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Hospital Negligence Compensation Claims

Have you or someone you know been the victim of medical negligence whilst at hospital? Hospital negligence compensation claims can come in many different forms. In this article, we’ll be covering what could constitute hospital negligence, and how the claims process operates. Some of the medical and legal terminologies can be confusing. Our advisors are standing by to help.

Hospital negligence compensation claims guide

Hospital negligence compensation claims guide

If you have any questions, no matter how small, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch. The more we know about the circumstances surrounding your claim, then the more accurate the help we provide you with is likely to be. So, we’ll have a few questions for you to answer. Responding honestly will help us deliver you a more accurate assessment of your case and in turn whether you could be eligible for hospital negligence compensation.

If you’re deemed to have a valid claim for hospital negligence, then we could connect you with a medical negligence solicitor from our panel. They help all of their clients on a No Win No Fee basis. So, if you want to get the process started, then reach out to us today. Below, you’ll find our contact details.

Contact Details

There are a number of ways you can get in touch with our advisors.

  • Call us on 0800 652 3087
  • Use the live chat function in the bottom right corner of the screen
  • Fill out our online form to see if you could have a valid claim

Select A Section

  1. What Is Hospital Negligence?
  2. What Duty Of Care Do Hospitals Owe Patients?
  3. Types Of Hospital Negligence
  4. Pressure Sore Negligence
  5. Accident And Emergency Negligence Claims
  6. C. Difficile Claims
  7. MRSA Claims
  8. Orthopaedic Negligence Claims
  9. Misdiagnosis Of An Injury Or Illness
  10. Surgical Errors
  11. Medication Errors
  12. Who Pays Medical Negligence Compensation?
  13. Is There A Hospital Negligence Claim Time Limit?
  14. Hospital Negligence Compensation Claims Calculator
  15. No Win No Fee Hospital Negligence Compensation Claims
  16. How To Begin A Claim
  17. How Common Is Hospital Negligence?
  18. Read These Guides Next
  19. FAQs

What Is Hospital Negligence?

Hospital negligence claims tend to arise when a patient’s health is negatively affected due to the negligent actions of medical professionals that work in a hospital. This does not need to specifically be a doctor. It could be, for example, a nurse or surgeon instead. In cases of hospital negligence, the compensation amount tends to be affected by the severity of the injury, and how long it takes to recover. If the damage is permanent, these amounts tend to the higher end of the scale.

It’s important to know when hospital negligence has taken place. Very often when receiving treatment at hospital you can suffer side effects from the treatment that is provided. This is not medical negligence as some treatments cause negative effects on your health but the benefits far outweigh the reaction.

Hospital negligence is when a medical professional breaches their duty of care towards you. This is a legal duty that all doctors, nurses, surgeons etc, have towards their patients. If their carelessness or errors lead to a decline in a patient’s physical or mental wellbeing, then it could be that this duty of care has been breached.

What Duty Of Care Do Hospitals Owe Patients?

The Bolam Test

A good guideline in some situations to help define whether or not your circumstance amount to medical negligence is using what is known as the Bolam test. The Bolam test looks at whether a medical professional has acted within their professional standards. A medical professional must show that he/she acted in a way that practitioners of the same calibre would have.

In medicine, there could be more than one way to treat a patient. They could both even be equally valid methods. However, if one is selected over the other and it doesn’t go to plan, then this doesn’t necessarily mean that negligence has taken place. If enough healthcare professionals also agree that the treatment selected and administered could also have been selected by them, then it becomes less likely that a case of medical negligence would be recognised. This does not make it impossible, though.

Causation and Standards

As part of the process of making a claim, you must also be able to prove causation. This means that you need to provide evidence that your condition would not have arisen or been made worse had it not been for the negligent treatment that you received. Alternatively, it could be that you were given no treatment as your condition was misdiagnosed. If your injury or health condition would have taken place regardless of what treatment you were administered, it becomes unlikely that you could have a valid claim.

The General Medical Council (GMC) has a number of standards that should be upheld by medical professionals. To reduce the risk of hospital negligence, and compensation having to be awarded it is vital that all medical professionals adhere to their duty of care. Good medical practice includes:

  • Making their patients’ health their main priority
  • Keeping their skills and knowledge up to date
  • Acting quickly if they think their patient is in danger
  • Cultivating a good atmosphere between their colleagues and patients
  • Being open and honest, to help maintain trust in the profession

Types Of Hospital Negligence

Whether you’ve received private hospital treatment, or been treated by the NHS, negligence in a hospital can take many forms. In this section, we’ll be covering some of these forms. These are some of the more common examples, but not all instances of hospital negligence have been included. If you have any questions regarding whether your experience qualifies as negligence, then get in touch today.

Pressure Sore Negligence

Pressure sores are caused by a patient being confined to a bed or wheelchair for long periods of time. Whilst this injury is not necessarily caused by medical professionals, some patients lack the ability to adjust their own position for a variety of reasons. For example, if the patient is elderly or in a coma. In cases such as these, it is up to the surrounding healthcare professionals to reposition their patients on a basis regular enough to avoid these sores occurring. If they fail to do this, this is an example of a breach of their duty of care.

Initially, a pressure sore will appear similar to a bruise. However, as they progress they can develop into ulcers and open wounds that could mean the patient could contract a Hospital-Acquired Infection. A Hospital-Acquired Infection HAI could also be claimed if it can be shown it was caused by hospital staff being negligent as it can cause other medical conditions to develop too.

Accident And Emergency Negligence Claims

When a patient is in need of urgent medical care following an injury sustained outside of the hospital, they will often attend A&E. Negligence can also occur here if the standard of care provided is below what it should be. Quickly diagnosing the injury can be a big part of what takes place in an A&E department. The quicker the diagnosis takes place, the quicker the patient’s treatment can begin and other patients can be admitted.

However, if the diagnosis is incorrect then this could lead to a number of complications. We’ll go into more details regarding misdiagnosis claims a little later in this article.

C. Difficile Claims

Clostridium difficile (or C.diff) is a form of bacteria that can cause the bowel to become infected. One of the main symptoms is regular diarrhoea. This infection is most closely associated with patients who have been taking antibiotics. Once the infection has taken hold, it is also contagious to others nearby. Even people who have not been taking antibiotics can be infected due to proximity or contact with a patient with a C.diff infection.

Those taking various antibiotics, or have been taking them on a long term basis are some of those more at risk of developing this infection. Those over 65 and/or with certain underlying health conditions can be more seriously affected by this condition.

If their patient’s medication isn’t being monitored or reviewed, then this is just one way this infection could occur. Medication a patient is being prescribed must be reviewed so that when they no longer need it or when the negatives outweigh the positives alternatives can be looked into.

MRSA Claims

This is another strain of bacteria. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) cannot be treated with some of the more widely-used antibiotics. There can often be breakouts of infections caused by MRSA in settings such as a hospital.

MRSA lives harmlessly on the skin of around 1 in 30 people. At this level, it is often without risk. It’s only if it works its way further into the body that health complications start to arise. This can happen more often in a hospital due to the presence of wounds and burns that can give the MRSA an opportunity chance to enter the body.

Whilst there are antibiotics that can treat an MRSA infection, the medical professional must prescribe them correctly. If the infection is misdiagnosed, then it’s possible ineffective medication will be administered and the patient’s condition will become much worse as a result.

Orthopaedic Negligence Claims

These claims will often concern injuries sustained to the bones and joints. Even if the injury is not caused by a medical professional, it could be made worse by misdiagnosis or a surgical error. We’ll cover these two subjects in the next two respective sections

Misdiagnosis Of An Injury Or Illness

Injury or illnesses can be caused or made worse by misdiagnosis. This is a tricky area of hospital negligence to traverse. However, it boils down to the medical professionals having a duty to correctly identify any health conditions their patients may present. The condition could be incorrectly diagnosed, or even missed altogether. If a doctor acts within their professional standard and upholds their duty of care if a diagnosis is incorrect even if further suffering is caused this may not be medical negligence. However, if a doctor when treating a patient acts in a way another physician finds unacceptable and a diagnosis is missed this could mean medical negligence has occurred.

Surgical Errors

There are things in medicine that should never occur. They are known collectively as never events. When speaking specifically about surgery, they can be quite severe mistakes. Some examples include:

  • Wrong-site surgerywhen an operation is carried out on the wrong part of the body
  • Wrong patient surgery – when any procedure is carried out on the wrong patient
  • Amputation  – Amputation of the wrong limb

An operation not going to plan does not necessarily mean that negligence has taken place. If you’re unsure whether your surgical complications can be considered as hospital negligence, then speak to our advisors today.

Medication Errors

Medication errors could include when a doctor prescribes a medication for a patient that is not correct. For example, they could prescribe them medicine they are known to be allergic to. This could cause a severe allergic reaction for which the patient may be able to make a wrong medication negligence claim. Prescription errors can also happen when the medication is being dispensed.

A pharmacist may mix up two prescriptions and a patient be given the wrong medication. In order to make a claim for this type evidence is key. Also, you cannot claim just because you received medication that was not correct. Harm must have been caused that would not have otherwise been suffered because of negligence.

Who Pays Medical Negligence Compensation?

If you make a claim regarding compensation for hospital negligence, whoever defends the claim will depend on who treated you. For example, if you were treated in an NHS hospital, then the claim will be defended by the NHS or the local NHS trust. More accurately, the body is known as NHS Resolution. The payout would not be paid by the medical professional who you feel treated you negligently.

If your case of hospital negligence occurred in a private hospital, then your claim would be made against whoever owned the hospital itself or the actual physician.

Is There A Hospital Negligence Claim Time Limit?

General Accident Claims

The Limitation Act 1980 states that you have 3 years to start making a claim from the date that the incident that caused your injury was sustained. However, in cases such as hospital negligence, it can sometimes be difficult to know when the injury actually occurred. For example, if a prosthesis was surgically implanted in an incorrect manner, it could take days, weeks or months for the damage to become evident. The date that you are made aware of your injuries is called the date of knowledge. You must be able to prove your date of knowledge for it to be valid. One way you could do this is to present your medical records while making your claim.

Child Accident Claims

Those under 18 years old cannot make their own claims. Therefore, their 3-year time limit will only begin on their 18th birthday. Before then, it is suspended. During this time, the claim can only be pursued by an appointed adult known as a litigation friend. A litigation friend can often be a parent or guardian. However, they can also take the form of someone like a family friend or legal representative such as a solicitor.

If the claim is successful, the payout is not rewarded to the litigation friend. Instead, it is paid into a legally secured bank account. It can be accessed by the claimant as soon as they turn 18. It can be accessed by the claimant’s parents or guardian prior to this date, but only with the permission of the court.

Claiming On Behalf Of Those With A Diminished Mental Capacity

Some claimants may suffer from a mental condition that affects their decision making. If this is the case, then their time limit is suspended indefinitely. Their claim may also only be made by a litigation friend.

If the injury has caused their diminished mental capacity, then the time limit will only remain suspended until it returns to how it was. If it never does, then the 3-year time limit suspension remains in place.

Hospital Negligence Compensation Claims Calculator

Compensation for medical negligence is often made up of two main figures. They are known as general damages and special damages. We’ll discuss general damages first. This figure is awarded to the claimant to address the pain and suffering caused by their injuries. It can be calculated using a publication that is updated semi-regularly. This publication is known as the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). These guidelines are made up of an extensive list of injuries and the compensation they have been awarded in past cases. The amount awarded can depend on a few factors, including the severity of the injury and the recovery time.

Below, we’ve included some examples of potential payouts for certain injuries sustained. These figures have been taken from the latest edition of the JCG, which was last updated in 2019.

InjuryDescriptionAmount
Female Reproductive SystemInfertility that occurs due to the failure to diagnose ectopic pregnancy£31,950 to £95,850
Female Reproductive SystemFailed sterilisation procedure that results in unwanted pregnancy - no serious psychological impactIn the region of £9,570
Female Reproductive SystemA delay in diagnosing ectopic pregnancy where fertility is not affected. The award depends on the extent of pain, suffering, bleeding, mental impact etc£3,180 to £19,170
IllnessSerious but short-lived illness caused by infection - diarrhoea and vomiting that diminish over two to four weeks, some discomfort may remain£8,950 to £18,020
IllnessResulting in significant discomfort, stomach cramps, fatigue, and altered bowel function - full recovery within a year or two£3,710 to £8,950
IllnessA varying degree of severe pain and diarrhoea that continues for days/weeks£860 to £3,710
ArmComplete loss - amputation on wrong patientNot less than £128,710
SpleenAccidental removal - continuing risk of internal infection and disorders caused by damage to immune system£19,510 to £24,680
Mental anguishFear of impending death or reduced life expectancy4380
Psychiatric DamageProblems experienced, but marked improvement and a good prognosis£5,500 to £17,900
LegSimple fracture to the tibia or fibulaUp to £11,110

There’s also the matter of special damages. This figure is awarded with the aim of reimbursing the claimant for any financial loss or additional outgoings caused by their injuries. For example, their injury may have caused them to miss time at work. Because of this, they may lose wages for that period. The loss of earnings experienced can be considered eligible for part of a special damages payment. Costs of additional medical care that isn’t covered by the NHS are also possible to reclaim. This includes the price of prescriptions.

For information about what else can be reclaimed through special damages, get in touch with us today.

No Win No Fee Hospital Negligence Compensation Claims

A No Win No Fee agreement or a Conditional Fee Agreement is an arrangement made between the solicitor and the client. As the name suggests the solicitor’s fees are conditional on the case succeeding. If the case succeeds the solicitor takes a percentage of the compensation, which is capped. There are no upfront fees for the claimant to pay and no fees to the solicitor if the case fails.

All of the solicitors on our panel work with 100% of their clients in this manner.

How To Begin A Claim

Our expert advisors are standing by and ready to help you begin your claim. All you have to do is get in touch with us and we may be able to help you on your way to being awarded the compensation you deserve. Our advice and guidance are free of charge, so let’s get started today.

There are a number of ways you can get in touch with our advisors.

  • Call us on 0800 652 3087
  • Use the live chat function in the bottom right corner of the screen
  • Fill out our online form to see if you could have a valid claim

How Common Is Hospital Negligence?

In 2018/2019 alone, there were over 10,500 claims made against the NHS for medical negligence. While these stats are not necessarily limited to claims made due to negligence specifically in a hospital, it does give an idea of how often claims are made.

Below, we have also included a graph to demonstrate how common these claims are in various areas of medicine.

hospital-negligence-graph

Read These Guides Next

In this section, we’ve included some helpful links to additional material you may find helpful.

  1. How to claim for retained placenta following birth.
  2. What to do if a doctor has missed your hip fracture.
  3. How much could you be awarded for a stroke misdiagnosis.
  4. More statistics from the NHS regarding claims made against them.
  5. NHS never events framework.
  6. What is a litigation friend?

FAQs

We have taken the time to answer some of the more frequent questions that we’re asked about hospital negligence.

Could I claim for the death of another person?

Yes, it is possible to make a claim for the death of someone else if they died because of negligence. It is called a fatal death claim.  Call today for more information on this topic.

Could I claim for an injured child?

An adult can be appointed as a litigation friend and make a claim on behalf of an injured child.

Guide by Daniel

Edited by LisM.