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Medical Negligence Claims: Guide to Making a Claim

Where harm is caused due to negligent healthcare, claiming compensation for pain, suffering and loss of amenity, can seem difficult and daunting, especially when dealing with the fallout of negligent treatment or surgery, but a Medical Negligence Claim provides the means for seeking justice and compensation. Above all, navigating a Medical Negligence Claim, is not something you need to face on your own. 

At Lanyon Bowdler we understand the process and complexities of making a Medical Negligence Claim. We are here to support you and your family through the entire claim process and beyond. We are nationally recognised experts in helping the injured claim compensation, and we will be with you for the journey. 

Our National Healthcare System is widely regarded as one of the highest quality national medical institutions in the world. Damaging accidents are rare, but they may sometimes take place. For those who have unfortunately suffered due to improper or negligent care, we have devised an extensive guide to inform you of the process of making a Medical Negligence Claim, your rights, and the law.

If you believe you have suffered physical, psychological or financial damage because of clinical negligence, our Medical Negligence Claims experts are here to support and guide you through the process.

What constitutes Medical Negligence?

The law clearly defines that a clinical negligence compensation claim may be brought when all components of the three-part test have been established.

The three criteria are:

  1. The doctor owed a duty of care;
  2. That duty of care was breached; and
  3. As a direct result of the breach, the person has suffered harm or personal injury.

A duty of care is a legal obligation which is imposed on an individual, requiring adherence to a standard of reasonable care while performing any act that could foreseeably harm another person. Breaching this duty of care can mean that an individual may be liable.

The burden of proof to demonstrate substandard level of care is on a claimant. This is the result of the 1957 case Bolam v. Friern Hospital Management Committee, in which a patient sustained severe injuries as a result of Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT). The Judge dismissed the claim, highlighting the requirement that it is for a claimant to prove that no responsible, skilled and caring medical professional would have advised or carried out the course of action that ultimately resulted in injury.

A Judge may deem a medical opinion reasonable if this conclusion is backed by a reputable body of experts and professionals. The Judge may not choose between two “schools of thought” where both are found to be reasonable courses of action within the realms of the case and withstand logical analysis.

Some of the types of clinical and medical negligence cases our specialist solicitors can deal with include:

  • Brain injury
  • Birth injuries
  • Cancer misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Cosmetic surgery negligence
  • General surgery
  • GP Claims
  • Hospital negligence claims
  • Spinal injuries

We can review the circumstances of your case and assess whether you could have a valid claim. Get in touch with one of our medical negligence compensation claim experts today.

How do I start a medical negligence claim?

When pursuing a claim for medical negligence, it is imperative to seek expert and trustworthy legal advice as soon as possible. Our team of authorised and regulated medical negligence specialists has a breadth of experience in handling clinical negligence claim cases. We are available to discuss your circumstances and make sure you reach the best possible outcome.

The first step is to contact us through the enquiry form or the number on this page. We will assess your case with a friendly and confidential chat and guide you through the process.

Pursuing a medical negligence compensation case can be complex and difficult. However, our expert team of medical negligence specialists has extensive experience handling complex cases.

You may decide to lodge a complaint with the hospital, doctor, or practitioner before contacting a solicitor. This may help you investigate the circumstances of the event, and determine who, if anyone, could be responsible and liable for what went wrong.

Your solicitors will then gather evidence to support your claim. This may include:

●          Medical Records - X-rays, GP records, hospital records etc.

●          Statements from yourself and/or witnesses

●          Photographs

●          Reports from independent medical experts - these may consider whether the care provided to you was substandard, or determine the cause and severity of your injuries, and an estimate of your recovery time

All records and findings found during this phase will help your legal team fully understand what you may be entitled to in terms of compensation.

The claim must also be filed with the court within a specific timeframe.

There are many challenges and obstacles to overcome but with our team on your side, you can be assured of the best possible outcome for you and your case.

How much time do I have to make a medical negligence compensation claim?

In the UK, the legal statutory time limit to file a claim is normally three years from the date of a specific event or incident.

There are, however, some exemptions to the three year rule - most notably if the damage or injury caused by the negligent behaviour did not manifest themselves until a later date. In these cases, the three year time limit is calculated from what is known as Date of Knowledge i.e. from the moment when they knew or reasonably believed that their injuries were caused by the past negligent treatment. It is also important to seek legal advice immediately in order to make sure the process is handled properly and with no further complications.

Another common exception to the normal three year time limit involves children under the age of 18.

In cases where a child has been the victim of medical negligence, the three year time limit starts from the day of their 18th birthday, and therefore court proceedings must be commenced before they turn 21 years old. This exception exists so that the child may claim compensation themselves as an adult.

It should be noted that if a parent has already made a claim before a child turns 18, the child will not be allowed to make a claim for the same case later.

Should a child suffer some form of brain injury or lacks the mental capacity to pursue a claim after their 18th birthday, the law specifies no time limit for a claim. Similar exceptions exist for individuals with mental impairments for cases where the accident has happened after the victim’s 18th birthday.

Our team of medical negligence experts have handled many complex cases and can support you through the procedure.

My accident took place while in NHS care. Can I make a medical negligence claim?

The NHS provides a vital service to the British public and is renowned worldwide for its standard of healthcare quality. Unfortunately, things can go wrong, and cases of medical negligence can have devastating effects on patients and their families.

You may claim for medical negligence compensation against any individual or organisation that reasonably owed you medical duty of are. This includes claims against the NHS and any doctor and practitioner associated with it for instance, hospital trusts, nurses, surgeons, mental health professionals and more.

Cases of clinical negligence in NHS patients have reached a 10-year high in the data available for 2020/2021, with 12,629 incidents reported. This represents an almost 50% increase from the 8,655 cases for 2010/2011. The majority of the incidents (4,295) happened in non-specialty areas, which includes claims against General Practitioners.

Most of the cases reach a settlement before going to a final trial.

While the NHS provides high standards of healthcare services to millions of people every year, incidents of medical negligence can and do occur. The aim of a clinical negligence compensation claim is not for a person to benefit financially, but to restore an individual’s situation to what it would have reasonably been should the incident not have taken place. Not only this, but it is to highlight the issue with the NHS so that changes can be made to ensure that a similar event does not happen again in the future. Learning from mistakes is imperative.

Your legal rights regarding medical negligence and who can be held liable for your damages ultimately depends on who was responsible for your care, and circumstances may vary greatly.

How can I fund my medical negligence compensation claim?

The fear of the financial burden associated with the pursuit of a compensation claim through the courts can often be overwhelming. However, it should be noted that many funding options may apply to your case.

  • Conditional Fee Agreement (“CFA”)

A CFA is commonly referred to as a “No Win No Fee” agreement. Should your case be ultimately unsuccessful, you will not be liable for the costs associated with the legal procedure. If your case is successful, a “Success Fee” may apply, usually as a pre-agreed percentage of your settlement.

  • Legal Expenses Insurance

You may unknowingly be covered by Legal Expenses Insurance. This could be included in your home or car insurance policies, and your policy may outline specific limitations in terms of cost, or choice of solicitors.

  • Legal Aid

Medical negligence cases are not normally covered by Legal Aid However, in very limited circumstances, Legal Aid may be available for claims involving neurological injuries suffered by children during pregnancy, birth or the eight weeks following birth.

  • Private Funding

You may also cover all the costs associated with your solicitors and external expenses with your own funds.

How can I prove my damages because of medical negligence?

Losses directly caused by medical negligence can include physical, psychological or financial losses - both past and future. They can be divided into:

  • General Damages (for your pain, suffering and loss of amenity)
  • Special Damages (compensating financial losses suffered, both past and future, as a direct result of the incident)
  • Legal Costs
  • Interest

It is vital to keep an updated record of any financial documents to support your claim.

Receipts, bank statements and payslips from the six months preceding the incident can all massively help your case, although the final calculation of your financial compensation will be made by a solicitor or barrister. If the claim is made in regards to an incident that has taken place some time ago, this sum may be adjusted for inflation.

How does a medical negligence investigation work?

To investigate a potential clinical negligence claim can take a long time, but, once you have selected your legal representation, your legal team will guide you through the process.

The solicitor in charge of your medical negligence compensation claim will obtain your medical records from your GP, hospital, and wherever you have had treatment. A Witness Statement will be draft detailing your own account of events...

At this time we may send a Letter of Notification or may proceed to obtain independent expert evidence in relation to the care you have received. Proving those experts are supportive of a claim, a Letter of Claim will be sent to the party considered liable for the incident. The letter will contain all relevant documentation, explaining how the negligence is believed to have taken place and the damages considered directly caused by it.

The defendant will then have four months to respond to the Letter of Claim. In their response, they may: - may admit liability in full; they may deny the claim entirely; or they may respond with a partial agreement - for example, they may admit a breach of duty has taken place, but deny that any damage or injury was caused by that breach,

If the defendant admits both breach of duty and causation outlined in the Letter of Claim, the case can be valued and negotiations for settlement can begin. This will be supported by medical evidence and evidence in support of all of your financial losses.

Should an agreement on the settlement sum not be reached, the case will need to be go to court. This can be a very expensive process and given the level of costs that can be involved for all parties, we will explore every avenue and try and reach a settlement for you before court proceedings are commenced. However, if court proceedings cannot be avoided, our experienced clinical negligence solicitors will ensure that your case proceeds through the court process as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Do I need to go to court for a medical negligence compensation claim?

It may be necessary to take your medical negligence compensation claim to court if the defendant has denied liability, or if the parties cannot agree on the settlement.

Obtaining a court hearing can take several years following the issue of proceedings, and the costs associated with pursuing a court case make this approach unappealing, but necessary in some circumstances.

What is the process for a medical negligence claim court Case?

A legal document called a “Particulars of Claim” will be drafted and served to the defendant. This document will outline your case and demonstrate why the defendant is responsible for the incident and damages.

From the receipt of the Particulars of Claim, the defendant will have 28 days to respond with a ”Defence”. This is another legal document which will explain the reason for disputing your claim.

A timetable will then be set by the court for certain steps to take place to ready your case for trial, such as:

  • exchanging witness statements.
  • exchanging expert evidence.
  • the experts preparing a joint statement, which will include points of agreement and disagreement. The statement will give your solicitor a much clearer view of where your case stands.
  • finalising details of financial losses.

Once all steps of the timetable have been completed, and if a settlement has not been reached, then your case will be determined by a Judge at a trial.

It should be noted that your lawyer will continue to use their best endeavours to try and obtain a settlement for you up until the date of the trial. The vast majority of cases are resolved during the court process and before the final court hearing.

If the Judge comes to a favourable conclusion for your case, the defendant will be ordered to pay you an amount in compensation, as well paying your reasonable legal costs.

In the unfortunate event of your loss in the court, your solicitor will advise you about your options based on the outcome of the Judge’s ruling and whether an appeal is possible, but this usually ends the legal process for your compensation claim.

Contact Us

If you think you or a family member has received negligent treatment from a hospital, health centre or a medical professional, which has left you or a loved one distressed, in pain, or with additional health problems, then it is likely you are entitled to make a medical negligence claim.

Give us a call or complete our online enquiry form, to see how our team can help you.

Please call for a friendly, confidential, and compassionate approach to your situation. There is no obligation or any charge for our initial assessment.

By choosing Lanyon Bowdler to assist you in pursuing your medical negligence compensation claim, you can rest assured that you have the best legal expertise on your team.

Lanyon Bowdler's medical negligence solicitors are widely acclaimed and nationally recognised as one of the best clinical negligence departments in the country.

We have offices in Shrewsbury, Bromyard, Conwy, Hereford, Ludlow, Oswestry, and Telford, so are able to act for clients all over Shropshire, Herefordshire, Mid and North Wales and across the Midlands (including Wolverhampton & Birmingham). As a leading full-service law firm, we can represent you wherever you live in England or Wales.

We are committed to providing you with exceptional service and will work closely and considerately with you to help find the best outcomes and help to get your life back on track.

If you wish to complain or seek compensation for an incident of medical or clinical negligence, our team of approachable specialists will be able to deal with it with sensitivity and compassion.

Testimonials

I was very happy that I used Lanyon Bowdler.

- Mr Richard A Cave, Wrexham

Attention to detail at all times, all business carried out directly with one solicitor.

- Mr Ian H Jones, Flint

A complete honest and friendly service from start to finish. Thank you very much. 

- Mr William Peace & Richard Peace, Ludlow

Professional and caring towards clients.

- Mr Nicky John Mullis & Mrs Alison Jane Miles, Shrewsbury

Professional, clear on expectations, prompt on responding to my questions and queries. All paperwork sent promptly and clearly marked when you required my response. 

- Miss Nicola Georgina Foster

Every step of the way you have cared, you have listened, you have supported and you have fought for us. And you have done all this in the most professional and dignified manner. 

- Mr & Mrs XB

'You really cared and wanted the best possible outcome for our son'

- Mr & Mrs Abernethy, Cheshire

Great communication and persistence with difficult defendant.

- Mr J Partington, Whitchurch

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