When you are indisposed, your GP is the first person you usually turn to. You trust him/her with your health and expect that they correctly diagnose your condition and provide appropriate medical care. In the vast majority of cases, your GP or doctor discharges their duty in a professional manner, but there may be occasions when things go wrong. If you have been injured as a result of medical negligence, you may be able to make a claim.
Doctors and all medical professionals are held in high esteem and value in our society; so, when they fail to fulfill the standard of care expected of them, you may not know what to do. Your health and well-being may have been adversely affected by the negligent treatment you received and, without medical knowledge, it can be difficult to know whether the injury you suffered was unavoidable or whether it can be classed as medical negligence.
At Medical Negligence Direct, we understand how complex and even confusing medical negligence claims can be. Our trusted panel of medical negligence solicitors have an excellent track record and will help you determine whether you have been a victim of negligence, and what steps you can take to seek justice.
What is Doctor Negligence?
Doctor negligence refers to failure on the part of a doctor to discharge their duty of care, resulting in avoidable pain, loss and/or damage.
Each day, the NHS receives almost 500 written complaints, with about 45% of them due to doctor negligence. Although all complaints may not lead to NHS medical negligence claims, those who have suffered injury due to a doctor’s negligence can make claims for compensation.
How Do I Know if My Doctor Has Been Negligent?
Distinguishing between unavoidable mistakes and medical negligence can be difficult, especially if your medical knowledge is limited. The list of cases classed as doctor negligence is not exhaustive, but some of the most common negligent treatments clients have suffered include:
- Carrying out procedures outside their specialty
- Failing to refer a patient for tests where serious conditions can be detected
- Failing to thoroughly examine a patient
- Misinterpreting a test result
- Medication/prescription errors
If you have suffered injury as a result of negligence arising from any of the areas outlined above, and can prove that the doctor’s actions caused you pain, suffering and loss, you can report the negligent doctor to the British Medical Association (BMA). It is also important that you check whether the hospital where you received medical care has a Patient Liaison and advisory service (PALS). If they do, you can make a formal complaint to them before suing the NHS.
If the doctor is a GP, you can send your complaint to the GP’s practice manager. If the practice manager is unable to resolve your issue, they would explain the next best steps for you. Ultimately, you may be able to make GP negligence claims.
How Do I Make a Claim Against a Doctor?
If you are considering starting a negligence claim against your doctor, the best course of action is to seek professional legal advice. By contacting Medical Negligence Direct, you can rest assured of honest, reliable support for your claim.
Part of our job is to prove that your doctor owed you a duty of care and that they breached that duty. We will then seek evidence that demonstrates the link between the negligent treatment you received and the injury you suffered. To achieve this for you, it is important that you record everything about the doctor’s negligence and note as many details as you can.
A medical expert will also assess your condition; this will help provide evidence of the negligence you suffered and you can expect medical negligence solicitors at Medical Negligence Direct to put this together for you. We will also conduct as much fact-finding as possible before we start your medical negligence claims. This will boost your chance of success when the claim is made.
What Kind of Liability Do Doctors or GPs Have?
Although all medical negligence cases are unique, they are usually classed into one of the following:
- Gross negligence: This refers to a doctor’s conscious and complete disregard for their duty of care, resulting in devastating consequences. It is the most serious of all medical negligence claims and is always heard by a judge. In most cases, the medical professional loses their license if they are found liable.
- Contributory negligence: This refers to a situation where an injured person fails to exercise reasonable care to ensure their safety. For instance, a patient may fail to take medication as prescribed by the doctor. In cases like this, the compensation may be scaled down or not awarded at all.
- Comparative negligence: Here, the patient may be at fault, but the doctor or GP is not without blame. Where both sides are liable, the judge will determine the degree to which the GP’s negligence contributed to the injury. The compensation will likely be reduced – based on the GP’s liability.
- Vicarious liability: This refers to medical negligence claims made against the GP’s employer, rather than the GP. If it is seen that the doctor’s management, rather than the GP’s actions, played a role in the injury you suffered, you can make vicarious liability claims.
Depending on the facts of your case, your solicitor will determine the category your case belongs to and make the claim on your behalf.
How Much Can I Expect for a Doctor’s Negligence?
Although a medical negligence claim calculator can give you an idea of what to expect, compensation is usually awarded based on the severity of your injury as well as the extent of pain you have suffered. Compensation may also include money you have lost due to the injury. This financial compensation will cover for the pain you have suffered and the lost earnings/expected future earnings.
How Long will my Doctor Negligence Claim Take?
The processing time of your medical negligence claims process will depend on:
- The severity of your injury and expected recovery time. Making claims for an injury with a short recovery timescale will be faster than claims involving long term treatment.
- Whether the other party accepts liability for your injury
- Whether your claim is resolved in or out of court
Is there a Time Limit on Doctor Negligence Claims?
Yes. Generally, all claimants have three years from the date of the injury to start their claim. However, certain circumstances may mean that the 3-year time limit does not start until later. The most common exceptions are:
- Date of Knowledge
There are situations where identifying the exact date the alleged negligence occurred may be impossible. In cases like this, the medical negligence claims time limit will begin from the ‘date of knowledge’ of the alleged negligence.
Children below age 18 cannot start a claim themselves. A ‘litigation friend’ – typically a parent or relative – can bring the claim on behalf of the child. If the claim is not brought before the child reaches the age of 18, the child has an opportunity to make the claim as an adult. In this case, the medical negligence claims time limit will expire on the child’s 21st birthday.
- Mental Capacity
If the medical negligence victim lacks mental capacity to make independent decisions and bring a claim, the medical negligence UK law makes an exception. The 3-year time limit only begins when the injured person regains capacity. But if it is the case that the injured person may never regain mental capacity, the 3-year time limit will never begin; in this case, the claim can be made by their litigation friend.
In the unfortunate case where the victim dies within the time limit, the 3-year period is extended to three years from either the date of death or the date of knowledge of the death.
How Do I Fund My Medical Negligence Claim?
Many claimants are understandably concerned about the financial implications involved in making medical negligence claims. While some are able to fund their claims from their savings or an existing insurance, our medical negligence No Win No Fee UK arrangement makes it possible for everyone to be able to make a claim.
Also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement, a No Win No Fee claim means that you do not incur any financial risks, even if your claim is unsuccessful. This funding model also gives our clients the confidence that we believe their case has a strong chance of success.
How Can Medical Negligence Direct Help?
Medical negligence claims are complex, which is why you need medical negligence solicitors that know what they are doing. Medical Negligence Direct can team you with a specialist solicitor who will work closely with you to fully understand every aspect of your case so they can provide the absolute best representation.
Call us today on 0800 644 4240 to begin your medical negligence claims process. You can also fill out our contact form and we will call you back at your convenient time to discuss details of your case.