How Long Does a Medical Negligence Claim Take?

By Cat Way Last Updated 25th October 2023. Welcome to our guide, which answers the question, “how long does a medical negligence case take?” Medical or clinical negligence is quite a complex subject. Combining both the world of medicine and the world of law is no walk in the park. Both subject matters are considered highly multidimensional. How Long Does A Claim Take

The definition of medical negligence varies depending on where you gather information from. Still, largely it is the term given when a patient receives inadequate treatment from a medical professional that has in some way caused them to suffer further ill health as a consequence.

Every day, people put their trust in healthcare providers as they feel that such people know best. By and large, this is true, as healthcare professionals are there to provide a health surface, and without such a service, people’s health would not be what it is today. It’s said that the number of medical negligence cases being pursued by patients who feel the health service has let them down is on the rise, and some even go further to say that the health service is not in a good place. Keep this in mind as you ask, “how long does a medical negligence case take?”

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How Long Does A Compensation Claim Take?

Gavel, sound block and time image (how long does a medical negligence case take)You may be wondering, ‘how long does a compensation claim take?’. It would be difficult to give an exact timeframe for how long the medical negligence claim process can take. Every case is unique and is influenced by a number of factors that can impact the length of the process.

For example, if you have plenty of evidence that clearly shows a medical professional has acted negligently and you have suffered a medical injury as a result, your claim may be settled faster.

However, by working with medical negligence solicitors, you may find that your claim has the potential to be settled quicker. That’s because they can gather evidence for you and communicate with the defendant to reach a settlement before your claim is taken to court.

If you would like to work with an expert solicitor from our panel, get in touch for a free consultation. Our legal team has helped many clients successfully settle their claims for medical negligence and can use their experience to help settle yours as quickly as possible.

When Could I Make A Claim For Medical Negligence Compensation?

Now that you know more about how long a medical negligence claim can take, you might be wondering what makes a claim valid. In order to have good grounds to make a claim, you first have to establish that you were owed a duty of care, and that this duty was breached, leading to you suffering avoidable harm.

Every medical professional owes their patients a duty of care, meaning that the treatment they provide has to meet a minimum standard. However, a breach in their duty of care alone is not enough to start a claim. You must also be able to prove that this breach caused you avoidable or unnecessary harm. 

Sometimes, harm in medical treatment is unavoidable. For example, being on a waiting list may delay your diagnosis, or you may experience negative side effects from a needed treatment. In these cases, you are unlikely to be able to claim medical negligence compensation because the harm was a necessary part of your treatment or was completely unavoidable.

So in summary, you may be eligible to make a medical negligence claim if you can prove that:

  • You were owed a duty of care
  • This duty was breached
  • You suffered avoidable harm as a result

Our team of advisors are on hand to help you identify whether you are eligible for medical negligence compensation. When you get in touch, they can offer a free consultation, during which they can evaluate your claim and answer any questions you might have, such as “how long does a medical negligence claim take?”

Medical Negligence Cases – Examples

You might be interested in knowing the clinical negligence definition. Medical negligence occurs when a medical professional provides substandard care to a patient, and the patient suffers an injury or an existing condition is made worse as a result.

Medical negligence cases may include:

  • A medical professional may fail to diagnose you or could misdiagnose you
  • Your condition may be diagnosed too late, causing your treatment to be delayed
  • You might be prescribed the wrong medication or the wrong dosage
  • Surgical procedures may be carried out incorrectly

Continue reading, and we’ll answer questions, such as, ‘how long does a medical negligence claim take?’.

The Time Limit For Medical Negligence Claims

As discussed above, there is no set timeframe between starting a successful claim and receiving a settlement. However, there is a timeframe for when you must begin legal proceedings should you wish to make a claim.

For medical negligence claims, this is typically three years as set by the Limitation Act 1980. This could be three years from the date that you suffered unnecessary harm, or three years from the date that your unnecessary suffering was connected to negligence. This is known as the date of knowledge.

In certain circumstances, a harmed party cannot start legal proceedings for themselves. In these medical negligence cases, the time limit is suspended. However, a litigation friend can be appointed to begin proceedings on the harmed party’s behalf at any point during the suspension.

Parties that cannot start medical negligence claims examples:

  • In these cases, the time limit is suspended until their 18th birthday. From that date, they will have three years to start a claim unless one has been started on their behalf.
  • Those who lack the mental capacity for legal proceedings. An indefinite suspension to the time limit applies. However, if the harmed party regains their capacity, they have three years from that date to begin proceedings if they have not already been started on their behalf.

Call our advisors if you have any questions about time limits or the role of a litigation friend. The advice they give is free.

Examples Of Medical Negligence Payouts

Following a successful medical injury claim, the harm you have suffered due to medical negligence could be compensated with general damages.

Below we have provided some examples of medical negligence payouts following a successful claim. We have used the figures listed in the 16th edition of the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) when creating this table. The JCG is a document used by many legal professionals when valuing claims, as it lists compensation brackets for various injuries at different severity levels.

The specific factors of your claim could affect how much compensation you are awarded. So, please only use this table as a guide.

Type of HarmNotesAmount
Female Reproductive SystemA disease or injury that has resulted in infertility. The higher end of this bracket is applicable to cases with severe medical complications, such as failing to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy.£114,900 to £170,280
Male Reproductive SystemA complete loss of the male reproductive organs.In excess of £153,870
Male Reproductive SystemSterility, with a loss of sexual function and total impotence for a young person. Factors such as the person's age and any hormonal affects will impact how much is awarded.£114,900 to £148,320
BowelsDepending on their age, the person may depend on a colostomy due to the total loss of the bowels natural function.Up to £150,110
Total Deafness and Loss of SpeechDeafness has occurred at an early age and have affected the speech's normal development, potentially due to a rubella infection.£109,650 to £140,660
Lung DiseaseLung cancer, usually in an older person, that affects the person's quality of life and impairs the lungs function.£70,030 to £97,330
Lung DiseaseImpaired breathing and lung function due to a disease such as emphysema.£54,830 to £70,030
Digestive System(b)(i) The person will be admitted to hospital for a few weeks due to severe toxicosis that will cause vomiting and diarrhoea.£38,430 to £52,500
KidneyOne kidney is lost with the other suffering no harm.£30,770 to £44,880
SpleenThe spleen is lost and there is a risk of internal infections due to the immune system being damaged.£20,800 to £26,290

Special damages aim to compensate you for any of the financial losses you have suffered due to the harm caused by medical negligence and may be included in your medical negligence payout. Some examples of financial losses special damages could compensate you for include:

  • Loss of earnings if you’ve had to take time off work.
  • Travel costs to medical appointments, such as taxis or buses.
  • Any medical costs you’ve had to pay to treat your injury.

You should provide financial evidence of these losses to help support your claim. Evidence could include payslips, receipts and bank statements.

Do not hesitate to contact one of our advisors today if you have any questions concerning your potential medical negligence claim.

More Information on Medical Negligence

Thank you for reading our guide that answers the question, “how long does a medical negligence case take?” But please get in touch if you require further legal advice.