10 things you need to know about Medical Negligence Claims
By Olivia Augusta. Last updated 9th April 2021. Welcome to our guide on all things you need to know about medical negligence claims.
When it comes to pursuing a medical negligence claim, either against the NHS or a private practice, you are sure to have some questions. After all the law is complex and it is likely the factors that have led to your illness/injury due to negligence are complex too. Here at Legal Expert, we deal with many different types of medical negligence claims, and we often find that some questions we are asked are quite similar. With this in mind, we have put together this page in order for you to be informed of some of the important facts surrounding medical negligence and making a claim for compensation. If you have further questions about medical negligence after reading this, then you can read more in our guide, or you can get in touch with our team, who will take the time to explain things in more detail for you.
Select a Section
- Definition of Medical/Clinical Negligence
- The time limit for Clinical or Medical Negligence
- How long a medical negligence claim takes to settle
- How to Find a Solicitor
- You will have to prove your claim
- You will have to prove your claim
- You will have to obtain medical and other evidence
- You won’t always have to attend court
- You don’t have to have money in the bank to fund your claim
- You can obtain advice for free, without obligation
- Helpful Links
One of the first things you need to know about medical negligence claims is what they are.
There are many different instances where medical or clinical negligence can occur, but the premise remains the same across the board. Any clinical or medical professional has a certain duty, and that duty is to care for your needs to an acceptable standard. If they fail to do so, this is a breach of the duty they have to you, and you can therefore pursue a claim for compensation should you be able to offer proof that the negligence caused or was contributory to the ill-effects that occurred.
One of the things you need to know about medical negligence claims is when you can make them.
When personal injury claims are pursued, there exists a limit of three years after the event that caused harm occurred for claiming. However, with medical claims, this is slightly different. Sometimes, claimants are unaware of the negligence or what it has caused until after the event. This is why, in medical claims, the three-year limit applies from the time the patient has become aware of the negligent action that has happened. There are other factors that might influence the claim limit. Usually, if an adult has not claimed on behalf of a minor, that minor, once they turn 18, has three years to put forward a claim. There are also some complexities on the time limit if mental illness is involved. If you are unsure whether any of these exceptions to the limits apply to you, then you should certainly consult a professional, such as the team at Legal Expert, and we will explain which category you are likely to fall into, and when your claim time limit is up.
When asking about things you need to know about medical negligence claims, a common query is hot long they take.
The simple answer to this query is ‘it depends on the complexity/nature of the case’. However, it is important to remember that a large number of claims are settled between 3 and 18 months. Factors influencing the timescale can be the defendant’s position on the claims, and how much they refute them, the type of injury/illness and its complexity, as well as how strong the evidence for the claim is. Your medical negligence solicitor should be able to give you some idea of how things are going as they progress, but they will likely not be able to tell you an approximate settlement date.
One of the most important things you need to know about medical negligence claims is how to get the right legal help to give your claim the best chances of success.
Searching online for a solicitor may seem the easiest way to go about it, especially if none of your family or friends, colleagues or peers have been through something like your experience before. It is worth mentioning that you do not have to use a solicitor that is based in your home town for your medical negligence claim – there are no restrictions that technology cannot overcome, so as long as you are choosing a registered solicitor who is licensed to practice law in the England, it does not matter where in England they are based. Finding a solicitor that is experienced in dealing with medical negligence claims, however, is a must. There are many complexities pertaining to medical negligence that do not apply to other personal injury cases.
There are several different ways you might want to check on your solicitor’s expertise, and one of these is to read online reviews and case studies of previous cases your chosen solicitor has taken on and won. However, not all reviews provide enough information for you to feel you are able to make an informed decision. Luckily, here at Legal Expert, we are able to provide solicitors that have a proven track record in this type of claim. We have plenty of information about the solicitors we provide so you can feel you have all the information to hand that will allow you to make the decision on what is best for your specific case.
One of the other key things you need to know about medical negligence claims is that evidence should be obtained as a priority.
Just having a hunch that your doctor/dentist etc. has been negligent in their treatment of you is not enough to pursue a claim. You will be required to prove the negligence happened, and this is where a medical negligence lawyer can be invaluable. Having been through the process before, they will know what evidence you will need, how these situations occur and how they can find proof in your medical notes etc.
As mentioned above, one of the key things you need to know about medical negligence claims is that evidence should be obtained as a priority.
Your medical negligence solicitor will be able to send you to see an independent medical professional, who will also review your notes, and offer their expert opinion on your situation as well as your prognosis for recovery.
You should always keep records of what has happened, both in note and photograph form for visible injuries etc. These can prove invaluable in this sort of case. Family or loved ones who have witnessed the treatment may also be asked to provide a statement.
While figures are widely publicised about how many claims the NHS receive and settle each year, there are no published figures available for private practice. However, this does not mean that you cannot make claims against private dentists, doctors or hospitals, or even care homes. Cosmetic clinics and opticians can also be claimed against if they have been negligent.
If you’re seeking things you need to know about medical negligence claims, it’s important to note that not all claims go to court.
You may have visions of taking the stand in a full courtroom for your claim to be assessed but in fact, most of the claims we see are settled outside of any courtroom. While in some cases, claims are seen in court, in the most part, once a claim is launched, the defence will be issued alongside some offer of financial settlement and no one will set foot inside a courtroom. Whether or not you have to attend court is dependent on the finer details of your case. If you do have to attend court, then your solicitor will tell you what to expect and they will make sure you feel comfortable with what is expected of you before your court date.
One of the key things you need to know about medical negligence claims is that No Win No Fee agreements exist.
With no win no fee a headline for many solicitors’ websites, you may already know about it, but if you don’t, it is important to understand that the way in which many medical negligence solicitors work is without payment upfront. Under an arrangement with your chosen solicitor, you will not be required to pay funds straight away for legal assistance. Instead, any claim settled will have some funds taken out, at a pre-arranged level, in order to cover the legal fees. What works well for most people in this situation is the fact that if no settlement is forthcoming, the claimant won’t have to be left with heavy legal fees. There will be no legal bill for them to pay in an unsuccessful claim.
If you’re wondering what things you need to know about medical negligence claims, why not speak to our specialist team?
Whilst you may be under the impression that the only way to gain advice on whether you are likely to be valid in your pursuit of a claim against the medical professional/s that have been negligent, then it is important you know you can call us for free. Here at Legal Expert, we have legally trained staff manning our telephone line at all times, just waiting to hear what has happened to you and offer advice. The advice we give comes with absolutely no obligation on you using our services, and we will never push you to make a decision on what course of action you would like to take after you have been through what can be such a traumatic thing.
If you would like any more advice about the process of claiming medical negligence, or even about no win no fee claims, we will be happy to help. 0800 073 8804 will connect you with our legal experts who can talk over different aspects of your potential claim, as well as providing you with a solicitor that covers your area. Wherever in the country you are, we have a medical negligence team that can help.
MIND is a UK charity and has helpful information on medical negligence
This links to the Citizens Advice website and has free information about negligence claims against the NHS.
Find out how to make a complaint against the NHS it also is a good idea to discuss your complaint with a free advice solicitor as you may have a compensation claim.
Information on the Pre-Action Protocol for the Resolution of Clinical Disputes Clinical Disputes Forum.
Find out if you can claim compensation for misdiagnosis also calculate how much compensation you could claim.
Do I have grounds to make a claim?
Providing that a third-party medical professional or organisation failed to uphold their duty of care to you, you could be able to claim.
What would a patient have to prove to claim negligence?
Negligence can be establish by proving the following:
- The third party owed you duty of care
- Which they failed to uphold
- Causing you to suffer as a result
What can you claim for medical negligence?
Personal injury claims can compensate general damages and special damages. Whereas general damages covers physical and mental harm, special damages allows claimants to recover financial losses.
Can I claim for emotional distress?
Yes, as part of general damages, you could be compensated for emotional distress.
When can I claim?
Personal injury claims have 3-year limitation periods to claim within.
How much do claims payout?
Each claim has a different payout according to the amount of suffering experienced by the claimant.
How can Legal Expert help?
Legal Expert can manage your claims process every step of the way, providing you with a personal injury lawyer to handle your case.
How can I contact Legal Expert?
Please see our contact section above to learn how to get in touch with our specialist team of advisors.