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How Hard Is It To Prove Medical Negligence?

In this guide, we’ll look at answering the question, “how hard is it to prove medical negligence?”. When you seek medical attention, you’re entitled to a minimum standard of care. This is the same whether you’re visiting A&E, making an appointment at your GP or visiting a dentist.

Proving medical negligence

Proving medical negligence

If this minimum standard of care is not administered, then this is an example of medical negligence. And if negligence in a medical setting has negatively impacted your health, then you may be able to pursue a compensation claim.

In order to claim, you’d need to demonstrate that negligence on the part of a medical professional caused your illness, injury or a worsening of your condition.

Our claims team is available day and night, 7 days a week. They’re available to offer free legal advice and may be able to connect you with a solicitor to work on your claim. You can get in touch by:

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A Guide – How Hard Is It To Prove Medical Negligence?

Some clinical or medical negligence claims can be the hardest types of cases to resolve. This is because these cases combine the areas of medicine and law.

This guide will assess how hard it is to prove medical negligence. Evidence is a key part of any claim, and medical negligence claims are no different.

We start this guide by looking at what exactly medical negligence is and how it could occur. You may be wondering what kind of evidence you could use to support a claim; this guide will explain how you could prove that medical negligence has occurred, causing you harm.

In addition to this, we’ll look at the amount of compensation you could receive in a claim for medical negligence. As well as this, we’ll outline the steps you could take if you’ve been harmed by medical negligence.

This guide will conclude with some advice on how to get a claim started. For example, we’ll explain how a No Win No Fee agreement works. We’ve also provided some useful links for your reference.

Time Limits To Start Your Claim

There is a medical negligence claims time limit that you will have to meet. You must start your medical negligence claim within this deadline. As long as you do this, it won’t matter how long it takes to reach a resolution to your claim.

The general time limit for claims in the UK is three years. However, other factors can have a direct effect on the time limit. For example, if the claimant doesn’t have the mental capacity to claim, a litigation friend can do this for them. The time limit is suspended for as long as they’re not capable of claiming.

For more information on the time limits that apply to starting the claim, speak to an advisor from our team today.

The Criteria For A Medical Negligence Claim

How hard is it to prove medical negligence? To start answering this question, we need to look at the criteria for making a compensation claim for clinical negligence.

In order to claim, you need to demonstrate that your health has been affected as a result of negligence. For example, a mistake during surgery could injure you and lead to a need for further treatment that wouldn’t have otherwise been necessary.

Medical negligence will not always result in you developing a new condition or injury. In some cases, it may just mean that your condition worsens past the point that it would have if you’d gotten the right level of care.

For example, you may be suffering from a condition that was initially misdiagnosed. This could mean that the condition gets worse than it otherwise would. If the misdiagnosis occurred because of negligence, then you may be able to claim.

The section below will cover the duty of care you are owed, and how a breach of duty could cause you harm or loss. You can also get in touch with our team for free legal advice about your eligibility to claim.

What Is Medical Negligence?

As we’ve already mentioned, you’re entitled to a minimum standard of care when you seek medical attention. When this level of care isn’t delivered, this could cause you harm. This is medical negligence.

A doctor’s duty of care towards you is outlined by the General Medical Council. They’ve outlined the duties of a doctor that is registered with them. Other areas of medicine also have their own regulatory bodies, such as dentists being regulated by the General Dental Council.

Importantly, medical negligence is not just another term for a mistake made during medical treatment. It’s possible for complications to arise even when the right level of care is being delivered.

For example, you might have a condition and seek medical attention for it to be diagnosed. However, you might not be exhibiting the usual symptoms of the condition; this might mean that your doctor could not be expected to have diagnosed your condition.

Please call and speak to one of our claim advisors if you have any more questions about claiming. They will be able to help you further.

Explaining How Medical Negligence Could Happen

In this section, we will look at how medical negligence could happen. The list we have included below is not exhaustive, and there are some ways that medical negligence could occur that we have not mentioned below:

  • Surgical errors. For example, this might involve the wrong site being operated on, a foreign object being left in the body, or injury occurring during the operation that could have been avoided.
  • Lack of informed consent. Informed consent is an important aspect of medical care. If you weren’t given enough information to make an informed decision about the treatment you underwent, then this could be an example of medical negligence.
  • Pharmaceutical errors. For example, you’ve been prescribed the wrong medication for your condition, or you’re given medicine that you’re allergic to.
  • Missed or delayed diagnosis. This could happen because your doctor failed to pay attention to your symptoms or neglected to order the correct test (for example, a blood test) to be carried out. This might cause delayed treatment.

Call our team of advisors for more information about how hard it is to prove medical negligence. They’re available to offer you free legal advice about making a claim.

How Hard Is It To Prove Medical Negligence?

In order to claim that medical negligence occurred, resulting in your injuries, you’ll need to provide evidence. For example, you might provide medical records to show the additional appointments or treatment that you have had to undergo. You might also want to show any additional costs that you have incurred as a result, for example, travel costs to and from any hospital appointments.

As far as determining whether medical negligence has actually taken place, the courts will administer something called the Bolam Test. This is where a panel of peers are asked whether or not the care provided by the healthcare provider is of an acceptable level. If they decide that it was not, this could be an example of negligence.

If you’d like more information on how hard it is to prove medical negligence, get in touch with our team. They’ll be able to offer you free legal advice about the circumstances that could entitle you to claim.

Examples Of Medical Negligence

Below, we have included some examples of medical negligence and the harm it can cause. If you’re asking yourself, “how hard is it to prove medical negligence?”, you might want to refer to the list below for reference. However, please be aware that this list isn’t exhaustive; you might be the victim of medical negligence in a way that we haven’t mentioned below.

  • You undergo hip replacement surgery. However, the implant that is inserted is faulty. As a result, your hip is further injured and you need to undergo another operation.
  • When visiting the doctor, you are exhibiting symptoms of a condition. However, your doctor fails to arrange the proper diagnostic tests. Because of this, your condition isn’t diagnosed and you don’t get the treatment you need. Because of this, your condition isn’t diagnosed and you don’t get the treatment you need.
  • You’re offered screening for Down’s syndrome while you’re pregnant. However, you’re not told that this could increase your chances of miscarrying. You would have declined the testing if you’d known about the risk. You lose your baby as a result.

Get in touch with our team of advisors today for more information on starting a claim. You could be connected with a No Win No Fee lawyer from our panel.

Medical Negligence Claim Statistics

The NHS provides data related to the value of clinical negligence claims in its 2021. We used this data to make the table below.

How hard is it to claim medical negligence statistics graph

As you can see, the single speciality that was the subject of the most clinical negligence claims in 2020/21 was orthopaedic surgery. The specified speciality with the least number of claims levied against it was gastroenterology.

Calculating Compensation When Wondering How Hard Is It To Prove Medical Negligence

Having looked at the question, “how hard is it to prove medical negligence?”, we’ll now look at the compensation you could receive at the conclusion of a successful claim. We can’t give you an average for medical negligence payouts, as each claim is unique.

You might want to use our claims calculator to get a rough idea of the value of your claim. You can also take a look at the table below. The Judicial College produces guidelines that we have based this table upon.

Injury Type Severity Level Damages Info
Foot Severe £39,390 to £65,710 Injuries within this bracket will substantially restrict the mobility of the injured person, or will cause considerable and permanent pain.
Ankle Severe £29,380 to £46,980 Injuries within this bracket will require extensive treatment, for example, a long time in pins and plaster.
Back Minor (i) £7,410 to £11,730 Where the injury has fully recovered to nuisance level without the need for surgery within 2-5 years.
Arm Moderate or Minor Up to £11,820 Moderate arm injuries would be included in this category. A simple or hairline fracture would be an example, as would a case of tennis elbow. Furthermore, soft tissue injuries and deep wounds that penetrate the skin. Nevertheless, the victim will recover completely.
Leg Moderate £26,050 to £36,790 Where there are multiple or complicated fractures or severe crushing injuries that affect one limb.
Neck Minor £4,080 to £7,410 Minor soft tissue injuries to the neck that recover fully within 1-2 years will fall into this bracket.
Illness (i) £36,060 to £49,270 This medical condition is associated with symptoms such as fever, diarrhoea, nausea, sickness, cramps, and nausea. The symptoms last for an extended period of time.
Illness (ii) £8,950 to £18,020 Diarrhoea, vomiting, and serious but short-lived food poisoning that diminishes over two to four weeks with some residual discomfort and disturbance of bowel function, as well as an adverse impact on sexual activity and food enjoyment in the long run. Symptoms such as these that last for longer, even indefinitely, are likely to merit an award at the top of this bracket.
Illness (iii) £860 to £3,710 Diarrhoea, cramps, and varying degrees of disabling pain for example, that lasts days or even weeks.
Illness (iv) £3,710 to £8,950 For example, stomach cramps, bowel disturbances, and fatigue are symptoms of food poisoning. Resulting in an inpatient stay for a few days, followed by a few weeks of symptoms, but complete recovery within a year or two.

If you want a more accurate estimate, please call and speak to our team. An advisor can evaluate your claim for you and may also be able to connect you with a No Win No Fee lawyer from our panel.

A Breakdown Of Compensation Payouts

Now we have answered the question, how hard is it to prove medical negligence? it is time to look at what happens if you can prove it. If you win your claim, you will be awarded compensation .

Your compensation will be made up of two different “heads” of a claim. We look at these in closer detail later on in this guide.

What Are General Damages?

General damages si the part of your claim that covers you for the pain and suffering caused by your injuries or conditions. This can be physical effects or psychological injuries, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or depression.

In order to assess how much your compensation is worth, you’ll be asked to attend a medical assessment. Here, an independent medical expert will examine your injuries. The report from this assessment will be used to help value your claim.

What Are Special Damages?

Special damages are the part of your compensation that’s paid to you for the financial harm that your injuries have caused you. For example:

  • The expected loss of lifetime earnings. If your ability to work in the future is negatively impacted in some way. For example, you have to give up full-time work and only work part-time.
  • Loss of income. If you missed out on your pay either in full or partially when you took time off work to recover from your medical condition, you could claim this back.
  • The cost of any private healthcare that you have already had to pay for out of your own funds.

You’ll need to provide evidence of these costs. If you don’t provide evidence, you might not receive the full value of the special damages you’re entitled to.

What To Do After Suffering Medical Negligence

After your health has been negatively affected by suspected negligent medical care, there are some essential steps you can take:

  1. Make sure you get treated for your medical condition. Even if you think it is minor. This ensures an official record of the harm you suffered exists.
  2. If appropriate, gather evidence of the cause of the harm you suffered. For example, photographs.
  3. Gather the contact information for all involved parties, including witnesses.
  4. Begin to keep all receipts, invoices, travel tickets, and bills that you wish to claim as losses.
  5. Contact our team of claims experts to start the claims process.

We understand how hard it can be to prove medical negligence. But we can help. Simply get in touch with a member of our team today

No Win No Fee Agreements For Medical Negligence Claims

You may be able to use a lawyer working under a No Win No Fee agreement to process your clinical negligence claim for you. This is also sometimes known as a Conditional Fee Agreement.

This kind of agreement means you won’t pay anything in order for the claims process to begin, and you don’t pay any ongoing fees to your lawyer while it is being processed.

If your claim is unsuccessful, your lawyer won’t request payment from you. If the claim succeeds, they’ll deduct a small, legally limited success fee from your compensation.

For more information on such claims, please call and ask a claim advisor to explain things to you further. If they think your claim is valid, they could connect you with a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel.

Why Legal Expert Could Handle Your Medical Negligence Claim

It can be hard to prove medical negligence; however, let us explain how we can be of help. Our team of expert clinical negligence lawyers have years of experience helping people like yourself get the compensation they are entitled to. They may be able to maximise your chances of the claim being a success.

Furthermore, they may be able to represent you on a No Win No Fee basis. Call and ask our claims team how else we can be of help.

Contact Legal Expert To Start Your Medical Negligence Claim

This brings our guide to how hard is it to prove medical negligence to an end. If you believe you have grounds for a claim, speak to our team today. They can also arrange for a No Win No Fee solicitor to start processing your claim for you.

Our claims line is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. You can contact us using the methods below:

Extra Resources About How Hard Is It To Prove Medical Negligence

Here are some links to others of our guides.

Medical Negligence Causing Death 

Birth Injury Claims 

Blood Transfusion Medical Negligence 

And here are some useful resource links.

NHS Key Legislation

Health and Social Care Act 2012

NHS Patient Rights

Thank you for reading this guide looking at the question, “how hard is it to prove medical negligence?”.

Written by Wheeler

Edited by Stocks

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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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