How To Prove Medical Negligence In A Compensation Case
By Emily Jones. Last Updated 20th April 2023. On this page, you will find advice and information on how to prove medical negligence, and on the process of making a compensation claim once clinical negligence is proven. There is a personal injury claims time limit of three years, so as long as you are within this limit, this guide will be of use to you.
If you don’t have the time to read all of this guide, then you can contact Legal Expert on 0800 073 8804, and we will do our very best to answer any questions you may have, and get your clinical negligence claim started.
Select a Section:
- What Is Medical Negligence?
- What Evidence Do You Need For Medical Negligence Claims?
- Medical Negligence Claims And Proving Them
- What Steps Can You Take To Prove Medical Negligence?
- Medical Negligence Breach Of Duty Of Care
- What Can I Claim After Proving Medical Negligence?
- Examples Of Medical Negligence Payouts
- No Win No Fee Medical Negligence Claims
- Useful Links On How To Prove Medical Negligence
What Is Medical Negligence?
Here, we are going to try and give a good definition of medical negligence, and how it happens. This is vital information for making medical negligence claims. It will also help you see how to prove medical negligence. Clinical negligence revolves around a breach of duty of care (more on this below) by a medical professional.
Every medical professional including nursing and care staff are expected never to do anything that could lead to a patient under their care coming to harm in some way. This harm could be physical, or it could be psychological. When a patient comes to harm in this way, clinical negligence will be deemed to have occurred. Medical negligence can happen in a number of ways, such as:
- Oversight – for example, failing to notice a new medical condition a patient has contracted.
- Mistake – for example, prescribing the wrong medication.
- Omission – for example, failing to provide a patient with the correct treatment.
- Accident – for example, an accident during a surgical procedure which causes physical damage to the patient.
What Evidence Do You Need For Medical Negligence Claims?
To prove a medical negligence case, evidence would have been submitted to prove clinical negligence took place. Evidence needed to prove medical negligence Includes:
- A full statement from the patient who suffered due to the clinical negligence of how it occurred, and the harm it caused them.
- The medical records of the patient, which can be used as a basis for uncovering the key facts of how the negligence harmed the patient.
- Photographs or video footage that show the harm caused, and potentially the external factors that caused the harm.
- Witness statements provided by any third party that has relevant information.
Legal Expert can arrange for you to receive a local medical examination, the results of which can be submitted as evidence in your clinical negligence claim case. Call us at the number at the end of this guide to find out how to arrange this.
Medical Negligence Claims And Proving Them
Now we will look specifically at how to prove medical negligence. When it comes to proving medical negligence UK solicitors will need to prove that a number of conditions were true. These conditions relate to the duty of care medical negligence cases typical display including:
- The medical professional involved had a clear duty of care towards the victim.
- The medical professional involved failed in their duty of care in some way, causing harm to the patient.
- The medical professional involved could have avoided harming the patient if they had not failed in their duty of care.
- The harm to the patient has resulted in physical damage, financial losses, etc. that will form the basis of the compensation claim.
Legal Expert can offer more advice on proving liability in medical negligence cases, once we know a little more about your own case. Call us on the number down at the end of this guide so we can learn about your case and advise you on the best way to prove negligence took place.
What Steps Can You Take To Prove Medical Negligence?
Now you have seen how to prove medical negligence, what steps can you take? There are a number of ways that you can help your personal injury solicitor to prove medical negligence took place. Information is the key here, the more information that supports your claim, the better chance you have of winning a compensation payment. This information includes both details of the clinical negligence itself, as well as the effect it has had on your life.
Keeping any receipts that relate to costs that you have injured due to the injury or illness that was caused by clinical negligence is also important, as these will be used to work out how much you will seek in special damages. Examples of this include:
- Travel costs – to heave the injury or illness treated.
- Loss of earnings – if you had to take time away from work due to the injury or illness.
- Medical fees – if you have had to pay out of your own pocket for any treatment of the injury or illness.
- Ad-hoc costs – such as buying special equipment to help you while you were suffering from the injury or illness (crutches, braces, etc.).
In a later section of this guide, we will cover the types of financial losses and physical damages you may be able to claim for in your own clinical negligence case.
Legal Expert will be able to give you a better idea of what you can claim for once we know a little more about your case. Give us a call on the telephone number at the end of this guide to proceed with this.
Medical Negligence Breach Of Duty Of Care
To begin medical negligence cases, the claimant will need to prove that a medical professional had failed in their duty of care in some way, causing harm to the patient. As outlined in the medical negligence definition section at the top of this page.
Every medical professional is expected to use proper care in the disbursement of their duties towards their patients. This legal requirement is termed the “duty of care”, and it applies in every relationship between a patient and a doctor, nurse, specialist, surgeon, GP or member of the care staff of a hospital. When this duty of care fails, then this will be deemed to have been negligent on the part of the medical professional.
There is a grey area though. A failure in the duty of care does not automatically trigger the patients’ rights to make a compensation claim. The patient must prove that the failure in duty of care directly led to their worsened health, and not the medical condition they were being treated for.
Proving liability in a clinical negligence case can be a complex proposition and one that Legal Expert can assist you with. Call us on the telephone number down at the bottom of this page to learn how we can help. You can also learn more about the General Medical Council complaints procedure here.
What Can I Claim After Proving Medical Negligence?
When you make a personal injury claim for medical negligence, if you are successful in your claim, then the compensation you receive will be made up of a number of different types of damage pertaining to the pain and suffering of the injury and illness, as well as any financial losses you have faced due to the injury or illness. Typical damages that your overall settlement include are:
Claiming General Damages
Under the category of general damages, we find all the purely physical aspects of the injury or illness as well as its treatment and long-term prognosis, general damages can include, but are not limited to:
- A permanent change in life quality – if for example, your injury or illness has resulted in a permanent disability that will lower the quality of your life.
- Long-term recovery effects – during a long recovery period, if you are in constant pain and suffering, then you can claim compensation for this.
- Psychological damage – if your injury or illness has resulted in you contracting additional psychological problems such as new phobias, depression and anxiety you will be able to claim for them.
- Pain and suffering – caused by the initial injury or illness and also caused by the initial treatment you received. For example, if you slipped and broke a leg, there would be pain associated with both the accident itself and having your leg treated.
Claiming Special Damages
Under the category of general damages, we find all the purely non-physical aspects of the injury or illness. Primarily this will relate to financial losses the claimant has occurred, but it could also relate to ad-hoc damages such as missing the wedding of a child, an event that will never be repeated. However, typically under general damages, we find the following types of losses being compensated:
- Loss of future earning potential – if the long-term or permanent prognosis for recovery from the illness or injury is that you will have a reduced capacity to work.
- Loss of current earnings – if you have had to take an extended period away from work while the illness or injury heals, and you have lost out on income.
- Medical costs – if you have to pay for some type of medical care as a result of the injury or illness, you may be able to claim these costs back.
- Care costs – if you have had to employ somebody to help you around the house, or to provide medical care at home, then you can claim these costs back.
- Travel costs – to reimburse you for any travel you had to undertake to get the injury or illness treated or in regard to the claims case itself.
Examples Of Medical Negligence Payouts
When making medical negligence claims, the amount of compensation you could receive depends heavily on what type of injuries you’re claiming for and how severe they are. You can view the table below to see compensation brackets for different injuries you may claim for as part of your claim under general damages:
|Illness/Damage Resulting from Non-traumatic Injury||(i) Severe||£38,430 to £52,500|
|Illness/Damage Resulting from Non-traumatic Injury||(ii) Serious But Short-Lived||£9,540 to £19,200|
|Illness/Damage Resulting from Non-traumatic Injury||(iii) Significant Discomfort For A Few Weeks||£3,950 to £9,540|
|Illness/Damage Resulting from Non-traumatic Injury||(iv) Disabling Pain For Some Days Or Weeks||£910 to £3,950|
|Mental Anguish||Fear Of Impending Death/Reduction In Expectation Of Life||£4,670|
|Psychiatric Damage Generally||Severe||£54,830 to £115,730|
|Psychiatric Damage Generally||Moderately Severe||£19,070 to £54,830|
|Psychiatric Damage Generally||Moderate||£5,860 to £19,070|
|Psychiatric Damage Generally||Less Severe||£1,540 to £5,860|
The compensation brackets featured in the table are taken from figures provided by the latest Judicial College guidelines. The brackets are based on payouts given out in past compensation claims. Solicitors working on a medical negligence claim may use these brackets as guidance to work out the value of injuries.
The brackets do not guarantee the amount of compensation you’ll receive when making your own claim. They can, however, at least give you an indicator of the general amount that may be offered depending on what exact injuries you’re claiming for.
No Win No Fee Medical Negligence Claims
During the medical negligence claims process, you may choose to work with a solicitor. If you decide you would like to work with a solicitor for your particular claim, one of our solicitors could help you. They have years of experience handling various types of medical negligence compensation claims. Additionally, one may also offer to work with you on a No Win No Fee basis under the terms of a Conditional Fee Agreement.
When working with a solicitor under this arrangement, you will not be expected to pay them any upfront or ongoing fees for their services. If your claim is successful, your solicitor will take a percentage of your compensation as a success fee. The percentage that they can take is capped by law. Alternatively, if you have an unsuccessful claim, there will usually be no expectation for you to pay your solicitor for the work they have done on your medical negligence claim.
For further information about No Win No Fee claims for medical negligence, please speak to our team of advisors, who can help to explain this process further. They are available 24/7 to offer you free advice and answer any questions.
Contact our advisors today by:
Useful Links On How To Prove Medical Negligence
If you want to claim misdiagnosis compensation contact our experts today for free legal advice.
At the link below, you will find statistics for cases of medical negligence in the UK published by the Department of Health:
At the link below, you will find a full and detailed guide to making compensation claims for medical negligence:
At the link below, you will find a full and detailed guide to making compensation claims for hospital infections:
At the link below, you will find UK Government information about fixed cost clinical negligence claims:
At the link below you can find out more about Clinical Negligence Scheme for General Practice:
Thank you for reading our guide on how to prove medical negligence.