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What is medical negligence?
Medical negligence is the term used to describe medical accidents. Sometimes the words "clinical negligence" are also used.
How will my claim be funded?
There are a wide range of funding options available to you. To view funding options please click here.
Can I make a claim on behalf of somebody who has died?
The answer to this is yes.
When someone who has a medical negligence claim dies, then the Executors/Administrators of the deceased's estate can bring a claim on his/her behalf. If the person died whilst receiving medical treatment, then there may be an Inquest. It is important to obtain specialist legal advice as soon as possible as representation by a Solicitor at the Inquest may be very important.
How do I complain about my treatment?
If you are dissatisfied with the medical treatment you have received, you can make a formal written complaint to the health care provider. You do not have to take legal action.
NHS Medical Treatment
There is a set procedure to follow if your treatment was provided by the NHS. The procedure covers complaints about treatment received from GPs, NHS Hospitals, NHS dentists or other NHS employees such as physiotherapists and occupational therapists. Your NHS provider will be able to provide you with a copy of the procedure. The complaints procedure can result in you obtaining an explanation of what happened to you and sometimes an apology. It does not provide you with proper compensation for your injuries and losses unless your injuries are very minor and the amount of your out of pocket expenses are nominal.
Private Medical Treatment
If your complaint arises from private medical treatment, there is no standard complaints procedure. If your complaint is about a particular doctor, you can write a letter of complaint to the doctor directly. If this is not dealt with to your satisfaction, then you can complain to the General Medical Council (GMC). If the complaint is about the private hospital or clinic itself, then you should complain to the hospital/clinic directly.
How much compensation will I receive?
The amount of compensation will depend on the type and severity of the injury, the amount of financial losses that have been and are likely to be incurred and the circumstances of your particular case. The burden of proof is upon you as the Claimant to prove your claim. Compensation for clinical negligence claims is made up of two parts.
This is to compensate you for the pain, suffering and any loss of amenity you have suffered and are likely to continue to suffer if there is a continuing disability. The amount is assessed by looking at previously decided cases involving similar injuries and the Government's publication used in assessing damages known as the Judicial Studies Board Guidelines.
The amount awarded in each case depends on the type and severity of the injury as well as any long term effects.
This is to compensate you for any expenses and financial losses you have incurred in the past and are likely to incur in the future as a result of the clinical negligence. Examples of the type of special damages you can recover include loss of earnings, cost of treatment, cost of care, medical equipment costs, travel costs, alterations to your home, prescription and medication costs and reduced employment prospects in the future.
Interest may be added to any clinical negligence compensation awarded for general and special damages.
An interim payment is an amount paid to you before the conclusion of your claim in partial settlement of your claim. Interim payments are sometimes paid by the opponent to help with the cost of medical treatment, adjustments to your home or to relieve financial hardship.
When someone has suffered a serious injury and the claim is likely to take a long time to be finalised, then it is not unusual for interim payments to be paid by the opponent.
Will I have to go to Court?
Not all medical negligence claims result in having to attend court, and more often than not are settled before reaching this stage. Court costs can be very expensive which is why it is in the best interests of both parties to settle the claim before proceeding to a trial.
Will I need to be examined?
Examination is not always necessary, however in some instances as your case progresses it is necessary to obtain a condition and progress report. The purpose of a condition and progress report is to ascertain your current state of health, if there will be any long-term effects as a result of medical negligence and whether or not you will make a full recovery.
If you do require any further treatment, the Defendant would be responsible for the cost of this if we are successful in the claim.
If I am successful in my claim how will I be compensated?
Compensation is more commonly known as damages and this is split into what we call general damages and special damages.
General damages seek to compensate you for your injuries also known as damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (the impact on your day-to-day lifestyle). This normally forms the smallest part of your claim.
Special Damages is reimbursement for money you have had to pay out as a result of the negligence. This is for such things as loss of earnings, care provided by family or nursing professionals, travelling expenses, parking fees, medical expenses.
The idea of damages is to try and put you back into the position you would have been in had the negligence not occurred and whilst this isn't always the case, it can sometimes make it easier for you to cope in the future.
Are there any limitations when bringing a claim?
You should pursue a claim within three years of the date you first knew, or could have reasonably been expected to know, that negligence has taken place. Failure to do so within three years may mean that you are unable to pursue a claim against those responsible so it's important to seek legal advice as soon as possible.
In certain circumstances, the court has discretion to allow cases to go ahead of time. In the eyes of the law, you are a considered a child up until the age of 18 and therefore you have three years from the date of your 18th birthday to bring a claim. This means your limitation date will expire on your 21st birthday. If necessary parents of a child can bring a claim on their behalf.