Cases of medical negligence can be quite complex and sensitive, sometimes difficult to prove. This guide looks at how hard it actually is to prove that negligence occurred.
Medical negligence is one of the most complex areas of law. Medical negligence solicitors do more than tackling the technical aspects of modern medicine. They must also challenge the decision-making and actions of people entrusted with the health, care and lives of patients.
If you think that your medical professional has caused you harm in the course of their care of you, and are wondering “how hard is it to prove medical negligence”, it is important that you speak with a specialist medical negligence solicitor as soon as possible after the incident.
What does a Clinical Negligence Claim Involve?
The burden of proof rests on you as the claimant. This means that it is the duty of your solicitor to prove that your medical professional breached their duty of care towards you and caused you avoidable harm.
- Breach of duty
Your solicitor will have to show that your doctor failed to provide an acceptable standard of care when treating you, leading to your condition. It has to be established that they were responsible for your health, so the harm you suffered was their fault.
Also known as avoidable harm, clinical negligence causation is to establish that your injuries were a result of medical negligence. It seeks to eliminate that an existing condition caused the injury you suffered & tries to prove that if the medical professional upheld their duty of care, your injury would not have happened.
It is important to note that unless medical negligence is established, you cannot pursue claims solely in the following circumstances:
- The treatment you received was unsuccessful;
- The treatment did not yield your desired outcome;
- The outcome of the treatment would have happened – whether or not you received treatment.
What is the Standard of Care?
The standard of care is a legal term that refers to the degree of care and skill expected of a medical professional with the same specialty as your provider in a given situation. This includes patient monitoring, diagnosis, treatment, and actions a medical professional would take in caring for a patient.
Deviating from the standard of care may be deemed medical negligence on the part of the medical professional or provider. In order to prove negligence, there are steps you and your solicitor must take.
What Role Do I Play in Proving Medical Negligence?
Most often, negligence claims are preceded by a complaint made to the medical professional or provider responsible for the treatment. You can make a complaint yourself without the help of your solicitor. Your complaint should include the following:
- The time, date and location you received the treatment;
- A detailed description of what happened during your care;
- The names of every person involved in your care if known;
- A clear explanation of the reason for your complaint;
- Questions you want answers to.
Refer to the NHS Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) if your medical care is related to an NHS hospital. You should receive a written response to your complaint – they will either tender an apology or explanation if they believe you have a legitimate reason for complaint.
However, keep in mind that no matter the outcome, the complaints procedure is completely separate from an actual claim. But then, a response to your complaint can be crucial in establishing if you can make a claim.
What Role Can Your Solicitor Play in Proving Medical Negligence?
At Medical Negligence Direct, we have a panel of specialist medical negligence solicitors who are experts in clinical negligence cases. No matter how hard or complex the case may be, they possess the experience to help you navigate the process.
We will discuss details of your case, analyse the supporting evidence, and assess the chances of success of your potential claim.
To achieve this, we will conduct an investigation that may require:
- Obtaining documents that show doctor-patient relationship;
- A comprehensive review of your medical records (one of the requirements to prove negligence). This includes diagnosis, recommendations, treatment, referrals, and tests conducted;
- The establishment of how the medical mistakes directly contributed to your injuries or the wrongful death of your loved one;
- Assessment of the nature and severity of your injury or condition. This involves an independent medical examination by one or more experts;
- Calculating damages incurred as a result of the negligent treatment you received. This includes calculating lost earnings and determining how your injury may impact routine activities.
Armed with this information, we will be able to advise on the next step for you. This will usually depend on the nature and complexity of your case.
Is There Always Someone to Blame?
If your medical care was provided by an NHS hospital, the defendant when suing the NHS will be the NHS Trust responsible for that hospital. If it is a case of GP or doctor negligence, the defendant will be that GP or doctor.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to identify the right defendant in a clinical negligence claim if your treatment was provided by several medical professionals in different places. In this case, you may be able to hold a number of different practitioners responsible.
If your medical care was provided by a private practitioner, the claim will be made against the medical professional personally. Private practices are under obligation to hold professional indemnity insurance in the event that a claim is made against them.
Do Medical Negligence Claims Always Go to Court?
The vast majority of medical negligence claims are settled out of court. The independent medical report usually provides clear evidence as regards whether any aspect of the care you received was negligent and, as a result, whether you have legitimate grounds for a claim. If the medical evidence proves that you received negligent care, it is likely that you will receive a financial offer from the defendant without going to court.
How Much Compensation Will I Receive?
If it is determined that your medical professional was at fault, no matter how hard it is to prove medical negligence, you will be entitled to a compensation award. However, it is difficult to determine your exact compensation amount, as negligence cases vary from one to the next.
Every injury is unique to the individual and should be managed that way without assuming that a particular type of injury affects victims in the same way.
There are judicial guidelines that help place a value on the pain and suffering a person has experienced as a result of medical negligence.
Get in touch with us
Medical negligence can have devastating consequences in terms of the physical, emotional and mental health problems it can cause. If you believe your medical professional has acted negligently, get in touch with us on 0800 644 4240 . Alternatively, you can fill our free claims assessment form and one of our solicitors will have a chat with you.
When you contact us, we will let you know what you need to prove negligence. If we are convinced of your chances of winning, we will represent you on a No Win No Fee basis. This way, we will help you manage the financial risks associated with making a medical negligence claim. You will not have to pay us until the end of a successful claim. If the claims aren’t successful, then you don’t owe us a penny.
We will support you through every stage of the process even if the case is a complex or difficult one.
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