Medical Negligence: Why Is It Important For Your Solicitor To Be A Member Of Specialist Panels?
Making the decision to claim for medical negligence can be extremely stressful, not to mention time-consuming if you don’t even know where to start. One of the hardest things about this process is finding the right solicitor to represent you in the first place – with so many seemingly ‘expert’ solicitors and law firms out there, how do you know which one to choose? Who can you trust to take care of your case? How do you know if you’re likely to get a positive outcome from making a medical negligence claim?
One easy way of wading through all of the potential options is to look at their accreditations.
What Exactly Is Medical Negligence?
If you believe you have been treated wrongly by a medical professional – and have sustained injury, disease, or lost money because of this – you may be entitled to make a medical (sometimes called clinical) negligence claim against them. For this, you will need evidence, your medical notes and records, and a qualified, experienced lawyer to guide you through the whole process.
What Specialist Panels Should Your Solicitor Be A Member Of?
In order to make sure that you appoint the right person for the job, you should check that your chosen solicitor is a member of one of the two leading specialist medical negligence panel run by Action Against Medical Accidents (AvMA) and the Law Society.
- AvMA is a charity, set up in 1982, whose main aim is to keep patients safe and to get justice for those who have been wronged by individuals in the medical community. Their panel has a strict accreditation system meaning that they only accredit solicitors who have proved their worth in terms of experience, skills, and knowledge of medical negligence.
- The Law Society runs the Clinical Negligence Accreditation Scheme, which also only accepts solicitors who have a high level of knowledge, experience and practice in medical negligence cases.
Membership of both AvMA and Law Society medical negligence panels are limited to around 180 solicitors – out of a total of over 150,000 solicitors nationwide at almost 10,000 law firms.
Our team is headed by a highly experienced medical negligence solicitor who is one of those 180 on both the Law Society and AvMA panels.
So when instructing us, you can be certain that you have solicitors who have been independently accredited as a genuine experts.
Why Should You Choose A Solicitor Who Is A Member Of These Panels?
Only the best solicitors get accredited by these panels, so you can rest assured that if the solicitor you’ve chosen sports the quality mark of one of these panels on their website, they’re the real deal.
It is a sad fact that some firms out there may claim to be specialists but, unless they can prove they’re members of one of these panels, it is clear that they haven’t shown the correct skills and level of experience needed to be accredited for medical negligence cases. This area of law is highly specialised and so you really need to be careful when making your decision about who to instuct.
What Is Involved In The Accreditation Process?
The accreditation process for both of these panels is extremely thorough and complex.
Basically, the solicitor will have to go through a tough assessment process in order to show that they have a high level of competence in the field of medical negligence (in the case of the Law Society, this is undertaken by the Accreditation Unit in London).
They will have to find out if they are eligible to apply and then send in an application which is marked by an expert assessor, who will then produce a report detailing the applicants’ results against a competence criteria. Any incorrect answers or replies that raise moral, ethical or conduct issues could lead to the application for accreditation being refused.
What’s more, even when you have made it onto one of these 2 panels, you need to be re-accredited every three years – and that reassessment process is not a formality. Both the Law Society and AvMA must be satisfied that the solicitor in question remains an active specialist – with enough active cases and sufficient ongoing training about all aspects of medical negligence.
The head of our medical negligence team, Denise Broomfield, was reassessed by both panels in 2020 and her current accreditation runs until 2023.
Finding The Right Medical Negligence Solicitor For You
So, now you know that you should be looking for a solicitor who is a member of either the AvMA or Law Society panels for medical negligence, but how do you know that they are actually listed with them? Fortunately, this is relatively easy. Most law firms will have proof of this panel membership on their websites, but if they don’t, you can always ask them via email, phone or in person to give you full details of their accreditations. If you’re still unsure of how to start searching for solicitors in the first place, click here to head over to the official Law Society and AvMA websites for a comprehensive list of participating solicitors and law firms.
Here at law firm Bonallack and Bishop, we offer fully qualified and recognised lawyers who will only be too happy to give you details of their experience and accreditation, so you can rest easy knowing that your medical negligence case is being looked after by the best in the business.
Contact us today for more information or to discuss your own clinical negligence issues.
Contact our Medical Negligence Specialists today
- Call us on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544
- Or use the contact form below