We are immeasurably grateful to have access to the UK’s healthcare system – one of the best in the world – and thanks to its quality,
medical negligence is rare. However, things can go wrong on occasion, possibly due to underfunding, poor staffing or a lack of knowledge and experience. And when things go wrong, there may be long term consequences.
What’s more, the medical negligence process can be a complex one to navigate – whether you are making an NHS claim or claiming against a private hospital. This underlines the need for potential claimants to understand how the process works so they can make the best decisions. This guide discusses how medical negligence claims work, how you can make a claim and the kind of support you can expect from medical negligence solicitors to achieve success.
Steps to Making Medical Negligence Claims
Step 1: Contact a Specialist Solicitor
The first step to making a successful medical negligence claim is to engage an expert solicitor. You can contact us by calling our helpline on 0800 644 4240 or by completing our online free claim assessment form. Once we review the details of your case, we will assign a specialist solicitor to walk you through every step of the claims process.
Step 2: Make a Complaint
If you are unsure about making a negligence claim and are concerned about getting an apology or explanation for what went wrong, you can write a letter to the Hospital Trust or healthcare professional who treated you. This can give you closure following the pain and injury you have suffered, and go a long way to ensuring there is no repeat of such incident in future.
Still, if you have suffered injury and financial losses as a result of medical negligence, you may need to make a compensation claim. Get in touch with Medical Negligence Direct; our solicitors will guide you on how to make a complaint if you so desire, and how to make your claim.
Step 3: Funding your Claim
The thought of funding a medical negligence claim can be particularly concerning for victims. However, most medical negligence claims are funded via a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), also known as a No Win No Fee agreement. Through this funding arrangement, there is no financial risk to you, who have suffered mistreatment in the hands of a medical professional.
Your medical negligence solicitor will determine if your case is strong enough for a claim, and if so, you will not be charged if the claim is unsuccessful. If the claim is successful, you will only be charged a ‘success fee’. This is a fixed percentage of the compensation award which will be mutually agreed prior to the starting the claim.
Our specialist Medical Negligence solicitors will explain the funding option available to you, including the role you would play under the arrangement. You can rest assured we will help you navigate your way through the funding and entire claims process.
Step 4: Gathering Evidence
For any medical negligence case to be successful, there must be evidence to prove medical negligence. At Medical Negligence Direct, we gather evidence by getting a detailed testimony from you and other witnesses. We will also arrange for a medical expert to obtain all relevant medical records, from doctor’s notes to X-ray results – to establish your case. Depending on the nature and severity of the injury you suffered, we may arrange for more than one medical expert to assess and review your medical records.
Step 5: Establishing Liability
Armed with the right amount of evidence, we will contact the Hospital Trust responsible for the injuries you suffered and let them know we are investigating your case. They will likely reach out to their legal representatives to handle the claim on their behalf. At this stage, our goal is to establish liability as quickly as possible. Once the responsible individual or institution accepts liability, we will now send an application for you to receive interim payments.
An interim payment is a part-payment of the compensation award made by the responsible party, before a medical negligence case is settled. Interim payments allow victims of medical negligence access to funds they need to receive proper medical care prior to the conclusion of their medical negligence case.
Step 6: Court Proceedings
If the hospital trust or medical professional responsible for your injury does not admit liability, the next step is to initiate court proceedings. It is important that your medical negligence claim is set in motion at the court well on time, as there are certain timelines for all parties to meet. For instance, it may be expected that the evidence is ready by a particular date or medical experts are able to meet and resolve certain issues by a particular date.
Step 7: Negotiations
Although you may have initiated court proceedings, this does not mean that it must end in a trial. Both parties involved in the case are encouraged to settle out of court by negotiating a settlement. In the vast majority of cases, our solicitors are able to reach an agreement that suits both parties. However, in situations where an agreement cannot be reached and a trial is necessary, a judge will decide an outcome. The judge will also decide how much compensation you can receive.
Ultimately, if the defendant in your medical negligence claim is unwilling to agree a settlement before the court date, then the case goes to trial.
Step 8: The Trial
Medical negligence cases are unique as a Judge decides the final outcome, not a jury. But this does not reduce the amount of time you will have to wait.
You will have to provide evidence of your case, as will the medical experts. Before making a final decision, the Judge will listen to all sides of the argument – including the legal and medical perspectives.
If your case is successful, the Judge will award a compensation amount, and a timetable will be set in place for the payment.
The responsible hospital or medical professional will also have to cover your legal expenses. However, some costs cannot be recovered and may be deducted from your medical negligence compensation award.
If your case is unsuccessful, there is only little chance of an appeal. In this case, your solicitor will determine if filing an appeal will be worthwhile based on the judgement. If your solicitor believes filing an appeal will be unwise, that would be the end of your case. If you reached a No Win No Fee agreement prior to starting the claim, there will be no legal costs to you.
Medical negligence and personal injury cases are usually complex and drawn-out, which can be emotionally draining if you do not have the right kind of legal support. Hopefully, this guide will help you make more informed decisions, especially when it comes to choosing a solicitor.
Contact Us Today
Medical Negligence Compensation Claims usually have three-year time limits. If you believe the injury you have suffered is a result of medical negligence, contact Medical Negligence Direct to begin the claims process now. Our friendly solicitors will hold your hand throughout the process. We will make it as stress-free as possible, ensuring you can get the maximum compensation you deserve. To know more medical negligence claims time limit.
Get in touch with us now so you can learn how we can help with your compensation claim. Please call us on 0800 644 4240 or contact us for a free assessment by a specialist solicitor.