Can I make an NHS negligence claim?
Everyone should feel safe when being treated by the NHS. So we understand just how distressing – and even traumatic – it can be to suffer negligence while you’re under the care of your GP or other NHS service.
You could make a claim if the medical professional treating you made an avoidable mistake or their treatment was substandard.
Examples of NHS negligence include:
This is where a patient’s illness is either mistaken for something else or missed entirely by GPs and other medical professionals. Misdiagnosis can be avoided, which makes it even more upsetting to deal with when it happens.
- A&E negligence
This occurs when someone is sent to an A&E department and not given the correct treatment right away – such as being discharged too early.
- Failure to refer to a specialist
GPs must refer you to a specialist doctor at a hospital if you have a serious illness – not doing so could be harmful to your health.
- Pharmacy errors
When an NHS pharmacist prescribes you the incorrect medication, or a dosage that’s too high or too low, that could be NHS negligence.
You could also make a claim if your loved one lost their life as a result of fatal negligence by the NHS.
Making a successful claim against the NHS
Successful claims against the NHS rely on proving two things: breach of duty of care and causation.
- Breach of duty of care
This is when the medical professional acted in a way that fell short of acceptable standards. It takes into account whether the actions taken by the person responsible would be supported by a “responsible body” of healthcare professionals. In other words, they breached their duty of care to you as a patient.
You need to be able to prove that your injury or illness was caused by the medical professional’s failure to meet the accepted standards. This means that if there is a chance you would have suffered harm if the person responsible had acted differently, your claim against the NHS will probably not be successful.
Should I make a complaint to the NHS trust?
If you were hurt by a medical professional working for the NHS, you may want to complain to that trust. It can help you feel like you’ve done all you can to make things right – as well as stopping it happening to anyone else.
A complaint can help you get the apology you may be looking for, or simply the acknowledgement that the NHS malpractice you suffered should not have happened. We’ve put together a straightforward guide to writing a letter of complaint to the NHS.
You can complain in person, by phone, in writing or by email. You can do this to either the NHS service provider that was negligent or to the commissioner of the services. This is the body that pays for the NHS services you used.
You can complain to NHS England about GPs, dentists, opticians or pharmacists. If you’re complaining about NHS malpractice from a hospital, mental health service, NHS 111 or community services like district nurses, you can contact your local clinical commissioning group.
As part of your claim, your solicitor could help you make a complaint. They are there to help you get the best outcome, so you can rely on their help.
Will the NHS still treat me after making a claim?
We understand that you might feel nervous about making a claim. We know that you may worry about the treatment you’ll then receive. But it may be reassuring to know that you won’t be blacklisted or face any negative consequences for claiming.
You can still receive treatment from the same service that you’re claiming against, if that’s what you want.
Alternatively, you might find it more suitable to find a different healthcare provider.
You have the right to medical treatment. And you have the right to proper care. That’s why it’s legally possible to make a claim if you have been harmed by someone in the NHS.
Who pays compensation for successful claims against the NHS?
Claims for negligence by the NHS don’t take money out of the NHS budget. This isn’t something you need to worry about.
NHS Resolution handles claims and has its own separate budget. That means that your NHS claim won’t have an impact on anyone else’s treatment.
The organisation also supports NHS services to learn from the claims that have been made against them.
Why should I make an NHS compensation claim?
We know that you’re probably more interested in getting justice for the avoidable negligence you suffered than getting compensation.
But the law states that if you have been hurt in an avoidable incident – including a medical accident – you are entitled to compensation for what you’ve been through.
This can be a huge help during your recovery process or to help make you more comfortable. It can also help to relieve any financial worries you may have.
By making a claim, you can also help to highlight what went wrong in your treatment. This could force the NHS service responsible to investigate and address its failures, which could then stop the same thing happening to someone else.
How can I pay for my negligence claim against the NHS?
In most cases in England and Wales, our specialist solicitors will take on your claim on a No Win No Fee basis.
A No Win No Fee NHS medical negligence claim means that there’s nothing to pay upfront. That gives you the times to focus on your recovery instead of worrying about how to pay for your claim.
There is also nothing to pay if your claim is unsuccessful. A No Win No Fee claim is a risk-free way of claiming the compensation that you’re entitled to for the NHS negligence you experienced.
Only pay a fee if you receive compensation
Our No Win No Fee solicitors will take a success fee from the compensation you are awarded for a successful claim in the form of a percentage of your damages. This could be up to 25% but it won't be more than that, except in cases of road traffic accidents. Changing laws mean our solicitors will now take a payment of 30% of the final compensation amount plus VAT for all road traffic accident claims.
First4Lawyers are an award-winning claims management company with a track record of delivering service that our clients love.
How long do I have to make an NHS medical negligence claim?
You’ll usually have three years to make an NHS compensation claim. But just because you have that long, it doesn’t mean you should delay making a claim. It’s always a good idea to start your claim as soon as you can.
That’s because it can be easier to remember the details of what happened to you. It could also be easier to get hold of certain pieces of evidence.
But not every claimant will have to submit their claim within three years. For example, if you’re claiming on behalf of a child, you’ll be able to do so until they turn 18. From that date, they will then have three years to make a claim themselves.
And if you’re claiming on behalf of someone who lacks the capacity to claim themselves, you won’t have a deadline.
It’s not always clear straight away that medical negligence took place. It can take months or even years to establish that it was responsible for your condition getting worse or a new illness developing.
When this happens, you will have three years from the date you found out that you were the victim of medical negligence to make a claim. This allows everyone a chance to get justice.
How much compensation will I get for NHS negligence?
Every claim is different. And medical negligence can cause complex injuries and illnesses. That makes it difficult to say exactly what you might receive in compensation without a chat about your situation.
For a rough idea of what you could be entitled to for the harm you’ve suffered, try our compensation calculator.
But don’t forget that you are also entitled to compensation for any financial impact the negligence has had. This could include the cost of any treatment you’ve had to pay for, as well as any mobility aids or home modifications you now need.
It can also cover a loss of earnings if your injury or illness meant you weren’t able to go to work.
To talk to the team at First4Lawyers about making an NHS negligence claim, just get in touch. you can give us a call, request a call back when it’s convenient or start your claim online.