In order to properly understand what clinical negligence is, we will have to define negligent/negligence. Negligence can be defined as failing to take proper care over someone or something.
Therefore, clinical negligence also known as medical negligence or medical malpractice refers to the failure of a healthcare professional to give the right standard of care or exercise the expected degree of skill in the treatment of a patient such that the patient suffers harm as a result which could have been avoided if they were given the appropriate care.
Clinical negligence can take several forms which can include surgical mistakes, misdiagnosis (wrong diagnosis, missed diagnosis, late diagnosis), mistakes in drug administration, negligent delay in treatment, negligent care to expectant mothers (before, during and after delivery), etc.
When these happen and the individual suffers pain, complications or even dies, the loved ones can make clinical negligence claims on behalf of the victim of such negligence.
The aim of clinical negligence claims to compensate the victim and their families for the loss, pain and trauma that they have suffered as well as to support and rehabilitate the victims of medical negligence so that they do not suffer financially as a result of the injury they suffered. This helps them to access the necessary medical and rehabilitative care they need for their recovery.
Additionally, making claims can also help the hospital involved to take necessary precautionary steps to avoid a repeat of the mistake so that another patient doesn’t suffer in the future.
For your clinical negligence claim to be successful, you need the right clinical negligence solicitors who will assist you to make your claims.
Our NHS clinical negligence claims solicitors will listen to your story, make a thorough evaluation of the whole case and determine if you really have a claim as well as your chances of winning. We will also proceed to provide you with the needed legal guidance and ensure you are well supported throughout the duration of the claim. It is also our duty to ensure that the entire claims process doesn’t add an extra burden to you as we leave no stone unturned to see that you get a deserved settlement payout.
Over the years, the number of clinical negligence claims against the NHS have continued to rise even as several NHS Trusts across the UK have come under intense scrutiny over their quality of service delivery.
It is no news that Staff have been under immense pressure with the number of patients on waiting lists continuing to rise despite efforts to reduce the backlog caused by the pandemic.
When staff are under such pressure, mistakes are bound to happen and this will mean more clinical negligence claims are made against the NHS.
In 2018/19, 10,678 new medical negligence claims were opened which is an average 29 cases made against the NHS every day.
Figures from 2020/21 shows that there were 12,629 clinical negligence claims made against the NHS which is a 133% increase in 14years.
The breakdown shows that 4,295 claims were categorised as “other”. This category may refer to claims made against GPs or any other which were not captured.
Orthopaedic surgery and Emergency medicine are the two leading specialties with the highest number of claims – 1256 and 1152 claims respectively.
Some other specialties and the number of claims include-
- Gynaecology – 981 claims
- Obstetrics (non Cerebral Palsy/Brain Damage) – 892 claims
- General Surgery – 853 claims
- General medicine – 467claims
- Radiology – 409 claims
- Psychiatry/ mental health – 290 claims
- Urology – 287claims
- Obstetrics (Cerebral Palsy/Brain Damage) – 265 claims
- Paediatrics – 199 claims
- Ambulance – 188 claims, etc.
In the same year, Obstetrics (Cerebral Palsy/Brain Damage) paid the highest cumulative compensation amount- £688million. This is followed by the category “other” which comprises more of claims made against General practice -£285 million. This is an average compensation amount of £115,328 which is more than two times the average medical negligence payout according to NHS Resolution.
Claims against Emergency medicine claimed £202million while General surgery claims claimed £105 million.
In all, the total cost of claim was a whopping £2 billion, a 273.4% increase from the 2006/07 cost. This figure also includes the legal costs of both the claimant and the NHS.
Common Clinical Negligence Cases
Here are some forms of negligent actions or negligence in duty of care by healthcare practitioners which could cause harm to the patient and could lead to making clinical negligence claims.
- Misdiagnosis – Which may be in form of incorrect diagnosis, completely missed diagnosis or late diagnosis
- Negligent delay in carrying out treatment
- Wrong treatment
- Errors in prescribing drugs for the patient
- Failing to refer patient for the right tests or scans before making diagnosis or delaying unnecessarily before conducting them
- Failing to get a patient’s informed consent before carrying out certain procedures
- Discriminating or abusive treatment on a patient
- Failing to refer a patient to a specialist or failing to do so before it’s too late
- Surgical mistakes including never events such as retained instruments, wrong site surgery, anaesthesia errors, etc.
Grounds For Medical Negligence Claims
Before making a medical negligence claim, there are certain areas that must be proven or established to give you a greater chance of success. These are also known as the four D’s of medical negligence. They are;
Duty- You have to prove the existence of a doctor/patient relationship and show that the doctor owed you a duty of care.
Deviation- Here you show that the doctor deviated from that duty of care or breached that duty of care by certain actions or inactions which you deem negligent.
By establishing the above areas, you have established liability.
Direct Causation- This is where you establish that the action or inaction of your healthcare provider is the direct cause of your injury, pain, suffering or complication. This is a very important aspect of clinical negligence because a doctor being negligent doesn’t automatically win you a case. You have to show that you suffered directly as a result of such negligent action and not because of any other cause.
Damages- Here you show how much damages you have incurred and how much you have lost as a result of the doctor’s negligence-caused injury or harm. This is very important as it is a key factor in determining your compensation payout.
Our clinical negligence solicitors during the no obligation chat session will let you know certain documents you need to make your claims. We will also help you access these documents or pieces of information if you are having trouble getting them.
- Your detailed statements of what happened
- Your detailed statements of what happened
- Witness statements which can come from your family members or close friends
- Proof of financial losses incurred as a result of the negligent treatment
- Images or photographs where applicable
Additionally, an Independent Medical Expert will be assigned to you to perform a medical examination to determine the extent of harm you have suffered. His report will also be needed in making claims.
In summary, here is how the clinical negligence claims process looks like;
- Contact Your Medical Negligence Solicitor
- Fund Your Claim- this could be using our No Win No Fee option, legal aid (if you are eligible), legal expenses insurance or private funding.
- Gather Facts and Evidence which be used to prove your claims
- Establish Liability
- Negotiations between both parties and agreeing on a compensation fee
- Payment of Compensation Fee
In the case where liability is denied or both parties are unable to agree on a compensation fee, the case will be registered in court to be presided over by a judge.
However, this does not happen often; in fact, according to NHS Resolution, only 2% of all cases against the NHS go all the way to a trial.
How Much Compensation Will I Get For My Clinical Negligence Claim?
There is no fixed compensation amount for clinical negligence cases as they are all different from each other and so their settlement payouts will be different. However, we can use our medical negligence compensation calculator to give you an idea of what you can expect for your medical negligence claim.
According to NHS Resolution, the average payout for medical negligence in the UK is about £50,000 but payout values for medical negligence can range between £1,000 for mild cases to several millions of pounds in very severe cases. The biggest medical negligence payout in the UK is £24million which was awarded to a woman who suffered a catastrophic brain injury following a serious surgical blunder which made her disabled for life.
A number of factors which affect the amount you will receive for your clinical negligence claim include;
- Type and location of injury
- Severity of the injury
- Future prognosis or estimated time for recovery
- Pain and suffering
- Financial losses incurred including past, present and estimated future losses.
- Travel expenses for medical appointments
- Costs of rehabilitative care and therapies including purchase of mobility aids, assistive devices and the costs of replacing them
- Cost of hiring caregivers
- Cost accommodation adjustment
Clinical Negligence Limitation Period
The Limitation Act of 1980, you have only have only three years from the date the clinical negligence occurred to make your claims or when you first became aware of it.
However, there are exceptions to this rule; these are;
- Cases involving children who are unable to make claims by themselves. In this case, claims can be made by their parents or guardians before they turn 18. After they become adults, they only have three years to make claims.
- Cases involving mentally or physically incapacitated persons who may need more time to make claims or a litigation friend to make claims on their behalf.
We will be able to explain to you clearly how this works during our consultation sessions if you are in this category.
Difference Between Personal Injury And Clinical Negligence
A personal injury is an injury which you suffer as a result of another person’s carelessness and not your fault. This could be an industrial accident, accident in a public place or car accident. You only have viable personal injury claims if another person was entirely responsible for the accident that led to your injury.
On the other hand, clinical negligence occurs as a result of negligence from a medical professional.
How Does No Win No Fee Work?
In order to help our clients make claims without having financial hinderances, we have a No Win No Fee medical negligence policy which allows you to make claims without having to worry about paying legal fees.
Our no win no fee solicitors in Liverpool are expert clinical negligence lawyers who have many years of experience in clinical negligence claims against the NHS and who have successfully defended and won appropriate compensation amounts for clients over the years.
A No Win No Fee policy means that you do not have to pay us before we begin to undertake your claims. Additionally, we take out an insurance for you which protects you from incurring any debt if the claim wasn’t successful in the end.
On the other hand, at the end of a successful case, we will take out a “success fee” of not more than 25% of your compensation amount while you will have the rest.
We can help you understand more about this during our no obligation chat.