In this guide, we discuss how to complain about medical negligence. This can arise if a medical professional has breached the duty of care they owed you, and caused you avoidable harm. If this happened, you may want to complain, for example, if you have been given the wrong medication, experienced unnecessary surgery, or encountered another medical mistake. This guide will outline the different bodies and complaints procedures available depending on your specific circumstances.
Furthermore, we will look at when you could make a medical negligence claim if you have suffered avoidable harm due to the breach of a medical professional’s duty of care. This includes the eligibility criteria to claim compensation and the time limits you must comply with. This guide will also provide examples of how you might suffer harm, the impact this could have, and illustrate what could be included in a successful medical negligence claim settlement.
Finally, we will examine why you should consider appointing a No Win No Fee solicitor, provided you have a valid medical negligence claim and want expert advice.
If you have any questions after or whilst reading our guide, please contact an advisor. To do so, you can:
- Call us on 0800 652 3087
- Complete our form to claim online
- Speak with us using the live chat feature on our website
Jump To A Section
- How To Complain About Medical Negligence
- Can You Take Legal Action After Complaining About Medical Negligence?
- What Types Of Medical Negligence Could You Claim For?
- What Could You Claim For Negligent Medical Care?
- Check If You Could Claim For Medical Negligence On A No Win No Fee Basis
- Further Guidance On How To Complain About Medical Negligence
You may be unsure of how to complain about medical negligence. Different approaches will be required based on who provided you with care services. The complaints procedure could vary further, depending on the field of medicine the healthcare professional, that provided you with medical attention, specialises in. For example, if you received poor care from a doctor, you will complain to a different body compared to if you received poor care from a pharmacist.
Some of the bodies that you could complain to include:
- General Medical Council (GMC) – An independent regulator of doctors in the UK.
- Care Quality Commission (CQC) – An independent regulator of health and social care in England.
- General Pharmaceutical Council (GPC) – The GPC independently regulates pharmacies, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacists in Great Britain.
- NHS Resolution – An arms-length body of the Department of Health and Social Care, fairly resolving complaints about the NHS.
- The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) – These make the final decisions on complaints that NHS England, UK government departments, and other public organisations have not resolved.
How We Could Help You Make A Medical Negligence Complaint And Claim Compensation
If you’re still unsure of how to complain about medical negligence, contact our team of advisors now. They could assist you with your complaint and help you understand the procedure you may need to follow.
Additionally, our team can advise whether you’re eligible to make a medical negligence claim. Providing you have a valid case, they could pass you over to a solicitor from our panel who could assist you further.
To make a medical negligence claim, you must be able to satisfy the eligibility criteria by showing that:
- A duty of care was owed to you.
- A breach of this duty occurred.
- Due to this breach of duty, you experienced harm that was unnecessary, or that could have been otherwise avoided.
Medical professionals must provide their patients with the correct standard of care as part of their duty. If you have evidence that they provided you with care that fell below this standard, and you experienced harm that could have otherwise been avoided as a result, you can contact an advisor to learn about the next steps you could potentially take.
Medical Negligence Claim Time Limits
In addition to meeting the eligibility criteria above, you must adhere to the time limits for medical negligence claims in the Limitation Act 1980. Generally, you have three years to begin your claim from when the medical negligence occurred. In other instances, the time limit will start from the date of knowledge. This is when you discovered, or would have been expected to know, that you experienced avoidable harm due to a medical professional treating you with substandard care.
There are exceptions to the time limit, such as if someone under 18 suffers harm due to medical negligence. Here, the time limit is paused and the courts could appoint a litigation friend to act for the minor. Alternatively, the claimant could wait for their 18th birthday to act for themselves, and the time limit would start from this date.
Contact one of our advisors today to learn more about the time limits and other exceptions that could apply. You can also learn more about how to complain about medical negligence, as well as if you have a valid medical negligence claim. If eligible, an advisor could pass you over to a solicitor from our panel to assist you.
Medical negligence arises when a medical professional breaches the duty of care owed to their patients, causing them unnecessary or avoidable harm. Below we have provided some examples of how this could occur.
- A doctor could misdiagnose cancer if they fail to correctly listen to all your symptoms. This can mean you’re given the wrong treatment, including being prescribed the wrong medication. Additionally, it can mean your condition worsens and the cancer spreads to other organs.
- A radiologist could misread your X-ray scan and miss that your arm is broken. This means you suffer from complications due to a delay in your broken arm surgery.
- A plastic surgeon could have made a mistake during your facelift surgery. This results in a nerve injury and scarring.
The above are only a few examples of how you could suffer harm. Also, not all incidents of harm sustained in a medical setting will mean you have grounds to claim. Contact our team of advisors today to discuss your case, find out how to complain about medical negligence as well as how to claim compensation.
Two heads of claim can make up settlements of successful medical negligence claims. The first is called general damages, compensating you for the pain and suffering you’ve experienced due to medical negligence. The amount you’re awarded will be based upon several factors, including:
- The severity of the harm you suffered
- How long it takes you to recover
- The impact the harm has on your quality of life
A legal professional could help assign a value to this portion of your claim using the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). This document provides guideline compensation brackets for different types of harm based on amounts awarded in previous court cases. A legal professional could also request your medical report to use alongside the JCG figures when valuing the harm you sustained.
Below is a table of guideline amounts for different types of harm taken from the JCG. Due to the unique nature of each case, you should only use these figures as a guide, rather than guaranteed amounts.
|£96,160 to £130,930
|Severe injuries falling short of an amputation.
|Female Reproductive System
|£43,010 to £102,100
|Sexual dysfunction of a permanent nature in a person who has children or a person who wouldn't have had children. Cases where there are significant medical complications, e.g. an ectopic pregnancy, are also included.
|£169,400 to £210,400
|Both kidneys are lost completely or suffer serious and permanent damage.
|Up to £140,660
|Function and control are completely lost.
|£12,590 to £24,480
|Penetrating injuries resulting in some permanent damage. However, there is an eventual return to natural function and control.
|£20,800 to £26,290
|Cases where the spleen has been lost and there is an ongoing risk of internal infection and other disorders due to a damaged immune system.
|Digestive System - Illness From A Non-Traumatic Injury (i)
|£38,430 to £52,500
|Severe toxicosis resulting in acute and serious pain, diarrhoea, vomiting, and fever where the person requires admission to hospital.
Claiming For Financial Losses
The second head of claim that could form part of your settlement is special damages. Special Damages help recover any reasonable losses you incur due to medical negligence, both in the past and future. To ensure you recover all the compensation you’re entitled to regarding your losses, you should keep evidence of them.
- Payslips could outline your loss of earnings due to being unable to work
- Receipts may show the medical expenses you’ve had to pay to recover
- Bus tickets could prove you took public transport due to being unable to drive
As part of their service, a solicitor from our panel could help gather evidence to support your medical negligence claim if eligible. Contact our team of advisors today to find out more about how a solicitor could assist you.
When claiming compensation due to medical negligence, you may want legal representation to ensure your case runs smoothly. If so, you may find it helpful to consider instructing a solicitor under the terms of a Conditional Fee Agreement. This is a particular kind of No Win No Fee agreement which comes with the following benefits:
- You wouldn’t have any fees to pay upfront for your solicitor to begin working on your case.
- No fees for the solicitor’s services would be necessary whilst the case is in progress.
- Unsuccessful claims would require no payment for the services you are provided by your solicitor.
- If your claim is won, the solicitor will take a success fee, which is only a small portion of the compensation you’re awarded. It is deducted as a percentage, which is legally capped.
Our panel of solicitors offer their services under a Conditional Fee Agreement and have years of experience handling medical negligence claims. To find out if you can instruct a solicitor from our panel, contact our team of advisors today by:
- Calling us on 0800 652 3087
- Enquiring about your claim online
- Speaking with an advisor using the live chat feature on our website
For more of our helpful guides, please look below:
- A guide on how to claim for negligence in a nursing home.
- Learn about midwife medical negligence and how to claim if this has affected you.
- Find out about when you could claim for surgical negligence.
You can also find some external resources here:
We hope this guide has answered your questions on how to complain about medical negligence, and whether you could claim compensation. For further guidance, call an advisor using the number above.
Guide by Will
Edited by Meg