10 Things You Should Know When Claiming For Medical Negligence Compensation Guide

What to know about medical negligence claims guide

What to know about medical negligence claims guide

Are you considering making a claim for medical negligence? If so, you may be wondering what you need to know about medical negligence before moving ahead with a claim. In the guide below, we cover common questions that could relate to this type of claim, such as, ‘What is classed as medical negligence?’, ‘ Whom could I claim compensation from?’ and ‘How much compensation could I claim?’

Here at Accident Claims UK, we have a wealth of knowledge and experience in helping claimants that have suffered negligent care from medical professionals claim the compensation they are entitled to for their injuries. Included in the guide below is information about how we could help you, and how you could get an eligibility check on your claim free of charge. If you would like to begin a claim, or you’d like clarification on any of the information provided below, you can reach our expert advisors on 0800 073 8801.

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A Guide To Things You Need To Know Before Claiming For Medical Negligence

There are certain things you may want to know about medical negligence before launching a claim. Whether you want to know how much compensation could be appropriate for your claim, or whom you could claim compensation against. This guide explains what happens in a medical negligence claim in detail so that you could be prepared for what actions you may need to take, how long a claim could take to complete and how a solicitor could help you.

10 Things To Think About Before Claiming Compensation For Medical Negligence

Here, you will find 10 things to know about medical negligence claims as well as how Accident Claims UK could provide all the guidance and support you may need to start your claim.

What Is Classed As Medical Negligence?

Medical negligence is substandard care given to you by a doctor, GP, dentist or another medical professional. All of these professionals are required to provide safe, effective care, but sometimes they may make a mistake that could have been avoidable. This could be classed as medical or clinical negligence if harm is suffered as a result.

What Is A Medical Negligence Claim?

A medical negligence claim is an action taken by someone who was injured due to medical negligence to claim compensation for the pain and suffering of their injuries and the financial harm they’ve suffered as a result.

Some types of medical negligence claims could include:

Surgical negligence – If, for example, a surgeon has operated on the wrong part of your body, made an error with an incision or has left surgical tools inside you, this could cause you to suffer avoidable harm. You may need more surgery to correct the error, or you may be left with avoidable scarring or further health problems.

Childbirth negligence – If you are a victim of childbirth negligence, you or your baby may have suffered avoidable harm. One example of this could be if you were not monitored correctly while in labour and signs of distress were not acted upon swiftly enough to avoid harm to mother or baby.

Misdiagnosis/Late Diagnosis/Missed diagnosis – If you have been harmed because your illness was negligently misdiagnosed, suffered a delayed or missed diagnosis, and you could prove that the medical professionals caring for you should have diagnosed you correctly, this could lead to a claim for compensation.

Dental negligence – If you have suffered negligence from your dentist that has led to you suffering harm, this could also lead to a claim. Examples could include a dentist missing the signs of oral cancer, or extracting the wrong tooth.

If you feel that negligent treatment by any medical professional has led to you suffering harm that could have been avoidable, please do not hesitate to call us and ask ‘do I have a claim for medical negligence?’. We’ll be happy to look into this for you.

Medical negligence cases could be complicated, especially if there are existing medical conditions involved, which is why having an expert medical negligence solicitor to help you with such a claim could be beneficial.

You Need To Show You Were Harmed By Medical Negligence

It is important for you to understand that you could only claim compensation if you have suffered harm of some kind. Knowing you have been the victim of negligence does not mean you would be entitled to compensation. You would have to provide evidence that you had suffered avoidable harm due to the negligence of the medical professional that was caring for you.

There Are Time Limits To Making Medical Negligence Claims

When looking at what to know about medical negligence claims, you might be surprised to learn that there is a limit to how long you could have to make your claim. Just like personal injury claims, if you leave it too long before taking action, you could find out your claim would be time-barred, meaning that you would be unable to pursue a liable party for compensation.

As with the personal injury claims time limit, the medical negligence limitation period is usually three years from the date it is known that you have suffered harm due to negligence by a medical professional. However, this may mean three years from the date the negligence occurred, if you found out right away that you’d suffered avoidable harm, or it might be three years from the date it is known that you have suffered harm.

There could also be some exceptions to this three-year limitation period. These may relate to a parent claiming on behalf of a child. A parent would usually have up until the child’s 18th birthday to make a claim on their behalf. If the parent had not made a claim for an injured child, the child could claim themselves once they reach adulthood. They could have until their 21st birthday to do so.

Some other exceptions might exist where an injured party is considered not to have had the mental or physical capacity to claim within the usual limitation period. While these are rare, it may be worth calling us to check whether an exception could be made in your case.

Medical Negligence Claims Could Take 12-36 Months

There is no simple answer to the question ‘How long does a medical negligence claim take?’. Sometimes, a liable party may admit liability right away, while sometimes they may deny liability, which could make a difference to how long it takes to settle your claim. Negotiations on how much compensation would be appropriate for your claim could also have an effect on how long it could take for your claim to be completed. The pre-litigation process, which involves both parties negotiating prior to court proceedings could take anywhere between 3 and 18 months.

Your Claim Could Be Made Against Medical Professionals Or Organisations

You might be under the assumption that you could only make a medical negligence claim against the NHS, and that if you suffered medical negligence at the hands of a private doctor or clinic, you might struggle to claim. While it is true that it is not possible for us to provide statistics on how many medical negligence claims have been made against private practices, it would still be your right to claim compensation if you’d been harmed by way of negligent treatment by a private doctor, dentist or GP.

If you are making a medical negligence claim against a GP or doctor working for the NHS, the NHS Litigation Authority could represent the NHS for such claims.

Specialist Solicitors Could Help You Prove Your Claim

Using a specialist medical negligence solicitor for your claim could be beneficial to your case. This type of solicitor would work in a similar way to a personal injury solicitor, collating all the evidence to prove your claim and presenting a strong case for compensation to the liable party.

Due to the nature of medical negligence claims, using a specialist medical negligence lawyer with experience in handling these kinds of claims instead of a personal injury lawyer that specialises in road traffic accident claims, for example, could be a wise idea. They would have the knowledge and capability to build a strong case for you and could fight for the maximum compensation possible for your case. They could also assess any offers of compensation you might receive to offer their insight into whether it could be wise for you to take the offer or continue to fight for more.

Evidence From A Medical Witness May Be Needed

In most cases, a medical witness would be needed to corroborate your claims about your injuries. An expert medical professional who is independent of the case would be required to assess your medical notes and examine you. They could then write a medical report that could be used to evidence your claim. This could also be used to work out how much your claim could be worth.

Most Medical Negligence Claims Will Not Have To Go To Court

If you are under the impression that you would have to attend court and take the stand to give evidence in court of the medical negligence you’ve suffered, in front of the dentist, doctor or another medical professional that has been negligent in your care, you may be surprised to learn that the majority of claims never reach the courtroom.

Usually, a claim would be submitted by your lawyer against the liable party, and liability would be admitted or denied. Evidence could be submitted to the liable party’s lawyers and negotiations could take place as to how much compensation you should receive. However, in some cases, depending on the facts of your case, you may have to go to court.

You may be concerned about what happens in a medical negligence claim if you have to attend court. Your medical negligence solicitor would talk you through the process and what to expect if this is a requirement of your case.

A Solicitor Could Help You Make Your Claim

If you choose to work with a medical negligence solicitor for your claim, this could offer certain benefits. Whether you are making a medical negligence claim against the NHS or private practice, a lawyer could:

  • Help collect the evidence needed to prove your claim
  • Explain any legal terms you may not understand
  • Build a strong case for compensation
  • Negotiate a settlement for you
  • Offer advice on settlement offers (whether it might be wise to accept, or fight for more)

In addition to this, in some cases where there are serious injuries, it may be possible for a lawyer to negotiate an interim payment to help provide financial relief if, for example, the injured party is unable to pay their rent or mortgage because they cannot work due to their injuries.

You Could Fund Your Claim Through A No Win No Fee Agreement

If you are wondering what happens in a medical negligence claim when it comes to paying for assistance from a lawyer, you may be surprised to learn that if you choose to work with a solicitor on a No Win No Fee basis, you would not have to pay legal fees upfront, or at any point before the successful conclusion of your claim. Instead, you would sign a Conditional Fee Agreement that promises to pay your solicitor a small, legally capped, success fee on successful completion of your claim. You would only have to pay the success fee if your medical negligence lawyer was able to secure you a compensation settlement.

This is a method that some claimants may feel gives them the financial confidence to pursue their claim. If you would like to learn more about No Win No Fee claims, please do not hesitate to speak to the Accident Claims UK team. We could provide you with a lawyer that works on this basis for your claim.

Compensation Claims Calculator

Another thing you might want to know about medical negligence claims is how much compensation you could be entitled to claim. In terms of general damages for the suffering, pain and loss of amenity caused by your injuries, each case would be assessed on its own unique facts, and the evidence from the independent medical professional we mentioned earlier could be used to help work out how much compensation could be appropriate for your case. This is why medical negligence or personal injury claims calculator could only provide a rough estimate of the compensation you could receive.

We have chosen not to include such a calculator on this page. We have opted instead to provide a table detailing the Judicial College Guidelines compensation brackets for certain injuries that could relate to medical negligence claims. The Judicial College Guidelines is a publication which is updated every year. It provides guidance on compensation settlements. Please do get in touch and we’ll be glad to furnish you with the guideline payout amounts for your specific injuries.

Injury typeNotesCompensation Guideline Bracket
Lung diseaseWhere the injured party would frequently need to use inhalers. They may have an uncertain prognosis, but there would have already been a marked effect on their ability to work and their physical activities.£29,380 to £51,460
Loss of one kidneyWhere there has been no damage to the other.£28,880 to £42,110
Infertility (female)Resulting from failure to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy. If significant complications were involved, this could mean a payout would be towards the higher end of the bracket.£31,950 to £95,850
Scarring (Significant)Where plastic surgery has or will reduce the effects, but there will still be some cosmetic damage. The psychological reaction may not be significant however. If it was initially significant, it would have reduced to minor proportions.£8,550 to £28,240
Epileptic conditions (other than established Grand Mal or Petit Mal)Where the injured party has suffered one or two discrete episodes or it has resurfaced temporarily. The level of payout would be calculated based on assessment of the effects on social life, work, sporting activities etc.£9,990 to £24,680
HerniaWhere the injured party’s work life and ability to perform physical activities has been impacted despite them undergoing corrective surgery.£13,970 to £22,680

In terms of what you can claim for medical negligence alongside the general damages detailed above, you could also receive compensation for financial harm you’ve suffered due to your injuries. These are known as special damages. They could include costs and losses such as:

Care costs – If your injuries were so severe that you were unable to take care of yourself, and you needed a carer, the costs of this care could be included within your claim.

Medical expenses – Your claim could also include costs for medical expenses such as physiotherapy, prescriptions or counselling if these costs were incurred because of your injuries.

Travel expenses – Travel costs to hospital appointments and for trips to see your lawyer could also be included as special damages. If you had to change the way you travel to work because your injuries prevented you from driving there and you incurred additional costs, these could also be included as part of your claim.

Income losses – If you were unable to work while recovering from your injuries, you may have lost out on some of your usual income. Such losses could be included within a claim for medical negligence. If your injuries mean you are unable to return to work at all, a future loss of earnings payout could be included within your claim.

It is essential that you are able to evidence any costs you are intending to claim for. If you have no proof of costs or losses pertaining to your claim you may not be able to include them as special damages. It is worth keeping copies of all bank statements, payslips, bills and receipts relating to costs and losses you’ve incurred so that these could be provided to your lawyer for inclusion within your claim.

Contact Accident Claims UK

Do you have any other questions about making a medical negligence claim, or would you like us to provide you with a medical negligence solicitor to fight for the maximum compensation possible for your claim? Perhaps you’re not sure whether you could be entitled to claim and would like a free, no-obligation assessment. Whatever you need, we’re here to help. Our expert advisors can be reached by phone at any time on 0800 073 8801. Alternatively, you could email office@accidentclaims.co.uk or complete the contact form, which can be found here. Or, if you’d like to use our live chat feature, you can do so by typing in the pop-up box below. However you choose to contact us, you’ll find we’re ready and able to help you – so why not get in touch today?

Essential References

Were You Misdiagnosed? – Misdiagnosis claims are covered in detail within this guide.

Care Home Negligence Claims – If you or someone you love has experienced care home negligence, our guide to claiming against a care home could be of interest.

GP Negligence – You can read more about making a claim against a GP for negligence in our detailed guide.

NHS Resolution – This site provides information about NHS compensation schemes and also includes statistics relating to medical negligence claims against the NHS.

National Health Service Act – Here, you can see the National Health Service Act 2006 in its entirety.

How To Make A Complaint To The NHS – Here, you can find information about the NHS complaints procedure.

Article by JJ

Edited by MM.