Clinical & Medical Negligence Claims Guide – How To Claim Compensation

This guide will provide you with all the information you will require in order to determine whether or not you have a claim for medical negligence compensation and also what steps to take next to get your claim started.

Medical negligence compensation claims

Medical negligence, also referred to as clinical negligence, is the term used to describe any error, mistake or poor medical care which results in an injury, illness or worsening of any condition you are suffering with. This includes both physical injuries and conditions as well as psychological conditions such as anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Medical negligence can have potentially life-changing results for patients who are left with the consequences. Medical negligence compensation amounts can help victims pay for further treatment or the care they need to make their lives more comfortable. If you, or a loved one, have suffered medical negligence resulting in illness or injury then we are here to help you connect with medical negligence lawyers who can help you to claim the monetary compensation you are entitled to.

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A complete guide to medical negligence claims

Medical negligence claims can be brought against any medical practitioner whose actions result in your developing an injury or illness or that cause the worsening of your condition. When you see a medical professional, you expect them to provide you with a level of care that either makes your condition better or cures your ailment. If the opposite occurs, then that professional has failed in their duty of care and so may be held legally responsible meaning you can make a claim for monetary compensation as a result.

Medical negligence claim

Medical negligence claim

If the actions of a member of medical staff, such as a nurse, GP, specialist or surgeon, resulted in injury or illness then you may be entitled to compensation. Medical negligence claim examples include misdiagnosis, mistakes in surgery, incorrect treatments, sub-standard care and dental negligence. The amounts of compensation you may be entitled to will vary depending on the severity of the injury or illness suffered.

Although we cannot tell you exactly how much your claim for medical negligence may be worth, you can use our medical negligence compensation calculator to estimate how much you may expect to receive if your compensation claim is successful. You can include all costs related to your case in your compensation claim. Things you can claim for include the cost of further treatment for a worsened illness, the cost to correct any failed surgery or surgical mistakes, the cost of time missed from work, the cost of medical equipment you now need due to the negligence and you can also include psychological damage in your claim if you now suffer with any mental conditions such as depression or anxiety.

You can claim for medical negligence for a family member if they are unable to do so for themselves. For example, you can make a claim on the behalf of a child who has suffered medical negligence. You can also claim for a relative who, as a result of medical negligence, are unable to themselves if they are in a coma or lack capacity. You can also file a claim for compensation if the medical negligence has resulted in the death of a family member.

What is classed as medical negligence?

The term “medical negligence” is an umbrella term for a range of actions, or inactions, which medical professionals may take which causes injury, illness or the worsening of a condition in their patient. Any medical professional has a duty of care towards you as a patient and so any act which breaks that duty and causes harm or unnecessary injury can be deemed medical negligence.

Common medical negligence claims are often brought about after occurrences such as mis-diagnosis, late diagnosis, surgical errors, mishandled births, care home or hospital negligence and incorrect treatment. These kinds of errors can have catastrophic repercussions which could lead to life-altering injures or conditions, life-long psychological problems and even death. If you or a loved one have suffered through an error on the behalf of your medical practitioner, then you may be entitled to compensation.

In order to be able to qualify for medical negligence pay-outs, your solicitor must be able to prove these three points:

  • Your medical negligence solicitor must be able to show that the medical professional in question did not adhere to their legal duty of care towards you.
  • Your lawyer must also be able to prove that the injury you sustained, illness you contracted or worsening of a condition you suffered was the result of the medical professional’s breach of that duty of care.
  • In order to calculate how much compensation, you deserve, your lawyer must be able to give evidence of your injury/illness/condition and also present evidence of the financial strains and implications of said injury.

Your specialist medical negligence solicitor will be on hand to guide you through the process of claiming compensation. They will arrange for a local medical examination to take place so that your injury or illness, and its effects, can be thoroughly assessed in order to present as evidence of your claim. Your lawyer and their team will fill out all the paperwork for you and keep you updated as your claim progresses. This will leave you able to concentrate your energy on your own recovery.

What is wrongful diagnosis?

When you go to see your GP, or your ailment is serious enough to warrant a visit to A&E or a specialist at a hospital, you expect them to be able to tell you what it is that is wrong with you. Therefore, you are likely to trust in the diagnosis which your doctor gives you and furthermore, agree to the treatment which they suggest.

Wrongful diagnosis, or misdiagnosis, occurs when the doctor gets it wrong. This may be a simple mistake with a difficult case or a matter of gross negligence on behalf of the medical professional who hasn’t taken into account all the symptoms or has misdiagnosed completely.

There are many consequences of a case of wrongful diagnosis, all of which can have devastating effects on the patient. You may have experienced a worsening of your condition due to a delay in receiving the correct treatment for your ailment. You may also have suffered adverse side effects from medication or treatment you have been prescribed incorrectly or needlessly. Wrongful diagnosis can cause physical and psychological problems which take years to overcome.

Medical negligence claims resulting from wrongful diagnosis can include any damages you feel you have suffered as a result of a misdiagnosis such as worsening of your condition and physical and psychological trauma suffered as a result.

What is delayed diagnosis?

We are often advised to see a doctor as soon as we think something is wrong in order to have any injury or illness diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible. With serious illnesses and conditions such as cancer or degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Disease, early intervention can make a huge difference to a person’s quality of life. Early diagnosis and treatment of cancer can literally be the difference between life and death.

In the case of “delayed diagnosis”, your medical professional may have failed to diagnose your condition at all or put off giving you an official diagnosis and treatment plan until your condition had worsened. Delayed diagnosis compensation cases can also be raised when tests and samples, such as blood or biopsy tests, are mishandled by laboratory techs resulting in missing results or tests needing to be repeated; causing a delay in your final diagnosis.

If you feel that there was opportunity for your condition or injury to be diagnosed earlier, and you have suffered as a result of this, then you may be entitled to claim compensation as a result. Solicitors for medical negligence will be able to advise you on the steps to take to get your claim started.

Common medical negligence claims

As previously mentioned, wrongful diagnosis and delayed diagnosis are two types of grounds for medical negligence claims and they are two of the most common. Another common type of medical negligence claim is that for surgical errors. Thousands of people go under the knife every day and unfortunately for some, there are disastrous consequences of this.

Unfortunately, another common type of medical negligence claim is that for a mishandled pregnancy or birth. Pregnancy and labour are incredibly dangerous times for a woman and there can be complications which arise during the 9months of pregnancy and during labour. If you received poor advice or substandard care during your pregnancy, labour or birth which resulted in injury or illness to yourself or your baby, then you can claim for compensation with the help of qualified medical negligence solicitors.

Other common medical negligence claims include prescription or medication mistakes, dental medical negligence claims and claims against care received during hospital stays or against the standard of care received in a care home setting.

What are the time limits for medical negligence claims?

There are time limits with any compensation claim for personal injuries, but the medical negligence claims time limit is a little more flexible than most. As with all other compensation time limits, there are three years from the incident to begin your claim for compensation. However, this time limit is considered to start from the day that you became or were aware/informed that you had been subject to injury or developed an illness that was down to medical negligence.

This means that, according to medical negligence UK law, you may have been misdiagnosed on a specific day, but your 3-year time limit for a claim does not start until the day you are made aware that you were originally misdiagnosed, for example. If you are claiming for a loved one who no longer has capacity to claim for themselves, or they have passed away, then the three-year time limit still stands.

In the cases where a child has been affected by medical negligence, then the three-year time limit does not begin to be counted until that child has turned 18. So, you have until the child’s 21st birthday so begin the claim process.

As the nature of medical negligence claims are very complex, the time limits which apply to your case may be individual and specific. However, it is always best to begin your claim process as quickly as possible by finding a medical negligence solicitor near me in order to be certain that you don’t fall outside of your time limit.

Can you claim for medical negligence after 3 years?

As mentioned above, the time limit applied to medical negligence cases can vary depending on individual circumstances and the complexity of the case. However, as a rule, medical negligence cases should be filed within 3 years of you being aware that you have suffered as a result of medical negligence.

Unless the patient was a child when the act of medical negligence occurred, in which case they have until their 21st birthday to make a claim, then compensation claims applied for after this date will usually not be successful. It is best to file your compensation claim as soon as you are aware you have suffered negatively from the actions of a medical professional. Not only will this help to increase you chances of a successful claim, but any money received in compensation can help to pay for future prescriptions and medical care and time off work to make your life easier as you recover.

Can you sue the NHS for medical negligence?

Simply, yes you can sue for NHS medical negligence. You can bring a medical negligence compensation claim against an individual such as a specific doctor, surgeon, nurse, dentist or other healthcare professional, or you can sue an institution such as an NHS hospital, NHS trust, GP practice or private hospital.

Claims against the NHS usually involve sub-standard care received during a hospital stay or treatment from an NHS hospital or care facility. As with all medical negligence claims, the standard three-year time limit still applies. As these kinds of cases can be very complex, it is always best to contact NHS medical negligence solicitors to help you with your case.

NHS medical negligence statistics

The NHS is without doubt an excellent service which we are lucky to have in the UK. However, the NHS does make mistakes and individual hospitals, trusts and medical professionals can be guilty of medical neglect.

While we would prefer to think that when we go to see a doctor, or we go into hospital, our medical needs will be met, there are times where medical professionals in the NHS fail their duty of care. On average, there are 5,450 medical negligence claims made every year against the NHS.

The number of claims made citing medical negligence against the NHS has almost doubled in recent years with the NHS paying out more than £1bn in 20016; a record high for damages payments. The majority of medical negligence claims tend to be come from the speciality of orthopaedic surgery, which accounts for 15% of all claims in 2013/2014 and 14% in 2014/2015. A&E accounted for the next biggest percentage of medical negligence claims with 12% of claims referring to an incident in that department across the last two years.

Statistics show that the increase in the amounts of NHS medical negligence pay-outs has been put down to increased solicitor fees and more people putting compensation claims in. Although it only accounts for around 7-10% of all medical negligence claims, the speciality which results in the highest pay-outs is obstetrics and gynaecology which accounts for 41% of the totally money paid out by the NHS. This is mainly due to medical negligence claims resulting from mishandled births can result in lifetime pay-outs for injured or brain damaged babies.

Since April 2005 until March 2015, the NHS had opened over 79,000 claims for medical negligence. In that time, under 30% had been resolved without the claimant being successful in gaining a compensation pay-out but 43% had been resolved with a damages pay-out in favour of the client.

What happens when medical negligence causes death?

Losing a family member or loved one is always difficult, no matter the circumstances. However, knowing that your loved one’s death could have been prevented if they had received the correct medical care can make the entire grieving process exceptionally difficult.

While a fatal medical negligence compensation claim cannot bring a loved one back, it can help to bring some closure and also relieve any financial pressure that the passing of a loved one can bring. Searching for medical negligence solicitors near me can help to put you in touch with a specialist lawyer who will help guide you through your claim sensitively to that you can focus on your grieving process while they take care of the claim for you.

Can you sue a private practice for medical negligence?

As previously mentioned, when it comes to a medical negligence compensation claim, you can sue an individual who was at fault, or you can sue an institution who have provided below par care. Private medical practices are supposed to uphold the same standard of care as NHS institutions and so if they fall below that standard, they can still be found legally liable for any injury, illness or worsening of conditions that those actions cause.

Private practices often have extensive insurance policies which will cover them in the event of them facing a medical negligence lawsuit, so you may find the process of suing a private practice slightly easier as they will often be willing to agree a compensation amount before the case reaches court.

How much compensation do you get for medical negligence?

Every medical negligence compensation claim is individual and unique. Due to this and the fact that medical negligence claims are complex and complicated, means that there is no standard amount you are likely to receive for a medical negligence claim.

Medical negligence pay-outs are usually relative to the severity of the illness or injury sustained as a result of the negligence. For example, if you have encountered paralysis as a consequence of negligent medical care then the amounts of compensation you could be awarded could range from £150,000 to £270,000. Psychological trauma is also covered in medical negligence claims; suffers of PTSD triggered by medical negligence could receive between £2,000 and £72,000 depending on the severity of the condition and the impact it has on your life. With this in mind, the table below offers an illustration.

InjuryAmountNotes
Quadriplegic ParalysisFrom £210,000 up to £270, 000
Paraplegic ParalysisFrom £150,000 up to £190,000
Head Injury/ies leading to severe damage to the brainFrom £185,000 up to £275,000Quality of life hugely affected
Head Injury/ies leading to moderately severe damage to the brainFrom £145,000 up to £175,000Leaving permanent disability that is very serious
Head Injury/ies leading to moderate damage to the brainFrom £145,000 up to £175,000Leaving permanent disability that is serious
Head Injury/ies leading to Minor damage to the brainFrom £10,000 up to £30,000Memory loss and concentration affected
Head Injury (minor)From £1,500 up to £9,500Only small amount of brain damage or none at all
Severe Psychiatric ProblemsFrom £30,000 up to £70,000
Moderately severe Psychiatric ProblemsFrom £12,500 up to £37,500
Moderate Psychiatric ProblemsFrom £2,750 up to £11,500
Minor severe Psychiatric ProblemsFrom £1,750 up to £3,000

Medical negligence claims can also include claims for other costs and damages incurred as a result of sub-standard care, delayed or misdiagnosis. This can include the cost of prescriptions, the cost of medical care to correct mistakes and also lost earnings incurred from having to take time off work for appointments, treatment and from not being able to work due to a worsening condition or incurred injury.

For a realistic estimate of the amount of compensation you may be entitled to, use Accident Claims medical negligence compensation calculator which will take into account all your details to give you a rough idea of what you may receive if your claim is successful. If you decide that the amount you see will help you along your road to recovery, then we can connect you with a specialist medical negligence lawyer who will help you with your case. For this, and any other enquiries, we offer free consultation over the phone. Simply call us on 0800 073 8801 to get started.

Helpful links

Improvement to negligence processes

This link will take you to a consultation summary put before the government with responses to suggestions to improve and simplify medical negligence claims processes in order to make it more cost-effective for both parties.

Process of making claims

If you are looking to begin an NHS medical negligence compensation claim, then this link may be of use to you as it outlines the process you need to go through.