What Is Classed As Clinical Negligence?

By Joanne Jeffries. Updated 14th September 2023. Welcome to our guide explaining what is classed as clinical negligence.

Every day, up and down the country, patients visit GPs, hospitals, dentists and midwives for assessment and treatment. In general, the care they receive is to a very high standard and treatment is often successful.

What is classed as clinical negligence

What is classed as clinical negligence?

However, when negligence happens, it can cause patients to suffer. In some cases, that suffering is minor and easily resolved but, in other cases, it can lead to life-threatening or fatal injuries. You could be able to seek compensation if you can prove that your illness or injuries were sustained by clinical negligence. clinical negligence cases could be complex however. Therefore, it could be wise to ensure that you choose law firms in England and Wales that could help you with loss of earnings as well as mental health and personal injury claims.

The team at Accident Claims UK are here to help if you decide you’d like to start a claim. Our advisors provide a no-obligation assessment of any case presented to them as well as free legal advice. If the claim seems strong enough, they could connect you with one of our clinical negligence solicitors. Should they accept your case, then they’ll work for you on a No Win No Fee basis.

To let us know how you’ve suffered and to begin a claim today, why not call us on 0800 073 8801? Otherwise, to understand more about what constitutes clinical negligence before contacting us, please continue reading.

Select A Section

  1. What Is The Definition Of Clinical Negligence?
  2. How is Clinical Negligence By Surgeons Classed?
  3. What Is Classed As Clinical Negligence By Dentists?
  4. What Is Classed As Clinical Negligence And Misdiagnosis?
  5. How is Clinical Negligence During Childbirth Classed?
  6. Clinical Negligence Compensation Claim Payouts
  7. Additional Damages You Could Claim
  8. No Win No Fee Claims For Clinical Negligence
  9. References

What Is The Definition Of Clinical Negligence?

The definition of clinical negligence is where substandard treatment or care has been performed by a professional on a patient, which has resulted in an illness or injury or meant that an existing injury or illness has been made worse.

There is a rule called the 4 D’s which can be used in medical negligence cases. The 4 D’s are:

  • Duty: Where the medical professional has a duty of care to provide the correct level of care.
  • Dereliction: When the professional fails to meet the expected professional standards and stepping beyond appropriate levels of care. This could include misdiagnosis, medication errors or surgical mistakes that weren’t your fault.
  • Damages: This is the total compensation paid to a claimant following a successful negligence case. It can include a payment to cover medical bills, pain and suffering, lost income and care costs.
  • Direct Causation: This is where you need to prove that your injuries were caused as a direct result of the dereliction.

If you work with Accident Claims UK, you won’t need to worry about all of the legal aspects of proving a case as your solicitor will handle everything for you if your claim is accepted. To discuss whether you’ve got a valid case, please contact our team today.

How Is Clinical Negligence By Surgeons Classed?

There are many different types of clinical negligence that could take place while a patient is having surgery performed on them. If the actions or inaction of the professional causes a patient to suffer, it could be clinical negligence. This could include:

  • Anaesthetic errors, which mean the patient feels pain while being treated.
  • Items such as clamps, scissors, sponges or needles being left inside the body after treatment and causing suffering.
  • Misdiagnosis of the issue (despite the patient giving correct information on their symptoms), meaning treatment that was carried out wasn’t required.

This isn’t a full list of surgical errors that could result in a clinical negligence claim so even if you don’t see an example that matches your case, we could still help you claim. Please contact us today for further advice on how to start a claim.

What Is Classed As Clinical Negligence By Dentists?

When you attend a dental surgery, the dentist has a duty of care to perform treatment competently. You should also act responsibly by giving the dentist your correct symptoms and letting them know of underlying health conditions. Here are some examples of dental negligence that could happen:

  • When the dentist fails to spot the symptoms of conditions like mouth cancer while performing a check-up.
  • Performing treatment with dirty equipment leading to infection.

If you suspect you’ve suffered harm due to a negligent act by your dentist, please reach out to our team for free legal advice today.

What Is Classed As Clinical Negligence And Misdiagnosis?

Clinical professionals receive years of training to enable them not only to treat injuries and illnesses that are presented to them but to link symptoms to conditions so that treatment can begin. If they fail to spot a problem early on, a patient could suffer more because:

  • They don’t receive treatment early on
  • The condition might become untreatable
  • The mistake could prove fatal

GP Misdiagnosis

When you visit your GP, they have an allotted time to listen to your symptoms, diagnose the problem and arrange treatment for you. In many cases, they manage to get things right and the treatment they provide means their patients recover well.

You could make a claim for a GP misdiagnosis, though, if you attend an appointment, and the doctor doesn’t realise the actual problem your symptoms indicate. For instance, if there is a potential the symptoms you present have the potential to be linked to cancer, but your GP treats you for another illness, you might be able to claim compensation for any suffering their mistake led to. This is providing that you’ve given them all the appropriate information and symptoms, and the doctor acted unreasonably through misdiagnosis.

Other Practitioner Misdiagnosis

In the same way, if you visit a specialist after being referred by your GP, and they fail to diagnose your condition properly, you could suffer in the days, weeks or months until it is correctly assessed. That could mean you’re entitled to compensation for the additional suffering. That is, so long as the specialist has been provided with enough information and acts unreasonably with their failure to diagnose your condition.

Another example could be if you attend A&E after an accident with pain in your arm and the doctor doesn’t arrange to have it X-rayed because they suspect it’s just bruised, despite clear symptoms and information. You could claim for the additional pain and suffering their diagnosis caused if it turns out that you have in fact fractured a bone in the arm.

Our solicitors could help you claim for the suffering caused by a clinical misdiagnosis. Why not contact our team today to find out how the claims process works?

How Is Clinical Negligence During Childbirth Classed?

No two births are the same. That said, midwives, doctors, anaesthetists and paediatricians involved in childbirth are thoroughly trained to use methods and processes that cover most situations. That means that if you or your child suffer avoidable injuries caused by a professional during labour, birth or post-delivery, you could seek compensation for your suffering.

For instance, injuries to the mother which might lead to a claim include avoidable:

  • Retained placenta causing haemorrhaging.
  • Fractures to the pelvis.
  • Damage to other organs during C-section deliveries.

Avoidable injuries to the baby that could entitle you to make a claim include:

  • Erb’s palsywhere the baby’s arm and shoulder nerves are damaged, which can be due to excessive pulling.
  • Brain injuries. These can be caused because a problem isn’t spotted, and the baby suffers from a lack of oxygen.
  • Forceps injuries.

To find out if you’re able to claim for injuries caused by clinical negligence during childbirth, please speak to our team today.

Clinical Negligence Compensation Claim Payouts

If you’re eligible to make a clinical negligence claim, and your claim is successful, your payout could include general and special damages.

General damages is a head of claim which compensates successful claimants for their avoidable pain and suffering caused by the negligence they’ve experienced. It is unique to each case. However, a solicitor could refer to the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) for guidance on how much could be appropriate for your case. 

The JCG provides guideline compensation brackets for a range of injuries at different levels of severity. You can see some figures from the 2022 edition of the JCG in the table below. However, these are only meant as guidance. 

Injury Type Severity Range Additional Information
Neck Severe (a) (i) In the region of
In this bracket, the claimant could’ve worn a neck brace for a number of years because of the injury but there will still be little or no movement and they will also suffer severe headaches.
Leg Below-knee amputation of one leg (a) (iii) £104,830 to £137,470 This covers injuries which result in a below the knee amputation of one leg.
Injuries Affecting Sight (A) Loss of sight in one eye with reduced vision in the remaining eye (C) (i) £95,990 to £179,770 This bracket covers injuries that result in the loss of sight in one eye and there remains a serious risk of the amount of vision in the other eye deteriorating.
Bladder Serious (c) £63,980 to £79,930 This category covers cases where the claimant suffers pain, incontinence and serious impairment of control.
Back Moderate (b) (i) £27,760 to £38,780 This bracket covers a number of injuries such as damage to an intervertebral disc with root irritation which causes reduced mobility.
Hips Moderate (b) (i) £26,590 to £39,170 Where an injury to the hips causes a permanent disability but it is not major and any future risk is not massive.
Spleen Loss (a) £20,800 to £26,290 Covers case where the spleen is lost which leads to a risk of infection due to a damaged immune system.
Damage to Teeth (f) Loss of or serious damage to several front teeth (i) £8,730 to £11,410 For injuries that result in serious damage or the loss of several of the front teeth.
Mental Anguish E £4,670 Thinking they were going to have their life cut short

To learn more about additional damages that could be included in your clinical negligence compensation payout read on. Alternatively, you could contact an advisor for a personalised estimate of how much your claim could be worth. They would be happy to answer any questions you might have about the damages you could receive.

Additional Damages You Could Claim

The figures listed in the previous section are known as general damages. That’s the compensation that aims to cover the pain, suffering and loss of amenity that your injuries have caused.

Also, you’re able to claim special damages if your injuries mean you’ve sustained financial losses. What you could include in your claim varies from case to case but could include:

  • Care costs
  • Medical expenses
  • Travel costs
  • Lost income
  • Future lost income as well.

We advise you to keep evidence of the expenses you’ve incurred. These could include any documents that could help substantiate your claim including:

  • Receipts
  • Wage slips
  • Benefits statements
  • Bank statements

If you would like one of our specialist advisors to review what you could include in your claim, please get in touch with Accident Claims UK today.

No Win No Fee Claims For Clinical Negligence

If you’re wondering if you could get legal aid, who pays legal fees in such cases and whether legal expenses insurance would be required for legal costs, we could help. There are times when claims aren’t made because the victim is too worried about how much they’ll have to pay a solicitor. That’s why our team of clinical negligence lawyers provides a No Win No Fee service.

Before accepting your case, the lawyer will need to verify that it has a reasonable chance of success. Once they’ve done so, and when you’re ready to start, you’ll be given a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) to sign.

The CFA sets out what work your lawyer will carry out for you and it will also tell you that:

  • Upfront solicitor fee charges will not be made.
  • Solicitor’s fees don’t need to be paid while the claim continues.
  • Should the claim be lost, you won’t have to cover any solicitor’s fees.

In addition, the CFA will list the success fee that’s payable if your case is won. This is a percentage of your compensation that’s legally capped. The solicitor will retain this fee to cover the work they’ve completed for you. So you know what you’ll pay, the success fee is clearly listed within the CFA.

To check whether you’re eligible to use a No Win No Fee agreement to fund your claim, please speak to one of our specialists today.

Talk To A Clinical Negligence Specialist

If you’re now in a position to start a clinical negligence claim and would like a member of our team to review your case, you can:

  • Call us free on 0800 073 8801 and speak with an advisor directly.
  • Ask an online advisor for advice on how to begin.
  • Let an advisor call you back when you contact us via our site to begin a claim.
  • Email office@accidentclaims.co.uk with details of how you’ve been injured.

So that you can start a claim at your convenience, our advice line remains open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.


This is the last part of our article which aimed to answer the question ‘What is classed as clinical negligence?’ We do hope you’ve gained all the information you need to support your claim. The following list contains some additional resources that you may find helpful:

NHS Complaints Procedure: Information on how you can formally raise an NHS complaint.

The General Medical Council (GMC): The organisation who aim to improve medical practices across the UK.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC): This is where you’ll find ratings and inspection reports for care providers in England.

Fatal Medical Negligence Claims: Details on how you could claim for medical negligence which has resulted in the death of a loved one.

Hospital Negligence Claims: Information on the types of clinical negligence in a hospital that might lead to a claim.

Dental Medical Negligence: This guide provides more information on the types of negligence in a dental practice which could result in a claim.

Thank you for reading our guide which explains what is classed as clinical negligence.