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The Process Of Medical Negligence Claims Explained

By Danielle Jordan. Last updated 20th April 2023. In this online guide, we are going to take a basic look at the medical negligence claim process. This guide will explain what medical negligence is, and how it can happen. We will look at how a medical professional or healthcare facility could be liable in a negligence claim if the standard of care they provided was below expected. We will also briefly touch on the financial aspects of the claims process.

Medical negligence claim process

Medical negligence claims process

Please keep in mind though, that we can’t hope to cover every set of circumstances that could lead to a claim in one guide. Your claim will be unique in some way. Therefore, we have made our claims team available 24 hours a day, every day of the week. You can contact our team and have any outstanding questions answered. An advisor can also tell you about how we could be able to provide you with a lawyer to help you make a claim. You can call us on 0800 073 8804, or use our website contact form to reach us.

Select A Section:

  1. What Are The Points Of Criteria To Meet For A Claim?
  2. How Could Medical Negligence Occur?
  3. Which Injuries Could Arise Or Worsen?
  4. What Is The Medical Negligence Claims Process?
  5. The Steps To Beginning The Medical Negligence Claims Process
  6. What Amount Of Compensation Could I Claim For?
  7. Differences Between General Damages And Special Damages
  8. No Win No Fee Solicitors For Medical Negligence Claims

What Are The Points Of Criteria To Meet For A Claim?

One of the first steps in the medical negligence claim process, is to actually prove that negligence took place. It will be up to you and your legal team to prove that you were harmed unnecessarily due to oversight, omission or mistake in some way. This is done using the Bolam test. Where a group of peers question whether the medic provided the right standard of care.

Every healthcare professional and medical facility has a duty of care not to cause avoidable harm through negligence. If a breach of duty of care does harm you, then a team of medical negligence claim solicitors may be able to secure compensation for you. A potentially valid claim would fulfil the following criteria.

  1. You were being treated by a medical professional who had a duty of care towards you. This could be any medical professional involved in your treatment, not simply your primary doctor.
  2. The medical professional breached the duty of care in some way, and this resulted in you suffering harm.
  3. Had the medical professional upheld the duty of care, you would not have suffered either harm or financial loss.

Time Limits For Claiming Explained

There will be a medical negligence claims time limit that you are going to have to start your claim within. It will not matter how long it takes to process your claim, as long as it is begun within this deadline. In general, a claims time limit of three years from the date of knowledge exists in the UK. Date of knowledge refers to the date that you came to learn that you had been harmed. This might be the date that you were harmed in an accident, or the date that you were diagnosed with a medical condition caused by negligence.

Other factors can come into play that might affect the general three-year claims time limit. For example, if you are affected by the Mental Health Act 1983. Or if you are considered a minor (under the age of 18). To learn exactly which claims deadline will apply, based on your own situation, call and speak to one of our claims experts today.

The medical negligence claim process could be followed, if you have come to harm, due to the negligent acts of a medical professional or healthcare provider. If negligence can be proven, a solicitor may be able to process a claim for you.

How Could Medical Negligence Occur?

Now we have explained the duty of care, it is time to look at how the medical negligence claim process begins. There are different ways medical negligence could potentially occur. Below, we have listed a few examples.

In each of these examples, if you could successfully prove that negligence took place, you may be in a position to make a compensation claim. If you need further help, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our claims team for assistance.

Which Injuries Could Arise Or Worsen?

In the previous section, we explained how an act of negligence is the catalyst for the medical negligence claim process starting. However, it isn’t just fresh injuries or medical conditions that can be caused by negligence. A mistake could exacerbate an existing condition as well. Below are some examples of the types of harm that negligence could cause you.

  • Due to a blood test negligence, a potentially catastrophic illness such as cancer is misdiagnosed for some time.
  • An injury caused by an accident could be wrongfully diagnosed. For example, a fracture is mistaken for a sprain.
  • A baby could suffer a birth injury due to a mistake made by a midwife during the birthing process.

As we can see, the ways that clinical negligence could harm you are wide-ranging. If you are unsure whether the harm you suffered was caused by negligence, please call and speak to our claims team. They will be able to help you with this.

What Is The Medical Negligence Claims Process?

We have already looked at how the medical negligence claim process begins, and how proving negligence is a fundamental step. Now it is time to look at the process more broadly. Below, we briefly cover the basic process for pursuing a claim.

Firstly, you can contact our claims team. One of our advisors will talk through the claims procedure with you. They will evaluate your claim and let you know whether it is potentially valid or not.

A solicitor could offer to begin processing your claim for you if it is valid. It is not compulsory to have a solicitor represent your case but with the complexities of medical negligence hiring one is highly recommended. Your solicitor will help you to prepare evidence and proof (more on this in a later section), as well as handle legal requirements such as submitting a letter of claim to the defendant.

If the defendant does not refute your claim, you may be offered an out of court settlement, and your solicitor will talk you through this if it happens. Alternatively, your claim may need to go to court for a ruling. Your solicitor will be able to represent you.

Who Would The Defendant Be?

As part of the medical negligence claim process, your solicitor will identify the defendant that the claim will be pursued against. This could be either the relevant NHS Trust, or a private hospital or healthcare provider.

To find out who you would need to direct your claim to why not call our advisors. They will provide free legal advice. There is no obligation you can just ask questions to further your knowledge but they will offer to assess your case for free.

The Steps To Beginning The Medical Negligence Claims Process

We can help you with the medical negligence claim process. One of our expert clinical negligence lawyers will be able to assist you every step of the way. Our claims procedure is very straightforward. All you have to do is follow the three steps below.

  1. Call and speak to a member of our claims team. They will answer any questions you have about making a claim. They will also give you critical information such as the claim deadline that will apply.
  2. One of our expert claim advisors will evaluate your claim for you. They can tell you if you have valid grounds for claiming, and whether you have a chance of getting compensation.
  3. An expert medical negligence solicitor will begin processing a claim on your behalf. Assisting you with things like valuing your claim and helping you correlate evidence.

What Amount Of Compensation Could I Claim For?

If the medical negligence claim process is successful, you will receive a compensation settlement. We cannot, unfortunately, provide you with an average medical negligence claim amount. This is because each claim is unique in some way that will have an impact on the level of compensation won.

What we have done, is provide you with the table below, to demonstrate compensation award brackets. We based this table on data taken from guidelines that are produced by the Judicial College. These guidelines are used by the legal system to value injuries and illnesses.

Injury Type How Bad? Range of Damages More Information
Neck Severe £45,470 to £148,330 A category of severe neck injuries. For example, fractured vertebrae, or damage to the spinal nerves.
Neck Minor Up to £7,890 Injury which may have accelerated or exacerbated pre-existing conditions
Pelvis Severe (i) £78,400 to £130,930 A category that covers severe injuries to the pelvis. For example, crush injuries or multiple non-union fractures resulting in a significant loss of mobility.
Illness Severe (i) £38,430 to £52,500 A severe illness with painful symptoms. The illness would be fairly long-lasting, with a potential impact on the life of the sufferer in the long term.
Illness Serious (ii) £9,540 to £19,200 This would be a short but serious illness with painful and uncomfortable symptoms. There could be some residual health issues after a partial recovery.
Illness Significant discomfort (iii) £3,950 to £9,540 A moderate illness, with painful symptoms that would last for some time. However, the sufferer would recover completely eventually.
Illness Disabling pain (iv) £910 to £3,950 A minor illness, with uncomfortable or painful symptoms, but recovery would be made quickly and completely.
Ankle Modest Up to £13,740 Injuries in this category will usually have symptoms such as; pain and discomfort, scarring, aching, loss of movement and a likely existence of osteoarthritis.
Foot Modest Up to £13,740 A poorly healed metatarsal fracture that leaves the foot with a deformity.

You may also like to try using our compensation calculator to get a rough estimate of the level of damages you might receive, if you win your claim. Alternatively, for a much more accurate valuation of your claim, we can arrange for a solicitor to evaluate it for you. If you would like us to do this, call and speak to our team of advisors today.

Differences Between General Damages And Special Damages

Compensation settlements for successful claims for medical negligence may consist of general and special damages. General damages compensate you for the medical negligence. In the previous section, we provided a list of compensation guidelines for various injuries taken from the JCG.

Special damages compensate you for the financial losses and expenses incurred due to the unnecessary harm you suffered. Examples of financial losses you could be compensated for under special damages include:

  •  Loss of earnings if you’ve required time off work.
  • Medical expenses. For example, the costs of prescriptions.
  • Care costs if you’ve required a carer to help you cope with your daily life.
  • Travel expenses. For example, if you need to take taxis to and from medical appointments.

However, to be able to claim special damages, you will need to provide proof of your financial losses, such as receipts or payslips.

Contact our advisors to learn more about the process of medical negligence claims. They can also assess the eligibility of your particular claim, and if it seems valid, you could be put in touch with one of our medical negligence claims solicitors.

No Win No Fee Solicitors For Medical Negligence Claims

You may be able to use a No Win No Fee solicitor to help you through the medical negligence claim process. A No Win No Fee agreement, also known as a conditional fee agreement, would mean you can start a claim without  paying any upfront or ongoing fees to your lawyer. Also, if the claim is unsuccessful, you won’t need to pay your lawyer a fee.

However, if the claim is won, your lawyer is likely to ask to be paid a success fee, that is limited by law. It can be taken from the compensation payment the lawyer was sent on your behalf. Our claims team can give you more information about making a claim using a No Win No Fee solicitor, if you get in touch.

To speak with one of our advisors about No Win No Fee solicitors or other matters regarding medical negligence claims, you can use the following methods:

Further Information On The Medical Negligence Claims Process

Here are some links to websites with information you might like to check over.

Clinical Negligence In The NHS – Citizens Advice Taking Legal Action

Time Limitation Act 1980 – Sets time limits for starting claims.

How To Complain To The NHS

Here are links to other guides you might like to check through.

Psychological Injury Claims – How Much Compensation Could I Be Entitled To?

How Much Compensation Can I Claim For Care Home Negligence or Injury?

Can I Claim Against A Doctor Or GP For Negligence?

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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.

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