Did you suffer an injury that required a trip to A&E? Was the care you received while at the hospital below the minimum standard expected? Did you experience further harm as a result of the substandard care you received? If so, this could be an example of A&E medical negligence.
A&E is the department within a hospital that deals with emergency admissions. This means that the people visiting this department could be at risk of serious long-term complications or even death. If the level of care you received at A&E falls below an acceptable level, this could result in serious long-term implications or even death.
Accident And Emergency Negligence Compensation Claims
Our guide will look at negligent medical diagnosis, treatment or care in an A&E department at a hospital that resulted in further harm. This type of claim requires certain evidence to support your allegations, so we’ll be exploring what you’ll need to prove that medical negligence occurred, as well as how it may be used to value your claim.
Although we’ve aimed to cover the information you need, if you require any clarification whilst or after reading, contact our team using one of the following options below:
- Call us on 0800 652 3087
- Chat with us using the live chat feature at the bottom of this page
- Fill out the enquiry form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible
Select A Section
- What Is A&E Medical Negligence?
- When Do You Need To Go To A&E?
- Medical Competency And Duty Of Care
- Types Of Treatment Provided In A&E Departments?
- Types Of Medical Negligence In Accident And Emergency Departments
- Failing To Diagnose An Acute Illness
- Injuries Caused By Falls From A Bed Or Wheelchair
- What Evidence Do You Need To Support A Medical Negligence Claim?
- Time Limits To Claim For Negligent In An A&E Department
- What Can I Claim If Harmed By A&E Medical Negligence?
- No Win No Fee A&E Medical Negligence Compensation Claims
- Contact Us
- Rates Of Clinical Negligence In Hospitals
- Resources About Medical Negligence
- FAQs About A&E Medical Negligence
For any illnesses or injuries, we’re entitled to receive the minimum standard of care from the medical professionals responsible for treating us. This is the case whether we’re attending an appointment with our general practitioner or seeking attention from A&E.
It’s important to note that just because you have been injured or your condition has been made worse because of the treatment you received at A&E does not mean that you were the victim of negligence. Sometimes, a doctor can provide a standard of care that is of an acceptable level, but complications still arise that cause your condition to worsen.
In order for a doctor to be considered negligent, they need to have breached their duty of care towards you and provided an unacceptable standard of care. Some examples of instances that might constitute medical negligence include:
- Being prescribed the wrong medication, or the wrong dosage of medication, for the condition you’re suffering from.
- Picking up a hospital infection because medical equipment was reused between patients without being cleaned first.
- Having your injury missed or misdiagnosed by a medical professional, resulting in a delay in treatment.
As well as proving that you received a level of care that fell below an acceptable standard, you will also need to show that this breach in duty caused you harm. If you are visiting A&E, there is a likelihood that you were injured or ill in some way. In order to make a medical negligence claim, you need to show that the treatment you received directly led to your condition getting worse than it would have if you’d received proper treatment.
If you would like to know more about making an A&E medical negligence claim after reading this guide, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. One of our friendly and helpful advisors will be happy to offer you free legal advice.
You should only visit A&E if you have a genuinely life-threatening condition or a condition that could be life-threatening. The NHS has provided a list of conditions that might require a trip to A&E, which include:
- Pain in the chest
- Difficulty breathing
- Severe bleeding or burn injuries
- Severe allergic reactions
- Stroke or stroke symptoms
- Injuries that were caused by significant trauma, such as a car accident
Minor injuries can usually be treated at a walk-in centre (sometimes referred to as a minor injuries unit). If you’re not sure whether or not you need to go to A&E, you should call NHS 111. They’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If they think you need to visit A&E, they could book an arrival time for you. This may reduce the time you spend waiting.
In order to assess whether your injury or condition requires urgent treatment, you may go through a triage assessment. This involves a pre-assessment that may provide an initial insight into the state of your condition. In some cases, you might be referred to another specialist unit or seen by a doctor working in A&E.
All doctors are expected to uphold the standards expected of them within their chosen field of practice. However, there are regulatory bodies in place to ensure they are doing so. These include the General Medical Council (GMC) and the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
The GMC is responsible for overseeing the training for all registered doctors in the UK, whether NHS or a private healthcare provider. Furthermore, they provide ethical guidance on the standard of care that medical professionals owe their patients.
The CQC is responsible for regulating and monitoring care services, including care homes. They publish their findings to help people choose care services.
In A&E, due to the fast-paced nature of the department, it’s vital that all doctors understand the standard of care they’re expected to provide to patients. They should know and understand their hospital’s guidelines and protocols that should be carried out in A&E. Failing to meet the standard of care could result in A&E medical negligence which could lead someone to be injured.
Once an initial assessment has been carried out, a medical professional may decide whether you require further tests to decide on appropriate treatment. Or if they feel your injury isn’t severe enough to be treated in A&E, you may be referred to a minor injuries unit.
For that reason, the treatment you receive may vary depending on your condition or injury. For instance, if your condition is life-threatening, you may receive treatment straight away. Additionally, you may require a stay overnight.
If the proper procedures aren’t followed when assessing patients and the treatment or further tests they need, errors can be made. These errors could result in the correct course of treatment not being undertaken. In serious cases, this could result in the patient’s condition progressing to become life-changing or even fatal.
For further information on the types of A&E negligence that can occur, see below. Otherwise, you can get in touch with our team for any questions you may have about claims of this nature.
There are various types of medical negligence that could take place in an A&E department. This might include the following:
- Misdiagnosis: This could be of injuries such as fractures and may be caused by an inadequate assessment of the patient or failing to interpret X-ray or other test results correctly. A misdiagnosis could lead to other types of negligence such as giving the incorrect treatment or causing delayed treatment.
- Prescribing the wrong medication: This could be the wrong medication altogether or the wrong dosage which could result in a patient experiencing harmful side effects. A patient may suffer further harm from the medication they’ve been given or may suffer because they haven’t had the correct medication to treat their actual illness or injury.
- Failing to follow hospital health and safety procedures leading to the spread of hospital infections. This could happen through poor postoperative care if an emergency operation was required.
It’s important to note that this is not an exhaustive list of the ways that A&E doctors and nurses can be negligent. If your condition has been made worse or you’ve been harmed because of a doctor’s breach of duty of care, you may be able to claim. Speak to our team to find out more.
An acute illness is one that is severe and sudden with its symptoms. It may be possible for it to be misdiagnosed as something else if the care provided falls below an acceptable standard.
For example, a condition could be missed or misdiagnosed if the doctor or nurse fails to arrange for a diagnostic test to be done. This could mean that your condition gets worse than it would have if you’d been properly diagnosed because you didn’t receive the right treatment.
Examples of some acute illnesses that may be misdiagnosed might include:
It’s important to note that just because you have had your condition missed or mistakenly diagnosed as something else does not mean that your doctor or nurse was negligent. It is possible for a medical professional to misdiagnose a condition while adhering to the standards expected of their profession. But if your misdiagnosis happened because a medical professional breached their duty of care and your condition worsened as a result, you may be able to claim.
Patients should be provided with the relevant care and attention they require. For instance, a patient who needs to use a wheelchair might need help getting into and out of the wheelchair they have been given. If this support is not given, then this could result in the patient falling and injuring themselves as a result.
A patient may also fall out of bed, causing them to be injured. This could occur as a result of negligence if the sides of the bed were not properly secured. A fall from a bed or wheelchair could cause bone fractures, particularly in older patients or those who suffer from osteoporosis, as their bones are more susceptible to breaking.
When claiming compensation, you’ll need to support your A&E negligence claim with medical evidence. This might include:
- Medical records from your A&E visits
- Details of any treatment you received
- Documents showing when you were discharged from A&E
- Medical records from after your A&E visit showing the harm you were caused
This can help to ascertain the standard of care you received and highlight any places where the level of care you received fell below the minimum standard expected. Furthermore, it can provide evidence to support your claim if you subsequently sought treatment for the harm you were caused.
In addition to the evidence you obtain, you will usually be invited to an additional medical assessment as part of the claims process. This assessment will provide a medical report detailing the state of your condition. It will also include information about your prognosis and how your recovery is expected to progress.
The evidence obtained will not only give your claim more strength but will also help to value your A&E medical negligence claim. The amount of compensation you receive will depend on how severely you were affected; medical reports that show the extent of the harm caused to you could ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.
How can you prove medical negligence?
To ascertain whether or not medical negligence has occurred, the courts will usually administer something called the Bolam test. This involves a panel of medical professionals assessing whether the care you received was of an acceptable standard.
The professionals will be experts in the field they’re assessing. For instance, in the case of A&E negligence, the panel will be made up of doctors with experience working in the A&E department. This means that they have a good knowledge of the professional standards within this field.
If the panel of peers confirm that the care you received fell below an acceptable level, then your care will be considered negligent. If the negligence you experienced caused you additional harm, you may be able to claim.
The general time limit for making a medical negligence claim is 3 years. This can either be three years from the date the incident occurred or the date you obtained evidence that the negligence that occurred caused you harm. The latter is referred to as the “date of knowledge”.
However, there are various exceptions to this time limit. For instance, if your child under the age of 18 suffered further harm in A&E, the three-year time limit is suspended until they turn 18.
During this time, a parent, guardian or solicitor could put a claim forward on their behalf by acting as a litigation friend. This is an adult appointed by the court to represent the child in their claim. Alternatively, they have three years from the date of their 18th birthday to make a claim for themselves if one hasn’t already been made.
If the person who was injured or made ill as the result of medical negligence lacks the capacity to claim on their own behalf, a litigation friend can claim on their behalf. In these cases, the time limit is suspended unless the injured person regains their mental capacity; if this happens, the 3-year time limit begins.
The table below provides more detail on medical negligence time limits for various circumstances. However, if you have any questions, you can call our team and they’ll be happy to help.
|What is the general time limit for someone making a medical negligence claim?|
|Three years from the date the person suffered harm as a result of the incident or the date the person obtained knowledge that the incident either caused or contributed to them suffering harm|
|Who suffered further harm?||What is the time limit for them to claim?||Are there any exceptions that may apply to their circumstances?|
|A child under the age of 18||3 years from the date of their 18th birthday to put forward a claim themselves||3 years is frozen until they turn 18 so during that time someone could make a claim for them by acting as a litigation friend on their behalf. This could be a parent, guardian or solicitor.|
|Someone who lacks the mental capacity but may regain it||3 years from the recovery date to claim for themselves||3 years is frozen until they regain their mental capacity and during that time a parent, guardian or solicitor could claim as a litigation friend|
|Someone who lacks the mental capacity but won't regain it||3 years is frozen indefinitely and a parent, guardian or solicitor may claim on their behalf as a litigation friend|
Medical negligence compensation can be made up of two different kinds of damages. These are referred to as general and special damages.
General damages compensate you for the physical and psychological harm you’ve endured as a result of the negligence you experienced. The value of your general damages will depend on how severely you were harmed and how long your recovery is likely to take.
However, it’s important to note that you can only claim compensation for the further harm you’ve suffered, not the initial injury or illness that caused you to require medical attention in the first place.
For instance, if you fractured your ankle but didn’t receive a diagnosis due to a medical professional failing to assess your injury correctly, you could claim compensation. However, it will need to be determined how much of your pain and suffering resulted from the negligence you experienced as opposed to the initial injury. You will then be compensated accordingly.
In addition to compensation for your pain and suffering, you may be able to claim additional damages such as financial losses. This is referred to as special damages. For instance:
- Reduced or lost earnings
- Care costs for you or anyone dependent on you
- Travel expenses
- Relevant medical expenses such as physiotherapy
Evidence will be required to claim for any monetary losses. This can include things like receipts for things you’ve had to pay for, or payslips to illustrate your loss of earnings.
What is the value of my claim?
The table below comprises a list of different injuries you may have suffered as a result of medical negligence. The value of each injury is provided by the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) which is a document solicitors may use to help value A&E negligence claims, alongside medical evidence.
|Brain damage||Very severe: Where brain damage has affected the person's ability to communicate and they require ongoing full time care||£264,650 to £379,100|
|Brain damage||Less severe: Where there has been a recovery leading to the return to work and a normal social life however some problems with various functions may continue to persist||£14,380 to £40,410|
|Reproductive system: Female||Where there was a failure to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy that led to infertility||£31,950 to £95,850|
|Kidney||The award will be given to loss of, or serious damage to, one or both kidneys||£158,970 to £197,480|
|Spleen||The loss of spleen which involved damage to the immune system and causes ongoing problems with infections||£19,510 to £24,680|
|Hip||Lesser injury: This includes a soft tissue injury that has resulted in a complete recovery||Up to £3,710|
|Mental anguish||Where the person fears impending death or a reduction in their life expectancy||£4,380|
|Scarring||Trivial scarring that causes a minor effect both physically and psychologically||£1,600 to £3,310|
It’s important to be aware that actual compensation amounts may vary, and the information illustrated in the table above are guidelines only. Furthermore, if you’re claiming any additional damages, these will be added on separately.
For more information on how compensation is calculated, contact our team on the number above.
A No Win No Fee agreement is a way of avoiding the legal costs normally required to have a solicitor represent you. It essentially means that if your solicitor is unsuccessful, you won’t pay their fees. You also won’t be asked to pay them anything up front or while they’re working on your claim.
If they do win your claim, you’ll pay a small success fee. This fee is legally capped to ensure that you get the majority of the compensation awarded to you.
A No Win No Fee agreement can give you the support and guidance of an experienced medical negligence solicitor without the need for large upfront costs. If this is something you’d like to discuss in further detail, call us on the number above where our advisors are available to help. If they feel your claim has a good chance of success, they could connect you with a solicitor on our panel to represent you on a No Win No Fee basis.
Our advisors are available 24/7 to provide you with free legal advice and answer any questions you may have. In addition, if there’s anything you’re still unsure of after reading our guide, they can provide further clarification.
For more information, contact us using the following details:
According to the NHS Resolution, there were a total of 12,629 new clinical negligence claims made in 2020/2021 compared to 11,678 made in 2019/2020.
The graph below shows the value of claims made for different specialities including emergency medicine which accounted for 3% of the value of all claims.
As these statistics don’t reveal the outcome of these claims or whether compensation was awarded, we can’t say that all of these claims represents an instance of medical negligence. However, it does show the frequency with which claims of this nature are brought forward.
If you need any further information on making a hospital negligence claim, see our guide.
Did you suffer further harm through an operation that went wrong? If so, our guide on operation negligence claims could help.
For any information regarding how to report a doctor, dentist or hospital for medical negligence, our guide could help.
Visit the Care Quality Commission website for further information on their role in regulating medical services.
See the General Medical Council website for more information on how they monitor registered doctors in the UK.
For more information on how the NHS Resolution may play a part in your A&E claim, see their website.
In this section, we have answered some questions we are commonly asked regarding claims against an A&E department.
What is the average payout for medical negligence in the UK?
There isn’t an average compensation amount for medical negligence. The amount you receive greatly depends on the severity of the harm you’ve experienced and how long it might take you to recover.
How long does an NHS negligence claim take?
How long a medical negligence claim takes can vary depending on several factors. For instance, a simple claim where liability is admitted straight away might take less time to settle than a complex claim where liability is not clear.
Can you walk out of A&E?
If you haven’t been discharged, it may be because a medical professional feels you still need observation or treatment. You should always follow medical advice and only leave the hospital when it is safe for you to do so.
What would a patient have to prove to claim negligence?
In order to prove medical negligence, the courts will administer something called the Bolam test. As a patient, you may be expected to provide things like medical records to illustrate how you’ve been affected.
Thank you for reading our guide on how to make an A&E medical negligence compensation claim.
Guide by Meg
Checked by Fern