For most people in pursuit of clinical or medical negligence claims, filing the claim is often challenging, especially where the patient has limited or no knowledge of the formal proceedings. However, the secret to guarantee a successful claim that will result in a desirable compensation is finding the right medical negligence solicitors to help bring the case forward. The solicitor will evaluate your claim, analyse your medical reports, and easily determine whether you have a claim.

Legal definition

Medical negligence, or clinical negligence, is substandard care administered to a patient by a healthcare professional. The negligence occurs where the healthcare professional’s acts cause direct harm to the patient. This could take place in any point of receiving medical care, from a routine GP visit, to wrong drug prescription, to surgery flaws, to absence of informed consent, to aftercare. A legal claim is possible where the negligence worsens the existing medical condition or causes unnecessary harm and suffering.

To distinguish ‘medical accident’ from medical negligence, the compensation claim must indicate that the treatment you received fell below the accepted medical standards, and caused direct harm or injury.

Are there time limits to make a claim?

Usually, the court requires the claim to be lodged within three years from when the negligence took place. This law is also subject to exceptions, including the case where the patient lacks mental capacity, or under the age of 18. The judge may apply other situational exceptions, though this is unlikely. For underage children, the three-year rule comes into effect on the 18th, and up until the 21st birthday. Patients lacking mental capacity have no time limit for making a claim.

Why Do I Need A Medical Negligence Solicitor?

Finding an expert medical negligence solicitor who has amassed invaluable knowledge and expertise in the field of medical negligence claims is very useful in the long term. The solicitor will go through your medical journey, evaluate the type of medical care that you received, and conclude whether you can lodge a compensation claim. If the solicitor proves there was indeed medical negligence, he/she will take you through the necessary steps, discuss possible actions, and help you prepare adequately before commencing the case. The patient claiming compensation will also stay well-informed of the legal options at every stage of the proceeding.

Types of medical negligence

Since medical negligence is a broad, general term used to refer to an array of experiences, the examples discussed below are not exhaustive. Call us for free to find out more about whether your claim falls under the medical negligence category.

  • Hospital Negligence- includes claims made against NHS trusts and private hospitals for sufferings and illnesses caused by incorrectly cleaned or dressed wounds. Hospice negligence includes incorrect drug prescription and injuries.
  • Dental Negligence- includes injuries caused to the jaw, gums, and teeth. These injuries could be during or after surgery.
  • Misdiagnosis- involves receiving medication for the wrong medical condition. It also applies to medication errors, where the patient received the wrong medical prescription.
  • Birth injuries- include harm caused to both infant and mother. These birth injuries could occur during labour, after birth, or even during pregnancy.
  • Care Home Claims- it involves the elderly.
  • Other claims include negligent GP and poor framed medical advice that derails the patient from making an informed choice.

Depending on the nature of each case, the patient claiming for medical compensation can receive one of several settlements, as highlighted below.

  • compensation for pain, harm, and suffering
  • payment on behalf of the patient for ongoing treatment
  • compensation in the patient is left unable to perform certain activities
  • loss of earnings
  • the cost of extra care, such as medication and any equipment needed
  • the cost of adapting your home
  • psychological damage

Will my medical negligence case go to court?

Usually, most medical negligence cases are settled before they reach a court trial. The defence team mostly makes several quick advancements and comes forward with a financial offer to settle the claim before commencing court trials. That said, it’s also essential for you and your solicitor to prepare in advance to proceed to court in case reaching an agreement becomes impossible. The preparation involves having all the medical examinations and records from a medical expert who can prove that you indeed suffered direct harm due to incompetent medical administration.

Who do I sue, the doctor, or the hospital?

All medical service providers and clinical practitioners can be held accountable once there is enough proof to show their negligence. Legal, compensatory action can and should be taken whether it’s an NHS doctor, a dentist, eye clinician, private clinic, or cosmetic surgeons. In most cases, these professionals have an insurance that covers such claims, and will, therefore, compensate you ultimately.

What about funding and costs?

Patients do not necessarily have to pay upfront to lodge their claims. Sometime back, Legal Aid funded most medical negligence cases; however, that has changed since 2013 and only supports limited cases. The most common option that claimants use to fund their claims is entering into a form of Conditional Agreement known as “No Win No Fee Agreement.” Private funding is also available, depending on your solicitor. Other types of financing include getting help from your trade union (if any), and sometimes claiming legal expenses insurance from some of your other insurance policies, such as house insurance policy.

How long do medical negligence cases take?

Several things will determine the time duration that your case of medical negligence will take to settle. The key determinants being the severity of the injuries and damages and whether the defence team responsible (the NHS or health care provider) accepts the fault. While Next Gen Solicitors aim to assist you in getting your case settled within a few months, extremely complex cases can linger for a few years to resolve.

How do I prove a case of medical negligence?

For any case to be successful and result in compensation, we, as your solicitor, must prepare and document enough evidence that you received substandard medication, which caused you direct harm, or worsened an existing condition. This process involves giving us necessary access to your medical history and records to make evaluations and analyse the medication you received.

The total amount of compensation that you can receive for clinical negligence claim mostly varies depending on the degree of illness and injuries, the costs incurred, and your future support needs. Contact our medical negligence team of solicitors to discuss your potential compensation amount.

Will a claim affect my ongoing treatment?

We rarely hear such claims from our clients. However, if you think that by lodging a claim affected the quality of medical service that you have been receiving, our team is always ready to assist. Our solicitors will discuss your rights with you, and where possible, help you to transfer your care to another hospital of your liking. It’s also common for some patients to feel uncomfortable to receive ongoing care from the same hospital where they suffered negligence.

Can you make a medical negligence claim on behalf of a child?

Any parent or guardian can make a claim for medical negligence on behalf of a child. Our expert team will discuss the formality of proceedings to ensure you make successful claim on their behalf.

We are proud to be one of the few law firms in the UK who have a recognised Court of Protection team that can deal with the court directly in many claims for children. Our team can also help parents and guardians set up personal injury trusts to manage compensations awarded to the children, thus securing their future.

A summary of steps needed to make a medical negligence claim

  • Determining Whether You Have a Claim - It’s advisable to use an expert solicitor to give you professional advice.
  • Setting Up Your Funding - If the solicitor determines that you can make a claim, the next step should be discussing the available funding methods. Most cases opt for the No Win No Fee conditional agreement.
  • Access to Your Medical Records - Once the solicitors have your funding set up, they will then access your medical records to scrutinise it and determine if mistakes did occur.
  • Gathering Evidence - The solicitors record a detailed statement from the patient and witnesses. At this stage, our solicitors will make arrangements for you to undergo a medical examination by an independent medical expert who specialises in claims of medical negligence.
  • Establishing Liability - Our team will contact the Trust or hospital responsible and confirm that we are investigating a claim on your behalf. The main objective is to make the defence team admit to fault.
  • Interim Payments - Once the defence team admits to the fault, we ask for an interim payment, a form of payment made before the case is settled to support your current needs.
  • Issuing Court Proceedings - This involves registering your claim with the court for compliance with timelines and requirements.
  • Negotiations - Both parties are encouraged to negotiate and reach a settlement even after the case is registered with the court. In most cases, our specialist team manages to reach formal agreements outside the court. However, court trials are the last resort once the case proves difficult to reach an agreement.loss of earnings
If you believe you have a claim for medical negligence, contact our specialists today to help you set up the process.