Medical Negligence Claims
Being the victim of medical negligence can be a painful and distressing experience for anyone at any time in their lives.
Receiving substandard medical care can be a traumatic experience for everyone involved and there can be serious implications to the victim’s future health and wellbeing.
Both the financial and physical consequences should be considered as part of any medical negligence claim, with the aim of returning the claimant to the position they were prior to the negligence occurring.
Here at Carter Moore, our specialist medical negligence solicitors understand the claims process in full and have put together our essential guide to making a medical negligence compensation claim. If you feel that you have suffered as a result of substandard medical care, then read on.
What is medical negligence?
A wide range of claims fall under the medical negligence umbrella and the law changes almost daily as cases and claims are heard in the higher courts. Whether you’ve been affected by a delayed diagnosis, GP negligence or another issue entirely, it’s worth speaking to a solicitor who is experienced in making medical negligence claims.
What is clinical negligence?
The term ‘clinical negligence’ is simply another way that medical or legal professionals refer to medical negligence.
How do I know if I am entitled to make a medical or clinical negligence claim
A good way to discover if you can make a medical negligence compensation claim is to ask yourself if any of the following apply to you:
What is a Hospital claim? Can I make a claim against the NHS?
The NHS is one of the largest organisations in the world, and most of the time it will provide an excellent service. Despite best intentions, and as in all workplaces, mistakes do happen, and the consequences of negligent surgeries, births, misdiagnoses or other treatments can have life-changing effects on victims. If you’re thinking about taking legal action against the NHS due to medical negligence, it’s important to get legal advice as soon as possible.
Carter Moore clinical negligence specialists can help you to make a hospital claim, no matter whether you have been treated privately or by the NHS.
What documents do I need to be able to make a claim?
When making a medical negligence claim, it is important to have as much information as possible about the treatment you received. You or your solicitor may need to request copies of your medical records, as well as any other letters you may have received following appointments, surgeries or investigations. Your solicitor will be able to advise you as to what documents you’ll need depending on the type of negligence claim you are making, and how you or they might go about obtaining these.
How much compensation will I get?
The amount of compensation awarded in medical negligence cases is usually agreed between the parties without having to trouble the courts. It is based upon the extent to which the injury or worse outcome has impacted upon the victim’s quality of life. Due to the wide range of cases that can fall under the medical negligence umbrella, it is impossible to predict the amount of compensation that you may receive without one of our medical negligence specialists first reviewing your case.
What are general damages?
General damages are awarded to compensate the victim for the effects of the incident that can clearly be linked to the substandard care they received. General damages can be awarded for:
Can I claim for loss of earnings?
If you have been the victim of medical negligence, you may lose out financially as you recover from your treatment, or in the longer term if your injuries are more serious or permanent.
Awards made for loss of earnings will be based upon your net earnings, i.e. the amount of money you receive once tax and NI deductions have been made. Medical malpractice cases can last many months, so you may be able to claim for any earnings lost during the legal process.
If you were previously self employed before being affected by medical negligence, the amount awarded for lost earnings will usually be based upon any profit you made over the last 3 years of your self employment.
Can I claim for aids and equipment?
If you experience physical impairment as a result of medical negligence, you will be able to claim compensation for any reasonable aids, equipment or alterations you need. This could include alterations around the house that assist you on a day-to-day basis, such as handrails or a stair lift. If you require a specially adapted car or further lifestyle enhancements, you may be able to claim for these too.
Speak to one of our medical negligence specialists to find out more about making a claim for reasonable aids and equipment.
How can I prove medical negligence or what is a breach of duty of care?
Proving a breach of liability in a medical negligence claim is based upon two factors – proving a breach of duty and proving causation.
In order to prove a breach of duty, you must show that the care you received was below the standard you would reasonably expect from a medical professional in that specific field of care. Proof of causation requires the Claimant to show that the substandard care directly resulted in injury, in worsened symptoms or in some other worse outcome.
In many cases after studying your medical notes, your solicitor will be able to advise you as to whether the treatment you received was negligent and if you can make a claim for compensation as a result.
Can I claim for transport costs?
If you are the victim of medical malpractice, your day-to-day transport costs may increase due to a loss of mobility, or having to attend hospital or GP appointments. You may be able to claim for these expenses as what are called special damages. Special damages compensate for any out-of-pocket expenses that have been caused by receiving negligent care.
How long does a medical negligence claim take?
Due to the complex nature of medical negligence cases, claims may take a number of years to reach a conclusion. You must start your medical negligence claim within three years of the incident, or when you became aware you that you had received substandard care. Although three years may seem like a long time, it is important to get legal advice as soon as possible due to the complex nature of medical negligence claims.
What is the Bolam test? What is the Bolitho test?
How can a solicitor help me make a claim?
A specialist medical negligence solicitor will have in-depth knowledge of medical negligence claims, and will help to give you the best chance of a successful claim.
At Carter Moore, our medical negligence specialists have a wealth of experience with these cases, and we can support you through every step of the process to make it as easy as possible.
To find out more about how Carter Moore can help you make a claim, contact us for a consultation to discuss your situation. You are not obliged to use our services and any conversation we have will be totally confidential and totally free of charge.
Is public funding available for a medical negligence claim?
Since 2013, legal aid funding is no longer available for the vast majority medical negligence claims. For certain cases, such as those involving children, some public funding may be available.
At Carter Moore, the vast majority of medical negligence cases operate under a “No Win, No Fee” agreement, meaning that if you lose your case you will not pay a penny. This makes starting a medical negligence claim a low risk option for the victim.
If you would like to find out more about our “No Win, No Fee” arrangement, or see if you are able to make a claim, please contact one of our medical negligence specialists.
Will I be treated differently if I make a medical negligence claim?
No matter the outcome of your medical negligence claim, you have the right to fair and proper treatment by your hospital and GP. In all cases that we have dealt with so far in 8 years, at the time of writing (28/11/2017), we have not experienced any anecdotal evidence of a Claimant having worse treatment as a result of making a complaint or a claim.