Medical Negligence 2

If you have been left with injuries or a worsening existing condition because of poor medical care, then you may have a medical negligence claim. Our medical negligence solicitors are on hand to provide the help you need.

What is medical negligence?

Medical negligence is not something most of us will have to deal with in our lives. In the majority of cases, patients are treated effectively and will go on with their lives as normal.

However, there are occasions when things go wrong. This is when a trained medical professional makes an avoidable mistake, resulting in harm caused to you, the patient. In 2017-2018, the NHS reported receiving 10,673 new claims of medical negligence.

Medical negligence – also referred to as clinical negligence or medical malpractice – also covers occasions when a medical professional or organisation fails in their duty of care to you, causing you injury or harm. This includes:

  • failure to diagnose a condition
  • misdiagnosis of a condition
  • error during surgery or medical procedure
  • administering the wrong drugs
  • failing to warn you about the risks of a procedure or treatment
  • infections acquired during a stay in hospital

You may be able to make a medical negligence claim if you’ve been left with injuries or you’ve suffered an existing condition worsening because of poor medical care from healthcare professionals.

There is a chance you may be unhappy with the outcome of a medical procedure or treatment. However, if it is established that any healthcare professional could have made the same error, it is unlikely that you will have sufficient grounds for a medical negligence claim.

Do you offer no win no fee medical negligence claims?

Yes, we can make no win no fee* medical claims in England and Wales. When you contact First4Lawyers, we can tell you if you’re likely to have a medical negligence case and arrange a no win no fee* agreement.

If you live in Scotland or Northern Ireland, no win no fee* cannot be applied. If you have any questions about whether no win no fee* applies to your claim, speak to our advisors, who are happy to help clear things up. Just give us a call or start your claim here and we’ll get back to you.

How does no win no fee work?

If you win your medical negligence claim, our solicitors take a percentage of the final compensation up to 25%. This will be discussed with you before the process begins so there are no unexpected costs at the end.

And if you lose your case, you will not have to pay your solicitor any fees for the work they've carried out on your behalf.

Why should I make a medical negligence claim?

Medical negligence compensation can be awarded for a range of factors like loss of income, ongoing treatment, cost of care and equipment and costs of adapting your home.

As well as covering any costs or loss of earnings you’ve incurred because of the negligence, it can also provide compensation to cover the psychological impact of the negligence, or the impact the injury has had on your life and family.

Our medical negligence solicitors deal with a range of medical negligence claims, which can often be quite complex. They can make sure you understand what is needed and help make sense of the medical terminology and jargon.

Our medical negligence solicitors are on hand to assess your situation, provide the help and advice you need, and the compensation you deserve.

How likely am I to win a no win no fee* medical negligence case?

The likelihood of winning your claim will depend on the specific circumstances around your case. Our advisors will be able to discuss the details of your situation and how likely you are to succeed with your medical negligence claim.

This will be discussed during your initial phone call so your time will not be wasted and you’ll know where you stand right from the start.

Is there a time limit for making a medical negligence claim?

Yes, the time limit for making a medical negligence claim is typically three years. This means a court claim must be made within three years of the negligence occurring.

However, there are occasions when you might not be made aware of the negligence for a long period. In this case, you are able to make a claim after the three-year limit has expired, provided you do so within three years of the date you were first made aware of the effects of what happened. This is referred to as the date of knowledge. This also applies if the patient in question has died.

It is always advisable to begin the claims process as soon as possible. The details of what happened will be clearer in your mind and your solicitor will have more time to gather evidence and build a strong case.

There are exceptions to this time limit, however. If you are claiming on behalf of a child, you can claim at any point until they are 18, at which point they then have three years to make a claim themselves.

The time limit also does not apply to people with limited mental capacity, so it is possible to claim on their behalf at any point.

Am I eligible to make a medical negligence claim?

If you can prove that a healthcare professional did something wrong and that error directly caused you harm you would not have otherwise suffered or made an existing condition worse, you could make a medical negligence claim.

You will need to prove that the injury you have suffered is not due to the medical condition you were being treated for in the first place.

What evidence do I need?

It will be down to you to prove your claim, rather than the medical professional responsible for your injury to prove they did not cause you harm.

You will need to gather all relevant information to prove your case. It is advisable to keep a record of how you’ve been affected. Ensure you include the dates and times of any appointments or other events, as well as the names of anyone involved. If you have any supporting information, such as letters or medical records, you should keep these.

What do medical negligence solicitors do?

Medical negligence solicitors will drive your case forward, ensuring you have the most compelling and convincing basis for making your claim. They will help you compile the evidence you need to prove your case and get the compensation you deserve.

Your medical negligence solicitor may also gather witness statements from others involved, such as your family. They will also help you gather other important information, such as medical notes and expert opinions, to help improve your chances of winning your claim.

Early in the process, they will contact those responsible for your injury and ask them to accept responsibility. If they do accept the blame, your solicitor may secure interim compensation to help you cover any expenses, such as medical care.

If the party responsible for your injury does not accept the blame, your solicitor will then start court proceedings, and potentially then take your claim to trial.

Medical negligence claims are complex, so it is important to choose the right solicitor – one with the experience you need to ensure you have the strongest case and the best chance of making things right.

Will I have to go to court?

It is rare that you will have to go to court. Typically, only the most complex cases have to be argued in court. The NHS has reported that 69.6% of medical negligence cases were settled outside of court in 2017-2018, with just 29.7% beginning proceedings and 0.8% actually going to trial.

However, even if you do have to go to court, our medical negligence solicitors will be at your side, supporting you at every stage of the process.

How long do medical negligence claims take?

Every case is unique so there is no set period in which a medical negligence case will be settled.

As an average guideline, standard cases can take between 12 and 18 months to be settled. But this is not a definitive timeline as the more straightforward cases can be settled sooner than that. On the other hand, more complex cases – which often involve life-changing injuries – can take much longer.

It is sometimes advisable to wait before accepting a settlement figure as you may not yet be fully aware of the effect of the injuries you suffered. Once you know what your future requirements will be, you will be in a better position to evaluate what a fair settlement will be.

You will not be able to make another claim for additional compensation if you find that the amount you accepted is not enough to cover your needs.

Common forms of medical negligence

There are many ways in which medical negligence could take place. Some of the more common forms include:

  • Misdiagnosis: When a healthcare provider fails to identify an illness or diagnoses a condition incorrectly
  • Hospital and GP negligence: This can come about if an NHS service or doctor performs at a substandard level
  • Childbirth and gynaecology errors: Negligence during pregnancy, such as failed sterilisation and misreading of scans, can affect both mother and child
  • Dental negligence: This could result in a dental condition being worsened or pain and tooth loss that could have been avoided
  • Care home negligence: If you or a loved one has been hurt or injured while under the protection of a care home, this could be negligence
  • Cosmetic surgery negligence: This covers cosmetic surgery that has left you injured or scarred
  • Fatal negligence: This can be caused by failed diagnosis of fatal illnesses, under- or over-prescription of medication and birthing errors
  • Laser eye surgery errors: This rarely goes wrong, but botched laser eye surgery can cause permanent damage to a patient’s eyesight
  • Optician negligence: If an accident happens or your optician slips up, it could be medical negligence
  • Cancer negligence: A cancer misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis or missing it altogether can be devastating and counts as medical negligence
  • Nerve injury: Negligence takes place when avoidable damage is caused to nerves
  • Failure to prevent suicide: If a loved one has taken their own life while under medical health care, it could be medical negligence
  • Mental health negligence: If you or a loved one has suffered injury or illness due to poor mental health care, it could be negligence

Can I make claim against the NHS?

Yes, you may be able to claim compensation for an injury or illness caused by negligent treatment by the NHS.

You may have apprehensions about claiming about the NHS, but you have the right to effective medical treatment. If this is not provided, you also have the right to address this. By highlighting what went wrong, you also have the opportunity to help prevent it happening to others in future.

Compensation is awarded to help you get back to the position you were in before you were affected, not to benefit you financially. It is a way of recognising that you were mistreated and that the situation should be corrected as far as possible.

You are also able to continue treatment at the same organisation you are claiming against, so this should not be a factor when deciding whether to make a medical negligence claim.

Can I make a medical negligence claim against a private hospital?

Yes, you can make a claim against a private hospital or healthcare organisation.

When you make a claim against an NHS hospital, you will be claiming against that NHS Trust. However, if you are claiming against a private clinician or a GP or dentist, you will be claiming against them directly.

Compensation claims are paid by the practitioner’s insurer. This is why they have to have the right level of insurance in place.

How can I make a complaint against a medical practitioner?

If you would like to lodge a complaint against the NHS, you will have to do so within six months. You should file a formal complaint through the commissioner responsible for NHS services in your area. Our guide to writing a letter of complaint about NHS treatment provides more information.

When you want to complain about a private practitioner or organisation, you should locate the organisation or individual’s official complaints procedure, then escalate it. We have compiled a guide to complaining about private healthcare.

Will I need a medical examination to make a medical negligence claim?

When making a medical negligence claim, it is likely that you will need to have a medical examination. A medical expert will be able to assess your condition and give their opinion on what you have suffered.

This will help strengthen your claim, giving you and your solicitor essential evidence to present.

How much can I claim?

Your compensation will depend on your individual situation.

Compensation is divided into general and special damages.

General damages cover the pain and suffering you have suffered as a result of medical negligence. They relate to any lifestyle changes, such as a resulting inability to participate in hobbies you once enjoyed. General damages are calculated according to a set of guidelines issued by the Judicial College. They typically state that the more serious your injury, the more compensation you are entitled to.

Special damages refer to any future implications your injury may have on your life. This takes into account any ongoing treatment you may require, as well as any loss of earnings you will face as a result of not being able to work. It will also cover any care and home adaptations you may require in future, as well as specialist mobility aids.

Our compensation calculator can give you a better idea of what compensation you may be entitled to.

How to make a medical negligence claim

If you think you have a claim for medical negligence, the first thing you should do is contact First4Lawyers. You can do that by requesting a call back at the top of your screen, giving us a call or starting your claim here.

Our experienced advisors will help you establish whether you have a strong case. Once we’ve decided you have a strong claim, we will pass your claim onto our specialist medical negligence solicitors.

Your solicitor will then begin the process of making your claim. They will gather the necessary evidence and then present your case to the person or organisation responsible for causing your injury. They will either then accept it or deny that they are to blame.

You don’t have to go through this on your own. First4Lawyers are here to help.


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