How Many Medical Negligence Claims Go To Court?
Many people actually put off taking legal actions against their healthcare providers because they feel daunted by the idea of appearing in court. They see it as an additional stress and burden and understandably so.
However, most medical negligence claims cases do not even get to court. In fact, an overwhelming majority of medical negligence cases are settled out of court.
Statistics from the NHS Resolution shows that up to 98% of clinical and medical negligence cases never make it to court. This means that only an average of 2% of all claims actually go all the way to a trial.
In some years, this figure is much smaller. In 2019/20 for instance, only 0.6% of medical negligence NHS claims went to court.
Therefore, it is most likely that your claim may not even get to a court trial. Defendants most times also do not like claims going to a trial but you must not give them an impression that you feel daunted by the idea of going all the way to the trial. They may take advantage of that and make compensation offers that fall below what your claim should be worth or stretch the claims process to get you frustrated and accept whatever they offer.
The main reason why your claim may end up in court is if it is a complicated case and you are not able to establish the defendant’s negligence beyond reasonable doubt for them to accept liability.
Claims are settled faster when liability has been admitted; therefore, if liability is still contested or the defendant feels you are partially to be blamed, it can make things more complex and the case would probably have to be presided over by a judge.
Additionally, when the defendant offers a settlement which by your valuation falls below what you should receive given the severity of your illness or injury, the case could go to court.
How Long Do Medical Negligence Claims Take To Settle?
On the average, it takes between 6months and 3years for a medical negligence claim to settle. Settlement time varies from one claim to another based on the complexity of the case and other factors surrounding acceptance of liability and both parties agreeing on a settlement fee.
It can take about 2years from the day a claim was filed before it actually goes to a trial. A claim that goes to trial can also take longer than 3 years especially if the court has too many cases to handle or there are backlog of cases waiting to be handled first.
On the other hand, in the case of personal injury, the claim can even be resolved even before it is filed if the defendant’s insurer approaches with a very reasonable offer without delay. However, in most cases the first offer usually falls below what the claimant should actually get taking into consideration the severity of the injury suffered.
If the settlement offer presented is accepted, the claimant will now sign a release waiver that takes away their right to sue. The case is closed.
In the case of medical negligence cases against the NHS for instance, your solicitor will write a letter of claim to the NHS stating your claim and also requesting access to your medical records which is needed to serve as evidence.
The NHS has up to 40 days by law to make it available to you. This will be reviewed by a medical expert who will also review your testimony and in some cases perform a medical examination on you. The outcome will make it clearer to you and your solicitor if you should go ahead with the claim.
If you decide to proceed with the claim, your solicitor will send out another letter to the NHS detailing the nature of your injury or suffering, losses incurred and the compensation amount deemed fair for those damages.
The NHS has to acknowledge receipt of this letter within 14 days and then proceed to carry out an internal investigation which could take up to four months.
They could respond with any of the following;
- Denial of the claim
- Admission to all or parts of the claim
- An offer to settle, either with or without an admission of guilt.
The response they give will determine what further action can be taken by you and your solicitor. You may be able to negotiate a fair settlement payout at this point. If this happens, then litigation is avoided. If on the other hand both parties are unable to arrive at an agreement, and your solicitor is still very convinced of your chances to win, he will proceed to initiate formal legal proceedings.
Even after registering the case in court, it is possible that both parties will be able to reach an agreement before the trial date.
Average Medical Negligence Settlement UK
Medical negligence cases vary from one claim to another and this affects the amount a claimant can get as settlement amount as each claim has its own peculiarities.
The NHS Resolution however says that the average medical negligence compensation amount is £50,000, but medical negligence settlement amounts can range anywhere from £1,000 to several millions of pounds depending on the following factors-
- Type of injury suffered
- Severity of pain, suffering, trauma or other damages
- Financial losses incurred
- Estimated time for recovery or future prognosis
- Travel expenses for further medical appointments
- Rehabilitation costs including costs of buying mobility aids and assistive devices
- Costs of hiring caregivers
- Accommodation adjustment costs
Your solicitor may be able to give you an idea of what you can expect as settlement payout using the NHS compensation calculator.
It is important to note here to making a successful medical negligence claim hinges mainly on the ability of you and your solicitor to prove the following parts of a medical negligence claim;
- Duty- show a doctor patient relationship and prove that your healthcare provider owed you a duty of care
- Deviation- show that the duty of care was breached
- Direct causation- show that the avoidable pain and suffering you are passing through is the direct cause of the breach of duty
- Damages- show how your life and general wellbeing has been affected including financially, socially, mentally, physically and otherwise
Contact the expert solicitors for your Medical Negligence Claims
It is very important that you choose the right medical negligence experts to boost the chances of your case being successful. The medical negligence claim process can be a very long process and so it is important that you reach out to competent medical negligence solicitors when suing for medical negligence as they will help make the entire process easier for you.
We therefore encourage you to reach out to our medical malpractice solicitors who have an enviable record of success over the years to make your NHS clinical negligence claim. Your hospital claims will be handled on our no win no fee policy and you can be sure that we will leave no stone unturned to ensure you get an appropriate medical compensation.