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10 Things You Need To Know Before Making A Medical Negligence Claim

Medical negligence compensation claims

Medical negligence compensation claims

If you’ve suffered in any way following negligence by a medical professional, you might be considering making a compensation claim. Doing so can be quite a daunting process and often complex too. So, in this guide, we’re going to look at what you need to know about medical negligence and how the medical negligence claims process works. We’ll look at how you can choose a solicitor, the types of negligence that could lead to a claim and what amount of compensation you might be entitled to.

Medical Negligence Assist could help you begin your claim. We offer a no-obligation assessment of your claim as well as free legal advice. Should your claim be strong enough, we could introduce you to a medical negligence lawyer from our panel. If they agree to help you, they’ll work on a No Win, No Fee basis. If you’d like to begin a medical negligence claim right away, please call a member of our team on 0800 652 3087.

Alternatively, to read about all the things you need to know about medical negligence claims, please continue reading.

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A Guide On What You Need To Know About Medical Negligence Claims

In this guide, we’re going to provide information about when and how you can make a medical or clinical negligence claim. If you suspect that you’ve suffered because a medical professional has made an avoidable mistake while treating you, then the information within this guide should help you decide whether you’ve got a valid claim or not.

When you visit a doctor’s surgery, a hospital, a dentist or even a cosmetic surgery practice, you need to put your faith in the medical professional who’s going to treat you. After all, they’ve probably been through years of training to gain their professional qualification. In a large number of cases, that faith is warranted, and patients receive good quality treatment which results in a positive outcome. However, if mistakes do happen they could lead to serious and sometimes life-changing injuries.

At Medical Negligence Assist, we believe that you’re well within your rights to claim for any suffering caused by medical negligence. That’s why we provide free legal advice about the process and have a panel of specialist medical negligence solicitors to help you on a No Win, No Fee basis.

Over the course of this guide, we’ll let you know what you need to know about medical negligence claims and when you could claim compensation. We’ll also try to answer some common questions like:

  • What is classed as medical negligence?
  • How long does a medical negligence claim take?
  • How much compensation do you get for medical neglect?

Please let us know if there is any more information you require after you’ve finished reading this guide. Our team of specialist advisors will strive to answer any questions you may have and to help you begin a claim.

10 Things You Should Know Before Making A Medical Negligence Claim

Over the next 10 sections of this guide, we’re going to answer as many of your questions related to medical negligence claims as possible. If there’s anything else you need to know, please give us a call.

What Is Clinical Or Medical Negligence As Defined In Law?

To prove that you’ve been the victim of medical negligence and to begin a medical negligence compensation claim you’ll need to show that:

  • You were owed a duty of care. If you’re being treated by a medical professional, this will be the case.
  • That the level of care was below what could be reasonably expected of a competent professional in the same situation. This is known as breach of duty.
  • And that the breach of duty caused pain, suffering, injury, loss or damage. This is known as causation.

Proving that all the above are true can be a complex and difficult task which is one of the main reasons we advise you to have a medical negligence specialist on your side. Their experience in similar claims could help ensure your case is won and that you receive the correct level of compensation.

How Long Do You Have To Claim For Clinical Or Medical Negligence?

When you make a medical negligence claim, you’ll need to do so within the relevant time limit. In England and Wales, the medical negligence claims time limit is generally 3-years from the date of the negligence. However, the time limit might not begin until any injuries caused by medical negligence were diagnosed or you became aware of the avoidable injuries.

There are some exceptions to the 3-year rule though. One is if you’re claiming for child medical negligence. In this case, you can make a claim at any point before they turn 18-years old. If you don’t then they have 3-years to make their only claim after they become an adult.

Another exception is where the patient doesn’t have the mental capacity to make a claim. In this case, somebody could claim on their behalf while they’re injured, or they would have 3-years to make a claim after they’ve recovered.

We can help with the process of making a claim on behalf of somebody else. Please discuss how this works when you call our advisors.

How Long Medical Negligence Claims May Take

The time it takes to make a medical negligence claim varies from case to case. Factors that will determine how long it will take include the nature of the injury, the complexity of the complaint, whether the defendant admits liability as well as causation.

In general, claims can take between 18-months to 3-years but can sometimes be longer for more complex cases. This could be the case for birth injuries where the true extent of the child’s injuries might not be known for many years.

When you discuss your claim with a solicitor from our panel, they’ll be able to advise you if they’ve dealt with similar claims and how long they predict it will take for the claim to be completed.

Who Could I Make A Medical Negligence Claim Against?

Medical negligence claims can include any medical professional who’s provided substandard care. The list includes doctors, nurses, midwives, surgeons, anaesthetists, paediatricians, dentists and opticians.

It’s possible to bring a claim against organisations such as hospitals, NHS Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

Finally, it’s worth pointing out that you could claim for negligence by private medical professionals as well as for NHS negligence. You won’t need to worry about the legal complexities of making different types of claims as our panel of solicitors will handle that for you.

Will I Need Evidence To Support My Claim?

As with any type of compensation claim, you will require evidence to prove what happened, who was to blame and your level of suffering. Without evidence, it’s very unlikely that your claim will proceed.

To prove these things, you could use evidence like:

  • Medical records can show what injuries you sustained, the treatment you received and your prognosis.
  • Expert medical witnesses who can explain if any long-term problems could occur as a result of your injuries.
  • Copies of communication between you and the defendant to show what was said and by whom.
  • Witness statements from anybody who was with you when advice was given by the defendant.

Gathering this type of evidence can be quite a complex procedure. Our panel of solicitors specialises in medical negligence claims and evidence gathering. They’ll help to collect and collate any evidence required to support your claim.

Evidence gathering can be a timely business which is another reason you should try and begin your claim as soon as possible.

How A Solicitor Could Help You Find Further Evidence

The first step your solicitor will do is contact your GP or the medical facility where you were treated. They will ask for copies of all of your medical records relating to your treatment. These records will be reviewed and used to try and determine what went wrong. Our panel of solicitors will use medical specialists to assist with this process and to check whether mistakes were made during your diagnosis, treatment or when the medication was prescribed.

If you are required to gather further evidence yourself, your solicitor can help by instructing you where to obtain it from or by providing documents that you’ll need to sign.

You Will Need Medical Evidence And Medical Witnesses

Solicitors are very good at understanding legislation and processes required when making medical negligence claims. They are not medical experts however, that’s why, in most cases, expert medical witnesses are used. Their evidence can be used to explain how the defendant was negligent, what should’ve been done differently and how their actions led to the claimant’s injuries. Our panel of solicitors have decades of experience in making claims and know what evidence is, and isn’t, required to support your claim.

Remember, without the right level of medical evidence, you might not receive the correct level of compensation. Your case might even be unsuccessful if your solicitor can’t demonstrate how you suffered or who was to blame. This is one of the main reasons we advise you to seek specialist medical negligence support as soon as possible.

Most Claims Do Not Go To Court

In our experience, a lot of medical negligence claims don’t ever end up in court. Your solicitor will prepare a case, present it to the defendant and then wait for their response. It’s possible that if they accept liability, they might argue about the level of causation for your injuries. If that’s the case, it’s quite possible that your solicitor and the defendant’s legal team will be able to come to an amicable agreement without the need for a court hearing.

This process might go on for some months with either side asking for clarifications, more information or further evidence to support the claim. This might seem frustrating but in doing so, your solicitor will be trying to ensure that the defendant understands how you’ve suffered so that you receive the correct level of compensation for your injuries.

If you use a solicitor, your solicitor will deal with the defendant’s legal team so that you won’t need to talk to them directly.

You should be aware though that if an agreement can’t be reached, the case would need to be decided by the courts.

How Do I Find A Solicitor For My Claim?

As there are many different types of medical negligence, it’s important to find a solicitor who has experience in cases similar to your own. Therefore, you could ask any potential solicitor if they’ve represented clients with similar claims to yours. If you use Medical Negligence Assist to begin your claim, you’ll be connected with one of our panel of specialist solicitor’s who’ll happily answer any questions you might have.

Other methods of choosing a solicitor include reading online reviews or asking friends or colleagues for recommendations. Remember though, the best way of choosing, in our opinion, is to speak with the solicitor directly. You’re going to need to work with them over a number of months or years so it’s important that you feel you can get along with them from the start.

In some cases, you might have to discuss personal problems that have been caused by your injuries, so it’s worth taking the time at the start of the claims process to make sure you are comfortable with the solicitor before agreeing to work with them.

How To Fund A Medical Negligence Claim

When claiming for medical negligence, one of the biggest concerns is the cost of hiring a solicitor. Our panel of solicitors aims to give you the confidence to pursue justice by working on a No Win, No Fee service to reduce the financial risks.

They start by reviewing the case with you to see if could be successful. If they believe it is viable, they’ll give you a No Win, No Fee agreement to sign. Another name for the contract is a Conditional Fee Agreement or CFA.

When you read the CFA, you’ll see that:

  • You don’t pay any upfront fees.
  • There are no fees to be paid during the claim.
  • You won’t have to pay the solicitor’s fees if they fail to win the case.

When a claim is won, the solicitor will ask for a contribution to their costs. This is known as a success fee which is a percentage of your compensation that’s deducted when it’s paid. The exact percentage will be listed within the CFA but don’t worry too much as they’re legally capped.

To find out if we could help you claim on a No Win, No Fee basis, please speak with an advisor today.

How To Make A Claim

If you’re ready to begin a claim, the simplest thing to do is call a member of our team. You’ll find our contact details at the end of this guide.

Compensation Calculator – What Could I Claim For Medical Negligence?

Now that you’ve read the 10 things you need to know about medical negligence claims, let us look at compensation. Instead of using a personal injuries compensation calculator, or medical negligence calculator, we’ve included the table below.

Type Of InjuryCompensation RangeFurther Information
Kidney£28,880 to £42,110Where an injury results in the loss of a single kidney.
BowelsUp to £140,870Where negligence results in the loss of function and dependence on colostomy. Amounts paid will depend on the claimant's age.
Bladder£60,050 to £75,010Where mistake causes serious impairment of control with some pain and incontinence.
Spleen£19,510 to £24,680Mistakes that cause the loss of a spleen and there's a continuing risk of internal infection.

As you’ll see from the table, each injury is compensated based on its severity. Therefore, it’s vital that your medical negligence solicitor can demonstrate what injuries you suffered and how they affected you. The figures in the table are known as general damages which are designed to compensate you for pain, suffering and loss of amenity caused by your injuries. This is just a small sample of the types of injury that could be claimed for in a medical negligence claim. Our advisors could provide an opinion of what your claim might be worth once they’ve reviewed your case.

As well as general damages, your solicitor can also claim for special damages. This is compensation used to reimburse you for financial losses caused by your injuries. Special damages that you could claim include:

  • Travelling Expenses.
    While recovering, you might need to visit a doctor, hospital or pharmacist on multiple occasions. If that’s the case, you could claim for fuel, parking and other travelling costs.
  • Medical Costs.
    While you’ll usually receive free remedial treatment from the NHS, you might incur costs for prescriptions and other medicines. Therefore, these costs could be claimed back too.
  • Care Costs.
    If you require support while recovering, then the cost of a carer could be claimed back.
  • Home Adaptations.
    If your injuries leave you with some form of disability, it might be possible to claim compensation for any modifications to your home that are required.
  • Lost Income.
    Should you need time off work to recover, you could claim for any lost earnings. Also, if the injury is long-term, you might be able to claim for future lost earnings as well.

Receipts, bank statements and wage slips could all be used as evidence when making a special damages claim.

Contact Us To Start Your Claim

Hopefully, this guide has explained everything you need to know about medical negligence claims. If that’s the case, and you’re ready to begin a claim, here are the ways in which you can contact us:

  • You can call a specialist advisor on 0800 652 3087 for free legal advice.
  • If you prefer, you can use our live chat feature to connect with an online advisor.
  • Or, you could request a call back at a convenient time by completing our online claims form.

When you get in touch, a member of our team will go through your claim with you. They’ll review what happened, how you suffered and what evidence is available to support the claim. If they believe the claim has merit, they could introduce you to a medical negligence solicitor from our panel. Any claim they take on will be on No Win, No Fee basis.

We understand that you might find it difficult talking to a stranger about some types of medical negligence claims. Our advisors are specially trained and will work at a pace that suits you. They won’t put any pressure on you to make a claim and they’ll happily answer any questions you might have along the way.

Recommended Links

Thanks for taking the time to read this guide. We hope it’s explained what you need to know about medical negligence claims. To provide further assistance, we’ve linked to some more of our guides below. We’ve also included some relevant external resources as well.

NHS Complaints Process – Information from the NHS on how to make a complaint and what to do if you’re not happy with the response.

Citizens Advice – More information on making medical negligence claims from Citizens Advice.

Misdiagnosis Claims – A guide that explains when you could claim compensation because you’ve suffered due to a misdiagnosis.

Birth Injury Claims – Advice on the types of avoidable injury during childbirth that could lead to a claim.

Hospital Negligence Claims – This guide provides advice on the types of hospital negligence that could entitle you to begin a compensation claim.

If you require any more information, we’ll happily help. Please contact an advisor and they’ll answer any questions you might have.

Written by Hambridge

Edited by Lis.