Frequently Asked Questions Medical Negligence FAQS
In this guide, we look at some frequently asked questions regarding claims for medical negligence. Firstly, we discuss the eligibility criteria that need to be met in order to pursue this type of claim. We also look at the time limit in which you have to initiate legal proceedings and the evidence you could collect to support your case.
Additionally, we discuss the duty of care medical professionals owe their patients. We also provide examples of how medical negligence could occur and the way it could impact patients.
Furthermore, you can find information on how compensation payouts for this type of claim are calculated and what they could include.
Finally, we outline some of the advantages to working with a No Win No Fee solicitor and the terms under which they could provide their services.
If you have any other questions, or require any further information, you can get in touch with our advisors at any time of the day or night. To reach them, you can:
Select A Section
- Am I Eligible To Make A Medical Negligence Claim?
- How Long Do You Have To Claim For Medical Negligence?
- Examples Of Medical Negligence
- How Do I Prove A Medical Negligence Case?
- How Much Compensation For A Medical Negligence Claim?
- Can I Make A No Win No Fee Medical Negligence Claim?
- Further Guidance On Clinical Negligence Claims
All medical professionals, including doctors, surgeons and nurses, owe their patients a duty of care. The duty of care requires them to provide their patients with the correct standard of care.
If the medical professional responsible for your care failed to meet the correct standard, and you experienced avoidable harm as a result, you may wonder whether you’re eligible to make a medical negligence claim.
In order to claim for medical or clinical negligence, you must prove the following:
- You were owed a duty of care by a medical professional.
- This duty of care was breached.
- You experienced avoidable or unnecessary harm as a result.
To discuss your specific case and find out whether you’re eligible to seek compensation for clinical negligence, call our team on the number above.
The time limit for medical negligence claims is set out in The Limitation Act 1980. It states you have three years to start your claim from the date a medical professional breached their duty of care and caused you avoidable or unnecessary harm. The three years could also begin from the date you became aware that the avoidable harm you experienced resulted from a medical professional providing substandard care.
However, there are exceptions that could apply. For example:
- A pause is placed on the time limit for those under the age of 18. Whilst the pause is in place, a suitable adult could apply to the courts to act as a litigation friend and start the claim on the child’s behalf. If this isn’t done by the time the child turns 18, they will have three years from this date to start their own claim.
- An indefinite pause is placed on the time limit for those who lack the mental capacity to start legal proceedings themselves. In this instance, a court-appointed litigation friend could begin the claim on their behalf. If the person recovers their capacity, the time limit will reinstate from the recovery date, provided no claim has already been made for them.
For more information on how long you have to seek medical negligence compensation, get in touch with our advisors today.
Below, we have provided some examples of how a patient could suffer avoidable harm in a medical setting:
- Misdiagnosis: You may visit the hospital with clear symptoms of a fracture. The doctor may arrange for you to have an X-ray but the scan isn’t looked at properly and your fracture is misdiagnosed as a sprain.
- Surgical negligence: During an operation to carry out surgical amputation, the surgeon may remove the wrong limb. This is known as wrong-site surgery.
- GP negligence: You may visit your GP with clear signs of a chest infection but they fail to refer you for further tests. This leads to your condition worsening and developing into pneumonia.
However, it’s important to note that not all instances of your condition deteriorating in a medical setting will form the basis of a valid medical negligence claim. You must prove that you suffered avoidable or unnecessary harm due to a medical professional providing care that fell below the correct standard.
To discuss your specific case, please call an advisor on the number above. An advisor can assess whether you’re eligible to continue with your clinical negligence claim.
When making a medical or clinical negligence claim, gathering evidence is important as it can demonstrate that you experienced avoidable harm due to substandard care being provided by a medical professional.
Some examples of the evidence you could gather include:
- Copies of your medical records. This can include a hospital discharge letter, copies of scans or other test results. It can also include the results of an independent medical assessment which may be organised for you to attend as part of the claims process.
- Witness contact details. For example, if you had a loved one with you during an appointment or consultation, they could be asked to provide a statement at a later date.
- Pictures of any visible harm.
Additionally, the Bolam Test may be carried out. This involves a panel of medical professionals, trained in a relevant field of medicine, assessing your case to determine whether the correct standard of care was provided. You won’t have to organise this yourself and whether it’s carried out is decided on a case-by-case basis.
If you have an eligible claim and wish to seek legal representation, you could benefit from working with one of our solicitors. They can guide you through the different stages of the medical negligence claims process and help you gather evidence to strengthen your case.
For more information about how they can assist you and whether you could have them work on your case, call an advisor on the number above.
After making a successful medical negligence claim, you could be awarded a payout comprising up to two heads of loss. The first, general damages, compensates for the pain and suffering caused by medical negligence.
When valuing general damages, solicitors can refer to the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). This publication lists a variety of different types of harm alongside guideline award brackets.
You can find some figures from the JCG in the table below. However, please only use them as a guide because claims are calculated on an individual basis. Also, other resources, such as your medical records, can also be used alongside the JCG when valuing this head of loss.
|Harm Type||Description||Amount - Guidelines|
|Brain Damage||Full-time care is needed.||£282,010 to £403,990|
|Kidney||Both kidneys will be either seriously and permanently damaged or completely lost.||£169,400 to £210,400|
|Bowels||Double incontinence with other medical complications.||Up to £184,200|
|Female Reproductive System||Infertility either caused by injury or disease. Alongside this is sexual dysfunction, severe depression and anxiety, pain and scarring. There are other significant medical complications such as following a failure to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy.||£114,900 to £170,280|
|Male Reproductive System||Complete loss of the reproductive organs.||In excess of £153,870|
|Bladder||Function and control are completely lost.||Up to £140,660|
|Spleen||The spleen is lost and there is an ongoing risk of internal infection and other disorders because of a damaged immune system.||£20,800 to £26,290|
Special Damages In Medical Negligence Claims
The second head of loss is called special damages which compensates for the financial losses incurred due to medical negligence. For example:
- Medical expenses.
- Care costs.
- Loss of earnings.
- Travel costs.
- The cost of adaptations to your home.
Evidence can help prove any losses, such as payslips, receipts and invoices.
For more information on how medical negligence compensation is calculated, please contact an advisor on the number above.
Our medical negligence solicitors offer their services under a type of No Win No Fee arrangement. There are several types but the one they offer is called a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA).
With this in place, you can access their services without the requirement of paying them anything upfront or as your claim progresses.
If your claim succeeds, your solicitor will take a success fee from your compensation. The success fee is taken as a percentage, but it does have a legal cap meaning you can keep the majority of your payout. Following an unsuccessful claim, you won’t pay this success fee.
Get in touch with us today if you have any other questions about medical negligence claims. Our advisors are available 24/7 to help you in any way they can. They can also value your claim, and may even be able to connect you with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors so you can begin the claims process, provided your case is valid.
To get in touch, you can:
For more of our medical or clinical negligence claim guides:
- Find out whether you could make a claim following a hospital infection and the steps you could take to seek compensation.
- Learn about the process of claiming following medical negligence in a private hospital and the compensation that could be awarded.
- Find out what steps you could take if your cancer misdiagnosed as kidney stones including whether you could claim compensation.
For more external resources:
- Information on how to raise a concern with the General Medical Council.
- An annual statistics report from NHS Resolution.
- Guidance on the NHS Constitution for England from GOV.UK.
Thank you for reading our guide on the steps involved in seeking compensation for medical negligence. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact an advisor on the number above.