Hospitals and all medical professionals working in a hospital environment have a duty of care to provide you with safe and appropriate treatment for a range of medical conditions you may develop. If they fail to do so, and you suffer harm because of clinical negligence, you may be wondering how to make a claim against a hospital for compensation.
This guide offers useful information and advice on filing a medical negligence claim. If you require advice tailored to your specific situation, or are ready to begin a claim, please do not hesitate to call the Accident Claims UK advisers for free advice and support on 0800 073 8801. For more information regarding medical negligence claims, please read on.
Select A Section
- A Guide On How You Could Make A Claim Against Your Hospital
- What Are Claims Against Hospitals?
- Circumstances Which Could Lead To Claim Against Hospitals
- Who Could Be Responsible For You Being Harmed In A Hospital?
- Making Complaints About Care In An NHS Hospital
- Compensation Calculator For Claims Against Hospitals
- Costs, Losses And Other Special Damages You Could Claim
- How We Could Help You Claim Against Your Hospital
- Steps To Take When Claiming Against Hospitals
- How Long Do I Have To Make A Medical Negligence Claim?
- No Win No Fee Compensation Claims Against Hospitals
- Begin A Compensation Claim Against A Hospital
- Resources And Further Information
‘How do I make a claim against a hospital?’ is a common question Accident Claims UK gets asked by patients who suffered harm because of medical negligence. Medical malpractice claims can be complex, but here at Accident Claims UK, we have put together some information that could help answer the question of how to make a claim against a hospital.
In the sections below, you will find advice on how to lodge a complaint about your hospital treatment, and how to assess whether you could be eligible for compensation. Whether you have suffered harm because of negligence in surgery, as an outpatient, or on a hospital ward, the sections below cover important information on how to file a medical negligence claim.
Hospitals and medical professionals have a legal duty to look after your safety while you are receiving treatment and care. If they fail in this duty, and you suffer some kind of harm, you could be eligible to claim compensation for the harm you experienced and the financial costs you incurred as a direct result. If a loved one or relative has been fatally injured by medical negligence, or is incapacitated, as their next of kin, you could be entitled to file a negligence claim on their behalf.
While it could possible for a patient, or their representative to make a claim for compensation without going through the NHS complaints procedures, in order to understand what may have gone wrong filing a complaint could prove useful. Details of the complaints procedure can be found in a later section.
A complaint should not be affected if you decide to pursue a medical negligence case against a third party. As such, you might want to seek legal advice sooner rather than later so you are made aware of your options.
If you’re thinking about filing a clinical negligence claim, it could be due to you having suffered as a result of any of the following:
- Missed diagnosis
- Symptoms being ignored
- Failure in a medical product
- Unreasonable delays in diagnosis or treatment
- Failure to administer appropriate pain treatment
- Failure to provide hydration or nutrition
- Lack of communication
- Personal injury caused by medical negligence which could include surgical negligence, misdiagnosis, blood test negligence, childbirth negligence, cancer treatment negligence
- Quality of treatment
- Appropriateness of treatment
- Hygiene standards
- Early discharge
- Medication errors
It would be prudent to mention, however, that this is not be an exhaustive list, and if you have been harmed in a different way in a hospital, you should call the Accident Claims UK team for clarification on whether you could claim compensation or not.
There are various parties who could be held responsible for the harm you’ve suffered while in a hospital. Depending on the incident in question, your claim could be made against:
- An NHS Trust – these trusts are responsible for ensuring that NHS hospitals provide safe, high-quality medical care
- NHS care at private hospitals – if a Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has commissioned (bought) services at a private hospital, the CCG have a responsibility to follow up any complaints made against these hospitals. You could make a complaint to the relevant CCG
- A GP – your GP could be held responsible for some complaints against your hospital, particularly if they have not referred you for treatments you should have had
- An individual professional (a consultant/specialist) – a consultant could be held responsible for your care at the hospital. Every healthcare professional has a legal duty to provide a good quality of care. If they fail to provide this, then you could take action against them
Before we cover how to make a claim against a hospital, we should mention that it may be prudent for you to lodge a complaint about your care/treatment in an NHS hospital to the relevant parties. According to the Citizens Advice Bureau, who produced a handy flowchart as to the complaints procedure, you may wish to consider whether you’d like to discuss the problem with someone first, or if you would like to lodge a complaint straight away.
If you choose to discuss the problem with someone first, this does not mean you would not be able to make a claim later on.
Discussing the problem
You may wish to talk about what’s happened with the hospital doctor which offers them an opportunity to explain what happened and why it happened. You may ask for a resolution to be provided within a specific time frame of 24 hours, and if the resolution does not happen, or is not to your satisfaction, you could then follow this up by lodging an official complaint.
Making Your Complaint
Your complaint should be directed to the health service provider or commissioner and acknowledgement of receipt should be sent to you within three working days offering you a meeting to discuss the issue.
If the meeting does not resolve the issue, you could request the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman intervenes. If you are still not satisfied with the outcome, you have the right to ask them to review their decision.
Of course, if you have been harmed by clinical negligence, you do have a right to take legal advice, and to make a claim for compensation if you are eligible to do so. A member of our team could assess your case before offering expert advice on how best to proceed.
Before we reveal how to make a claim against a hospital for clinical negligence, let us look at another important concern you might have. Compensation payouts for medical negligence can vary between cases. No two cases are identical, and even if two people suffered a similar injury/illness, the effects an illness may have on them and the prognosis, could differ vastly.
As part of any medical negligence claim, a medical assessment would be necessary to get a full picture of the harm you suffered, and this would be used to work out the level of compensation you could receive in a successful negligence claim. As there are so many different types of harm that could be caused by medical malpractice, instead of using a personal injury claims calculator on this page, we have provided a table of amounts taken from the Judicial College Guidelines for injuries that could relate to some medical negligence cases.
If you cannot see your injury or illness in the table provided, we’d be glad to talk to you about your situation and we could offer you some insight into payout amounts for your specific injury over the phone.
|Toxicosis (Severe)||Requiring hospital admission/re-admission and could cause IBS, haemorrhoids and incontinence, affecting the claimant’s quality of life and their ability to work.||£36,060 to £49,270|
|Arm injuries – substantial permanent disablement||Substantial functional or cosmetic disablement – resulting from fractures or other serious injuries.||£36,770 to £56,180|
|Chest Injuries||Traumatic injuries to the patient’s lungs, heart or chest that led to permanent injuries, life expectancy reduction and disability||£61,710 to £94,470|
|Moderate hip/pelvic injuries||Significant injury but only minor, if any permanent disability||£24,950 to £36,770|
|Female loss of fertility||Failure to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy||£31,950 to £95,850|
|Hernia||Where a limitation on ability to play sports, or take part in physical activities remains even after surgical repair||£13,970 to £22,680|
|Bowel Injury||Requirement of colostomy/loss of function||Up to £140,870|
In addition to the medical negligence payouts for the suffering and the pain you suffered due to hospital negligence, you could also receive special damages payouts for the following:
Care Costs – if you needed someone to care for you because you were unable to dress/feed yourself, care costs incurred may be covered as special damages
Earning Losses – if you needed time off work to recover and not been paid your usual wage, this and future earnings could be included in your claim as special damages.
Travel and Medical Costs – if these costs arose directly as a result of the negligence you’ve suffered, they could be included as special damages.
Funeral Costs – if you lost a loved one as a direct result of negligence, you could claim for their funeral costs, as well as a bereavement award.
If you had to pay out for something, or have lost money because of the negligence you’ve suffered, and you’d like to know whether this could be included, please don’t hesitate to call our team for further advice.
Are you wondering ‘How do I make a claim against a hospital for medical malpractice?’ At Accident Claims UK, we could not only assess your situation and provide you with actionable advice and guidance on your specific situation but we could also show you how to make a claim against a hospital with the help of a No Win No Fee solicitor.
If, after we have assessed of your case, we feel that you could be eligible to launch a medical negligence claim, we could offer to provide you with a clinical negligence solicitor from our panel who could then help to build a case on your behalf on a No Win No Fee basis.
We do not charge for our advice. By calling us for advice, you are put under no obligation to launch a claim with our help, or even to take our advice. We’re here to help, and we won’t push you into making a clinical negligence claim at any point. We will, however, offer you answers to some of the pressing questions you might have, including ‘Is it hard to sue a hospital’, ‘What level of compensation could I be entitled to?’ and ‘How can I make a claim against a hospital on behalf of a loved one?’ for example.
If you are wondering how to make a claim against a hospital for medical malpractice, there are a number of steps you should take. These are detailed below.
Writing A Report For Your Own Records
The first thing we would advise you do would be to write a report of everything that has happened to you, where you believe negligence took place, and how you feel it may have caused you harm. This could be useful, as you may be able to refer back to your notes if you forget something later on. It would be a good idea to include names of people who might be able to act as witnesses, and dates and times of treatments or consultations, as well as what happened.
Requesting Your Medical Records
In addition to this, you should request your medical records. Successful claims against the NHS could rely on solid medical evidence, and while you would have to see a medical expert as part of any clinical negligence claim, getting a copy of your records to check them against what you had been told at the hospital, would prove useful. You should contact the relevant records manager/patient services manager at the hospital trust in question to request this.
If you are considering suing the NHS for the death of a loved one, you might find obtaining their medical records more difficult. Primary Care Support England would hold these records on behalf of the NHS, so you may have to contact them in this instance.
Make A Complaint To The Hospital
There is an NHS complaints procedure that you should follow if you’d like to complain about clinical negligence. Details of this can be found on the NHS website. However, you may not feel that this would be a strong enough course of action, and you may wish to make a complaint to the General Medical Council, your local Healthwatch, via the NHS choices website.
However, if you feel strongly that you could benefit from legal advice on how to make a claim against a hospital, it may be worth getting in touch with Accident Claims UK, as we could advise you on the best course of action to take when filing a negligence claim against a hospital.
Who Would Deal With My Claim?
NHS Resolution, formally the NHS Litigation Authority, or NHSLA, usually deals with medical negligence cases and payouts in the UK for NHS claims. The authority aims to resolve disputes in a fair manner. You can find statistics on the NHS Resolution website that refer to the number of claims received, and the payouts made for successful clinical negligence.
There would be a personal injury claims time limit that applies to your claim, whether you were claiming compensation for medical negligence from the NHS, or from a private hospital. However, not all claims have the same limitation period, even if the incidents of negligence happened on the same day. This is because harm from clinical negligence is not noticed right away.
Typically, the medical negligence claims time limit would be three years, from either the date of knowledge/discovery, or the date of negligence if the harm was noticed straight away. However, there could be some exceptions to this, and these could include but are not limited to:
- Cases whereby the claimant was incapacitated at the time and could not claim within the usual time limit
- Cases where a child was harmed and a parent did not make a claim on their behalf
If you are at all unsure as to whether you’d be within the appropriate time limit for claiming, our team could help to clarify this.
Making a claim for clinical negligence can prove challenging without the assistance of a personal injury solicitor. A lawyer can help you build a claim and fight for the maximum compensation possible on your behalf. We would recommend that claimants consider this option, especially as with No Win No Fee claims, you would not be required to pay anything to the clinical negligence solicitor before your claim is concluded.
When making a No Win No Fee claim, instead of paying upfront, you would sign a Conditional Fee Agreement with the solicitor, which would detail the percentage of compensation you would be required to pay them once your claim is successful. If the personal injury lawyer wasn’t able to secure you a payout, you would not be required to pay them these monies.
If you would like to know more about making claims in this manner, we would be happy to talk you through the process in greater detail.
If you would like to know more about how to make a claim against a hospital for medical negligence, we are always happy to help. For free information on making a personal injury claim for compensation, a free assessment of your case, or to be provided with a personal injury solicitor to begin a claim on your behalf, you could either call 0800 073 8801, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out the contact form and we’ll get in touch with you. Alternatively, there is a live chat feature on the site that you may wish to use instead.
More Information On Making A Hospital Negligence Claim – Here, you can find a guide offering more information on making a hospital negligence claim.
Claiming For A Misdiagnosis – Here, you can find more information on making claims for misdiagnosis.
Cancer Misdiagnosis – This guide looks specifically at cancer misdiagnosis claims.
Making A Complaint About The NHS – This page, from the NHS, gives information on making a complaint.
NHS Claims Statistics – Here, you can see statistics for claims made against the NHS in 2018/19.
NICE Guidelines For Emergency Care – Here are the NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) guidelines on emergency care, which include quality standards.
Article by JJ