What is Causation in a Medical Negligence Claim?

What is causation?

For a medical negligence claim to be successful, your solicitor will need to show that the medical professional looking after you failed in their duty of care, and that this directly caused your injuries or illness. This is often described as ‘establishing causation’.

This means that even if the individual you’re claiming against admits to acting negligently, you may not automatically receive compensation. Instead, your solicitor will need to prove that it was this negligence alone that led to your injury or illness.

How do I prove causation in a medical negligence case?

The ‘but for’ test is the most commonly used test for proving causation in medical negligence cases. Your solicitor will be asking the question: ‘but for the negligence that took place, would your illness or injury have still occurred?’

This means that your solicitor will need to prove that if a medical professional hadn’t made a mistake, you wouldn’t be in the condition you are now.

This can sometimes be difficult, especially if you were already in poor health before undergoing treatment. But your solicitor will gather evidence to support your claim. This might include:

  • Medical records
    Your solicitor will use your medical records to demonstrate the extent of your injuries. They will also be looking for any mistakes or errors in your notes that could amount to negligence.
  • Witness accounts
    This could be someone who attended your medical appointments with you, or a medical professional who witnessed the treatment you received. These accounts will be used to support your own recollections.
  • Your own memory of what happened
    Your solicitor will also want to know what you remember of the care you received. They’ll help you put together a written statement, detailing your treatment and how you’ve been affected.

Don’t worry if you don’t have all this information to hand right now, your solicitor will be there to help you gather all the relevant evidence. So you won’t be doing this alone.

Can I still claim if there are multiple causes for my injuries?

Proving causation can become more complicated when there are multiple reasons for your injury or illness. For example, you might have already had an underlying medical condition before going into hospital.

In these cases, your solicitor will need to separate your medical history from the negligence that took place during your treatment. They’ll need to be able to show on a ‘balance of probabilities’ that your current condition was caused by a breach of duty of care rather than anything else.

This can become complicated. But our medical negligence solicitors will use their experience and knowledge to do everything they can to support your claim. To find out if they can help you, get in touch with us for an initial chat.

You can reach us on the number at the top of the screen or fill in our quick and easy online claims form.

Note: First4Lawyers offers this information as guidance, not advice. Before taking any action, you should seek professional assistance tailored to your personal circumstances.


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