee‘). You may also have an existing insurance policy which covers the cost of investigating and pursuing a medical negligence claim.
We will discuss all the funding options with you. We may be able to offer you an ‘after the event’ insurance policy (ATE) which protects you from losing your case. In other words, the policy will pay for your legal costs including the costs of your medical experts, court fees, and in some instances costs incurred by the defendants.
Are you specialists in clinical and medical negligence?
Yes, we are medical negligence specialists. Our clinical and medical negligence team only carries out medical negligence work and nothing else.
We act for those bringing NHS medical negligence claims and private healthcare claims against GPs, surgeons and other healthcare professionals. Two of our partners are recognised by the Law Society as being specialists in their field, and both are on the Law Society’s Clinical Negligence Panel.
We are passionate about what we do, and we are committed to helping in the maintenance of a safe and caring healthcare system.
Contact our clinical negligence solicitors today
If you would like to discuss making a medical negligence compensation claim as a result of lack of consent, mistreatment or failure to act by a doctor, dentist, surgeon or other type of healthcare professional, get in touch today. You can call us free on 0808 164 0808 or request a call back, and one of our team will call you.
If the matter is particularly sensitive and immediate assistance is required, we can arrange for one of our NHS solicitors to meet you at the hospital or at home.
In general you have three years from the date of negligence or reasonable knowledge of mistreatment by a healthcare professional causing you harm to bring a compensation claim. There are some exceptions to this rule for instance where the matter involves a child in which case the child has three years from the date of their 18th birthday to bring a claim, therefore expiring on the individual’s 21st birthday.
It is important to speak to a legal team as early as possible to avoid any issues with limitation dates.