Medical Negligence Claims
Medical negligence also known as medical malpractice refers to actions or inactions of medical or health professionals in the discharge of their professional duty towards patients under their care which results in direct harm or injury to the patient or worsens an already existing medical condition. In other words, medical negligence means the failure of a medical professional to exercise the required skill or care expected in standard medical practice towards his or her patient(s), causing harm or exacerbating the existing health condition.
Patients who have suffered as a result of negligent treatment and their families (if the individual is deceased or incapacitated) are legally entitled to make a claim for compensation.
A Medical Negligence Claim is aimed at achieving two main objectives which are:-
- To compensate the victim and their families for the loss, pain and trauma that they have suffered as a result of the medical negligence.
- To support and rehabilitate the victims of negligent treatment so that they do not suffer financially as a result of the injury and also so that they can have the best medical and rehabilitative care necessary for their recovery.
Medical negligence can come in various forms such as surgical errors, misdiagnosis, completely missed diagnosis, errors in prescriptions and treatment delays.
NHS Medical Negligence Claims Statistics
NHS Statistics from 2018/19 shows that 11,625 medical negligence claims were closed, with 6,843 claims successful. Also, 99% of the claims settled were done out of court with about £1.778 billion paid in compensation. Furthermore, 10,678 new negligence claims were opened in that same year meaning that about 29 cases were brought before the NHS every day.
Taking into account the statistics by department, for 2018/19, emergency medicine received the highest number of claims (1409; 13%,), Orthopaedic surgery (1262 claims; 12%), Obstetrics (1076 claims; 10%), General surgery (927 claims; 9%), Gynaecology (569 claims; 5%) and General medicine (498 cases; 5%). Total compensation values for that year shows that Obstetrics related claims received £2.5 billion in settlement payouts accounting for 50% of the total value of payouts. Emergency medicine medical claims received £422 million (9%), Paediatrics related claims received £333 million (7%), Orthopaedic surgery claims -£216 million (4%) and General surgery -£134 million (3%).
NHS compensation payouts in 2019/2020 increased to £2.3billion with about £61.4 million spent on claims involving GP negligence alone.
At NHS Negligence Claims, we have dedicated expert medical negligence solicitors with many years of expertise in different medical negligence claims who have successfully won claims for many clients. We will assist you make medical claims for you or a loved one who has suffered harm as a result of negligent treatment in the UK.
We listen to your story, determine if you have a valid medical negligence claim, provide you with the needed legal counsel, help you gather facts and evidence to corroborate your claims, guide you throughout the claims process, while ensuring that it is stress-free for you and get you a deserved compensation.
Our consultation sessions are free of charge and whether it is a claim against the NHS, an NHS GP, a Specialist, Private Clinic or a Medical Officer in a privately-owned establishment, you can rest assured that your claims will be handled expertly by the best medical negligence solicitors in the UK.
Duties Of A Medical Professional To His or Her Patient
Every medical professional is expected to provide his or her patients with the right quality of care as acceptable by global medical standards. Anything short of this could lead to very catastrophic results. A GP is expected to do the following;
- Listen carefully to the patient’s complaints and symptoms
- Carry out thorough medical examination and make an accurate diagnosis
- Refer the patient for tests and scans where necessary
- Review the patient’s medical history before beginning treatment
- Prescribe proper medications
- Inform the patient of the risks involved in carrying out different treatment options and seek the patient’s informed consent before carrying out any medical procedure
- Refer the patient to a specialist if need be
- In cases of an emergency a GP should make adequate arrangements for the patient to be moved from home to the hospital where appropriate medical care can be administered
- Make adequate follow ups on the patient where necessary to monitor progress
Forms Of Medical Negligence
Acts of medical professionals that constitute medical negligence are diverse and come in various forms. They include:
- Misdiagnosing a patient’s ailment
- Completely missed diagnosis
- Delayed diagnosis of the patient’s condition
- Failing to inform the patient of the risks associated with a medical procedure and getting informed consent before proceeding
- Incorrect treatment
- Mistakes in drug prescription or administration
- Delayed treatment
- Failing to refer the patient for proper tests before making a diagnosis or commencing treatment
- Delay in or failing to refer the patient to a specialist for appropriate medical diagnosis and care
- Surgical Mistakes such as leaving a surgical instrument inside a patient’s body, operating on the wrong site or errors while administering anaesthesia
Whichever form of clinical negligence you may have suffered causing you harm, injury, trauma or a worsened medical condition, we have medical negligence specialists ready to help you make negligence compensation claims.
It is also important to point out that just because a healthcare provider acted negligently is not enough reason to bring a claim against him or her. The negligent act should directly cause harm or damages before you can bring a claim.
Medical Negligence Claims Category
There are different categories of medical negligence claims available and we undertake the following types of claims:
- Birth Injury Negligence Claims
- Dental Negligence Claims
- NHS GP/ Doctor Negligence Claims
- Care Home Abuse Claims
- Cerebral Palsy Negligence Claims
- Cancer Negligence Claims
- Hospital Negligence Claims
- Orthopaedic Negligence Claims
- Cauda Equina Syndrome Negligence Claims
- Brain Injury Negligence Claims
- Surgical Error Negligence Claims
- Cosmetic Surgery Negligence Claims
- Erb’s Palsy Negligence Claims
- Hernia Mesh Compensation Claims
- Forceps Delivery Negligence Claims
- Spinal Injury Negligence Claims
How Can I Prove My Case Of Medical Negligence?
It is important that medical negligence cases are proven beyond reasonable doubt in order to get a deserving compensation amount. Importantly, the following must be established;
- The healthcare professional had a responsibility to care for you. In other words, owed you a duty of care
- The healthcare professional deviated from or failed in that duty of care
- The deviation directly caused you harm, injury, trauma, suffering or made your condition worse
- Your quality of life and wellbeing has been seriously impacted negatively as a result
To prove these critical areas of medical negligence, you would need to provide some documents and information that would serve as evidence to support your claims. Our medical claims solicitors will assist you to gather these documents and will also provide for you with an Independent Medical Expert in the field of interest to carry out medical examinations on you to determine the type of injury or harm suffered, the severity and future prognosis. This report will be important while negotiating with the other party.
These documents include:
- Detailed statements of what transpired including dates of medical appointments, doctor(s) or other medical personnel who attended to you, diagnosis made (if it was a misdiagnosis, also state when the correct diagnosis was made), type of negligent treatment you were subjected to, the impact of the negligent treatment and any other necessary information useful for proving your claims successfully
- Medical reports as well as other test and scan results
- Witness statements (from close friends and family)
- Evidence of financial impact or losses as a result of the negligent treatment (including past, present and estimated financial losses)
- Medical Report from the Independent Medical Expert after performing medical examinations on you.
Who Can Make A Claim?
The following sets of people can make clinical negligence claims.
- The sufferer/victim of the negligent treatment
- Those who depend on the victim
- The victim’s family
- The victim’s estate
What To Do If Your Complaints Was Not Handled Satisfactorily
If you are not satisfied with the response you received or with the way the investigations were done concerning your complaints, the next step is to write to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO). The Ombudsman is independent from the NHS and the Government. This body makes investigations into medical negligence cases which were not successfully resolved during the initial stage also known as the local resolution stage.
The Ombudsman will need you to provide all the details of your case, the original complaint made to the NHS and the response received. It is therefore important that you keep these documents safe as they will be vital if you decide to make claims. Guidelines on how to make complaints to the Ombudsman can be found on their website. You will also find a complaint form which can be downloaded and filled manually or completed online.
In the case of a private hospital, you will write to the Independent Healthcare Sector Complaints Adjudication Service who will guide you through their complaints procedure.
After you must have done these and you are still dissatisfied or you feel you have gathered enough information to use as evidence against the hospital or medical practitioner, then it is time to contact your medical negligence claims solicitor who will guide you on how to make your claims.
Our NHS medical negligence claims solicitors have worked with several clients for different medical negligence claims over the years and so have the experience to give you the right legal representation you need to secure a deserved compensation amount to help you get through an unfortunate incident.
Making A Medical Negligence Claim
Making a medical negligence compensation claim or suing the NHS for acts of negligence is a very sensitive and dicey issue which needs to be handled expertly by specialist medical negligence claims solicitors.
The following are the processes for making a clinical negligence claim;
- Speak To Your Lawyer: You will need to speak to your medical negligence solicitor for legal advice on how to make your claims. We offer our consultation sessions free of charge where we will listen to your story and then assign to you a personal solicitor with a team of specialist negligence lawyers who will undertake your claims and evaluate if you have a valid claim.
- Fund Your Claim: After a careful review of your case and we are satisfied that you have a strong case with a good chance of winning, we will proceed to fund your claim. Funding your claims are necessary to enable us to access vital documents as well as taking care of other expenses that could arise in the course of undertaking your claim.
There are various medical negligence funding types available. These are;
- Legal Aid
- Legal Expenses or Before the Event Insurance (BTE)
- Conditional Fee Agreement also known as No Win No Fee Agreement
- Trade Union Funding
- Private Funding
During our consultation sessions, we will explain to you these different funding types in detail so that you can decide on which funding type is most suitable for you.
At NHS Negligence Claims, we handle most of our medical negligence claims under a No Win No Fee Agreement (Conditional Fee Agreement). This agreement gives you the opportunity to seek justice for harm done to you without any financial implications or risks. You will not have to make any upfront legal fees and even if the case is unsuccessful, you are protected from making any payment either as we take out an insurance cover for our clients.
- Gathering Facts and Evidence: With your funding in place, we will assist you to gather documents and information which will serve as evidence to prove your claims. We will request access to your medical records, test and scan results and also write to relevant authorities where necessary to request access to whatever information we will need to substantiate your claims.
- Establishing Liability: When we are done with investigations, we will write to the other party to make them acknowledge that they are guilty and accept liability. This letter is known as a “letter of claim”.
This letter will be addressed to the NHS Resolution (NHSR), the body that makes legal representation on behalf of the NHS when claims are brought against it.
Our letter will include our findings from our investigations and we will expect a response from the defendant within three months after they had made their internal investigations.
The defendant may accept liability or deny any wrongdoing. Therefore, it lies on us to present strong claims that are irrefutable and that is exactly what we will do.
At this time, we will also register your case before a law court. This does not actually mean that your case will go to a trial but it will ensure that both parties meet set deadlines as required for a swift resolution. Actually, according to NHS statistics, only about 2% of claims brought against the NHS end up in court. We also have a very strong record of settling cases quickly for our clients.
However, in a case where both parties are unable to reach an agreement, the case will be handled by a judge.
Additionally, if you have suffered losses and need further medical attention or rehabilitative care to accelerate your recovery, we will try to secure interim payments for you as soon as the defendant accepts liability.
The value of the interim payment secured will be deducted from the total compensation award value when the case is finally settled.
Negotiations and Payment of Compensation Fee: As soon as the defendant accepts liability, we will both negotiate a favourable compensation commensurate with the type and severity of harm suffered, financial impacts and future prognosis.
If we undertake your case under the No Win No Fee Agreement, a “success fee” of 25% will be deducted from your settlement value as soon as it is paid while you receive the rest.
Damages caused by medical malpractice can be very traumatizing and destabilizing. This is why compensation is put in place so that neither the victim, nor those who depend on the victim will have to suffer financially. Medical negligence compensation fees also help the victim of negligent treatment to access the required medical care vital to make a full recovery.
How Much For Medical Negligence Compensation?
There are no fixed values for medical negligence compensation. This is because each case is peculiar in its own way. Compensation amounts for medical negligence in the UK can range from £1,000 to several millions of pounds.
The highest compensation payout in the UK was made to a woman paid £24m after a horrific surgical blunder caused her brain damage.
NHS statistics show that the average medical negligence payout in the UK is about £50,000. Our lawyers will also give you an idea of what you can expect in settlement using the medical negligence compensation calculator.
The Judicial College Guidelines which is updated periodically contains the average settlement payouts for various injuries arising from medical negligence and this is used as a guide while making negotiations for compensation.
Factors that determine the settlement payout you will receive include:
- Type of injury or harm suffered
- Location of injury
- Severity of the injury
- Damages caused by the injury
- Past and Present Financial losses and impact as a result of the injury (including estimated future losses)
- Future prognosis
- Travel costs for medical appointments
- Costs of rehabilitative care including costs of mobility aids and assistive devices
- House Adjustments costs, etc.
The table below gives a range of compensation payouts for injuries caused by medical negligence in the UK
|Type/ Severity Of Injury||Range Of Compensation Value|
|Severe chest, lung or heart injury (internal organs)||£60,000 to £100,000.|
|Severe brain Injury||£180,000 to £300,000|
|Medical Negligence resulting to Pelvic and Hip injury||£50,000 to £85,000.|
|Pain and suffering||£1,000 to £200,000|
|Medical Negligence causing Cerebral Palsy to baby||Compensation values are usually above £500,000|
|Orthopaedic injuries||around £50,000|
|Medical Negligence leading to Death||Average payout for medical negligence resulting in death in the UK range from £12,000 to £300,000|
|Spinal cord injuries||£50,000 to £300,000 for moderate and less severe and above £1 million for very severe cases|
|Dental Injuries||£1,020 to £1600 for minor damaged teeth And between £27,940 to £91,350 for severe facial scarring|
|Emotional distress||Between £1,000 to £45,000. depending on the severity of distress- minor, moderate or severe.|
You do not have to suffer more than you have already suffered as a result of the negligent treatment you were subjected to. This is why we are here to assist you to in making a claim. We are committed to ensure that you get the best possible legal representation and get an appropriate compensation value to help you put the unfortunate incident behind you.
Therefore, do not delay in reaching out to us. You can give us a call or fill out our online enquiry form and we will get back to you soonest.
Q: What Are The 4 D's Of Medical Negligence?
The four D’s of medical negligence are; Duty, Deviation, Direct Causation and Damages. It is important that these four parts of medical negligence be established in proving your negligence claims.
Q: Can You Sue The NHS For Negligence?
Of course, you certainly can sue the NHS for acts of negligence such as misdiagnosis, delay in treatment, surgical errors, prescription and medication errors as well as other negligent treatment which has caused you harm, injury or trauma. Our duty as medical negligence solicitors is to guide you to do so.
Q: Do I Have A Case For Medical Negligence?
It is important to know if you have a case before proceeding to make a negligence claim. First there has to be an existing doctor-patient relationship. In other words, the doctor or medical professional owes the patient a duty of care. Secondly, there has to be a deviation or breach of that duty of care which caused you harm, an injury, psychological trauma or made your medical condition worse. Therefore, even if the medical personnel acted negligently but you did not suffer any harm at all, you do not have a case.
Q: What Is Duty Of Care In Medical Negligence?
Duty of care means the responsibility laid on every healthcare professional to ensure the right standard of care for his or her patients and protect them from the risk of harm. For there to be a case of medical negligence, there must be first a duty of care which was breached. Furthermore, if the medical personnel willingly decides to care for patients not originally under his watch, he or she becomes responsible for the patient and will be made to answer for whatever avoidable harm that comes to the patient under his care.
Q: What Are The Types Of Medical Negligence?
Common types of medical negligence include the following;
- Medical Misdiagnosis
- Surgical Negligence
- Drug Prescription and Medication Errors
- Failure To Give Information About Risks Involved (Negligent Medical Advice)
- Pregnancy and Birth Injuries
- Failure to refer for further tests and scans before making diagnosis
- Failure to refer patient to a specialist for further medical examination and treatment
Q: How Long Do I Have To Make A Claim Against The NHS For Medical Negligence?
The rule in the UK guiding medical negligence claims allows you three years from the “date of knowledge” of the negligent treatment to make a claim. If the victim is a child under 18, the individual has until the 21st birthday to make a claim as the three-year time limit becomes active as soon as the child turns 18.
For a deceased, the family or estate has three years from the day of death to make a claim. Also, exceptions to this rule can be made if the victim of the negligent treatment is incapacitated.
Q: How Long Does A Medical Negligence Claim Take?
Medical Negligence claims on the average take between 12 to 18months to settle. Some could go on for three years or longer than that depending on the sensitivity and complexity of the case. Also, where both parties are unable to reach an agreement on the settlement amount or other vital issues, the case may go to a trial and this will prolong the time frame before settlement is reached.
Q: Can I Make A Medical Negligence Claim On Behalf Of A Child?
Of course, parents and guardians can make negligence claims for their child or ward under their care. Such people are known as litigation friends and you need to obtain the court’s authority to act as one. We can help you do this. We also assist you to protect the future of your child, by protecting the compensation amount paid to your child or ward. This is done by setting up compensation protection trusts which will help you plan your child’s future as well as assist the child manage his or her life when he or she becomes an adult.
Q: Will I Need A Medical Examination To Make My Medical Negligence Claim?
In most cases, a specialist independent medical professional in the field of interest will be requested to perform medical examinations on you. The reports will include the type and severity of injury, damage caused and time needed for full recovery if possible. They would most likely be used by your medical claims solicitor as evidence to prove your claims as well as while making compensation negotiations.