Medical Negligence Claims
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.
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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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
We specialise in dealing with medical negligence claims and have great track record of getting compensation for our clients.
Common Medical Negligence Questions
What's the time limit of making a medical negligence claim?
The time limit for making a claim is 3 years from the date of the treatment. However, some medical problems can take some time to manifest. If the treatment only started to affect you later on, then the time limit is 3 years from when you realised that it was the negligent treatment causing your suffering. If you received negligent treatment as a child, then you have until your 21st birthday to claim.
Don’t forget that making a financial claim through a solicitors 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.
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.