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Medical professionals in accident and emergency departments in hospitals across the UK provide a vital service under the most critical circumstances. Every year, they are responsible for the diagnosis and treatment of thousands of patients who require emergency care and, despite the challenging conditions and high-pressure environments they work in, these health professionals usually deliver outstanding quality of service. However, on occasion, mistakes happen which could lead to an avoidable injury or illness.
What is Accident and Emergency Negligence?
This refers to substandard care you receive that makes your condition worse or causes you further illness or injury. The A&E department has a duty to assess the condition of patients and either provide treatment or refer them for specialist care as soon as possible.
No matter how busy an accident and emergency hospital department is, you are entitled to quality medical care. If you have received substandard treatment while under the care of a hospital’s A&E department, you may be able to pursue A&E claims.
Types of Accident and Emergency Negligence
Some of the most common forms of A&E negligence that expert solicitors at Medical Negligence Direct handle usually stem from misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis.
- Failing to properly examine a patient
- Wrong prescription
- Failing to refer a patient for appropriate tests
- Incorrect interpretation of results
- Failing to recognize the critical nature of a patient’s condition
- Prematurely discharging a patient
Common Injuries Due to A&E Negligence
Sadly, some patients end up leaving the A&E department worse than they were admitted; their condition may get worse or they suffer significant additional illness or injury. The most common A&E issues include:
- Spinal injury
- Severe head injury
- Cauda equina syndrome
- Loss of sight
Do I Have an A&E Compensation Claim?
If you or a loved one have received medical care that falls below the appropriate standard and this has caused you harm, you may be entitled to an accident and emergency claim. There is a general 3-year time limit for those who want to pursue claims for medical negligence. However, you may still be able to make a claim if the injury you suffered is diagnosed much later; in this case, the time limit will begin to run from the date the diagnosis was made (date of knowledge). This means that even if you do not receive the correct diagnosis while under the care of the accident and emergency department, you may still be able to make a claim when the right diagnosis is made.
Unfortunately, there are times when a victim of A&E negligence may be unable to pursue a claim due to the injuries they have suffered. In this case, a “litigation friend” can pursue the A&E claim on your behalf. Usually this will be a family member, loved one or a legal professional.
Contact Specialist Medical Negligence Solicitors
If you are yet to do so, get in touch with a specialist solicitor for legal support as this will help you make informed decisions every step of the claims process. Your solicitor will likely make arrangements for an independent medical expert who will examine your condition to determine whether your injuries would have been prevented but for the negligence of your health professional.
If our specialist solicitors believe you have valid grounds for a compensation claim, we will support you through the claims process to secure the compensation you deserve. While money may not completely take your pain away, it can help ease your situation by covering the cost of your care and rehabilitation. A compensation claim also means you can hold someone accountable for your situation; this can also help you seek closure.
Lodging a Complaint Against the NHS
If you think you have been subjected to substandard care at the NHS A&E department and have suffered injury as a result, making a complaint can support your compensation claim. While a complaint will not end up in compensation for you, the outcome of its investigation can prove that your injury was due to the failings of a health professional or institution. It can also go a long way towards ensuring another patient does not suffer the same fate in future.
Making an A&E Compensation Claim
In order to lodge a successful NHS A&E claim, there are a number of criteria your case must meet. You must be able to prove that:
- You have suffered an injury or illness, which can be proven by your medical records. Our specialist solicitors can also make arrangements for an independent medical expert to assess your injury and provide a comprehensive medical report.
- Your injury was due to negligent treatment. This is probably the most difficult element of a medical negligence claim and your solicitor will be of great help here. They will obtain your medical records, relevant witness statements, details of treatment received, outcome of your complaint (if you lodged one) and comparison with the acceptable standard of care. Armed with supporting evidence, we will help you demonstrate that you wouldn’t suffer the same treatment but for the negligent care.
- It has been less than three years from the date of your injury or the date you became aware your injury was due to negligence.
How Much Can I Claim for A&E Negligence?
Every A&E claim is unique, and the final compensation award will consist of two types of damages – general damages and special damages.
This is compensation for the direct impact of the negligent treatment where the injury you suffered can be clearly linked to the actions of your health professional. General damages will compensate for:
- The nature of your injury
- The level of pain and suffering
- Emotional/psychological trauma due to the injury
Special damages refer to compensation for out of pocket expenses that you have incurred as a result of the actions of your health professional. Special dames will consider your lost income, future estimated losses, travel costs, home adaptations, and ongoing/future medical expenses.
The Judicial College plays an important role when it comes to calculating compensation awards for A&E claims. While its guidelines are not legally binding, they are respected by the courts and relevant bodies, and form a foundation upon which compensation awards are calculated.
No Win No Fee A&E Negligence Claims
If you think you have been subjected to negligent treatment at the NHS accident and emergency department, a lack of finances should never stand in your way of accessing expert legal support and representation. Our medical negligence solicitors aim to make the claims process affordable for every victim of medical negligence via a No Win No Fee agreement.
Also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement, this arrangement eliminates the financial risk associated with pursuing a compensation claim. If your claim is unsuccessful, you will not pay any legal fees; if you win, you will only pay a success fee – a percentage of your final compensation award. This fee is capped at a maximum of 25% of your award.
Under the No Win No Fee arrangement, you are guaranteed a reasonable chance of success. This is because we take the risk from you; our solicitors will only agree to take on your case after a thorough research to determine medical negligence. You can trust that we will do everything possible to ensure your case is successful.
How Medical Negligence Direct Can Help
Beyond the knowledge and experience our solicitors have in suing the NHS and securing compensation for victims of negligence in NHS A&E departments, we employ great care and sensitivity when handling your case.
At our initial, no obligation meeting, our solicitors will talk to you about events surrounding your experience, and determine whether your claim is valid. We will treat your case as unique as it is and consider the impact on your life due to the negligence you faced. These considerations will help us fight on your behalf to secure the maximum compensation you deserve.