By Jo Anderson. Last Updated 4th January 2024. This guide addresses and answers commonly asked questions about medical negligence including what it is and the eligibility criteria in order to begin claiming following negligence by a medical professional.
As we move through this guide, we explain what a medical professionals duty of care is and give examples of the types of medical negligence which could occur. Later, we discuss the factors considered when the value of a compensation payout is being decided and what evidence is best to collect to prove a medical negligence claim.
Finally, you will find out how working with our No Win No Fee solicitors can benefit you when claiming compensation.
For more information or to discuss your potential medical or clinical negligence claim, please contact our team. We offer free advice, and can assess your particular circumstances for free. To reach out, you can:
Jump To A Section
- What Is Medical Negligence?
- Could I Make A Medical Negligence Claim Against The NHS Or Private Healthcare Provider?
- What Is The Average Medical Negligence Payout?
- What Types Of Medical Negligence Could You Claim For?
- Do I Need A Medical Exam To Prove My Claim?
- Can I Make A No Win No Fee Medical Negligence Claim?
- Learn More About Claiming For Medical Negligence
A duty of care is owed by medical professionals when they agree to treat their patient. Medical negligence involves a patient suffering preventable harm because a medical professional breached the duty of care they owed.
In some cases, it may be possible to make a claim following negligence by a medical professional. Read on to learn more, or contact us using the number at the top of the page.
All medical professionals and healthcare providers, whether in the public or private healthcare sector, owe their patients a duty of care. This duty of care requires the correct standard of care to be met. If a medical professional falls below the expected standard of care, they could be liable for any avoidable harm suffered as a result.
Here are the criteria that need to be met and proven in order for you to have an eligible medical negligence claim:
- A medical professional owed you a duty of care.
- They did not meet their duty of care.
- You suffered preventable harm due to this.
How Long Do I Have To Claim?
You must also begin your claim within the medical negligence claim time limit. The Limitation Act 1980 establishes that you have 3 years from either the date a medical professional’s breach of duty led to you suffering avoidable harm or the date you realised that you suffered harm that could have been avoided had a medical professional upheld their duty of care.
However, if the claimant is under 18 years old or if they lack the mental capacity to claim by themselves, then the time limit will be paused. We can give you more details about the exceptions to the medical negligence limitation period, as well as the eligibility criteria, if you call on the number above.
As all medical negligence claims are different, it may be more beneficial for you to know how compensation is calculated for successful cases rather than the average payout.
Typically, a successful clinical negligence claim could result in a payout that includes general damages and special damages.
General damages is designed to compensate you for the unnecessary harm you have endured due to a medical professional breaching their duty of care. Those calculating such payments could look at a publication called the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). This provides a list of guideline compensation brackets for various types of harm. The table below contains figures from the 2022 edition of the JCG, aside from the top figure. However, this should only be used as guidance.
|Multiple serious injuries and illnesses with special damages
|Up to £1,000,000+
|An award for the physical and psychological impacts of multiple serious injuries and illnesses as well as financial costs incurred as a result, such as medical costs, care costs, and lost income.
|Very severe (a)
|£282,010 to £403,990
|This bracket includes cases involving quadriplegic cerebral palsy which results in severe physical and cognitive disabilities. Full-time nursing care is required.
|Moderately severe (b)
|£219,070 to £282,010
|The injured person will have a very serious disability which is either cognitive or physical. Constant care will be required.
|Moderate (c) (i)
|£150,110 to £219,070
|The person will have a severe to moderate intellect deficit and personality change with an effect on the senses. They will also not be able to work again and will have a significant epilepsy risk.
|Loss or serious and permanent damage (a)
|£169,400 to £210,400
|Up to £63,980
|There is a significant risk of the person developing a urinary tract infection in the future or other total loss of natural kidney function.
|Double incontinence (a)
|Up to £184,200
|Along with alternative medical complications, the natural function and control of the bowel and bladder will be gone.
|Up to £150,110
|Natural function is completely lost and there is a dependence on colostomy.
|Double incontinence (a)
|Up to £184,200
|Complete loss of natural bowel function as well as urinary function and control. There are other medical complications.
|Up to £140,660
|Complete loss of function and control.
Special damages compensate you for additional costs and losses incurred due to the medical negligence. Some examples could include:
- Travel expenses – If you have had to pay for additional trips to see medical professionals or visit your lawyer.
- Care costs – If you have needed to pay for care at home because you were unable to perform daily tasks.
- Loss of income – If you were unable to work due to the results of clinical negligence.
- Medical expenses – If you had to pay for prescription fees or mobility aids, for example.
In order to claim special damages, you will need to provide evidence of your financial losses with documents such as payslips, receipts and invoices.
To learn more about payouts for clinical negligence claims, please contact an advisor. They could provide a personalised estimate of how much you could potentially claim.
There are many ways a patient could suffer avoidable harm in a medical setting. For example:
- Birth injuries. This could affect both mother and baby. For example, a midwife could incorrectly use forceps, causing serious lacerations to internal areas of the mother’s body. Alternatively, a midwife might fail to monitor a baby’s oxygen levels causing them to develop cerebral palsy due to brain damage.
- Surgical errors leading to unnecessary surgery. For example, a surgeon performs wrong-site surgery and amputates a patient’s right leg instead of left leg. As a result of the surgical error, you had to undergo another surgery to remove the correct limb. Wrong-site surgery is known as a never event which is an incident that should always be avoided.
- Misdiagnosis. For example, someone could be given a cancer misdiagnosis and instead be told they have a different condition after patient test results were mixed up. This could lead to delayed treatment resulting in the cancer spreading to other parts of the body.
- Wrong prescriptions. For example, despite a patient’s allergy to penicillin being on their medical records, a prescribing nurse still gives them the medication. The patient, as a result, suffers an anaphylaxis allergic reaction causing them to suffer damage to their brain.
However, it’s important to note that not all incidents in a medical setting will form the basis of a valid medical negligence claim. You will need to prove that you suffered harm that could have been prevented had the medical professional treating you provided the correct standard of care.
Get in touch to discuss your specific case and if you have a valid clinical negligence claim, we may connect you with one of our solicitors who can assist you with seeking compensation.
As part of the medical negligence claims process, you may be asked to attend an independent medical assessment to help understand the extent of the avoidable harm you suffered due to a medical professional providing a substandard level of care. The results of this can be used as evidence to help support your claim and when valuing your potential settlement.
Other types of evidence which can help strengthen your claim are:
- If visible, photographs of your preventable harm.
- A witness statement from anyone who attended your medical appointments.
- Copies of your medical records, such as images of scans.
- Documentation of your physical and mental symptoms in a diary.
If you are connected to one of our solicitors, they can help you gather a strong body of evidence as part of the service they provide. Read on to find out more about how they can help you prove medical negligence and seek compensation.
If you contact us and have an eligible medical negligence claim, we could connect you with one of our expert solicitors who can represent you under the terms of a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), which is a type of No Win No Fee contract.
What this means is that you will not pay for your solicitor’s services before or during the claims process, nor will you pay for their work if your claim is unsuccessful. If your claim is successful, there will be a success fee taken out of your compensation before it is awarded to you.
The success fee is a percentage of your compensation that solicitors can take. The maximum percentage that can be taken, however, is capped by the law, therefore ensuring the majority of your compensation goes to you.
Contact Us To Begin Your Claim Today
Contact us, and we can tell you whether you can begin making a medical negligence claim on a No Win No Fee basis. We can also answer any other questions about the claims process which you may have. To reach out, you can:
To answer more of your frequently asked questions about medical negligence claims, these other guides could help:
- Find out how to make a hospital negligence claim and what compensation could be awarded.
- Find out how much compensation could be awarded for a medical misdiagnosis and the steps you could take to claim.
- Read our guide discussing information about claiming for medical negligence compensation.
Additionally, for more external resources:
- Royal College of Nursing (RCN) – Read about a nurse’s duty of care.
- General Medical Council (GMC) – Information on good medical practice for a doctor.
- GOV.UK – Guidance on the NHS Constitution for England.
We hope this guide about medical negligence claims has been useful for you. However, if you have any other questions, please contact an advisor on the number above.