Breach of duty in medical negligence exists when a medical practitioner fails to meet the standards required of them.
Following the set standards in the medical practice, all healthcare providers owe their patients a professional duty of care. When healthcare experts fail to exercise reasonable care towards their patient, it results in negligence.
Understanding “Duty” in Law
A Duty entails the mandatory conduct or performance of an obligation, required by law, custom or personal commitment. For example, as citizens, it is our duty to obey the law and pay taxes.
What is Duty of Care?
A duty of care is the legal obligation of an individual, organization or institution to avoid any behaviors or actions that could cause harm to others. Put simply, it is an obligation of one, to always act in the best interest of another, to whom a duty is owed. Usually a breach of duty of care can result in liability.
Some common example of duty of care include:
- Duty owed by an accountant in correctly preparing a customer’s tax returns.
- Duty owed by road users to other road users to ensure that actions taken or not taken does not result in injury of others
- Duty owed by builders to ensure the safety of occupants of a building
- Duty owed by employers to their employees to ensure a safe work environment and protect workers from bullying, discrimination or harassment.
- Duty owed by professionals to their clients
- Duty owed by manufacturers in making sure that their products are safe to use by consumers.
When is a duty of care established?
Having a duty of care towards another, in practical terms, means that you are responsible for the other’s health, safety and well-being. For instance, as a leader, this would mean protecting the welfare of your group or team members. In a medical setting, this would mean giving a reasonable standard of care to patients.
In all, the circumstances in which a duty of care may be established is dependent on whether:
- A relationship existed between both parties
- The damage which occurred is one that is foreseeable
- It is reasonable, fair and just to impose a duty of care in the circumstance
Duty Of Care In HealthCare
All healthcare providers owe their patients a duty of care. It is not something they can opt out of, as they are bound by the law. As a matter of fact, there is also a duty of care in nursing.
Once a professional relationship is established between a patient and a medical professional, it automatically means that the medical professional owes the patient a duty of care. If there happens to be a breach of duty of care, it can result in lawsuits.
Some common examples of a doctors duty of care in their line of profession include:
- Making proper diagnosis
- Investigating a patient’s medical history before treatment
- Making urgent referrals to specialist
- Proper investigations of patient’s symptoms
- Provide a safe and expert course of treatment
- Follow up with patients who necessarily need it
If you have suffered harm or injury as a result of breach of duty of care, medical negligence claims can be brought forward to ensure the offender is held accountable for their actions. Our medical negligence solicitors are experts in handling medical law cases in the UK. We will provide the necessary legal support you will need and will represent you to the best of our ability.
What Duty Of Care means to patients?
As a patient, it helps to understand the duty of care owed to you. Most patients have no knowledge of this, which explains why victims of negligence duty of care mostly struggle with understanding why they have been unfairly treated, and what can be done.
First, you must know that “duty of care” was established to protect you. Yes, as a patient, you are protected against injury, harm, resulting from the health practitioner’s negligence or mistake. You will not have to suffer for the actions of another as compensations can be made available to you.
Medical professionals are required to act within their competence and must not act or fail to act in a certain way that results in harm to their patients. That being said,
How does duty of care contribute to safe practice?
Duty of care in medicine means that healthcare providers are obligated to provide high standards of quality medical care. When these professionals operate within standards obtainable from anyone with their level of training and background, this translates into greater efficiency and excellence in the medical practice.
In accordance with their code of practice, medical practitioners and care workers must always take reasonable care, which means they have to:
- Keep their skills and knowledge up-to-date
- Provide high standard quality of service that is to be expected within their profession
- Act proactively to ensure that the patients safety is put first
- Keep accurate and up-to-date records of the patient’s care
- Act only within their competence and refer patients to specialist when necessary
Breach of Duty of Care
In medical practice, breach of duty of care simply means that a health professional provided care which fell below a reasonable standard. Put differently, he/she has done something wrong, or failed to do something, which eventually resulted in an injury to the patient; thereby causing the patient to suffer a loss or injury. In this case, duty of care claims can be filed against the defendant who owed the duty.
When has a breach occurred?
A breach in duty of care is said to have occurred when:
- You have been injured by another
- The risk of injury was clear enough
- Injury was reasonably foreseen
Negligence In Duty Of Care
Failure of healthcare professionals to discharge their duties, in line with the reasonable quality standard of care expected, which results in injury or pain to patients may be considered as medical negligence.
To receive clinical negligence compensation for breach of duty, claimant must be able to establish that;
- The defendant (doctor) owed a legal duty of care to the claimant.
- The defendant breach the duty of care by certain actions or failure to act
- The breach of duty resulted in suffering and avoidable harm
- The harm and injury suffered can be linked to the actions
Definition of medical negligence in UK law is any act or omission of a medical professional that deviates from standards expected in their profession, causing injury or harm to a patient.
Proving Breach Of Duty
To heighten the chances of success when bringing a medical negligence claim, claimants must be able to prove that injury suffered was as a result of the negligent act of their medical professionals.
When proving medical negligence, breach of duty must be assessed. That is, the standard of treatment received by the patient. If the treatment received is within the reasonable standard, then it is not negligent; even though an injury or harm may have occurred.
At Medical Negligence Direct, our medical negligence solicitors work with independent medical experts, who will evaluate your case and see that the treatment you receive fell short of expected standard. The experts we instruct are people who work in the same area of medicine as the healthcare practitioner who provided the substandard treatment.
With a full understanding of the standards of treatments, the medical practitioner will be able to say that:
- The care provided to you fell so far below an acceptable standard that no reasonable doctor would have treated you in the same way.
Need help in proving a breach of duty? Do you believe that your medical professional owes you a duty of care which was neglected? We would like to hear from you. Our expert lawyers are readily available to help you in making duty of care medical negligence claims.
Whether it’s a GP, dentist, surgeon; private hospital, care home or the NHS, medical practitioners are required by law to abide by the conduct guiding their practice when it comes to caregiving. Though a vast number of health professionals in the NHS render careful, professional and quality standards of care to patients; provided a medical breach of duty can be established, you can claim against the NHS.
Medical negligence UK law and the NHS constitution, makes provisions for patients to pursue claims if they have been treated negligently.
What Compensation can one get for breach of duty?
With every injury or pain suffered, there is a legal right to compensation. You can claim compensation in medical negligence cases for losses suffered which were as a result of negligence of duty. Some of which may include:
- Compensation for injury and sufferings
- Payment for an ongoing treatment
- Cost of extra care needed
- Loss of earnings
- Compensation for psychological damage
- Compensation for all financial expenses incurred
If you are looking forward to making a medical negligence compensation claim for injury and sufferings, don’t delay to contact us. Our solicitors are experts in handling breach of duty of care cases and will help provide you with the guidance and legal support you need to bring forward your claim.
Additionally, if you’d like to ascertain your claim’s worth, so that you can decide whether or not it is worth pursuing; our medical negligence solicitors can provide a rough estimate of the value of your claim using our medical negligence claim calculator.
Claiming compensation for breach of duty
If you’ve been injured because of a breach of duty of care in the UK, the first step you need to take is to quickly contact a specialist medical negligence solicitor to represent you. This is because medical negligence claims can be quite tricky.
Once you have a solicitor on your case, you’ll be required to prove duty of care and breach of duty. To do this, you will need to provide certain evidence to support your claim. Some of which may include;
- Medical reports from the doctor who treated you
- Reports of tests and scan done
- Images where necessary
- Receipts from additional financial expenses incurred relating to treatment
- Witness statements
Your solicitor will critically evaluate your case and would advise whether or not a duty of care was owed to you. This would inform your solicitor if you have solid grounds to make a claim.
As soon as breach of duty is established, your solicitor will send a letter of claim to the defendant on your behalf. Following a letter of claim, the defendant would either accept or deny liability after which compensation amount will be declared.
Looking for clinical negligence solicitors in Liverpool? Want to start a claim against a medical professional for breach of duty? Our no win no fee injury lawyers have all it takes to secure maximum compensation for all your suffering. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.
Can I Sue the NHS?
Yes. The NHS is not an exemption in claiming compensation due to clinical negligence. Though suing the NHS has been seen not to be easy, with the right guidance, you can get the justice you deserve. We can help you start your claim today
Our No win No Fee solicitors can help with your claim
You are within your legal right to claim compensation for all injuries and sufferings irrespective of your experience. Provided a duty of care was breached and can be established, we are here to help you get the right compensation you deserve.
Our solicitors operate a No Win No Fee agreement, which means you will not be required to pay any upfront fees. Should your claim be successful, we would only require that you pay a certain percentage of the total compensation awarded to you . However if your claim is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay any fees – either way it’s a win-win situation for you.
We work with a large number of independent medical specialists with expertise in many different areas of medicine.
Contact us today to start your claim.