Cases of medical negligence are more common in the UK than many people imagine. Also sometimes known as clinical negligence, medical negligence refers to substandard care from a medical professional. If this has happened to you, you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation.
In 2011/12, just over 16,000 claims for negligence were made against the NHS in the UK, a figure which is up 18.4% on the previous year and up 80% since 2008.
What Is Medical Negligence?
Medical negligence is an incident or situation in which a doctor, dentist, nurse or other medical professional is negligent in their treatment of their patient. This negligence then results in a failure in their duty of care. There are many different things which can be classed as medical negligence, such as giving a patient the wrong drugs, failing to spot injuries or symptoms or even performing an operation on the wrong person. This mistake then leads to physical or psychological harm to the patient involved. Medical negligence can also be a patient receiving poor care which results in medical issues later on, or even simple events such as your GP not referring you to a hospital specialist. Medical negligence should never be muddled with poor professional conduct – medical negligence only applies when the lack of care has meant consequences for the patient such as loss or injury.
Have I Been A Victim of Medical Negligence?
In order to bring a successful claim for medical negligence against a healthcare professional, there are several things that you need to prove :
- That a duty of care to you was owed by the professional AND
- They failed and were negligent in that duty of care by doing something wrong or failing to do something AND
- Their negligence caused you harm either straight away, or by increasing your risks of something serious happening in the future.
The person making the claim must also prove liability and causation. This means showing that the professional involved acted in a way which other professionals in the same position would not have done, and the consequences of that was an injury or harm which should never have happened.
Next Steps for Medical Compensation
If you think you might be a victim of medical negligence, start by looking for a specialist solicitor. Have a look online, or ask friends or family to recommend someone. The easiest way of telling whether a solicitor specialises in this field is to check that they have either been accredited by the Action Against Medical Accidents (AAMA) charity, or by the Law Society’s clinical negligence panel. Only around 180 medical solicitors in England and Wales are members of both of these elite panels – and our own Denise Broomfield is one of them.
Some solicitors working in medical negligence will offer a free of charge first appointment [ we do], which gives you the opportunity to find out whether your claim has a chance of success. Also use this first appointment to ask any questions about the claims process in general, and about the individual solicitor to make sure you’ve got the right person for the job.
The solicitor will also look at your claim in terms of what you can expect to claim for, including factors such as loss of earnings, quality of life and financial loss, and this can give you a ballpark figure of the sort of compensation you can expect.
Your medical negligence solicitor can then start to pull together the supporting evidence for your claim. In the vast majority of medical claims an agreement is made between the parties without the matter ever going to court. As most medical negligence solicitors work on a conditional fee or “no win no fee” basis, you’ve nothing to lose by putting forward a medical negligence claim.
Thinking of making a medical negligence claim – contact us now
Our team have the necessary expertise to recover the full and fair amount of compensation and will also be able to treat your medical negligence claim with sensitivity.
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