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October 01, 2021

What Are The Time Limits For Suing The NHS?

Have you suffered terribly as a result of the mistake of an NHS medical professional? Wondering “how long do you have to sue for medical negligence?” It is important that you act quickly when suing the NHS, time limit applies for every medical negligence case.

Whether you are suing the NHS for emotional distress or misdiagnosis and injury that you have sustained due to the negligent act of your medical professional claim against the NHS must be brought within a specific period of time.

This is a comprehensive guide that tells you all you need to know about taking the NHS to court and the NHS negligence claims time limit. You will also find this guide helpful if you are looking for answers to questions like; how to file a lawsuit against a hospital, can I sue my doctor for negligence, how to sue the NHS for Misdiagnosis and how you can know you are eligible to sue for negligence.

At NHSNegligenceClaim, our goal is to see that justice is served in cases of negligence and that anyone who has suffered unduly should be able to access top quality legal representation without worrying about the costs involved. It is for this reason that we provide free legal advice and our expert NHS negligence solicitors operate on a No win No fee basis. Please feel free to call us today or fill our no obligation claims assessment form to speak with an expert!

NHS negligence claim overview

When substandard care is received from a GP, dentist, surgeon, nurse, hospital, clinic or NHS trust; resulting in any form of injury or harm, you could be eligible to claim compensation for NHS negligence.

As a patient, it is important that you understand your rights when it comes to claiming compensation for negligence. If you have had to suffer the consequences of another person’s action, they can be held accountable, provided that you can prove beyond every reasonable doubt that they were indeed responsible for your condition.

More than that, in suing the NHS, time limits for bringing a claim must be considered; although there might be some exceptions to this rule. Read this guide further to find out more about NHS negligence time limits. Alternatively, if you’d like to bring a claim and you are not sure if the time limits, you can contact us today. A medical negligence expert solicitor will be assigned to your case, who will investigate critically and advise whether or not you are well within the medical negligence claims time limits.

Although there is a formal complaints procedure when it comes to suing the NHS, based on experience, we like to advise that clients seek legal advice to help with their claim. The reason is simple - some claims are not quite straightforward and bringing these types of claims or even attempting to prove them (without proper knowledge of the legislation that is required to sue the NHS) can be very difficult. In this case, an expert NHS negligence solicitor will be in the best position to put together complex medical evidence to back up your claim.

What happens before NHS negligence claims begin?

Before an NHS claim is started, having received a complaint from the victim of negligence, the NHS carries out an internal investigation. What this investigation constitutes is a critical look into the event that took place within the department that is being claimed against.

This evaluation allows the NHS to draw a guided conclusion on who is actually responsible or at fault. Once the NHS has full knowledge about the problem and have recognized its source, they will proceed to take action immediately. This would normally involve one of two

  • Come to the victim with a settlement offer if they find that there was a breach of duty on the path of the NHS trust responsible for your care.
  • Deny liability if they believe that the medical practitioner provided a reasonable standard of care to the victim.

If the latter happens to be the case for you, you can speak to an expert NHS negligence solicitor; who will then advise you on the next steps to take and possibly initiate and represent you in any legal proceedings. When you instruct any one of our solicitors to take up your medical negligence NHS claim, an independent medical assessment will be carried out to confirm the true extent and causation of your injury.

Following a positive confirmation of breach of duty from the independent medical expert, our NHS negligence solicitors will proceed to file a lawsuit on your behalf, and negotiations will begin between them and the legal representatives of the defendant. At this stage, with the nature of evidence available, the NHS may start to negotiate out of court settlement.

On occasions however, this may lead to taking the NHS to court. Where you would receive your NHS compensation depending on how strong your case is. Please read this guide on suing the NHS time limit further for more information.

Making a claim against the NHS

Depending on the nature of your case or factors surrounding your claim, you may be advised by your solicitor to make a formal complaint to the NHS. Following the NHS complaints procedure, compensation are not made; however, you will be able to identify what went wrong and the response you get may serve the purpose of evidence when establishing liability.

Understanding what is classed as negligence

Before you worry about how long do you have to sue for medical negligence, the time limit for suing the NHS and how to claim, let’s talk about how to establish negligence. There are core aspects of medical negligence or elements that must be proven before a case can be established. These include:

Breach of Duty of care in the NHS

In every medical negligence claim, breach of duty must be proven. Prior to this, it must have been established that a duty of care was owed to the victim. That is, a relationship existed between the offending party and the claimant.

Breach of duty can then be said to have existed when the medical professional, who was trusted to provide standard care and treatment, falls short of the obligation required of him, thereby causing their patient suffering.

To establish this, an independent medical expert or a panel of medical professionals (within the same field as the defendant) may be consulted to look at what the defendant should have done to avoid the situation at hand. This information must be gathered and presented before the time limits for professional negligence claim is exceeded.

Causation in NHS Claims

As far as suing the NHS goes, causation is another element that must be proven. Proving causation in medical negligence claims simply means that the defendant’s act of negligence, mistake or errors caused the suffering you are seeking compensation for.

For example, if it is a case of wrong diagnosis, NHS misdiagnosis or a case where the wrong treatment was administered that caused your condition to grow worse, you would need to prove that such suffering was as a direct result of your medical practitioner’s action. If for any reason, it can be proven that such a resulting condition was inevitable even if things went right, you may not have valid ground for making a medical claim.

This is where NHS claims or medical negligence claims in general become tricky. Because while a defendant might admit breach of duty, the level of causation may be greatly contended. This goes without saying that you will need to have an experienced solicitor on your side, whether it is in hospital neglect cases, GP negligence claims , suing a hospital or making a claim against the NHS.

Our NHS negligence claims solicitors are well versed in bringing NHS claims and work together with independent expert medical witnesses to counter any arguments by the defendant, ensuring that your case is presented in the best possible way to negotiate a favourable outcome.

If you’d like to discuss your eligibility or any other query regarding your claim, please get in touch with us today.

How long can you wait to sue for malpractice?

This will be dependent on how long it takes you to establish negligence and prove causation. If you are able to do all of these in one month or a few weeks, then you should not wait until you bring a claim. We usually advise our clients to bring their medical negligence claims as soon as possible and would encourage you to do the same.

Who Can I Make an NHS medical negligence claim against?

Medical negligence claims can be made against anyone responsible for the act of negligence that resulted in harm. In some cases, it might be the medical professional who provided the treatment; at other times, claims could be made against the organisation that employs them (for example, a private hospital or the NHS trust). In some rather complex cases, multiple parties may be involved in the event that resulted in harm and certain claims could be brought against them.

If you contact us today, we can look into and assess your claim to help you determine who is liable for your injuries. Below are some of the different entities that can be involved when suing for negligence.

  • A GP or Doctor
  • Surgeon
  • Dentists or dental nurses.
  • Hospitals, including community hospitals and private hospitals.
  • NHS trusts.
  • Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

When suing the NHS, time limits are generally the same irrespective of the individual or organisation your claim is against. The only slight difference may exist in the process for making a claim. If the organization you want to sue for medical malpractice is not listed here, please get in touch with one of our specialist advisors as the list above is inexhaustive.

Provided you are within the clinical negligence limitation period or the general time limit for medical negligence claims, we will assess your claim and let you know who the claim could be made against.

Common Examples of NHS negligence

As earlier explained, negligence is established when the elements of “breach of duty” and “causation” can be proven. In this section of our “suing the NHS time limit guide”, we will look into some of the most common examples in which compensation for negligence can be made:

  • Misdiagnosis - If you have been diagnosed of a condition that you do not have, this can result in severe health consequences.
  • Failed or delayed diagnosis - If you suffer because a medical professional failed to identify a condition, you may be eligible to make a claim.
  • Birth injuries - When a mother or child sustains avoidable injuries during childbirth, claims can be made for compensation.
  • Anaesthetic mistakes - This is one of the most common mistakes that causes patients to suffer pain in hospitals.
  • Prescription and treatment errors - Taking the wrong medication can lead to serious side effects. In other cases, since you are not exactly treating your underlying condition, it could become worse. When this happens claims can be made for compensation.
  • Surgical errors - While every surgery comes with some level of unavoidable risks, you are entitled to compensation for any avoidable injuries sustained during surgery. For example, operating the wrong part of the body, operation gone wrong or never events like surgical items left inside a patient's body.
  • Hospital superbugs and infections - Some patients have become infected during a hospital stay or have become ill because of superbugs like MRSA, which can lead to serious conditions like sepsis or pneumonia.

Irrespective of the negligence you have experienced, we could help you begin a claim. You can take advantage of our free, no-obligation case evaluation to get first hand advice from experts and to understand whether you stand a chance in making successful claims. Our solicitors will only encourage you to go ahead with your claim if we have fully assessed your case and are convinced that you have a solid ground for bringing claims.

Time limits for suing the NHS Explained

Now we have come to the core of this guide. This section will explain all you need to know about the NHS negligence time limits, personal injury claim time limit, hospital negligence claim time limit, time limit for professional negligence claims and why claims are advised to be brought ASAP.

First off, generally, in the UK, there is a 3-year limit within which all medical claims can be brought. Whether it is a lawsuit against a hospital for Misdiagnosis, personal injury claim, birth injury claim , wrong diagnosis NHS claim, this limitation period applies.

Failure to lodge any NHS clinical negligence claim within this time limit, could easily result in no claims and as such no compensation will be paid. This suing the NHS time limit is applicable from the date of knowledge of medical negligence or the date that you realized that your injury was as a result of negligence.

There are a few exceptions to this rule however, and you will find the summary in the table below

Claim Type Time Limit for Medical Negligence Claim
General medical negligence and NHS claim Three years from the date of the supposed negligence act
Claim on behalf of a child

Any time before the child turn 18, claims can be brought on their behalf by their litigation friend

When the child turns 18, they have 3-years from their 18th birthday.

Claim on behalf of an incapacitated individual If a person lacks the mental capacity to bring a claim, they have 3years after their recovery to make a claim. A litigation friend may also bring a claim on their behalf anytime during their recovery stage
Claim on behalf of a dead loved one In worse case scenarios of death, the families of the deceased are given ample time to mourn their loved one before they can bring forward their claims.

Now that you understand the NHS negligence claims time limit, our advice would be to contact a specialist as soon as possible. While three years may seem like a very long time, within this timeframe, evidence may become more opaque and chances of securing compensation may seem bleak. In addition, gathering evidence to support your claim, along with every other task involved before submitting a claim may take time. The sooner you begin your claim, the better chance you stand

Time Limits For Children Explained

Children do not have the ability to represent themselves in legal matters and as such are not allowed to. In medical negligence cases, the law makes provision for their parent or legal guardian or any other responsible adult (who can act as a litigation friend) to bring NHS negligence claims on their behalf. In this circumstance, medical negligence claims can be brought anytime before the child turns 18. Once the child turns 18, where they are now considered adults that are able to bring claims themselves, the statutory 3-year time limit then begins. Which means they have until their 21st birthday to start a claim.

Time Limits For Victims With Diminished Capacity

When medical negligence leaves an individual with life altering and fatal consequences, depending on the level of injury sustained, they may not have the capacity to bring claims themselves.

For example in the case of a brain injury where a person is left with a diminished mental capacity. In these instances, irrespective of the time it takes for the individual to recover, “suing the NHS time limit “ would only begin from the date they fully recover and can begin a claim themselves. Conversely, if the disability is permanent, claims can be brought on their behalf by their litigation friend, at any point while the patient is still suffering the effects of negligence.

Can I claim for medical negligence after 20 years?

Medical malpractice lawsuit statute of limitations holds that all medical negligence claims must be brought within 3 years from the date of knowledge of medical negligence. The only exception to this is when a person lacks the capacity to bring a claim themselves. Contact our solicitors today to understand your position and how you can move forward with your claim.

How much compensation can be received when suing the NHS?

In calculating Compensation when suing the NHS, a number of factors come to play. If you are wondering how much compensation you can get when suing a solicitor, suing a hospital for medical negligence or compensation for emotional distress UK, you must understand that the value of your claim is dependent on the nature and severity of your case.

However, compensation for all type of medical negligence NHS claims are designed to cover any pain, suffering or loss of amenity an individual have had to endure as a result of negligence. A lawsuit against a hospital for Misdiagnosis will attract a different amount of compensation from a medical negligence death case.

Generally your compensation amount will be based on

  • Pain and Suffering - The level of pain and suffering you have endured will be considered before a compensation figure is reached.
  • Impact of negligence- How the injury or harm you sustained has affected your wellbeing as a person is also put into consideration.
  • Travel Costs - If you had to visit several hospitals, GPs or specialists during the course if your injury, you can get compensated for all travel related costs incurred.
  • Medical Expenses - Cost for prescriptions, additional medication and treatment you had to seek after the negligent incident will also be considered.
  • Care Costs - Victims that have suffered terrible harm may require care along the way during their recovery period. The associated cost of getting this care can be covered in your medical negligence compensation.
  • Lost Earnings - If your injury has left you with no job or has forced you to resign from the job you have, translating to lose of income, you could claim the lost earnings back and even more until you are fully recovered.
  • Home Adaptations - If you have been left with a disability that may require certain adjustment to your home, for example a victim that has now been permanently confined to a wheelchair, you could ask the cost of modifying their home to be paid as you claim compensation for medical negligence.

Before the above listed are considered as part of your compensation for special damages, you must provide evidence to support them. It is important that you retain medical reports, receipts of payment made, bank statements where applicable and wage slips in the case of loss of earnings.

If you’re in doubt about what expense you can claim, please get in touch with one of our solicitors today to get personalized advice on your claim.

Would you like to have an idea of your NHS negligence claims worth? Our specialist nhs negligence solicitors can use a medical negligence calculator to give you an estimated value of your claim’s worth.

No Win No Fee NHS Negligence Solicitors

One of the most discouraging factors for victims of negligence is the cost of pursuing medical negligence claims. Most times before clients proceed to enquire about how to sue the NHS or ask questions like: can I sue my doctor for negligence? Or can you sue if surgery goes wrong; they often are worried about the costs involved.

The panel of medical negligence solicitors we work with understand this and that is why they all operate on a No Win No Fee basis. At a time when individuals are worried about their health or dealing with a devastating turn of events due to the negligence act of another, a No Win No Fee presents a risk free opportunity to get justice.

With this type of conditional agreement, a claimant can confidently pursue medical negligence claims, knowing that he/she has nothing to lose. With a no win no fee, even if your case is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay a penny to our solicitors. The only time you will be charged a “success fee” is when you have been awarded compensation.

We can help you Sue the NHS

The first step is to speak with one of our medical negligence solicitors. Once you have established contact either by calling or filling out our free claims assessment form, our solicitors will evaluate your case and would advise if you have good grounds to make a claim. If we believe we could win the claim for you and that you are within the “suing the NHS time limit”, they’ll provide you with a No Win No Fee agreement and proceed to represent you until your case is won.

Now that you understand the medical negligence claim time limit in the UK, we hope that you act quickly to contact us as soon as possible to get started with your claim.

Should I sue the NHS?

If you have reasons to believe that the NHS is responsible for your suffering and you can prove this with the evidence you have, you should sue the NHS. Suing the NHS is the only way to get answers you may have and get compensation to help you go through a difficult time.

How long does a dental negligence claim take?

As with most medical negligence claims, there is no limit on the time it takes to reach a resolve for a dental negligence claim. Most lawsuits however, reach an out-of-court settlement within 12-18 months. In less complex cases, claims could be settled earlier than this.

Do the NHS settle out of court?

Often, whether you are suing the NHS for Misdiagnosis or any other form of neglect case, disputes are settled out of court by the NHS Resolution and compensation settlements are paid if you have solid evidence backing your claim.

Can you sue the NHS for emotional distress?

Yes you can sue the NHS for emotional distress amongst other things if you have had to suffer any emotional or psychological stress as a result of treatment or care received from the NHS. You may require medical reports to prove diagnosis of your emotional distress.

No Win No Fee Medical Negligence Solicitors

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