How long do Medical Negligence Claims take?
The process of making a medical negligence claim takes years, not months which may surprise you. The time scale does vary from case to case, and some maters can be dealt with more swiftly than others, but it is important to be prepared for a potentially lengthy process.
So, what takes so long?
Investigating medical negligence claims properly requires the careful and methodical completion of a series of steps, which all medical solicitors must follow. Each step can be time consuming and the pace is often dictated by third parties such as medical experts or funding providers, who are not always quick in responding. In a typical medical negligence compensation claim, the following needs to happen:
• A detailed discussion you establishing the circumstances and details of your claim.
• Funding for your claim will then be considered — whether using a Conditional Fee Agreement (“No Win No Fee”) , a pre-existing insurance policy or an application to the Legal Services Commission for legal aid.
• Your relevant medical records are then obtained from Hospital Trusts, GPs etc. The Data Protection Act gives record-holders 40 days to provide them – and it’s not unusual to take this long to get hold of your records.
• Often up to hundreds of pages of your medical records must then be put into chronological order
• This chronology is then discussed with you and expert medical experts who will provide independent medical report on your injury or condition are identified.
• Possible medical experts are then contacted and briefed on the case. They can require months to produce their report.
• Once we have the experts’ reports, their views will be discussed with you to see if they support your claim. This sometimes requires a conference with you, your solicitor, one or more medical experts, and possibly a barrister.
• If we agree that you have grounds for a compensation claim, a detailed letter of claim is drafted and sent to the defendant[often the solicitors for their insurance company] setting out your case
• The Pre-Action Protocol dictates that the defendant may take up to 3 months to respond – but in reality this could be closer to a year.
• If the defendant accepts liability for causing your injury, time will be taken to value your claim and negotiate a financial settlement.
• If however if the defendants dispute your claim, Court proceedings may start in full which can, unfortunately, take several years
Our medical negligence solicitors recognise the need to progress your claim swiftly and will work with you to resolve your case as quickly as possible – which involves regularly us chasing the other side or third parties such as GPs and independent medical experts.
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