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November 10, 2021

What is Clinical Negligence?

It is crucial to understand exactly what is medical negligence or what is clinical negligence in health and social care, if you are seriously considering pursuing a clinical negligence compensation claim.

Medical treatment and procedures, regardless of complexity, require a huge amount of care and caution. As a matter of fact, a singular act of negligence could completely alter a patient's chances of survival. Though most healthcare providers are careful not to risk their patient’s life, unfortunately, things may go wrong.

Clinical negligence occurs when healthcare providers who owe a duty of care to patients, fail to put adequate measures in place to ensure their wellbeing. In most cases, this could lead to a temporary or permanent physical and/or mental injury to the patient.

In cases of clinical negligence, the substandard care, actions and inactions of the healthcare provider directly results in victims suffering. Consequently, the patient may have no choice than to sue for medical negligence or pursue mental health claims

If you are wondering, 'how do I prove medical negligence?' Or 'what is needed to prove negligence?' First thing you must know is - certain elements must be present if you’re looking to get compensation in medical negligence cases.

In order to establish clinical negligence claims, the following elements must be present:

  • Duty: the ability to prove the healthcare provider owed you or others a duty of care not to cause you or others harm.
  • Breach: the ability to prove that a violation of standard of care resulted in an injury for you or your family member.
  • Cause in fact: the ability to prove a meaningful correlation between the negligent or harmful action that took place and the negative consequence you suffered.
  • Proximate cause: the ability to prove a direct link between a negligent act and the injury that resulted from that particular action.
  • Harm: the ability to prove you suffered physical injuries, loss, or other expenses because of your healthcare provider's negligence.

If you or a loved one have suffered medical negligence damages, you stand a chance to claim negligence compensation. Our medical negligence claim solicitors are ready to help you throughout the medical negligence claim process.

Types of Medical Negligence

Daily, people unknowingly experience potential medical negligence cases, examples of which are too numerous to mention. Some of the types of clinical negligence are detailed below to keep you in the know.

1. Misdiagnosis

Misdiagnosis occurs when a medical professional fails to diagnose, or wrongly diagnoses what condition a patient is suffering from. This may be because they assume the patient has a different illness, or they do not notice the problem at all.

This case of clinical negligence may see a patient receiving the wrong treatment or none at all, resulting in a worsened health condition, which could be potentially life-threatening. Medical misdiagnosis also occurs where there was a delay in identifying the existing condition.

Have you been misdiagnosed in a hospital and wondering how to claim for hospital negligence? Read this article further to understand the steps you can take.

2. Surgical Negligence

Surgery almost always comes with some inherent risks and complications, but sometimes avoidable mistakes are made due to clinical negligence. These rather avoidable mistakes include foreign objects being left in the patient's body or the wrong area of the body being operated on.

In some extreme cases, patients have even had the wrong operation performed on them as a result of clinical negligence. Surgical negligence can also take place where an operation was not required or the patient didn’t fully consent to the procedure.

3. Anaesthesia

Anaesthesia is a common part of medical treatment which most surgery patients are given at some point to ease pain.

Clinical negligence can occur as a result of the improper application or a failure to monitor how the administered anaesthetic is affecting the patient. The results can range from patients waking up during surgery to brain damage as a result of a lack of oxygen. This is one of the numerous examples of medical negligence.

4. Prescription and Medication Errors

Thousands of prescriptions are written and dispensed on a daily basis, and in some cases, errors can occur. These mistakes may come by way of prescribing the wrong medication or dosage, prescribing medications to patients at the wrong time, etc.

The consequences of prescribing wrong medications to patients are severe and can cause serious digestive problems or even death. This is rather one of the most common hospital negligence cases.

5. Long-Term Negligent Treatment

Nearly all medical conditions are not treated overnight. It is rather more likely that a patient will need long-term treatment or care. Where a medical professional fails to appropriately define higher duty of care and administer such to their patients (this would be a case of breach of duty), medical negligence will have taken place.

In cases such as this, clinical negligence can lead to further illness or a worsened reversal of the previous condition. Owing to failure to simply offer a long-term duty of care, medical negligence will occur.

6. Negligent Medical Advice

While it is understandable that patients rely on their medical professional’s expertise for treatment, patients still deserve to be advised or intimated on any risks, side effects or alternatives available. This advice is crucial as it helps the patient in making informed decisions.

Failure to give such advice and a subsequent occurrence of medical malpractice may lead to personal injury and clinical negligence.

How to start a Medical negligence claim?

To start a medical negligence claim, you need to be certain that you have been mistreated by a medical practitioner. You should be able to show that the medical practitioner provided substandard healthcare to you through an act of negligence (liability). Also, endeavour to prove that the harm done to you is a direct result of the negligent action, and it wouldn’t have otherwise occurred (causation).

Ability to prove these elements gives you a headstart on how to claim medical negligence in the UK.

Our medical negligence solicitors are well versed in proving medical negligence, no matter how complex the case. They are always available to provide you with medical negligence expert opinion and medical negligence advice to help you go through these tough times. Contact us today.

Start your claim today

  • Speak to an expert solicitor
  • Gather all evidence relating to your case (your solicitor can help if it is proving difficult)
  • Choose a funding option

With all evidence you have provided, our clinical negligence solicitors will build a strong case for your claim and would represent you even if your case may have to go to trial.

How long does a medical negligence claim take?

In most clinical negligence cases involving professional negligence in medical practice, the process leading up to a trial can take a duration of as low as eighteen months and as high as three years and sometimes longer. The duration of the claim depends on the attitude of the defendant (negligent medical practitioner) to accept liability and causation. It also depends on the nature and severity of injury sustained by the claimant.

A pretty straightforward clinical negligence claim with clear circumstances and in which liability is admitted typically takes between 18months and two year to settle.

Nevertheless, if a case needs to go to court, it could take about three to four years until a compensation settlement can be reached.

However, in the case of a very complex claim, a clinical negligence claim could take five to six years to be resolved.

Hopefully, this answers the recurring question which is 'how long does a medical negligence case take?'

Medical negligence claims time limit - Explained

The time limit for medical negligence claims set out by the Limitation Act 1980 is three years from the date the negligent treatment occurred or the date of knowledge, if this is later. The date of knowledge is when you become aware of the problem linked to your medical treatment.

There are certain times when claiming for clinical negligence allows exceptions. One of which is if the patient is under the age of eighteen, or lacks mental capacity. Judges may allow other exceptions, although it is highly unlikely that you will be allowed to make a medical negligence claim after 3 years.

If you are making a claim for medical negligence resulting in death, compensation is a possibility only if your claim is made within three years from the year the victim died.

It is worthy to note that this limit is for formally lodging the claim with the court, not just for speaking to a lawyer. It is imperative that, as soon as you are able, you contact our hospital negligence solicitors to help you with your medical negligence compensation claim.

How long to sue for medical negligence?

Perhaps one of the most mind boggling questions for victims beside the frequently asked “how much compensation will I get for medical negligence”. The time it takes to sue for negligence depends on how quickly the victim takes action.

Once it is evident that your suffering is as a result of negligence, it helps to act quickly to bring forward claims. You do not have to wait for the right time as claims can be made at any time, provided it falls within the time limits for medical negligence or clinical negligence limitation period.

How many medical negligence cases go to court?

Victimized patients always make negligence claims against doctors, both in the NHS and in the private sector.

If you plan on suing the NHS for clinical negligence, there are higher chances your claim may not make it to court. 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 serve as NHS negligence solicitors, hence handling all NHS negligence cases.

Interestingly, fewer than 2% of the cases handled by the NHSR end up in court. The rest are settled out of court or completely dropped by the claimant. The NHSR has a database of information about all compensation claims against NHS for negligence, including potential claims and incidents where legal action hasn't been started yet but where a patient says they are going to make a claim.

How much compensation will I get for medical negligence?

In order to calculate how much come you will get for medical negligence, you need to determine some facts including:

  • What pain and suffering the injury has caused you and your loved ones
  • How the injury will impact your life in the future
  • Whether the injury has resulted in financial losses for you
  • What medical treatment you need, including any ongoing treatment, rehabilitation or care needs
  • Whether you require adaptations to your home or workplace because of injury caused by clinical negligence.

Medical negligence compensation is made up of two vital elements - pain and suffering and financial losses

Compensation for pain and suffering reflects the nature of and how severe the injury is. The values are set by Judges using a combination of a tariff system or a medical negligence compensation calculator (used to calculate medical negligence payout figures) and previous case law (but are often much lower than people expect) to determine how much compensation for hospital negligence is required.

Serious brain and spinal injuries are at the top of the tariff system, and these reach around £335,000 compensation. The lowest tariff for minor injuries, where there is complete recovery within three months stands at about £1,060 to £2,050.

Compensation for financial losses covers things like:

  • Loss of earnings
  • Care costs
  • Medical expenses
  • Aids and equipment costs
  • Transport costs
  • Accomodation costs

If you want to get an idea of the value of your claim, our medical negligence solicitors and NHS negligence solicitors can help you. We will evaluate your case and with the use of our medical negligence compensation calculator draw up an estimated value of your claim (how much you will likely be awarded as compensation for personal injury and clinical negligence).

Is it possible to Claim on a No win no fee basis?

Yes, but not every solicitor offers the opportunity.

Clinical negligence is always a very daunting experience for whoever is involved. In order to make your load lighter, we offer our services on a no win no fee basis.

Our no win no fee agreement, means that if your compensation claim is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay a contingency fee for your lawyer’s services.

In a no win no fee agreement, our medical negligence solicitors will take out an insurance policy on your behalf prior to starting your case to cover any costs incurred during the medical negligence claim process. These costs could include court fees, medical reports and other miscellaneous expenses.

Our team of medical experts will ensure that you will not face any hidden charges or bills for payments incurred during the process of claiming compensation.

Only 25% of the total compensation recovered will be required of you to be paid as a success fee upon the successful claim of your compensation.

How can we help?

If you are willing to sue your healthcare provider for clinical negligence, we are here for you. We will provide you with expert negligence solicitors tailored to meet your needs.

Our experts are specialist NHS negligence solicitors, clinical negligence solicitors, gynecology negligence solicitors, hospital negligence solicitors, who are the best medical negligence solicitors - UK, and have successfully handled numerous medical negligence cases - UK.

They will ensure you do not feel the burden as they represent your best interest. We handle all types of claims including GP negligence claims, dental nerve damage claims, spinal cord injury claims, brain & head injury compensation claims, to mention but a few. Not forgetting that our clinical negligence solicitors operate a no win no fee agreement which offers you numerous benefits.

What is medical negligence?

The term medical negligence is usually defined as a breach of a duty of care from a health professional that has resulted in harm and loss. That is a generally simple answer to the question, 'what is medical negligence?'

Definition from the NHS says it as "a breach of duty of care by members of the healthcare professionals employed by NHS bodies." Of course, it is also possible to bring a medical negligence claim against private healthcare providers such as private hospitals, care homes and GPs and dentists.

Do I have a clinical negligence claim?

A clinical negligence claim is only possible if at least some fault can be found against the hospital, doctor or other medical professional. Only if fault, or a 'breach of a duty of care', can be proven, and that breach has caused some additional harm, will your claim have a chance of being successful. It is not enough that the treatment offered did not succeed or did not work as had been hoped.

What is clinical negligence in health and social care?

Definition of negligence (in UK law), is the act or failure to act (omission), that doesn't meet the level of appropriate care expected, which results in injury or loss. Clinical negligence in health and social care occurs when a doctor or health professional is negligent when giving you medical treatment.

Should I accept the first offer of clinical negligence compensation?

Unless you have taken independent legal advice on the whole value of your claim, you should not accept a first offer from an insurance company.

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