Suing The NHS For Negligence
If you or your loved one are suffering from the consequences of medical negligence such as avoidable injury or other health complications, this guide tells you how to sue the NHS for negligence.
The NHS is a top government funded health establishment known world over for its quality health services and well qualified staff in different areas of medicine. The NHS takes care of the health of millions of patients every year; and while the majority of NHS patients have received quality NHS services, there are also substantial cases of medical malpractice in the NHS. Therefore, you are empowered by the law to make NHS compensation claims if you or your loved one has suffered unnecessarily due to medical negligence.
According to statistics, medical negligence claims against the NHS have continued to rise over the years with 11,682 clinical negligence claims reported to NHS England in 2019/20, the highest since 2014/15. This was an increase from 10,678 NHS compensation claims made the previous year. Successful claims against the NHS that year 6943 out of the 11,625 claims which were settled.
The British Medical Journal has reported that between 850,000 and 974,000 incidents bothering on patient safety incidents occur each year and that 50% of that figure is avoidable. Alluding to that, the Royal College of Physicians found that doctors’ negligence is responsible for an estimated 72,000 deaths in the UK.
Compensation amounts paid for medical negligence in the NHS have also continued to rise over the years. In 2018/19, £1.778 billion was paid in settlement payouts for claims against various departments of the NHS, this figure rose to £2.3billion the next year with about £61.4 million was spent on GP negligence claims alone. As of March 2019, provisions made for NHS compensation claims by £6.4billion to £83.4billion and experts say that these numbers will continue to rise.
At NHS medical negligence, we have expert NHS malpractice lawyers who are ready to discuss your claims with you and give you the needed legal advice against the NHS ensuring that you get the support you need in your difficult time. Even if you are not sure if you were negligently treated, it's best you come to us to discuss your concerns.
There are various reasons why you may want to make claims which may include suing a hospital for emotional distress, suing the NHS for misdiagnosis or other forms of NHS clinical negligence claims.
Medical Negligence NHS
There are different actions that constitute medical negligence in the NHS for which you can make NHS claims and sue for medical malpractice. These include the following:
- Misdiagnosis which includes wrong diagnosis, late diagnosis or failure to diagnose
- Failing to carry our appropriate diagnostic tests on the patient
- Failing to inform the patient of the test results and ensuring they take the appropriate medical treatment
- Failing to refer patient to a specialist for expert medical attention
- Delayed treatment which exacerbates the patient’s condition
- Surgical mistakes including operating on the wrong body site, avoidable injuries to nerves and internal organs, retained surgical instruments inside the patient’s body, anaesthesia errors, etc.
- Drug prescription or administration errors
- Carrying out procedure without the patient’s informed consent
- Childbirth negligence leading to complications for mother and child
These and much more are forms of medical negligence in the NHS and indeed in other private hospitals. If you have suffered avoidable injuries, trauma or complications as a result of some of these negligent actions mentioned above or similar ones, then you may be able to sue the NHS for medical negligence.
NHS Complaints Procedure Compensation
We are well aware of clients who are not sure if they can sue the NHS or make a claim against the NHS for negligence. Some clients have asked questions like “should I sue the NHS?”, “how do I sue a hospital?”, “how do I make a claim against the NHS?”
Now before you may make a claim if you are unsure of the treatment you received if it was negligent or not, you may wish to know the NHS complaints compensation procedure. Although complaints do not yield any compensation amount, it can help you understand what actually happened, if you were negligently treated or not as well as gather some information which you can sue should you decide to go on and sue the NHS for negligence. It is an opportunity to express dissatisfaction over the quality of treatment you received.
You need to note that you can make complaints about the treatment you received while at the NHS. These complaints can be directed to the NHS Practice Manager or the NHS Commissioning Body. It is also important for you to make these complaints as early as possible because there is a time limit for making NHS claims. Your complaints should get to the NHS within 12months of the negligent treatment. The NHS will acknowledge receipt of your complaints within three working days and then make internal investigations and give you an official reply.
In your complaints, you will include the main concern for which you are complaining, the hospital staff that attended to you, appointment dates, events that transpired and every other detail you feel will better express your concerns. These should be clearly stated with no abusive or offensive remarks.
The NHS PALS can give you a guide on how to write your complaint letter. You can find details of the nearest NHS PALS office to you on the NHS website or you can dial NHS 111. If you are making a complaint on behalf of a loved one, you will need to show evidence that you are the next of kin or you have been authorized to make complaints on their behalf. Although you do not need the services of a medical negligence solicitor to write your complaints, we are still happy to assist you.
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO)
If you are not satisfied with the way your complaints were handled or the response you received, then you may write to the PHSO to look into your situation. The PHSO only handles complaints which have gone unresolved in the first resolution stage. You will need to provide details of your first complaints while writing to the PHSO. You can also find further guidelines on how to make complaints to the Ombudsman on their website.
Can You Sue The NHS For Negligence?
Yes, you can. Suing the NHS for negligence or suing a private hospital for medical negligence is your legal right. You can make medical negligence claims if you have received substandard care which has caused you to suffer complications, emotional distress or other injuries that could well have been avoided.
How To Sue The NHS?
This is where we tell you how to file a lawsuit against a hospital or how to claim medical negligence in the UK. In taking about how to sue a hospital like the NHS for medical malpractice, you need to know that you have to demonstrate Liability and Causation beyond reasonable doubt.
Medical negligence cases are high risk and can be very sensitive, requiring the services of the best lawyers to ensure that you receive the best form of legal representation for your claims. You demonstrate liability and causation by:
- Establishing that the NHS and its staff owed you a duty of care
- Establishing that the NHS and its staff breached that duty of care by providing you with substandard and negligent care
- Establishing that you have suffered avoidable and unnecessary injuries, emotional trauma or other complications as a result of their failure in their duty of care to you
- Establishing that you have suffered other damages (psychological, social, financial or physical) and that your health and wellbeing has been severely impacted negatively as a result of the negligence suffered.
Our specialist medical negligence solicitors in NHS claims are ready to assist you to do this to ensure that you receive justice for the wrong done to you.
You will be required to provide certain documents which will be used as evidence to prove your claims. Our NHS malpractice lawyers are ready to assist you make these documents available, write to relevant bodies and ensure you have all you need to successfully win your case. The response you received after making your complaints can also be used as evidence while making your claims.
These documents include:
- Your detailed statements of all that happened
- Medical records, reports, test and scan results
- Witness statements from friends or family
- Evidence of financial losses; this will include past, current and future estimated losses and will be very vital in determining the value of your compensation award
- Images showing the severity of the injury suffered
- We will also request an independent medical expert in the field of interest to make a thorough examination on you and give a detailed report highlighting the impact of the negligent treatment on you.
Generally, the processes involved in suing the NHS are as follows
- Contact us for legal advice and free claim assessment during our free consultation sessions
- Fund your claim we offer No Win No Fee services for majority of the claims we handle
- Gather your evidence to support your claims
- Write a letter of claim to the defendants (NHS Trust who will be represented by the NHS resolution)
- Establish liability
- Register claims in court (this is a standard procedure and does not necessarily mean that you are taking the NHS to court)
- Negotiate the compensation fee and payment
How To Sue A Hospital Without A Lawyer?
Although you are not mandated to sue a hospital with a lawyer, it is in your own best interests to do so. The legal proceedings are hectic and require expert lawyers to handle them to boost your chances of getting a favorable compensation amount.
You will be better off concentrating on healing and getting further medical treatment for your injuries than worrying about endless paperwork, negotiations with insurance companies, writing motions and other legal duties which will add more burden to you.
What is more, with our No Win No Fee policy, it does not cost you a dime to allow specialist lawyers to represent you and you are better placed to receive deserving nhs compensation amounts when you do so.
Suing The NHS Time Limit
The Limitation Act of 1980 only allows a three-year time limit to make your medical negligence claims. This period begins from the date of the negligent treatment or when you first became aware of it. In the unfortunate incident that the victim of the negligent treatment died, a loved one can make claims for them within three years of the death.
The exceptions to this rule includes
Cases involving children: Here parents or guardians can make claims for their children. Alternatively, the children can make claims by themselves between their 18th and 21st birthday.
Cases involving persons who are physically or mentally incapacitated: Here a loved one can make claims for them. On the other hand, the Limitation Act can be relaxed until they are able to make claims by themselves.
However, we advise in both cases that you make claims for your loved ones if they fall in these categories early enough when evidence is easy to assess and not tampered with rather than wait for them to do so by themselves.
We offer No Win No Fee services for our NHS claims meaning that you can make your claims without having to pay legal fees. Even if the case was not successful, our “After The Event” insurance cover will protect you from paying a dime.
However, upon completion of a successful case, we will deduct no more than 25% of your compensation payout as “success fee.”
Reach out to us today by filling out our online free claims assessment form and let us have a chat about your claims.