Medical Negligence

In the UK we are fortunate to have a healthcare system which offers some of the best care in the world. Unfortunately, however, things do sometimes go wrong, and when they do the consequences for the patient and their family can be devastating. In cases where a patient suffers serious injury as a result of a negligent act or omission by a clinician it is only right to consider whether a claim for medical negligence should be pursued.

What Do You Have To Prove?

Healthcare providers in the UK always owe their patients a duty of care. Should the clinician breach that duty of care, then grounds for a medical negligence claim can arise.

In order for you to succeed in a claim for medical negligence it is necessary to prove two things:-

  1. That the standard of medical care provided to you was so poor that not even a reasonable minority of other clinicians would have considered it to be acceptable; and
  2. That, as a result of any substandard care, you have suffered harm which would  otherwise have been avoidable. (This must of course always be distinguished from harm which you would have suffered in any event, as a result of any pre-existing illness or injury).

If you believe that you have grounds to pursue a medical negligence claim then please contact our specialist team for a free, no obligation consultation.

Why Make A Medical Negligence Claim?

Living with an injury can make life very difficult in all sorts of ways. If you have been injured as a result of medical negligence then you deserve to be compensated for such injuries, as well for any financial losses which are incurred as a result.

Examples of the financial losses often recovered in such cases include:-

  • Loss of earnings and pension due to time off work
  • Care and assistance you require as a result of the injury (this can still be compensated even if it was provided by friends and family)
  • Past and future treatment costs
  • Past and future expenses (including the cost of home adaptations, aids and equipment and travel costs)

The above list is not exhaustive and the general rule of the Courts is that any financial losses (past or future) which can be reasonably attributed to an act of negligence, should be recoverable as part of the claim.

Most healthcare providers (including NHS Trusts, General Practitioners, and private surgeons) are insured in respect of medical negligence claims. As such, compensation is paid out by the insurers, and does not reduce front-line care. 

How Are Medical Negligence Claims Funded?

At JF Law, all of our medical negligence cases are funded by way of Conditional Fee Agreements, which are more commonly termed No Win No Fee agreements.

Under the terms of a Conditional Fee Agreement you would not have to pay any legal costs if your case is not successful.

If your case is successful then most legal costs would be paid by your opponent, but certain deductions would also be taken from the settlement amount. Such deductions can differ on a case by case basis, but we would always make you aware of what these would be in your case prior to any settlement being agreed.

Are There Any Time Limits For Bringing A Medical Negligence Claim?

As a general rule, a 3 year limitation period applies to cases for medical negligence. Whilst a case does not necessarily need to be settled within the three year period, it does need to be issued at Court, in order to prevent it from becoming statute barred.

The three year period will usually run from the date upon which the negligence occurred. However, if you did not find out about the negligent act until a later time, the limitation period will be deemed to run from the date upon which you became aware, or ought to have become aware, that a negligent mistake had been made.

If a person lacks the mental capacity necessary to appreciate that there has been an act of negligence, then the limitation period will not start to run until they attain such mental capacity (and will never start to run if they do not).     

If the victim of the negligent act was under 18 at the time, then they will not be deemed to have gained mental capacity for limitation purposes until they reach the age of 18. As such the three year limitation period will start to run on their 18th birthday, meaning the case must be issued at Court before they turn 21.

In both of the latter cases, a litigation friend can pursue compensation on the injured party’s behalf.

What Kind Of Acts Might Constitute Medical Negligence?

Some common examples of types of medical negligence claim include:

  • Delay in diagnosis of an injury or illness
  • Failure to treat an injury or illness appropriately
  • Failure to obtain informed consent to treatment (including failure to properly explain risks)
  • GP errors (including failure to make appropriate referrals for further investigations)
  • Surgical errors
  • Nursing errors
  • Obstetric errors (errors made during pregnancy and birth)

Whilst the above are common types of claim, the simple answer to this question is that any unreasonable action or omission by a healthcare provider which results in harm could give rise to a medical negligence claim.

If you feel that you or a close relative may have suffered harm as a result of an act of medical negligence then contact our specialist team today for further advice.

How Do I Start A Medical Negligence Claim?

The first step towards commencing your claim will be to contact our friendly and experienced team for a free and confidential assessment.

Our specialist solicitors have a wealth of experience of dealing with such cases, and have recovered millions of pounds worth of compensation for medical negligence victims.

If you feel that we may be able to assist you too then please call today, and we will be happy to speak to you about the possibility of commencing a No Win No Fee claim

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