Are you considering medical negligence claims to receive some compensation for the injury you suffered? It is well within your right to sue a negligent healthcare provider or medical institution. However, to achieve success with your claim, the obligation lies on you to present evidence that proves your case.
This guide is designed to help victims of negligence learn about the process of proving liability in medical negligence claims. It also discusses how medical negligence solicitors can make these claims on your behalf, and the compensation you might be able to claim.
What is Medical Negligence?
Medical negligence is a term that describes the breach of duty by a medical professional. Every medical professional has a duty of care to avoid acts which could reasonably be foreseen to cause harm or injure their patient. This harm could be physical or psychological. Medical negligence can happen through oversight, omission, mistakes or accident.
If you need to prove that you have been a victim of negligence treatment, medical negligence solicitors can act on your behalf to demonstrate that your medical professional breached their duty of care.
Medical Negligence Breach of Duty
To start a medical negligence claim, you need to prove that your doctor or healthcare provider failed in their duty of care, causing you harm.
Every medical professional is expected to discharge their duty in a way that befits their skill-set, knowledge and experience. This legal requirement – known as “duty of care” – applies in every relationship between a patient and doctor, surgeon, GP, nurse or a hospital medical staff. Failure to discharge this duty of care may be deemed negligence on the part of the healthcare provider.
However, there is a grey area. Failure to discharge duty of care by a medical professional does not automatically mean a patient is entitled to a compensation claim. The patient is under obligation to prove that the healthcare provider’s breach of duty directly caused their injury or worsened their health condition.
Proving liability in medical negligence can be a complex and even drawn out process. Medical negligence solicitors can walk you through the process, but first you have a role to play.
Proving Medical Negligence Claims – What Do I Need to Do?
To prove your case, the evidence you present can include:
- Letter of complaint
- Medical records
- Witness statements
- Expert medical evidence
- Financial evidence
Letter of Complaint
The private medical professional, GP, or NHS will typically have an internal complaints procedure. It is often recommended that medical negligence victims make a formal complaint through this procedure before pursuing medical negligence claims.
After sending a formal complaint, an investigation into your case will commence. You will be entitled to receive meeting notes, witness evidence and all correspondence created from the investigation. This correspondence or documentation may contain evidence that supports your claim and could form an integral part of the compensation award you receive.
If you have utilized the complaints procedure and are not satisfied with its outcome, then consulting with a solicitor is your next best step. A solicitor will request for copies of both the complaint and its result, as well as any documentation attached to it.
This will be the most useful tool when pursuing a medical negligence claim. Medical records are information written about a patient at the time they received medical care, prior to the negligent treatment. As a result, they are considered an accurate account of the medical care provided.
Under the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), copies of medical records can be assessed free of charge. Within one month of this request, medical professionals are under obligation to provide these records. Your solicitor will request to obtain these medical records on your behalf.
If you have suffered an injury or illness due to medical negligence, your witness statement, as well as from family and friends, will go a long way to set out the events as they happened. Through the witness statements, you will be able to explain how the injury has impacted your day to day life.
Your solicitor will prepare this witness statement after meeting with you. So, if you are considering pursuing a claim for negligence, do well to keep a brief log that details events as they played out. This will keep the details fresh in your mind when providing the statement.
Expert Medical Evidence
To establish the facts of your case, a medical report from an independent expert in the relevant medical field will be necessary. Through this report, the expert will describe the standard of treatment you received and how this has impacted the injury you sustained. The report will primarily be based on your medical records.
Your solicitor will obtain expert medical evidence after reviewing your records.
The idea behind making a claim is to restore the position you enjoyed prior to the negligent treatment you received. Thus, if you wish to make claims for financial losses due to the alleged medical negligence, you will need to prove this too. This means that you must provide all documents regarding medical expenses, loss of earnings, travel expenses for medical appointments, estimated future earnings, and aids that will assist you move around.
What Can I Claim for After Proving Negligence?
If you are successful with your personal injury claim for negligence, the compensation award you receive will consist of different types of damage related to the pain and suffering of the illness or injury, as well as any financial losses you incurred due to the negligent treatment.
In general, damages you can claim for include:
This refers to the physical and most obvious impact of the injury or illness as well as the treatment and long-term prognosis. General damages may include:
- Pain and suffering: You can make claims for the pain caused by the injury as well as the initial treatment you received.
- Psychological damage: If your injury has caused you psychological issues such as anxiety, depression, and new phobias, you may be entitled to a claim.
- Long-term recovery: You will likely be in constant pain as you take the long recovery path. You can make compensation claims for this.
- Quality of life: If your injury or illness has caused you permanent disability that reduces the quality of your life, you can make a claim.
This refers to the non-physical aspects of the injury or illness you suffered. Typically, it is the financial losses you have incurred. Special damages may include, but are not limited to:
- Medical expenses: If your injury or illness requires that you pay for some form of medical care, you can make claims for these costs.
- Care costs: If you have had cause to hire someone to help you with day to day routine in the house due to your injury, or provide medical care at home, you can make claims for these costs.
- Loss of Earnings: If the injury you suffered caused you to lose out on income, you can make claims for this loss.
- Loss of future earning potential: If the long-term prognosis for recovery from the illness is that your work capacity will be reduced, then you can make claims for this.
- Travel costs: If you had to undertake any trips to receive treatment for the injury or illness, you can make claims for this.
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No Win No Fee Medical Negligence Claims
Medical Negligence Direct handles the majority of its cases on a No Win No Fee medical negligence claims basis. This is a simple, risk-free agreement that protects you financially, even if your claim is unsuccessful. Whether we are helping you make NHS negligence claims or we are claiming against a private practitioner on your behalf, we won’t ask for any fees.
Why Medical Negligence Direct is Ideal for You
When you bring your case to us, we will assign a solicitor who is an expert in handling similar cases to take on the medical negligence claim and help you win. Our friendly solicitors will always be available to answer any questions you have, and keep you updated every step of the way. Our aim is to help you secure the maximum compensation possible – and do everything possible to ensure success for you.
Are you ready to begin the walk to justice? Call us today on 0800 644 8040 or fill out our claims assessment form and one of our friendly solicitors will speak with you at your earliest convenience.