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What Happens As Part Of The Medical Negligence Claims Process?

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.

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Introduction – What Is A Medical Negligence Claim?

In order to explain the medical negligence claim process properly, we need to address the question, what is a medical negligence claim? We all have to trust every medical professional involved in providing healthcare, to provide treatments and care in a safe way and keep us from harm through clinical negligence.

Unfortunately, medical negligence can take place if a healthcare professional deviates from professional standards and this causes harm to their patient that could have been avoided.

This guide will provide you with information about how to prove medical negligence, and subsequently how to proceed with a claim. If you have unanswered questions once you have read this guide, please feel free to contact us and speak to one of our expert advisors to get the answers that you need.

The Claims Deadline 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.

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.

If you require further clarification about proving that clinical negligence took place, you can call and speak with our claims team. One of our expert advisors will talk through your circumstances with you, and then let you know whether you may have a valid cause to claim, or not. Then offer you any additional advice you need about making a medical negligence claim.

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.

Statistics For Claims Against The NHS

The graph below, shows all new claims made against the National Health Service (NHS) for a 2020 to 2021 period. Data was taken from the annual report of the NHS Resolution Service.

statistical graph medical negligence

All New Claims 2020/21 Medical Negligence

What Could Stop Me From Making A Claim?

We have already talked about proving liability as part of the medical negligence claim process. Now, we need to talk about proving the extent of the harm you suffered. And this includes showing how your condition could have negatively impacted your life, or may do so in the future.

In order to facilitate this, you will be required to undergo a medical examination by an impartial doctor. Once this has been done, your lawyer can submit the resulting medical report as evidence for your claim. This will show how badly you were harmed, and how your life was impacted by your poor health.

We can arrange for a local medical professional to perform this examination for you. If you would like some help in organising this, please call and speak to one of our advisors.

How Do I Take Steps Towards 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 TypeHow Bad?Range of DamagesMore Information   
PelvisSevere£73,580 to £122,860A category that covers severe injuries to the pelvis. For example, crush injuries or multiple non-union fractures resulting in a significant loss of mobility.
NeckMinorUp to £7,410Injury which may have accelerated or exacerbated pre-existing conditions
AnkleModestUp to £12,900Injuries in this category will usually have symptoms such as; pain and discomfort, scarring, aching, loss of movement and a likely existence of osteoarthritis.
FootModestUp to £12,900A poorly healed metatarsal fracture that leaves the foot with a deformity.
NeckSevere£42,680 to £139,210A category of severe neck injuries. For example, fractured vertebrae, or damage to the spinal nerves.
IllnessSevere£36,060 to £49,270A 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.
IllnessSerious£8,950 to £18,020This would be a short but serious illness with painful and uncomfortable symptoms. There could be some residual health issues after a partial recovery.
IllnessDisabling pain£860 to £3,710A minor illness, with uncomfortable or painful symptoms, but recovery would be made quickly and completely.
IllnessSignificant discomfort£3,710 to £8,950A moderate illness, with painful symptoms that would last for some time. However, the sufferer would recover completely eventually.

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

If the medical negligence claim process is a success and you win your claim, you will either be awarded a settlement in court, or offered one out of court. In either scenario, your settlement is likely to be made up of at least several types of damages. Each of which will fit into one of the broader categories of special damages or general damages. Each of these is covered in a separate section below.

What Are General Damages?

General damages are paid to you to make up for trauma, pain, suffering, etc. All of the physical aspects of your situation. How badly you have suffered and for how long, will generally drive the level of damages you receive. Below, we have listed a few of the reasons you may wish to try and claim general damages.

  • Pain and suffering that were a result of your symptoms.
  • Any additional suffering you were put through due to your treatment. For example, if you had to undergo surgery.
  • Permanent disabilities, or long-term impairment of some kind.
  • Psychological harm such as stress, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder or depression.

What Are Special Damages?

Special damages, are paid to reimburse you for some form of monetary loss. This could be a loss you already faced, or a predicted loss sometime in the future. In order to successfully claim for loss already incurred, you will need to provide documented proof of the loss. You can submit bills, receipts, invoices, travel tickets, etc. Below, we have listed some of the types of losses you may need to claim for.

  • Lost wages/salary. If you had to take time off work to recover, and you did not receive your full income for this period.
  • The cost of any private medical treatment that you had to pay for out of your own pocket.
  • Ad-hoc expenses. These could relate to your medical condition such as travelling to receive treatment. Or they could relate to the claim itself, such as using a courier service to send documents to your solicitor.
  • Lowered earning potential. If, for example, you will not be able to work as effectively, or at all, in the future.

If you want to know what types of damages might be appropriate to seek in your own case, please call and speak to our advisors. Once you have told them a little about your claim, they can help you with this.

How Could A No Win No Fee Solicitor Help With The Medical Negligence Claims Process?

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.

Speak With Legal Expert To Begin Your Claim

Do you need more help and advice about the medical negligence claim process? Or do you believe you are ready to start a No Win No Fee medical negligence claim? Call us today using the info below, and our advisors can arrange a clinical negligence lawyer to help you.

Telephone: 0800 073 8804

Email: info@legalexpert.co.uk

Or use our web contact form.

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?

Guide By Wheeler

Edited By Melissa.

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