Medical Negligence Solicitors London

Caring, supportive and expert medical negligence services to clients in London and beyond

The Specialist Medical Negligence firm

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Every patient has the right to a reasonable standard of care. All medical staff, from neurosurgeons to dentists, regardless of whether they work privately or for the NHS, are obliged to treat their patients to the best of their ability.

We don’t like to think about it, but mistakes can happen. It is only right that one is compensated for harm that could have been avoided. ‘Medical negligence’ is a broad term, encompassing lots of different things. To sum it up, it can be any medical procedure that has been carried out incompetently or inappropriately. A few common examples might be;

  • Causing injury that should have been avoided, e.g. performing surgery on the wrong part of the body.
  • Failing to tell, or actively concealing, the pros and cons of treatment that might affect a patient’s choice.
  • Incorrectly prescribing medication.
  • Misdiagnosis, which could be diagnosing the wrong ailment or not diagnosing at all.
  • Care home abuse
  • Injuries received at birth
  • Dental negligence
  • Breast Implants or avoidable complications with other Cosmetic Surgery
  • Hospital Acquired Infections

It’s also worth remembering that even if you signed a Consent Form (for example, for Laser Eye Surgery, or Cosmetic Surgery), you could still claim medical negligence. No one ever consents to negligent treatment. If you haven’t been informed of all of the potential risks before a procedure yet you sign a consent form, it is impossible to give your full consent if you haven’t been given the full details of what could happen.

There is also ‘material risk’ to take into consideration. This essentially is a risk in your set of circumstances, particularly would apply to you i.e a reasonable person in the patient’s position would likely attach significance to. For example, a keen ballet dancer in her early 20’s, would more likely attach significance to anything that will inhibit her ability to use her feet to dance, than an older woman who has no requirement to train as a ballerina.

 It is only when a patient is made aware of all the risks and material risks, that they can give their full consent.  

Clinical negligence is not limited to any one area of medical treatment.Nor is it limited by the seriousness of the damage resulting from the negligence.You are entitled to make a claim if you’ve recovered in a few weeks, or if the result of the negligence is life-changing.

We’ve handled cases across a wide spectrum of areas of medical treatment. 

Click on any of the areas of medicine on the list below to access a brief description. 

Our Legal Team
John Holtom John is an expert in dealing with medical negligence claims and has a history of settling high value cases.

Niki

Niki assists with all Medical Negligence matters by conducting research and liaising with clients.

Talha Fazlani

Talha has been working as a Paralegal assisting a range of departments and would help be obtaining information from you regarding your matter.

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FAQs

What is clinical or medical negligence?

Clinical negligence, or medical negligence, is when doctors, or dentists, or nurses, or midwives, or other healthcare professionals, get it wrong. 

Clinical negligence, or medical mistakes, can happen at any time, can result from the actions of GPs, or junior or senior hospital staff.

Private doctors can be negligent just as NHS doctors can.  There is no boundary.  If a doctor, or a non-doctor clinician, gets it wrong, there may be a case for negligence.  Pharmacists, psychiatrists, psychologists, audiologists, cosmetic surgeons, complimentary medical practitioners, orthotists, physiotherapists, podiatrists…. any professional working under the banner of healthcare, could be negligent. 

At one time, there used to be doctors, nurses, and the rest – porters, administrators, cleaners etc.  Now, there are multiple levels of health professional.  This means you could be treated by a paramedic, healthcare assistant, specialist nurse, all of whom perform roles that doctors used to perform. 

Anyone in a healthcare environment who has responsibility for patients, could be negligent. 

Assessing the case

Before going any further, here’s a note of caution. 

Most cases are not black and white, for two key reasons. 

First, most case are about lapses in judgement, rather than about surgeons who, for instance, take out the wrong kidney (yes, that does happen). 

Second, there is often a causation problem.  What that means is that although there may be strong evidence that a doctor made a mistake, there may be equally strong evidence that even if the doctor had got it right, it would have made little, or no difference. 

Expert evidence

Whether there is clinical negligence depends on expert evidence.  This is fundamental.  It can make clinical negligence cases difficult to assess. 

The problem is this: even though a case may be blindingly obvious, the expert witness may not agree.   If the expert says the doctor was not impressive, but his or her judgement was not below the standard to be expected of a “reasonably competent doctor” – that’s it, game over.

If you’d like to discuss a potential clinical negligence case, please call on …..   London number and London email address?

How should I approach a clinical negligence claim?

Cases that result from clinical negligence, medical negligence, or medical mistakes, need a level of inquiry that cannot be achieved from a call-centre mentality.  You cannot assess whether a doctor has caused a life-changing damage from a telephone call.

The approach must be careful and rigorous.  You must examine medical records.  You must untangle medical jargon.  You must understand what really happened well enough to be able to ask challenging questions of experts.

You cannot cut corners.

Clinical negligence cases need time.  Which means you, as a solicitor, must give the cases your time.

Once you’ve done the groundwork, you need to be prepared for a long fight.  If NHS Resolution, or the private institution, don’t roll over early on, may not roll over until they’ve been pressed all the way to the door of the Court.  And sometimes, not even then.  Sometimes – rarely – you just have to end up in Court.

Diligence, grit, and understanding.  See it through.  That is our approach.

How do I make a medical negligence claim?

Medical Negligence claims can be time-consuming and quite complicated. In order to make your claim run as smoothly as possible, collect as much information as you can before you approach a solicitor. Record your treatment procedure, how this has affected you after, keep any relevant paperwork and record any conversations you may have had with medical practitioners. It might help to make a personal journal of all goings-on in as much detail as possible.

Here are the general steps for how you would make a medical negligence claim.

  1. Firstly, we will ask for all of your medical records. Don’t worry- you don’t to compile this yourself, your GP will provide it.
  2. Then we ask an independent medical expert to review your case and provide a report. They will decide whether they think your claim counts as medical negligence.
  3. Next, a Letter of Claim is sent to the medical practitioner who treated you. They will have 3 months to reply with a Letter of Response. If they admit to a mistake, then at this point compensation can be decided upon.
  4. However, if the medical practitioners deny any mistake, then a Court Claim can be issued. This might sound quite scary, but a Court Claim is just a detailed report of the details of your claim; your financial losses and your medical records.
  5. A Defence will be sent from the practitioner that outlines the evidence to deny wrongdoing. Then your Court Claim and the practitioners Defence will be given to a Judge, who will decide if a trial is necessary. Though having to go to Court is a possibility, it is quite rare. Most medical negligence claims are settled without having to go to trial.
  6. If no settlement has been reached then the claim might go to trial, where a Judge will decide the outcome of your case, and how much compensation you should receive.
What is causation in a medical negligence claim?

A mistake made by a medical professional is not enough to make a medical negligence claim. You will need to show ‘causation’- that the incident has had a negative effect on you. That could be pain and suffering, loss of earnings, loss of mobility or the out-of-pockets expenses it has caused you, such as cost of care, further treatment or medicine. Let’s look at an example;

Maria went to the doctor and was prescribed the wrong dose of medication. She took the medication and, after she had realised there was a mistake, she wanted to make a claim. However, Maria said she felt no adverse effects from the medication – she didn’t get sick or have to take time off of work. Nothing bad happened, it was simply a mistake. Maria would not have grounds for a medical negligence claim (though she might want to write a complaint to the relevant medical department).

However, Sonny was incorrectly prescribed the wrong medication, and had a very bad reaction to it. He became violently sick, had to take time off work, and he hasn’t recovered since. The mistake the doctor made has had an impact on his life. Sonny would be eligible to file a medical negligence claim.

What is the time limit of making a medical negligence claim?

The normal rule is 3 years from the date of the negligent treatment.

However, sometimes damage caused by negligent medical treatment can take months, or years, to be identified. The law recognises it would unfair to apply just one fixed 3 year rule. If you become aware years later that negligent treatment caused the health problems you have now, you can still bring a claim. The law calls the time that you learned the negligent medical treatment caused your present health problems, your “date of knowledge”. There is still a 3 year time limit, but it only starts to run from your “date of knowledge”.

If you suffered negligent medical treatment as a child (this means a person under 18 years old), then you have until your 21st birthday to claim.

Don’t forget that making a financial claim through a solicitor is not the same as registering a complaint with the relevant medical department. If you wish to register a complaint, you have 6 months from the time of the incident to report it.

If we are instructed by a client near the time the 3 year limitation period is about to expire, we would either issue proceedings protectively or try to agree an extension of time with NHS Resolution, or the insurers if the case involved a private health company or a privately paid clinician. We should be clear however that in these circumstances we would usually need the client to fund the cost of the issue of proceedings. We encourage our potential clients to instruct us early gives us time to properly assess the strengths and weaknesses of the case.

Are medical negligence claims 'no win, no fee'?

The last thing you should have to worry about if you’ve been treated badly is if you can afford to take action. We can offer our services on a ‘No Win No Fee’ basis, so you won’t need to worry about paying upfront.

 
Can Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) be used in medical negligence cases?

Yes.

The Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) say that litigation should be a last resort, and that parties should consider negotiation or another form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to settle the disputes outside of the courts.

ADR can mean: —

(a) Negotiation directly with your opponent – this could NHS Resolution, or the Trust or responsible party, or the insurers of that party;
(b) Mediation, where a third party – a mediator – facilitates a resolution between your and your opponent, usually at a neutral venue;
(c) Arbitration, where a third party – an arbitrator – acts as a kind of judge decides the case.

ADR can work well. It can be a good shortcut to settlement.

ADR can also be easily sabotaged by an opponent who agrees to use ADR, but doesn’t want to compromise. Often, at-fault parties do everything they can to avoid ADR, even though it can also be a powerful tactical tool in litigation.

What is the pay-out for medical negligence in the UK?

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What compensation can I expect to receive from a medical negligence claim?

Awards for compensation are for:

  • Pain, suffering and loss of amenity (how your life has been changed by the negligence);
  • Loss of income – this will be past and future loss, if you cannot return to work;
  • Care – this can be the largest part of a serious claim because you may need care for years into the future.
  • Equipment – this can cover all sorts of devices that make living as an independent person possible, even when you have suffered life-changing injury.
  • Accommodation – you may find that plans must be made to live in a different kind of home because you cannot manage where you live now.
  • Modified vehicle – if you need equipment in the home, you may well need a modified car to get around.
  • Expenses – this can cover everything else that the other categories have no covered – travel, medication, clothing – any expenses that but for the negligence you would not have to pay.

The legal language for the parts of compensation are general damages and special damages.

General damages relate to compensation for injury and how your life has been changed. General damages are based on Guidelines issued by the Courts – The Judicial College.

Special damages mean identifiable provable financial losses. In serious injury claims, special damages almost always make up the largest proportion of the award for compensation.

Why do you need my medical records?

In order to assess your case, we need your medical records. There is no short cut.

We cannot be confident that we have grasped the issues, without having all of your medical records.

A selection of the records may help at the start, so it is clear where we need to look deeper, but there is no alternative but to spend time forensically examining the details of what happened, what was recorded, and why.

Frequently, it is what is missing from the records that tells the real story. However, it is impossible to work out what is missing, without having assessed the records as they are.

Once we have carried out a preliminary assessment of the records, we will almost certainly instruct a doctor – a medical expert, as that person is called – to assess the records from the perspective of a doctor.

The medical expert opinion is the core of any medical negligence case – unless your opponent admits breach of duty (negligence) immediately (which happens sometimes), your case will depend on the expert evidence. If the expert does not support your case, you have no case to fight, it really is as clear as that.

The two most important elements of almost any medical negligence case, are medical records and medical experts.

My child has suffered as a result of medical negligence, can I make a claim?

A child cannot make a claim in their name. This is because although you can get married at 16, the law still regards you as not capable of making our own legally enforcible decisions until your 18!

The legal solution to this, is that adult, usually a parent, brings the claim in the name of the child (called a “minor”).

The adult is called the “litigation friend”. The way this is put is that the “litigation friend” brings the claim on behalf of “the minor” – so, for instance, “John Smith, father and litigation friend, of Steven Smith”.

What is the pay-out for medical negligence in the UK?

Medical negligence claims are common in the NHS and they receive more than 10,000 new claims for compensation every year. Pay-outs for medical negligence can vary significantly and depend on the damages incurred. This can range from a thousand to many millions of pounds. This can be calculated based on medical bills or loss of work, for instance.

How difficult is it to prove medical negligence?

Medical Negligence claims can be difficult to proveDelayed diagnosis and treatment claims are common in all sections of the NHS and establishing whether such a delay is negligent is often relatively simple. However, proving damages can be more difficult as pinpointing and exact damages caused by this negligence can sometimes be more complicated.  

What are the financing options available in a medical negligence claim?

At Freeman Harris, the most common funding arrangement involves our ‘No Win No Fee’ agreement, whereby legal fees are only paid if we win your case. These will be taken out of your awarded compensation.  

Can you bring a medical negligence claim on behalf of someone else?

Yes, in certain casesWhilst in most cases, claims will be made by those who have faced medical negligence themselves, a case can be pursued on behalf of either yourself or a loved oneparent or guardian can make a claim on behalf of an injured child since they do not have the capacity to bring a claim. Alternatively, in deeply unfortunate cases of medical negligence that involve a fatality, a personal representative or executor can bring a claim on their behalf. 

Do medical negligence claims go to court?

It is unlikely. Over 70% of the claims brought against the NHS are resolved without going to court. However, inevitably some claims are brought to court, in which case your solicitor will support you and guide the process.  

How do I know if I have a medical negligence case?

There are certain criteria that must be met to have a successful claim: 

It must first be established that the duty of care received by the individual falls below the reasonable standard of care. Injuries or further related illnesses (damages) must then be established and proved to be as a result of this negligence.  

What our Medical Negligence clients say

Medical Negligence Fees

ServiceFees
Medical Negligence ClaimNo Win, No Fee, Generally
Medical Negligence Claim ReviewNo Fees
Medical Reports (If Required)TBD

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