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Should you or your loved one suffer avoidable harm as a result of negligent treatment while in any healthcare- private or the NHS, here is how you can make hospital negligence claims.
When you visit the hospital, you expect that you or your loved one gets the best form of care possible for whatever illness that must have resulted in the hospital visit. The UK is known for having quality healthcare delivery, most especially in the NHS where qualified and well skilled staff and specialists in various sectors of healthcare are not lacking.
However, this is not always the case. Many persons have gone to hospitals and have ended up becoming victims of hospital negligence which puts their life in jeopardy. Some have suffered avoidable complications, injury or psychological traumas. Some have unfortunately died. It is quite disheartening that despite the quality of healthcare delivery available in the UK, the NHS receives over 10,000 medical negligence compensation claims every year.
The effects of hospital negligence and indeed medical negligence of any kind is huge as it could lead to permanent disabilities, serious injuries that affect the patient’s quality of life and even death. Some of these injuries cannot even be fixed with an apology or even by compensation from medical negligence claims.
The worst part is that sometimes victims of medical negligence who have suffered life changing injuries may not even receive an apology from the hospital who most times would deny any wrongdoing until the family contacts a solicitor who makes a claim and proves their liability.
It is not right that hospital negligence goes unpunished; this is why we have expert hospital negligence solicitors who can help you make your hospital negligence claims for whatever hospital negligence cases you or your loved one may have suffered.
Our hospital negligence solicitors will discuss your claims with you during our free consultation sessions, evaluate if you have a valid claim, guide you on the processes involved in making lawsuits against hospitals and ensure that you are well supported by giving you the best possible legal counsel and representation and fight diligently not only to ensure that you case is successful but that it is quickly settled and that you receive a deserved compensation amount.
Hospital Negligence Explained
Hospital negligence may be referred to as substandard care or negligent treatment while under the care of hospital staff in the hospital. Such forms of negligent treatment include misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, incorrect or delayed treatment, surgical errors or other forms of substandard care which has led to further pain or complicated your condition.
What Forms Can Hospital Negligence Claims Take?
There are very many departments in the hospital and therefore your claims may be against any of the departments in the hospital or even against more than one in a complex medical negligence claim.
You may therefore have claims such as
- MRSA hospital compensation claims
- Accident and emergency claims
- Orthopaedic injury compensation claims
- Amputation Claims
- Pressure Sore Claims
- Anaesthetic Claims
- Medical Misdiagnosis Claims
- Surgical negligence claims
- Cancer negligence claims
- Claims for birth injuries
- Claims for wrongful death by hospital negligence
For each of these claims as you may have, we assign to you a personal dedicated solicitor to ensure that you get the best form of legal representation.
The Following Are Reasons Why You May Make A Hospital Negligence Claim
- Hospital based infections, such as MRSA, Clostridium Difficile, and MSSA
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose and treat
- Negligence (Duty of Care)
- Incorrect medication given or wrong dosage
- Incorrect hospital treatment
- Failure to monitor fluid levels
- Errors of omission, such as failure to administer antibiotics
- Infection negligence
- Errors during surgery such as wrong site surgery, anaesthetic complications, leaving foreign objects inside a person
- Poor post-operative care
- Failure to obtain informed consent
- Poor level of care before or during childbirth resulting in complications or death of mother or child or both
- A failure or delay to specialist referral
Types Of Hospital Infection
Safety is very important in the hospital so that the health of the patients is not put at risk in any way. Therefore, proper safety and hygiene procedures need to be followed in the hospital and when this is not followed, there is a risk that the patients might get infected. Such infections could lead to serious consequences and can also be life threatening. There are examples of hospital acquired infections which one may contract in a hospital.
Hospital acquired infection list you may contract while in the hospital include
- Bacterial infections like MRSA and Clostridium difficile (C. difficile)
- Viral infections such as norovirus
- Infection of surgical wounds
- Urinary tract infections
- Infections of the bloodstream
- Infections of the skin and soft tissues
If you contracted any of such infections while undergoing treatment in a hospital, you may be entitled to hospital negligence compensation.
How To Claim For Hospital Negligence?
For you to make a successful claim for hospital negligence, it is important that you be able to prove that indeed that hospital negligence occurred. This can be done by proving liability and causation.
- Liability: by demonstrating liability, you have to show that the hospital owed you a duty of care and was responsible to ensure that you received the right standard of treatment. Health personnel owe a duty of care to their patients and are expected to fulfill this duty at all times.
However, you further strengthen your case when you show that there was a deviation from that duty of care. What this means is that the hospital failed in their duty of care towards you or there was a breach of duty of care.
- Causation: This is a very important aspect of medical negligence claim. This is because, if you are only able to prove liability but not establish causation, your claims cannot be successful. What this means is that there must be harm or injury caused by the negligent treatment.
Therefore, causation means that you suffered harm, trauma, or avoidable complications solely as a result of the breach of duty of care and not because of some other reason.
Additionally, it will be important to demonstrate the damages you have suffered as a result of your injury or harm. These damages may include- psychological damages, financial losses among others. This will be very important while proving your claims and also negotiating a favourable settlement payout.
Making A Complaint For Hospital Negligence
Prior to making a claim, for hospital negligence, you may want to make complaints over the standard of care you received in the hospital. This may be because you want an explanation to understand what really happened or you want to be very sure that there was negligent treatment before making a claim.
Now if you decide to make a complaint, it is important that you make your complaints within 12months of the negligent treatment. In the case of the NHS, you can direct your letter to the Practice Manager or the NHS commissioning body. The NHS Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) can also guide you on how to make your claims.
In the case of a private clinic, you can make your complaints to the GP involved, his superiors or to the Independent Healthcare Sector Complaints Adjudication Service.
Be free to express yourself clearly in your complaint letter. About 208,924 formal complaints were written against the NHS in 2018/19; therefore, you are not the only one in this. You should also know that a complaint unlike a claim will not bring you a compensation fee but it gives you an opportunity to express your dissatisfaction or disappointment about the quality of treatment you received.
Please do well to include the following in your complaint letter;
- The main subject of your complaint
- The GP or other hospital staff involved
- When and how the events occurred
- Your queries, explanations or answers you seek
- Also add how you would want to be contacted either for a discussion or an apology
Complaining To The Health Ombudsman
If after making your complaints to the NHS you were still left unsatisfied with your response or with the way the investigations were handled, you can now write to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO), who will make further investigations into your case and give you a reply accordingly.
The PHSO will only investigate complaints that have gone through the local resolution stage.
You can find guidelines on how to make complaints to the Ombudsman on their website. The ombudsman will require copies of documents pertaining to your original complaint. Therefore, it is important that you keep those documents safe as they will be also relevant should you decide to make claims.
After this stage, and you do not like the outcome of your complaints or you feel you have now gathered enough evidence to suggest that there was a medical negligence, you can now proceed to contact your hospital negligence claim solicitors on how to sue a hospital.
Given the time limit for making claims, it is important that you ensure that you do not spend all the time making complaints but see that these complaints are wrapped up in time so that you can begin your clinical negligence claims.
How Do I Sue A Hospital?
Suing a hospital is not an easy task and will need the services of experienced hospital negligence solicitors. Here at Medical Negligence Direct, we offer you the opportunity to make your claims with some of the very best medical negligence solicitors in the UK.
- Making your claims will start with you having a conversation with our solicitors about what transpired. Our consultation sessions are free of charge and our solicitors are friendly, understanding and dedicated to seeing that no stone is left unturned in making sure that you get the best form of legal advice and representation.
- After this session, we will evaluate your claims thoroughly to be sure that you have a valid claim and also look at the chances of winning.
- Afterwards, we will proceed to fund your claims through any of the medical negligence funding methods which you may be eligible for. We also have a No Win No Fee policy where we undertake your hospital negligence claims without you suffering any financial risks.
- We will also help you gather as much evidence as may be necessary to make your claims. Here, we will require;
- Comprehensive reports of the events that transpired including dates of medical appointments, diagnosis made, the GP or other staff involved and other relevant information.
- Test results and scans
- Witness Statements (from family and friends)
- Evidence of financial losses (including past, current financial losses and estimated future costs)
- Images where applicable
- Reports from another independent medical expert in the relevant field who we would ask to perform further medical examination on you to determine the true state of your health.
- After these, we would write to the NHS in a bid to establish liability and for them to accept their wrongdoing. We would of course have series of discussions and as it has been in most cases, prove our case.
However, in the event that liability is denied, the case will have to be presided over by a judge in the law court. But this rarely occurs in the cases we have undertaken. In fact, only 2% of all NHS cases go to court and in 2019, only 0.6% of claims went to a trial.
- The next after a successful claim is to negotiate the compensation value based on the severity of injury suffered, financial expenses and the impact of the injury on your quality of life moving forward in addition to other factors which will be discussed below.
How Much Compensation For Hospital Negligence?
It should be noted that when making hospital compensation claims or a lawsuit against hospital for misdiagnosis or any other form of medical negligence, the amount of compensation you will receive is not fixed but is dependent on various factors which include;
- Type and severity of injury suffered. This is classified under General Damages and is captured in the Judicial College Guidelines.
Other factors include;
- Damages Caused By The Injury
- Financial Losses As A Result Of The Injury (Including Past, Present And Estimated Future Losses)
- Future Prognosis
- Travel Expenses For Medical Appointments
- Costs Of Rehabilitation Such As Costs Of Purchasing Mobility Aids, Assistive Devices And The Costs Of Replacements
- Cost Of Hiring Caregivers Where The Victim Requires Assistance For Daily Activities
- Accommodation Costs
Also note that the average compensation value for medical negligence claims in the UK is £50,000. But compensation payouts can range from £1,000 to several millions of pounds depending on the determinants as listed above.
Time Limit For Making A Medical Negligence Claim
It should be noted there is a time period within which claims must be made. This is according to the Limitation Act of 1980 which gives a three-year period starting from the date the negligent treatment occurred for any person to make claims.
However, the exception to this rule are;
- Where the victim is involved is a child– Here the parents or guardians can make claims for the child as the child is a minor and cannot make claims on their own. These claims can be made until the child is 18. After that the individual will have until his or her 21st birthday to make claims.
- Where the victim is physically or mentally incapacitated– Where the individual has been medically deemed incapacitated and unable to make claims, the limitation period can be relaxed until when the person is able to make claims. Alternatively, a loved one can also make claims on behalf of an individual in this condition. This person who makes a claim on behalf of another is known as a litigation friend.
We recommend that you contact expert medical negligence solicitors as soon as you suspect you may have been a victim of negligent treatment. Our solicitors will evaluate your case and determine whether it is still within the time limit for making a medical negligence claim.
Medical Negligence No Win No Fee
At Medical Negligence Direct, we believe that everyone should be given a fair opportunity to make claims even if they cannot afford the legal fees. This is why we have a No Win No Fee policy also known as Conditional Fee Agreement which allows you to make claims against any private hospital or the NHS without having to pay legal fees.
You are thus protected from any financial risks whatsoever as we will even take out an insurance cover for you should the claims be unsuccessful.
However, at the end of a successful case, we will require a “success fee” of no more than 25% of your settlement payout. This of course will be agreed upon before commencement of the claims process.
We want to encourage you not to hesitate in making your claims but take advantage of our helplines to speak with one of our experts or fill out our online free claims assessment form and we will surely reach out to you to schedule a meeting and discuss your claims.