How Many Medical Negligence Cases Go To Court
Medical negligence cases in the UK have been a rather frequent occurrence recently. As a result, there have been several patients who have reported hospital negligence cases against their healthcare providers.
Before we proceed, it is important that we know exactly what medical negligence is, as we also see some medical negligence cases examples.
What is Medical Negligence?
Medical negligence is a situation which occurs when a medical professional fails to provide an acceptable standard of care, causing injury or harm to the patient.
This may be by causing an entirely new injury or illness as a result of offering substandard duty of care, or by making an existing injury or medical condition worse. Medical negligence examples include injuries during birth, being mistreated in a care home, surgical errors, laser eye surgery complications and many more.
In order to make a successful clinical negligence claim, it’s important to understand how to prove medical negligence. Success stories abound for people who have accurately followed the medical negligence claim process.
Medical cases must be built on strong evidence, so it’s crucial that the person making the claim can prove what happened to them was a mistake and that they suffered injury or harm as a result of that mistake.
If you find yourself a victim of medical negligence, then you're entitled to making a medical claim against your doctor.
However, before you go on with the claim, you will need to prove that medical negligence occurred.
Documents that could help prove medical negligence include:
- Medical records including X-rays and ultrasounds
- Detailed statements from the claimant
- Witness statements (these can be from family and friends)
- Financial evidence
- Reports from medical experts that can be used as evidence
Do I definitely need to go to court?
Wondering if you absolutely need to take your healthcare provider to court for a medical malpractice trial?
Well, most medical negligence cases are resolved before they go to trial. The possibility is that once a complaint has been brought to the knowledge of the medical personnel, they will come back with a financial offer to settle. When this happens, there will be no need to proceed to the courts.
However, depending on the peculiarity of your case, there is a chance your case may go to court. Medical negligence solicitors can help you prepare in full, so you know what the entire process involves.
How many medical negligence cases end up in court?
Victimized patients always make negligence claims against doctors, including NHS negligence claims and in the private sector. Some of these medical malpractice cases in the United States end up in court, while some others do not.
If you plan on making an NHS clinical negligence claim, there are higher chances your claim will not make it to court. Hence you will be unable to receive NHS compensation for negligence.
This is because the NHS Resolution (formerly known as the NHS Litigation Authority) usually represents the NHS if you make a claim against them. They function as NHS negligence litigation experts, hence handling all NHS negligence cases.
Interestingly, not more than 2% of the cases handled by the NHSR go to court. The rest are resolved out of court or completely dropped by the claimant. The NHSR has a database of information about any negligence claim against NHS is found, including potential legal cases involving malpractice where legal action hasn't been started yet but where a patient says they are going to make a claim.
The NHS compensation payouts 2021, however, allows that compensation be made to negligence victims, with the average NHS negligence payout estimated at £50,000.
Among the numerous private medical law cases in the UK, only about 50% go to trial, according to a Business Insurance report. Less than 5% of these lawsuits have resulted in a verdict. More than 95% of all medical malpractice claims end in a settlement before or during the court process.
Many hospitals and doctors prefer to negotiate instead of entering into a trial proceeding that can possibly leave them liable for a much larger judgment. Additionally, many patients are eager to negotiate in order to obtain compensation faster and to avoid a demanding and extended legal process which can stretch over several years.
You can make a claim against the NHS and private practices
Judging by medical negligence claim stories, a common misconception is that you can only seek compensation in medical negligence cases when it involves NHS doctors. This is absolutely not true. All health practitioners that have provided you substandard care can be held accountable for their actions.
Brain injury compensation claims, birth injury claims, claims for unnecessary surgery compensation, etc can be made against any medical professional who has failed to provide you with adequate care (irrespective of the sector), so long as there is proof.
How long does a medical negligence claim take?
Given that medical negligence claims are unique and no two claims are exactly the same, timeframes for claims may vary.
On average, it could take upto 12-36 months to complete your medical negligence claim.
Be that as it may, the duration of the claim depends on the complexity of your case, the injury you sustained and the cooperation of the defendant. Clinical negligence cases which are simple in nature and easy to handle, when admitted by the opposing party, can be processed quickly, while more complicated cases can take longer time to be resolved.
Medical negligence payouts
While calculating the amount of compensation claimable, medical negligence solicitors will take lots of different factors into account to ensure that you receive a fair sum. Some of these factors include:
- The severity of the injury
- Length of recovery
- Impact on daily life
- Punitive damages
- Inheritance loss
- Loss of earnings
- Loss of projected earnings
- Loss of benefits
Payout figures can therefore range from £1,000 to several millions of pounds depending on the peculiarity of each case of medical negligence. NHS payouts, however, are estimated at about £50,000.
Time limit for a medical negligence claim
If you are a victim of any of the examples of medical negligence stated earlier, you have three years from the date of knowledge to make a claim.
The date of knowledge is the date when you first realized or became aware that a mistake had been made. In numerous medical case study examples on negligence, patients are aware of the negligent incident soon after their treatment.
However, in some cases, negligence can be discovered years after treatment. If the individual making the claim does not have the required mental capacity, or was under the age of 18 when the incident occurred, this is treated as an exceptional case. The time limit is usually longer.
Can you claim compensation for medical negligence?
You can claim compensation for any injuries or losses suffered which were a direct result of the negligent treatment you received. This can include: compensation for pain and suffering. payment for ongoing treatment, etc.
How many medical negligence claims are successful?
0.2% of medical negligence claims are successful. It is authoritatively shown that around 10 to 11 % of hospital admissions each year end in an 'adverse outcome' due to a medical incident.
Do I need a solicitor to make a claim?
There is no legal requirement to instruct a solicitor to handle your claim. Legally you are perfectly entitled to act on your own behalf and pursue your claim without the assistance of a solicitor.
However, solicitors (eg. spinal injury solicitors) make your work much easier by taking all the burden off of you. Many interesting negligence cases have been successfully handled by professional solicitors.