A Guide To The Medical Negligence Claim Process

If you have been harmed because a medical professional was negligent, you may be looking to make a medical negligence claim. However, if you have never made a compensation claim before, the thought of getting the medical negligence claim process started may seem daunting. 

We have created this guide to help people who have never made a medical negligence compensation claim before. Firstly, we will break down the medical negligence claims process, including who is eligible, what proof you need to gather, and how professional legal help could benefit you. 

Then, we explain The Pre-Action Protocol for Clinical Disputes. The Pre-Action Protocol is a set of steps during the claims process that should be done to try and resolve the dispute before the claim needs to go to court.

We also discuss how No Win No Fee agreements work towards the end of this guide. A No Win No Fee arrangement is a way to fund a solicitor. One of our specialist medical negligence solicitors could offer their representation under a No Win No Fee agreement if you have an eligible medical negligence claim for them to take on.

If you have any questions about the claims process for medical negligence cases, speak to one of our advisors. A member of our advisory team can confirm whether you have an eligible claim. It is free and easy to chat with an advisor:

  • Call 0800 652 3087 for advice about No Win No Fee medical negligence claims. 
  • Enter details about your possible claim online
  • Send a message in our live support chat. 

'Medical Negligence' written on a piece of paper on a document folder with a gavel on it.

Jump To A Section

  1. What Is The Medical Negligence Claim Process?
  2. What Is The Pre-Action Protocol For Clinical Disputes?
  3. Does A Claim For Medical Negligence Need To Go To Court?
  4. Could A No Win No Fee Solicitor Help Me With The Medical Negligence Claim Process?
  5. Learn More About Claiming For Medical Negligence

What Is The Medical Negligence Claim Process?*

These are the first steps of the medical negligence claims process:

Find Out Whether You Are Eligible To Claim Compensation

You will not be able to start the medical negligence claim process if you are not eligible to claim compensation. 

All medical professionals owe their patients a duty of care to always deliver the correct standard of care. This duty becomes breached when the standard of care that they provide falls below the minimum. 

Medical negligence is when a patient suffers avoidable harm (harm that could have been avoided) because a medical professional who was treating them breached their duty of care. 

So, if you can prove the criteria below, you may very well be eligible to claim compensation:

  1. A medical professional owed you a duty of care. For example, your GP. 
  2. A medical professional breached their duty of care. For example, your GP failed to check your medical records and, therefore, prescribed you medication that you were allergic to
  3. As a direct result of this breach, you suffered avoidable harm.

The quickest way to find out whether you have an eligible medical negligence claim is to speak with a member of our friendly team. 

Prove Medical Negligence

It is very hard to claim compensation without having any proof of medical negligence to back your case. 

Here are some types of evidence that can prove that medical negligence has happened to you and establish liability for the avoidable harm you suffered:

  • Medical evidence such as copies of your medical records
  • Contact details of any witnesses. For example, if a family member attended your medical appointments and saw how your doctor gave you substandard care
  • A diary where you have noted your symptoms of harm and what treatment you have needed.
  • Photographs if there are any visible effects of the avoidable harm you are suffering. 
  • Hospital letter, otherwise known as a ‘Duty of Candour’ Letter. Sometimes, the healthcare facility where you suffered medical negligence will send a letter to you confirming what happened and the error that they made.  

One of the many benefits of having a solicitor represent you is that they can be tasked with the gathering of this evidence so that you can concentrate on your recovery. Gathering evidence is part of the services that a solicitor will provide. 

Decide Whether You Should Seek Legal Advice

Once it’s confirmed that you have an eligible medical negligence compensation claim, you should decide whether you want professional legal representation. 

While you do not have to have a solicitor work with you, we recommend that you have one. This is because the claims process can be extremely tricky to navigate on your own. 

As well as gathering evidence, here is what else one of our solicitors can do on your behalf:

  • Send legal documents and correspondence to the defendant. 
  • Make sure that your claim is filed on time. 
  • Explain legal jargon. 
  • Give you updates throughout the process.
  • Make sure that your compensation is accurately valued. 
  • Navigate through the Pre-Action Protocol 
  • Instruct an independent medical expert (if necessary).

If you would like legal representation from one of our No Win No Fee solicitors to help you throughout the medical negligence claim process, please get in touch with us. 

A medical professional with his hands over his head.

What Is The Pre-Action Protocol For Clinical Disputes?

This section covers the steps that make up the Pre-Action Protocol for the Resolution of Clinical Disputes

Obtain Your Health Records

Since medical negligence claims need to show how avoidable harm was suffered due to substandard care, you should obtain copies of your medical records. Your medical records can show what steps a medical professional failed to take that ultimately caused avoidable harm.

Your medical records can also show how either an existing condition has gotten worse, or a new condition has developed as a result of receiving a poor standard of care. 

Once you request copies of your medical records, you should receive them within 40 days of your request. 


As early as possible, both parties should decide whether you (the claimant) require any rehabilitation treatment due to suffering medical negligence. 

Letter Of Notification

A Letter of Notification is sent to the defendant to let them know that a Letter of Claim is likely going to be sent because you are considering taking legal action. The Letter of Notification should highlight that a breach of duty of care has been identified.

The defendant has 14 days to respond to the Letter of Notification. In this response, they should acknowledge that the Letter of Notification has been received, detail who the Letter of Claim should be sent to, and consider whether they are going to commence any investigations. 

Letter Of Claim

A Letter Of Claim is sent to the defendant and provides a clear and detailed summary of the basis on which a medical negligence claim is being made. The Letter of Claim should detail what avoidable harm has been suffered (with reference to medical records and financial losses). 

Letter Of Response

Likewise, the defendant has 14 days to acknowledge that the Letter of Claim has been received.

The defendant should send a Letter of Response within 4 months of receiving the Letter of Claim. Within the Letter of Response, the defendant should detail whether any liability is being admitted or not. 

If liability is not admitted, the defendant should highlight what parts of the allegations of negligence that they disagree with. If liability is admitted, the defendant can make a compensation offer to settle the claim at this stage. 


Both parties may need expert opinions to evaluate the claimant’s harm. Both parties should also consider whether any medical records obtained at the start of the medical negligence claim process need to be shared. 

In some cases, the Bolam Test may also be conducted. This is where independent medical experts give their opinion on whether the care you received met the correct standard. 

Alternative Dispute Resolution

This is the final part of the Pre-Action Protocol to try to prevent the claim from going to court proceedings. Alternative Dispute Resolution is where both parties try to come to an agreement to resolve the dispute. This can include arbitration by a third party or negotiation.

If there is still no resolution after this stage, then the medical negligence claim will need to go to court. 

Does A Claim For Medical Negligence Need To Go To Court?

80% of NHS medical negligence claims are resolved without the need to have the case heard in court. This is because, typically, both parties find a resolution by at least the end of the Pre-Action Protocol Stages. 

A medical negligence claim will only go to court if there is no resolution in the pre-litigation stages. This may be the case for particularly complex claims or where there is total disagreement between both parties. 

If your medical negligence case does end up needing to be heard in a court of law, then your solicitor can appoint a barrister to represent you. This is just another benefit of our solicitors’ services. 

Could A No Win No Fee Solicitor Help Me With The Medical Negligence Claim Process?

Yes, a No Win No Fee solicitor of ours could help you with the medical negligence claim process if you have an eligible case. Our solicitors usually offer their claimants a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) in particular. 

Why would you want to be offered a CFA while starting a medical negligence claim? Because, for your solicitor’s services, you will not need to pay unless your case is successful. So, there are no upfront or ongoing fees or fees if your claim does not win. 

What happens if your claim is successful? Your solicitor can take a legally capped percentage of your compensation. This legal cap is set at 25%.

Get In Touch With Us Today

Get in touch with us today if you have been affected by medical negligence. If our knowledgeable advisors connect you with one of our solicitors, they will be able to give you free legal advice and begin the medical negligence claim process with you. It is completely free to speak to our advisors, and there is no obligation, so you have the freedom to choose what path is right for you. 

To discuss No Win No Fee medical negligence claims:

A stethoscope on a table with a gavel blurred in the background to represent the medical negligence claim process.

Learn More About Claiming For Medical Negligence 

Here are some of our other guides on medical negligence:

And here are some other pages which might give you useful information: 

  • General Medical Council (GMC) – what good medical practice doctors are expected to deliver.
  • Royal College of Nursing (RCN) – information on a nurse’s duty of care and what standard of care they should deliver.

Thank you for reading our guide today on the medical negligence claim process. Don’t have any questions unanswered. Our advisors can answer any of your queries today.