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How To Make A Successful Claim Against The NHS – A Online Guide To Sue The NHS For Negligence Compensation

By Danielle Jordan. Last Updated 12th January 2023. In this guide, we look at what it takes to make successful claims against the NHS. We will be giving a long-form answer to the question, can I make a claim against the NHS? This guide covers the process of suing the NHS, and why you may be in a position to do so.

Each negligence claim has its own unique aspects. What this means, is that even though this guide is fairly comprehensive, it may not answer all of your questions. If this is the case, please call our claims team on 0800 073 8804 and they can help you. A claim advisor will answer any questions you may have, talk you through our new claims process, and provide you with free legal advice on how best to move forward with your claim.

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A Guide To Successful Claims Against The NHS

This online guide looks at claims against the NHS, and tries to explain how to sue the NHS if you have a valid cause to make a claim. We will cover many of the legal aspects, as well as the financial aspects of a claim. We begin by giving a top-level overview of what a claim against the NHS is.

NHS medical negligence claims guideThe next part of this guide relates to some of the legal considerations when making a negligence claim against the NHS. We define the duty of care that every NHS facility and member of staff that works for the NHS must uphold. You will find a section that discusses how to prove that the NHS was at fault. We have also covered three specific kinds of claims; claims against a GP, against a hospital, and against an NHS Trust. Lastly, we look into the concept of eligibility to claim in a little more depth.

The last part of this guide relates to some of the financial considerations of making a claim. We have included a table, that is based on the judicial guidelines used by the legal system in England, that provides information about possible compensation ranges you could be able to claim. We have also added a list of some of the commonly seen types of damages that a compensation settlement might include. Finally, we cover No Win No Fee claims. What they are, how they work, and why they can be a good option for some people.

If you have questions about the contents of this guide, your own claim, or the process of making a personal injury claim for NHS negligence, please call our team on the number at the end of the page. One of our claim advisors will evaluate your claim for you, answer your questions, and also arrange for a personal injury lawyer to begin processing your claim if you wish.

What Are Claims Against The NHS?

Claims against the NHS can be bought against any healthcare unit. This could be a claim against a hospital run by the NHS, claims against an NHS dentist, a claim against a GP employed by the NHS, etc.

Under the NHS Constitution, all patients have specific rights related to the way they can expect to be treated, and importantly in relation to this guide, how the NHS handles and responds to negligence complaints.

There is a clearly defined process for making complaints against an NHS facility or a representative of the NHS such as a doctor. Claims start with an official complaint related to negligence.

If you have been harmed by the actions of somebody working for the NHS, then you will need to prove that negligence took place in order for your claim to be valid. We can help you with this, if you call our claims team and speak to one of our claim advisors, they will explain how.

What Is The NHS Duty Of Care To Patients?

When it comes to proving that NHS negligence took place, in order to pursue a compensation claim for medical negligence, then the victim must be able to demonstrate that the duty of care had been breached. A basic definition of such a breach could be:

  1. A patient was harmed by a medical professional.
  2. The medical professional had a duty of care towards the patient.
  3. The harm was avoidable, had alternative action been taken.

Or to put this another way, every medical professional has a duty to never cause harm to a patient unnecessarily. When a doctor, nurse, GP, dentist, pharmacist or any other medical professional involved in primary or secondary care does cause avoidable harm to a patient, then it could be deemed that negligence took place. In such cases, we could be able to help you to claim for the harm you have suffered. Call our claims team to learn more.

Medical Negligence Claims – What Makes A Valid Claim?

If you have evidence of medical negligence, a claim against the NHS could be possible. To succeed, you must be able to prove that medical malpractice occurred due to a breach of the duty of care owed to you by the healthcare professional. To establish this, evidence is required. In addition, you must also be able to prove that you suffered unnecessary harm as a direct result of this breach.

Examples of evidence that’s useful in medical negligence claims include:

  • X-rays and scans. For example, if a fracture was missed due to a misread X-ray.
  • Known allergies on your medical records. For example, if you are allergic to a particular antibiotic, this should be recorded in your medical records. If you were then prescribed this antibiotic and suffered harm, you may have a valid claim.
  • Symptom diary. For example, this could document what impact the harm suffered is having on your lifestyle, including your ability to look after yourself and family members, and your social and work life.
  • Letters or emails from the hospital or healthcare facility in relation to the incident.

If you need any help or support gathering evidence, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our team of advisers are specialists in medical negligence claims. If they feel you have a chance of recovering compensation, they can even offer to connect you with an expert No Win No Fee solicitor.

Successful Claims Against An NHS GP

Your GP is the gatekeeper to the rest of the NHS. They are tasked with making an initial diagnosis and then providing treatment, or referring the patient on to the correct healthcare unit.

When a GP makes a mistake, such as a late or misdiagnosis, this can have serious ramifications on the health of the patient. Meaning they either go without treatment, or receive the wrong treatment. In such cases, it could be possible to bring a medical negligence claim against the NHS, due to GP negligence. You can speak to our claims team to learn whether your GP may be liable or not, in your own circumstances.

Successful Claims Against A NHS Hospital

There are many ways that negligence can occur in a hospital, that could result in a patient being eligible to claim for medical malpractice. As examples of this:

  • Pharmaceutical errors, whereby a patient receives the wrong medication or the wrong dose when medication is administered.
  • Surgical errors, where a surgeon begins operating on the wrong part of the body.
  • Cross infections, due to bad hygiene on a hospital ward.
  • Late or misdiagnosis of a serious illness such as cancer, which results in the patient’s health suffering considerably.

In cases such as these, if you can prove that negligence took place, you may be able to make a claim for the harm you suffered. Tall to our claims team to learn more.

Successful Claims Against An NHS Trust Or CCG

Part of the answer to the question, how much does the NHS spend on negligence claims? Is that each local NHS Trust of Clinical Commissioning Group is responsible for all of the healthcare facilities that fall within its catchment area.

Next, please look at how people could make a successful compensation claim against either an NHS Trust or Clinical Commissioning Group which may be responsible for the care provided at a hospital. Liability may lay with the trust or CCG, rather than directly with the hospital.

Therefore, when a negligence complaint and subsequent claim is made against one of the healthcare facilities that the Trust or Group is responsible for, it is ultimately the Trust or Group that will pay the compensation. Compensation payments do not come out of the budget of individual hospitals, clinics, etc.

Who Could Make A Successful Claim Against The NHS?

When it comes to making personal injury claims for negligence against the NHS, there are a number of different legal entities that may be able to pursue a claim. For example:

  • A patient who has suffered physical or psychological harm.
  • The litigation friend of a person under the age of 18, or a person who is unable to make their own claim due to incapacitation.
  • The dependants of a patient who has died.
  • The immediate family of a patient who has died.
  • The estate of a patient who has died.

If you are unsure whether you can make a claim yourself, either for the harm you suffered or on behalf of a third party, please speak to our claims team to find out.

What Are The Time Limits For Potential Claims Against The NHS?

You may wonder ‘what are the time limits for claims against the NHS?’. When making a medical negligence claim, you must generally start your claim within three years.

As per the Limitation Act 1980, the three years can start from the date of the incident or the date you became aware of medical negligence.

This time limit does not apply to people harmed while they were under the age of 18, or to people who lack the mental capacity to make a claim for themselves. In these circumstances, the time limit is paused. During this time, an appointed litigation friend can act on their behalf and make the claim for them.

Alternatively, if no claim is made on behalf of the child by the time they turn 18, they will have until they are 21 to start their own claim. Similarly, if no claim is made on behalf of the person who lacks the mental capacity to claim and they recover, they will have three years from the date of recovery to start their own claim.

If you have any other questions, such as ‘what compensation would be awarded in successful claims against the NHS?’ or about the time limits, please get in touch on the number above.

Calculating Compensation For Claims Against The NHS

You may be able to find some kind of online personal injury claims calculator to get a rough idea of how much you could be able to claim due to clinical negligence. You can also use the table below to look up your injury and discover the range of compensation that may be applicable. This table was created by using the judicial guidelines that the legal system in England uses to value claims when a court decision is needed.

Injured head/brainModerate (i)£150,110 to £219,070Injuries that cause an impairment of cognitive function, memory issues, or a change of personality. The symptoms will be slight but they will mean that employment is unlikely.
Injured legModerate£27,760 to £39,200Multiple of compound fractures to a single limb. Crush injures and all injuries that could be treated with surgery. There could be some impact on the life of the victim, such as an impaired ability to work.
Injured backModerate (i)£27,760 to £38,780Injuries such as a compression or crush injury. Damage to the lumbar vertebrae, with a risk of arthritis of other conditions in the future. Damage to the discs of the spine, resulting in continuous pain. All injuries that have been corrected using surgery to some extent.
Injured neckModerate (i)£24,990 to
(Injuries such as a compression or crush injury. Damage to the lumbar vertebrae, with a risk of arthritis of other conditions in the future. Damage to the discs of the spine, resulting in continuous pain. All injuries that have been corrected using surgery to some extent.
Injured footModerate£13,740 to £24,990Injuries that result in a deformed foot, meaning that normal shoes cannot be worn and the gait is affected. An example being a displaced metatarsal fracture. There may be ongoing symptoms or minor impairment.
Psychological damageModerate£5,860 to £19,070Psychological issues such as depression, new phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder or anxiety. This would last for the medium-term.
Injured handModerate£5,720 to £13,280Injuries such as deep penetrating wounds, crush injuries, all kinds of cuts and lacerations, soft-tissue injuries and also fractures. This would also include injuries that have been operated on and have improved. Some injuries could result in a permanent impairment that has little effect on the life of the victim.
Injured elbowModerateUp to £12,590Injuries such as tennis elbow, as well as all kinds of simple fractures, as well as lacerations, burns and other flesh injuries. All soft tissue injuries and other injuries that will heal fully with no ongoing impairment.
Injured digestive system (non-traumatic injuries)Moderate£3,950 to
An illness such as food poisoning that results in symptoms such as nausea, sickness, vomiting, fever or stomach cramps. Recovery would be within 2 years.

If you want a more accurate estimate of the level of compensation you may be able to claim, a personal injury solicitor will have to value your claim for you. First, you will need to undergo an impartial medical examination, to prove how bad your injuries are/were and whether there will be any long-term or permanent symptoms or impairment.

Special Damages Which You Make Be Eligible To Claim

When a medical negligence lawyer is successful in processing your claim for you, you will either be offered an out of court settlement, or the claim will go to court for a decision. Either way, the overall settlement that you receive will consist of a number of different kinds of damages, such as:

  • General damages:
    • Psychological injuries that could include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, new phobias, anxiety, etc.
    • An impairment or some kind of permanent disability that will lower your life quality.
    • Short term shock and mental trauma.
    • Long-term recovery, possibly requiring painful treatment.
    • Pain and suffering that occurred before medical treatment was administered.
  • Special damages:
    • Private medical costs if you had to pay for any private treatment the NHS could not provide.
    • Loss of long-term earning potential due to a reduced ability to work in the future, or possibly not being able to work at all.
    • Loss of income if you had to take time off work and lost out on your income, either in full or partially.
    • The cost of hiring a nurse to take care of you at home.
    • Travel costs if you had to travel to deal with your claim, or to receive treatment.

If you would like more information about the kinds of damages you may be able to claim based on your own unique circumstances, please call our claims team today. A claim advisor will go through your claim with you, and once they have enough information, they can tell you what kinds of damages might be applicable in your own case.

Successful No Win No Fee Claims Against The NHS

The term No Win No Fee, relates to a lawyer deferring their legal fees until such time as a claim has been a success. The percentage that the lawyer will take is pre-agreed before they start working on the claim, and they will not collect this percentage until they have received a compensation payment for you.

Put simply, you don’t pay any solicitors fees if you don’t win your claim. The solicitor won’t collect any kind of new claims fee. And no matter how long it takes to process your claim, they won’t ask you to pay ongoing legal fees. If your claim fails and you don’t get any compensation at all, the solicitor won’t expect to be paid their fee.

As you can see, this is a way to have your claim processed, whilst mitigating many of the financial risks associated with making a claim in the traditional, self-funded manner. Speak to our claims team for more information, and to find out how we can help you to proceed with your claim.

Why Choose Legal Expert?

We operate what we believe is a very simple and straightforward new claims process. All you need to do to get your claim underway is follow the three steps below.

  1. Call our claims team on the number below. They will answer any questions you have, such as how long does it take to make a claim against NHS? They will also provide you with pertinent information, such as the personal injury claims time limit that will apply in your own case.
  2. A claim advisor will go over the details of your claim with you, and then once they know enough, they will evaluate your claim and let you know whether it is valid or not.
  3. We can arrange for a specialist accident and injury solicitor to process your NHS negligence claim for you. They will do all they can to ensure your claim is a success, and that you receive the maximum level of compensation possible.

Any time you want an update on the status of your claim, or want to know about what we have been doing on your behalf, you just need to give our claims team a call. They will use plant and simple English, with no legal jargon, so that you understand exactly what is going on with your claim.

Start A Claim Against The NHS

Have you been harmed by the negligent actions of a medical professional? Do you think that you could have a valid basis for making a compensation claim for the harm you have suffered? If so, please contact our claims team today on 0800 073 8804. One of our expert claim advisors will discuss your claim with you, inform you what your legal options are, and the arrange of one of our panel of medical negligence solicitors to process your claim for you.

Where Can I Find Out More?

All of these external links below could contain some useful, relevant information:

UK Government Information About The NHS Constitution

How To Make A Complaint Against The NHS

2019/2020 NHS Annual Report

You could also take a look over these other guides you can find on this site:

How To Make A Claim For An Accident At Work As An NHS Employee

A Guide To NHS Negligence Claims

How To Make A Claim Against The NHS

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    • Patrick Mallon

      Patrick is a Grade A solicitor having qualified in 2005. He's an an expert in accident at work and public liability claims and is currently our head of the EL/PL department. Get in touch today for free to see how we can help you.