Legal Advice Against The NHS For Accident And Injury Claims
When using NHS services, patients put a lot of trust and faith into the doctors, nurses and surgeons who treat them. The treatment provided by the NHS has saved lives and improved situations for many and will no doubt continue to do so in the future. However, when patients suffer because of NHS negligence, they may decide to seek compensation for their suffering. In this guide, we’re going to look at specific legal advice against the NHS that could help you make a medical negligence claim against them.
The team at Medical Negligence Assist believe it’s important that those who suffered due to NHS medical negligence, should be able to bring a claim against the party responsible without worrying about the costs involved. Therefore, we provide a no obligation assessment of any claim. Also, we’ll offer free legal advice and could introduce you to one of our panel of medical negligence solicitors if your case is strong enough. If they agree to take on your claim, they’ll do so on a No Win No Fee basis.
If you’d like to begin your claim right away, please call our advisers on 0800 652 3087 today. Alternatively, to read more about how to sue the NHS before calling, please carry on reading our guide.
Select A Section
- A Guide Offering Legal Advice To Make A Claim Against The NHS
- When Should You Seek Legal Advice To Claim Against The NHS?
- How To Sue The NHS
- Should I Claim Through NHS Resolution?
- Additional And Specific Compensation Schemes
- Advice On Proving That The NHS Acted Negligently
- What Is The NHS Code Of Practice?
- Compensation Calculator For Claims Against The NHS
- Your Claim Against The NHS Could Include Special Damages
- Legal Advice For No Win No Fee Claims Against The NHS
- FAQs For Legal Advice Against The NHS
- Begin A Claim For Compensation From The NHS
- Supporting Reference Materials
A Guide Offering Legal Advice To Make A Claim Against The NHS
The National Health Service is a great British institution founded in 1948. It offers free healthcare to many including emergency treatment, cancer care, maternity units and many other services which we’ve come to rely on. The treatment provided by the NHS for many patients goes really well, and the outcome of the treatment is as expected or hoped for.
However, there are times when things go wrong. There are many reasons why this may happen including individual mistakes, bad management, or a lack of resources. Whatever the reason, if medical negligence by the NHS has caused you to suffer, you could be entitled to claim compensation.
In this guide, we’re going to provide information on when you could sue the NHS, the ways in which you could claim, who the claim could be made against, and what amount of compensation you could receive in a successful medical negligence claim against a responsible party.
You might have concerns about suing the NHS but, if you’ve been made to suffer because of clinical negligence, you’re well within your rights to do so. Each hospital, NHS trust and GP surgery has indemnity insurance to cover such claims (which we’ll discuss later in the guide). This insurance is used to cover the cost of any personal injury claim so you shouldn’t worry about making one.
Something to bear in mind is that there is a personal injury claims time limit in the UK. When making a medical negligence claim, you’ll usually have 3-years to do so. This will either begin on the date the negligence happened or the date your injuries were diagnosed. There are other exceptions which a member of our team would be happy to discuss with you.
When Should You Seek Legal Advice To Claim Against The NHS?
We’re often asked, “Can you sue the NHS?”, and the obvious answer is, “Yes, you can”. However, to do so you need to be able to prove three things:
- Breach of duty
- That you suffered pain, an injury, loss or damage
- And that the suffering was caused by the breach of duty (causation)
Breach of duty can be defined as when a medical professional provides treatment that is below the standard that could be reasonably expected of a competent professional carrying out the same treatment.
Causation means that it can be shown the breach of duty caused the patient to suffer rather than any underlying condition.
A key piece of NHS negligence advice is that breach of duty, suffering and causation need to be proven for a medical negligence claim to be valid. One can’t go without the other. For instance, if a doctor provided substandard treatment, but there were no adverse effects, you wouldn’t be able to make a claim.
How To Sue The NHS
If you decide that you would like to sue the NHS following medical negligence that led to you suffering, this section explains the process.
The first bit of legal advice relates to NHS complaints. You don’t have to use the NHS’ complaints procedure before making a claim. You may want to though, and it could help prove how your injuries were sustained. If you’d like free advice on whether you should lodge a complaint against the NHS, you could call and speak to one of our advisers. Any legal action you decide to take won’t usually affect the investigation required to resolve a complaint.
When you sue a hospital, GP surgery, care home or other NHS services, you’ll usually find that the claim will be handled by the NHS Resolution. This is the new name for the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA). NHS Resolution is a scheme which health authorities subscribe to so that they have legal representation when a claim is made against them. Importantly, only about 2% of their claims end up in court. The rest are either dropped, or settled amicably between the claimant’s solicitors and NHS Resolution which is referred to as being an ‘out of court settlement’.
Should I Claim Through NHS Resolution?
If you decide to make a claim, it is possible to do so independently and without any legal representation. NHS resolution even provides a template letter of claim that you could use. However, we’d advise that having a specialist on your side, could help ensure you receive the correct level of medical negligence compensation for your injuries.
A solicitor with experience of medical negligence claims will not only look to prove the extent of your initial injuries but also, they’ll consider how you could be affected in the future. This is really important because once you settle a medical compensation claim, you won’t be able to go back and ask for more because you’ve realised that you’re still suffering later on in life.
Also, the solicitor will have the knowledge and contacts to be able to arrange a medical assessment that results in a report on your injuries. This can be important when looking at the longer-term effects of an injury and being compensated for them.
It’s important to note that NHS Resolution acts in a similar way to a liability insurance provider. This would suggest that they want to settle claims for as little compensation as possible. That’s why we’d advise having a specialist solicitor to represent you who could help counter any arguments for a reduced settlement.
Additional And Specific Compensation Schemes
As well as claiming compensation for NHS negligence, there are some compensation schemes set up to assist those affected by certain incidents. For instance, patients who’ve contracted HIV after being treated for haemophilia could be compensated by the government and they could also receive payments from the MacFarlane Trust. Similarly, any damage caused by a vaccination could mean that a claim against the Vaccination Damage Payment Unit is possible.
Advice On Proving That The NHS Acted Negligently
As with any type of compensation claim, one for medical negligence against the NHS requires evidence to prove what’s happened and how you’ve suffered. One key piece of evidence that could be used is your medical records.
Medical records can be used to show:
- What you were initially being treated for
- The advice you were given about any treatment
- Any medication that was provided
- The treatment that was performed
- What injuries or illnesses were caused by the treatment
- The remedial treatment provided to try and rectify the situation
These records could then be reviewed by medical experts to determine whether any injuries were the result of negligence and could’ve been avoided.
Other evidence you could provide is a witness statement from anybody else who was with you when you when you spoke to a doctor. This could be important if you claim that a doctor failed to warn you of any risks involved with treatment or if they didn’t inform you of alternative treatment options.
What Is The NHS Code Of Practice?
The NHS has a code of practice with regards confidentiality. It means that any company or organisation which analyses, collects, publishes or disseminates confidential data, must follow certain steps to ensure the information is handled correctly.
- Ensuring patients are aware when their information needs to be shared with other agencies
- Obtaining patient consent for sharing their data
- Working within the Data Protection Act 1998 as well as the Human Rights Act 1998
Compensation Calculator For Claims Against The NHS
When we’re asked for legal advice against the NHS, we often receive questions about the average amount of medical negligence compensation paid. In truth, there’s no average amount because every claim is unique. The compensation you are awarded would take into account what injuries you suffered, the impact they had on you, and any long-term effects that might be suffered too.
If a solicitor takes on your claim, they could provide an assessment of how much your claim could be worth. For now, though, the personal injury compensation table below can be used to demonstrate how much compensation might be paid for certain injuries and which would be awarded as ‘general damages’.
|Neck||Severe||In the region of £139,210||An injury which results in incomplete paraplegia or one which means the claimant has little or no neck movement after wearing a neck brace for many years.|
|Neck||Minor||£4,080 to £7,410||A soft tissue injury of the neck which fully recovers between 1 and 2 years.|
|Back||Moderate||£26,050 to £36,390||Includes compression or crush fractures of the lumbar vertebrae causing substantial risk of osteoarthritis.|
|Back||Minor||£7,410 to £11,730||A back injury that takes around 2 to 5 years to recover from (without surgery).|
|Arms||Moderate||up to £11,820||Elbow fractures, lacerations and simple arm fractures are included in this compensation bracket.|
|Pelvis||Moderate||£24,950 to £36,770||Pelvis or hip injuries that leave the claimant with a minor but permanent disability.|
|Legs||Severe||£90,320 to £127,530||Injuries where the leg isn't amputated but the symptoms for the claimant are the same as if it had been.|
|Foot||Moderate||£12,900 to £23,460||In this bracket, injuries which cause a long-term risk of osteoarthritis are included.|
Each injury is assessed based on its severity. That’s why our panel of solicitors insist that your injuries are assessed by a local independent doctor. The report they produce can be used, along with other evidence, to try and make sure that you are compensated fully. It is also important to bear in mind that on top of general damages, you would also receive ‘special damages’ for any financial losses incurred as a direct result of the medical negligence you suffered.
Your Claim Against The NHS Could Include Special Damages
In the previous section, the compensation amounts listed were for general damages. This is the compensation paid for any pain, suffering or loss of amenity caused by your injuries. These make up one part of your claim. Another part is known as special damages.
Special damages are used to compensate you for any financial losses linked to your injuries caused by NHS negligence. The types of special damages that could be claimed include:
- Medical Costs
While you’ll usually receive free treatment from the NHS, you could still end up out of pocket because of prescription or over the counter medication costs. For long-term injuries this could add up quite quickly. You could also incur costs for services like physiotherapy if it’s not provided by the NHS
- Care Costs
When a carer is needed to support an injured patient, their costs could be claimed back. This could be fees for a professional carer or for the time of a family member who’s decided to help the claimant
- Travelling Costs
There are two elements to this. Firstly, you could claim back fuel and car parking costs associated with visits to a GP or hospital. Secondly, if you have to arrange alternative travel arrangements because of the injuries sustained, any costs incurred could be claimed back
- Home Adaptations
If the injury leads to some form of disability, then you might have to make changes to the home to help make it easier for the claimant to get around. It might be possible to claim for the costs involved
- Lost Income
Should the claimant’s ability to work be affected, then any lost earnings could be claimed back. For short-term injuries this might be for time off work to recover or attend medical appointments. In longer-term cases, the claim could include future lost income too
Legal Advice For No Win No Fee Claims Against The NHS
One concern many people have when asking for legal advice against the NHS, is the cost of hiring a personal injury lawyer. Our panel of solicitors understand this concern can be off-putting and therefore offer to work on a No Win No Fee basis for any claim they agree to take on.
When you’re introduced to a solicitor on our panel, they’ll assess your claim. If they believe you have a strong enough case, they’ll provide a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) for you to sign. The CFA is your contract with the solicitor and is another name for a No Win No Fee agreement.
The CFA will state clearly that you won’t pay any solicitor’s fees unless you receive compensation. It will also indicate the ‘success fee’ payable when a claim is won. This fee is used to cover the solicitor’s work. Rather than you having to send funds to cover the success fee, it will be deducted from your compensation automatically. This method of claiming reduces the financial risks involved and also lowers the stress levels too.
FAQs For Legal Advice Against The NHS
If you’ve found this guide about how to sue the NHS useful, and you’re considering asking Medical Negligence Assist to help you claim, here is some more information about us:
- Our team of advisers offer free legal advice about NHS claims
- The claims line is open 24-7 so you can begin whenever it’s best for you
- If your claim is taken on, you’ll be matched with a solicitor from our panel who specialises in NHS negligence claims
- Our panel of solicitors will always keep you updated throughout the case and try to ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation possible for your suffering
To assist you further, here are some of the most common questions we receive regarding legal advice against the NHS.
How Long Do I Have To Claim Against The NHS?
In normal circumstances, you’ll have 3-years from the date you were injured. Alternatively, the date could start from the date your injuries were diagnosed. A parent can claim at any point before the child turns 18. In cases where serious brain injuries mean a child needs care for the rest of their life, this time limit might not apply. Please call to confirm.
Appealing Against Decisions
If you’re not happy with outcome of a complaint, you could speak to us for free advice on your options.
Claims For Injuries Or Illness Caused By Equipment Or Medication Which Was Faulty
If you suffer an injury that’s caused by a faulty medical product that you’ve been provided with, you might be able to claim under the Consumer Protection Act 1987. In these cases, your claim would be against the manufacturer of the product rather than the hospital that gave, administered or fitted the product.
NHS Workplace Accident Claims
You could be entitled to claim compensation if you’re injured while working for the NHS. Claims could be possible if you can show that the accident was caused by some form of negligence on behalf of your employer. Please call an adviser for free legal advice for NHS staff.
Begin A Claim For Compensation From The NHS
Thank you for reading our guide about the legal advice against the NHS that might help you make a claim against them. We hope you’ve found it useful and informative. We also hope you’d now like to use Medical Negligence Assist to begin your claim. If so, here’s how you can get in touch:
- Call our advisers on 0800 652 3087 for free legal advice about your injury claim
- Use our live chat feature to connect with staff whenever it’s convenient
- Or, you can arrange for us to call you back by using our online claims form
We’ll begin by assessing your claim on a no obligation basis. Our advisers will provide free advice on your options once they’ve reviewed your claim. If they believe you have a chance of winning compensation, they could go on to introduce you to one of our panel of personal injury lawyers who specialise in NHS negligence claims.
Supporting Reference Materials
Now that you’ve completed our guide about legal advice against the NHS that could help you make a claim, we’ve added some further guides and links that might help you below.
How Long Does A Medical Negligence Claim Take? – This guide answers a question we’re often asked and covers different types of medical malpractice claims.
GP Negligence Claims – Information on how a personal injury solicitor could help you claim for suffering caused by GP negligence.
Misdiagnosis Claims – This guide explains when personal injury claims could be made following a misdiagnosed illness.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) – The independent regulator for health care and social care in England.
NHS Improvement – Provides support to NHS trusts to provide patients with high quality care.
NHS Service Locator – A useful tool that helps you locate NHS services like GPs, hospitals, dentists and mental health services in your area.
If you require any further information or legal advice against the NHS, then please speak with an adviser today.
Article by NH