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Medical Negligence Claims Guide
“Pursuing Medical Negligence Claims does not have to be daunting. Our Medical Negligence Solicitors will do all it takes to make the process easy for you.”
What is Medical Negligence Claim?
Medical Negligence claim also known as clinical negligence claim describes when a patient files a lawsuit or sues their medical or healthcare provider or even a hospital for negligent care received during their time undergoing one form of treatment or another.
Clinical negligence claims thus arise when the patient is not satisfied with the quality of care received and strongly believes that such care fell below acceptable medical standards. The services of a medical negligence solicitor is required to help the claimant prove such claims. After a successful claim, the claimant is awarded compensation commensurate with the severity of pain, trauma and injury suffered.
Failure of health professionals to provide an expected standard of care to patients, resulting in injury or harm to such patients is what gave rise to the concept of medical negligence.
When it comes to medical negligence, coping with the post-events can be very devastating. For instance, when you have to deal with life altering situations like losing your ability to move or even losing a loved one to an avoidable error due to sheer incompetence on the path of the healthcare provider.
For most victims of medical negligence, justice for pain and suffering endured is achieved through medical negligence claims. Usually a claim for medical negligence can be made – irrespective of the situation – given that it can be proven with hard evidence that the resulting harm or injury was indeed caused by a negligent act.
If you need help with medical negligence claims, we can help. Our medical negligence solicitors are here to provide you the support, guidance and expert advice you may need with pursuit of your claim.
When is a Medical treatment considered negligent?
All medical practitioners- doctors, nurses, dentist, GP – owe their patients a legal duty to exercise a reasonable standard of care. Usually, failure to do so is considered medical negligence. Broadly, you can say that medical negligence occurred if:
- There has been a breach of medical duty i.e when you have received unacceptable care.
- You’ve had to suffered pain, injury, loss or damage of any kind.
- The pain and injury was caused by substandard care.
Some examples of what qualifies as medical negligence include;
- Incorrect diagnosis, late diagnosis or failure to diagnose a medical condition
- Failure to warn a patient about the risks of a medical procedure and get their consent
- Prescription errors and incorrect treatment
- Delay or Failure to refer a patient for further tests where necessary
- Failure to carry out proper physical examinations
- Delay or failure in referring a patient to a specialist for further observation
What Are The Different Types Of Medical Negligence Claims?
There are several ways in which medical negligence can occur. A person may experience GP negligence and another may be a victim of surgical negligence, all of which a claim for compensation can be made.
Find below some of the different areas of medical negligence claims where our medical negligence lawyers in UK are specialized;
- Surgical Error Claims
- Medical Misdiagnosis claims
- Pregnancy And Birth Injury claims
- GP Negligence claims
- Hospital Negligence claims
- Spinal Injury claims
- NHS Negligence claims
- Care Home Negligence claims
- Pressure Sores claims
- Cauda Equina Syndrome Negligence claims
- Cosmetic Surgery claims
- Cancer Misdiagnosis claims
- Dental Negligence claims
- Accident and Emergency claims
- Orthopedic negligence claims
- Prescription Error Claims
- Head & Brain Injury Claims
Making A Medical Negligence Claim
Have you been a victim of medical negligence? Perhaps you or your loved one is trying to come to terms with the impact of an injury caused by the negligent act of a health practitioner? You may be eligible to make a claim.
When it comes to making medical negligence claims of any sorts, the first step is usually to contact experienced medical negligence solicitors who are experts in handling clinical negligence claims.
At Medical negligence direct, we work with a panel of specialist medical negligence lawyers in the UK who operate on a no win no fee basis. You can fill out our assessment form or give us a call directly on 0800 644 4240 and one of our experts will be on hand to guide you.
Evidence Required For Medical Negligence Claims
Short on time? You can download our PDF summary of all you need to process medical negligence claims here.
Medical Negligence Claim Process
If you are wondering how to start a medical negligence claim, you can rely on our medical negligence specialists to guide you every step of the way. Before we look into the medical negligence claim process, with details of steps to be taken at every stage, you will need to present evidence to prove hospital negligence or any other form of malpractice cases.
What evidence is needed to prove a Medical Negligence Claim?
For Medical Negligence Claims, being able to prove that there was indeed an act of negligence is one of the first steps towards making a successful claim. When you contact our expert medical negligence solicitors, a thorough investigation will be made to establish whether your treatment was negligent, the severity of medical negligence damages done and financial losses incurred as a result.
The following are evidence are required:
- A detailed witness statement from you (and any witness) stating in your own words what happened.
- Copies of your medical records from all the relevant hospitals, clinics or nhs (as in the case of making a claim against nhs).
- A medical examination report from an independent medical expert, telling your Solicitor whether or not your medical treatment fell below the standard you are reasonably entitled.
- Any photos where appropriate to show the extent of injury and physical damage.
Evidence of financial expenses incurred such as receipts, payslips, bank statements and invoices etc.This includes past losses as well as potential future losses.
- Any other supporting evidence specific to claims, for example, wrong medication in cases of medical misdiagnosis claims.
Having presented the above evidence, our clinical negligence solicitors will take the steps necessary to fully assess the actual cause, nature of and severity of the injury you have suffered as a victim of medical negligence.
How Medical Negligence Claim Works?
Here’s the summary of the stages of a clinical negligence claim. If you are not sure how to start a medical negligence claim, you will find the stage involved below. For the NHS however, complaints procedure differ. To find out more about nhs complaints procedure compensation or for help, you can contact NHS Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS).
DETAILED STEPS ON MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE CLAIMS PROCESS
1. Getting In Touch
The first step for every medical negligence claim is to contact expert medical negligence lawyers in the UK. When you contact our team, you will be required to provide a brief summary of why you think you are entitled for a claim. After evaluating your claim, we will establish your eligibility and potential value of your claim. Then let you decide if you want to proceed.
Having established that your claim is worth pursuing, we will proceed to advise on the available funding options. There are quite a number of options, but the most common option for claimants tends to be a conditional agreement – NO WIN NO FEE.
Once a funding option has been agreed upon, we will analyze and review your evidence (e.g complete set of your medical records, receipts for additional financial expenses incurred). Our clinical negligence claims solicitors will try to prove two things:
- That the treatment provided to you was substandard or lack of treatment was a “breach of duty”.
- That as a result, injury or harm has been caused – “causation”
To establish the above, we will instruct independent medical experts who will assess the victim’s case, examine the victim (if need be, for example if he or she wants to comment on your current state and how you are likely or not to recover in the future).
With all evidence put together, we can start to look at the value of your claim. Firstly, we will consider your general damages, that is the physical pain and suffering you have endured as a result of the act of negligence. Then we will also look at your special damages, which includes your out of pocket expenses and all financial expenses incurred in relation to your personal injury and clinical negligence.
Calculations for general damages will be made inline with any relevant court guidelines and exploring compensations received in similar circumstances. On the other hand, special damages will be calculated based on any past or future losses that you have suffered, as well as any additional assistance you have required from friends or family.
4. Presenting your case to a defendant
Once a strong case has been established, backed by evidence provided, our medical negligence solicitors – representing you – will be in a position to present a claim to a defendant(s). This is done through a document called “a letter of claim”. The letter of claim provides the summary of all allegations and the defendant will be allowed some time – usually four months – to investigate, obtain their own reports and eventually admit or deny liability.
Once the defendant has issued a letter of response admitting liability, the next step is to negotiate settlement. Offers are usually made in or a meeting might be set up for both parties in some cases. There, an agreement will be made on the appropriate amount of compensation the claimant should receive. However, if the defendant denies liability, the report presented by them will be investigated by independent medical experts and you will be advised whether or not your claim still has the potential to succeed.
5. Starting court proceedings
In the later case where a settlement cannot be reached – that is when the defendant is denying a claim or when consensus cannot be reached in terms of valuation – this may mark the beginning of court proceedings. Given that we remain confident in your evidence, we will be with you every step of the way in court.
It is worth of note that while most medical negligence cases are usually settled out of court, the ones that eventually make it to court do not necessarily go into trial. In the vast majority of cases, the court will set a timetable to help encourage resolution. Going further, if the parties still cannot reach a settlement, this might leave the case in the hands of a judge. The judge will need to determine the merits and value of a claim at a final trial.
How Can Our Medical Negligence Solicitors Help?
As earlier stated we work with no win no fee medical negligence solicitors. These are experienced medical negligence lawyers with profound knowledge in helping victims of medical negligence damages get the compensation they deserve.
Our expert negligence solicitors have a proven track record of successful outcomes in personal injury and clinical negligence claims, orthopaedic claims, GP negligence claims, child birth claims, accident and emergency claims, cosmetic surgery claims, misdiagnosis claims, care home neglect claims, to name a few.
If you are in need of hospital negligence solicitors, contact us today and get a free no obligation consultation with one of our experts. Going further, if you decide to work with us, our solicitors will act on your behalf on a No Win No Fee basis. What this means is that you will only be required to pay a service fee upon a successful claim.
Examples of Medical Negligence Cases
Case Study 1 – A delayed cancer diagnosis claim
We won a six figure payout for the family of a woman in her early 30s who suffered greatly and eventually lost her life as a result of delay by her doctor to diagnose cancer. If the doctors had not acted negligently, and had diagnosed the condition on time, the victim would have had chemotherapy and possibly survived.
Case Study 2 – Cerebral palsy claim
A baby boy suffered cerebral palsy where his brain was severely damaged during childbirth. The doctors failed to diagnose the mother of infection during pregnancy and as a result the baby developed meningitis, which also was not spotted leaving the child to suffer catastrophic brain damage.
The child currently has balance and coordination problems, swallowing difficulties, visual difficulties, speech impediments and hearing loss. The claimant was awarded a six figure payment and annual payments for the rest of his life, to help the family provide the best possible care for the child.
How has COVID-19 affected the Medical Negligence Claims process?
COVID-19 has affected nearly every aspect of our lives and has indeed had an impact on the clinical negligence claims process. With the social distancing and capacity limitations in place, there may be some challenges with processing claims but this does not make claims impossible. Read more information, If you want to make a medical negligence claims during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A new Protocol with NHS Resolution has been agreed to allow claims to be pursued. Some of the changes to have in mind includes:
Time limits on claims can be suspended as long as we write to NHSR to confirm the new Protocol is being triggered.
Default process for court proceedings and exchange of any other documents (including evidence) related to your case is now Email.
Encouragement to make interim payments of damages is now to be responded to within 21 days.
How much is a medical negligence claim worth?
There is no fixed amount for compensation. Generally, medical negligence or malpractice cases are classed under two categories ‘general’ and ‘special’ damages.
While general damages relate specifically to the physical injuries a victim suffers, special damages account for general damages and additional costs borne, for example loss of earnings/inability to work, cost of extra medical help, psychological damage and more.
We usually refer to the Judicial Board Guidelines for guidance on payouts which states that:
- Injuries to internal organs could be as high as £146,000
- Injuries which paralyse all or part of the body can range from £39,000 to £322,000
- Injuries resulting in brain damage or sensory loss could be as high as £322,000
Although your final compensation amount will depend on a number of different factors, we can give you a better idea about how much you can receive.
Our solicitors usually use a medical negligence calculator to give you an estimated amount that you can expect in compensation.
Get more information on how medical negligence compensation is calculated, see how much could my medical negligence claim be worth?
What is the time limit for a medical negligence claim?
Usually, for most medical negligence cases, the time scale for making a claim is 3 years from the date of the alleged negligence. Within this time, a person can make a claim for any form of medical negligence. There are certain exceptions to this time limit which includes:
- Case of a child: In cases where a child is involved, the time limit for claim may be extended until the child has come of age to file a claim. Usually, children cannot bring claims themselves and require a litigation friend to do so; in which case the three year period does not start counting until the child is 18.
- Mental capacity: When the injury sustained by the victim has caused the individual to lack the mental capacity to bring a claim, the 3 year limit does not apply. This time limit starts only when a person has regained their full mental capacity. More so, in a situation where they may never recover, their litigation friend can bring their case to the court anytime.
- Death: Additionally, in unfortunate cases where a claim is being made on behalf of a lost loved one, time limit may also vary. The 3 year limit starts from the date of death of the victim of negligence or from the date of the knowledge of the deceased.
NO WIN NO FEE Medical Negligence Solicitors
When you choose to work with us, our clinical negligence experts will represent you on a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), that is a No Win No Fee basis. This is a transparent method of funding claims, in which you will not be charged if your case is unsuccessful. However, if your case is successful, our solicitors will charge a “success fee” to cover the expenses for the legal service rendered.
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Frequently Asked Question about Medical Negligence Claims
What is the average payout for medical negligence UK?
The average payout for medical negligence in the UK, according to the National Health Service Litigation Authority is £50,000. However, generally speaking, compensation for medical negligence or claim against the NHS can range from £1,000 to six figures (or even seven in the most extreme cases).
For every medical negligence claim, your total compensation amount will be based on consider your General damages (personal injury or harm you’ve suffered) and Special damages (Including loss of earnings for time taken off work, additional cost incurred for treatments including travel allowance for appointments, psychological damage, claims on behalf of a loved one etc.)
Can I make a claim against the Doctor for negligence?
If you suffered injury under the care of the National Health Service(NHS) , you can make a claim against medical. Whether it was a case of misdiagnosis or an operation gone wrong, suing the doctor negligence is possible when you are backed by the support of expert medical negligence solicitors.
Medical negligence claims usually follow an medical complaints procedure. However, regardless of the nature of your clinical negligence claim, we can act on behalf of you and your family to sue the medical for negligence.
Our Medical negligence solicitors are specialists in successfully securing medical compensation for victims. For your immediate legal advice on medical claim, we are just one contact away. Reach us today!
How long does it take to bring a medical negligence claim?
The question of how long you have to sue for medical negligence depends on the nature of the case. Ideally, the time it takes to bring a medical negligence claim differs from one case to another. This is especially owing to factors such as the severity and nature of the injury suffered and the willingness of the opponent to accept liability.
Medical negligence claims could last from anywhere around one year to several years. However, at Medical negligence direct, our solicitors work to progress your case as quickly as possible. Having established that you have grounds for a claim – on some occasions – it is possible to obtain a payment for compensation before your case is concluded.
Do I have to go to court to make a claim?
No you do not. Usually, medical malpractice cases of any sorts are either settled out of court or are discontinued if evidence cannot prove a valid claim. Our Medical Negligence Solicitors will only advise any court proceedings if they have exhausted all options to get the defendant to claim liability. However, for most of the cases we have handled, we have brought maximum compensation to clients outside the court.
How can I fund my medical negligence claim?
One of the most popular ways of funding a claim is through a NO WIN NO FEE agreement. At Medical Negligence direct, our expert medical negligence solicitors usually represent clients on a no win no fee basis. This is one of the best funding options as it totally averts any financial risks of loss while pursuing your claim.
What a Conditional Fee Agreement (No win No fee) means is that you will not be required to pay any legal fees, neither will there be any hidden charges. You will only be asked to make any payment for services (Usually a percentage fraction of your compensation) after you have been awarded a compensation.
Furthermore, if you already have Legal Expenses Insurance, or any other form of insurance for events of this nature, your legal fees can be claimed from such insurance. Feel free to call us on our claim line 0800 644 4240 or alternatively fill out our assessment claims form and we will get back to you in no time.
Can I make a medical negligence claim on behalf of a child?
Yes, it is possible to make a claim on behalf of a child. If you are their parent or legal guardian you can bring the claim on behalf of the child as long as they are not of age, for example a child that has suffered brain damage. Usually, in cases like this, agreed settlements may likely be needing court approval. You can reach out to us for your child birth defects claims and our solicitors will guide you through this process.
How much compensation will I get for medical negligence?
The amount of compensation granted for your medical negligence claim will differ from that of a victim with even similar cases. However, in a broader scope, you can expect to receive payment for General damages and for Special damages – as it implies to your condition.
What Are The 4 D’s Of Medical Negligence?
The four D’s of medical negligence are:
- Direct Causation
This simply means that to prove a case of medical negligence, it must be established that the medical professional had a duty to care for you; he deviated from such duty by being negligent; such action caused you a direct harm; the harm suffered has led to further severe impacts or damages on your overall wellbeing.
What Is “Duty Of Care” In Medical Negligence?
Duty of care in medical negligence refers to the legal obligation levied on a medical professional or healthcare provider to take care of patients under their watch and not allow any harm to come to them. It means that they are expected to provide an acceptable level of care according to global medical standards.
How Difficult Is It To Prove Medical Negligence?
Proving medical negligence can be difficult To depending on the complexities surrounding the case. Obviously, the most difficult part is to demonstrate beyond any reasonable medical doubt that a trained medical professional acted negligently and this was the cause of the harm or injury suffered by the patient and not as a result of an underlying medical condition.
Can I Sue The Hospital For Negligence?
Yes of course. You are legally entitled to sue a hospital for acts of negligence towards you while you were undergoing treatment in their facility. You will need your medical negligence lawyer to help you do that.
How Far Back Can You Claim For Medical Negligence?
Concisely, you can make claims for negligence that goes as far back as three years as prescribed by the Limitation Act of 1980.
What this means is that you have three years starting from the date the negligent treatment occurred or when you became aware of it to make your claims. After this period, the claim can be “time-barred.”
You have to take this into consideration should you take legal action against medical negligence or any form of health negligence which you may have suffered during a visit to the hospital or while being attended to by your healthcare provider.
However, when it comes to cases involving children, this time limit is set aside. The parents can make claims for the child anytime until the individual is 18. After that time, the individual will have until his or her 21st birthday (three years) to make a claim.
Another scenario where the three-year time frame can be relaxed is when the person is physically or mentally unable to make claims. For such a case, claims can be made when the person is fit enough or a litigation friend can make those claims on their behalf.
Who Pays For Medical Negligence Claims?
When you win a medical negligence claim, it is the defendant who will pay the compensation amount. For instance, if it is a claim against a doctor working at the NHS or a claim against an NHS trust, the NHS Resolution will take care of the settlement payout.
In the case of a medical professional in private practice, the insurance company of the defendant will pay for the claims.
However, if your claim was undertaken via a conditional fee agreement policy, you may be required to pay 25% of your compensation amount as a success fee to your solicitor for winning your case and to cover for other legal costs incurred in the course of representing you.
If the claim was unsuccessful, but still undertaken via the CFA, the insurance policy arranged by your solicitor on your behalf before undertaking the case takes care of the legal costs. You will not have to pay again.