Medical Negligence Claim Process
Medical Negligence Explained
Medical negligence sometimes called medical malpractice refers to actions or inactions of medical professionals in the discharge of their professional duty which causes direct harm or injury to a patient or patients under their care or worsens their pre-existing medical condition.
These patients or their families (if they are incapacitated or died as a result of the negligent treatment) are legally entitled to make a claim for compensation. The compensation received will be determined by the severity of the injury, impact on daily activities, past, current and future financial losses, prognosis for the future, costs for rehabilitation as well as travel costs for medical appointments.
Medical negligence can come in various forms such as surgical mistakes, misdiagnosis, completely missed diagnosis, wrong prescriptions or delays in treatment.
In 2018/19 for instance, 11,625 claims were closed, with 6,843 claims successful. Over 99% of the claims were settled out of court while £1.778 billion was paid in compensation. In addition, 10,678 new medical negligence claims were opened.
Medical Negligence Claim aims at achieving two main purposes.
- To give compensation to an injured person and their loved ones for the loss, pain and trauma that they have suffered as a result of the clinical negligence.
- To support these persons and rehabilitate them so that they can enjoy a better quality of life irrespective of the challenge or impact of the injury. Rehabilitation may include therapy sessions, aids and assistive devices as well as other professional care crucial towards making full recovery.
At NHS Negligence Claims we have dedicated medical negligence solicitors with many years of experience and have successfully won claims for many clients, who will assist you to make a claim if you or a loved one has suffered harm as a result of medical negligence in the UK. We will do our best to understand your case, determine if you have a valid claim, provide you with the needed legal advice, guide you throughout the process, ensuring it is stress-free and get you that compensation you are entitled to.
Our Medical Negligence Lawyers are ready to listen to you and assist you in your decision to make claims either against an individual (doctor negligence) or hospital negligence cases (NHS negligence claims or any private hospital claims). We provide you with an initial free medical negligence expert opinion about your medical negligence claim. This is to help you understand what medical negligence is, if you have a valid claim, the process of medical negligence claims, how much compensation for hospital negligence you may likely receive and how long the claims process can take.
Medical Negligence Claims Process and The Global Pandemic
The Covid-19 has had a major impact on the negligence claims process causing changes to how things originally work as many medical professionals have had to be front-liners in the battle against the global pandemic.
The Society of Clinical Injury Lawyers (SCIL) and the Action Against Medical Accidents (AvMA) has agreed new medical negligence protocols with NHS Resolution. This new protocol contains some changes so that claims can be made and the processes not stalled during this period. This protocol is exclusive to only members of SCIL and AvMA.
Some of the changes are:
- Suspension on the time limits on claims. This will be triggered by writing to the NHS Resolution. The NHSR however have the right to challenge or approve the suspension of time limits for the case.
- To fast track the medical negligence claims process, documents relevant to your claim can be sent and received using Emails.
- The NHSR also warns against the use of covid-19 to delay cases.
- The NHS Resolutions also recommends that responses to requests for interim payments be made within three weeks.
Classification Of Medical Negligence
Medical negligence can occur in many ways. You may make medical negligence compensation claims against a healthcare provider, for example- negligence claims against doctors or make hospital negligence claims against the NHS for medical negligence suffered in the NHS. You can also make claims for negligent treatment received in private hospitals.
Examples of medical negligence include-
- Care Home Negligence- for negligent treatment suffered in a care home such as medication errors and pressure sores.
- Orthopaedic Negligence- these may come in the form of incorrect placement of prosthesis, undue delay in diagnosis or misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis or use of substandard prosthesis.
- Cauda Equina Syndrome Negligence- negligent treatment leading to cauda equina syndrome such as inability to spot and investigate red flags, misdiagnosis and delayed scans.
- Child Birth Negligence- these include failure to monitor mother and child and perform c-section at the right time, negligent treatment causing oxygen deprivation for the child leading to cerebral palsy, incorrect handling of the baby during birth leading to Erb’s palsy.
- Stillbirth Negligence- where negligent treatment during prenatal care led to the delivery of a still-born.
- Dental Negligence- negligence such as injuries or infection during a dental procedure, extraction of the wrong tooth or nerve damage.
- NHS GP/ Doctor Negligence- you may make NHS claims for GP negligence where a delay in diagnosis, wrong prescriptions or misdiagnosis causes serious harm or worsens an existing medical condition.
- Cancer Misdiagnosis- misdiagnosis of a cancer condition which puts the patient at risk of survival as the cancer grows.
- Hospital Acquired Infection- where a patient’s condition deteriorates or a person contacts an infection in the hospital.
- Brain Injury Medical Negligence- Acts of negligence may cause brain injuries. These acts include mismanagement of the health condition resulting in worse.
- Surgical Mistakes- mistakes in the operating room such as leaving an instrument inside the patient’s body or wrong administration of anaesthesia.
Compensation Amounts For Various Medical Negligence Claims
Clinical negligence compensation claims are made every year and while the number of claims keeps increasing steadily every year, the cost of settling medical negligence claims in the UK is rising exponentially and is expected to double by 2023. For instance, in 2019/2020, new medical negligence claims and reported incidents stood at 11,682. The total costs of compensation paid was around £2.3 billion while £61.4 million was spent on settling claims of GP negligence. Obstetrics however took the largest share of approximately 50% of the total annual medical compensation value. The average NHS medical negligence cases payoutsin the UK according to the National Health Service Litigation Authority is about £50,000.
No two cases receive the same medical compensation awards. The value of compensation awards can range from £1,000 for mild cases to several millions of pounds for very severe cases. Your compensation worth depends on the severity of injury or harm suffered, the costs of therapies, travelling costs for medical appointments, past, current and future financial losses, home adjustments, mobility aids and other assistive devices, hiring professional caregivers, impact on family and loved ones as well as prognosis for the future.
The NHS compensation payouts guide is stipulated in the Judicial College Guidelines. The average compensation award for various types of injury are as follows:
|Type/ Severity Of Injury||Range Of Compensation Value|
|Severe Chest Injury including severe injury to the lung or heart||£60,000 to £100,000.|
|Severe brain Injury||£180,000 to £300,000|
|Pelvic and Hip injury||£50,000 to £85,000.|
|Injury to the shoulder resulting to amputation||£65,000 to £200,000.|
|Pain and suffering||£1,000 to £200,000|
|Baby who suffered cerebral palsy||values above £500,000|
|Orthopaedic injuries||around £50,000|
|Death (including all forms of compensation claims)||£12,000 to £300,000|
|Negligence leading to Infertility||£31,950 to £95,850|
|Spinal cord injuries||£50,000 to £300,000. Severe cases- above £1 million|
The above medical negligence payout values are only basic compensation values and do not include other special damages such as financial losses, impact of the injury on daily life as well as travel expenses and medical appointments.
What Type Of Damages Can I Claim Compensation For?
Broadly, there are two types of damages you can claim compensation for. These are general damages and special damages. Their respective values are calculated separately for each case and they vary from case to case.
Values to be awarded for general damages are determined by the severity of harm done or injury suffered, the impact of the injury, amount of trauma and suffering you have been subjected to as a result of the negligent treatment. These figures vary based on injury type and are compiled and updated periodically by the Judicial Studies Board (JSB) in their Judicial College Guidelines. This forms the basis with which medical negligence solicitors and judges determine an appropriate range of compensation values to be awarded to a victim of clinical negligence.
This compensation value is not the final value as victims go on to receive much more as a result of compensation for special damages.
Compensation awards for Special damages include other aspects the injury has impacted your life and that of your family. It covers the cost of Medications, mobility aids where the injury caused mobility issues or paralysis, special damages will cover costs of essential equipment like wheelchairs, scooters and crutches. It will also include costs of prostheses and orthoses needed to aid the individual, as well as future replacement costs. Other rehabilitative costs are also included, travel expenses for medical appointments, loss of income and earnings, loss of job, estimated future losses. It also takes care of costs of accommodation adjustments made as a result of the injury and/or disability. Proofs of such expenses made and more should be readily provided to aid your solicitor in determining your compensation worth.
Compensations are made to help the individual have the best possible quality of life even in his present condition. They are there to ease the pain and suffering and ensure the victim gets the care he/she needs to move on.
If you or a loved one has suffered negligent treatment causing you severe harm, injury or damage in any private hospital, our hospital negligence solicitors who are experts in hospital negligence cases can assist you to make hospital negligence claims and guide you through the processes involved in suing a hospital for hospital negligence and will leave no stone unturned ensuring you win a deserved compensation for hospital negligence.
If the substandard care was received while at the NHS, you are legally entitled to make NHS negligence claims. Our No Win No Fee NHS negligence solicitors in the UK will assist you to make a claim against the NHS, give you legal advice on how to sue the NHS and win you the right compensation for medical negligence in the NHS.
Case Study of Successful Clinical Negligence Compensation Claims
Pain and Suffering resulting from misdiagnosis
Mrs. Smith from Liverpool successfully claimed compensation after being misdiagnosed with cancer. For two years, the client had been back and forth to the GP but was told her condition was just an infection. It was only after being admitted into the hospital did Mrs Smith get correctly diagnosed with grade 4 stomach cancer requiring surgery, as well as other treatments. It was found the GP did not act quick enough and was negligent to refer her for scans which could have picked up the cancer at an earlier stage resulting in non-invasive treatment.
Negligent act of GP
Our panel of medical negligence solicitors were able to assist Mr Harrington of Coventry, after being admitted to a hospital, following a fall in public. Advice from his GP after an x-ray was that he had only suffered a sprained ankle. After raising concerns for over 6 weeks, his GP eventually accepted to review his x-ray again and it came to light that he actually suffered a fracture to the ankle which had healed incorrectly over the period of time. This resulted in Mr Harrington having to undergo corrective surgery.
How To Claim Medical Negligence In The UK
The following piece of information explains how to claim for hospital negligence, NHS negligence or negligence against any healthcare provider in the UK.
Physicians win 90% of weak cases brought against the NHS, 70%-80% of borderline cases and 50% of strong cases. Thus, a strong case of medical negligence must be made for a claim to be successful. It therefore, has to be proven that;
- The medical professional owed you a duty of care
- The duty of care was breached
- That breach of duty was directly the cause of the injury sustained or worsened medical condition.
- That the injury or worsened medical condition has impacted your life severely
To prove this, we would normally require our clients to provide certain documents. We can also assist you in securing the needed documents if you are unable to do so yourself.
- Detailed statements including dates of medical appointments, what events took place, diagnosis made and other relevant information.
- Medical reports including test results
- Witness statements
- Evidence of financial losses (past and current losses- receipts may be required)
- Reports from an independent medical expert (where there is a need to perform physical examination on the victim)
Our NHS medical solicitors would assist you in every way from preliminary investigations till the final settlement is agreed to ensure the process is stress-free and you receive the right amount of compensation for your claim.
Making NHS Complaints
You may wish to make complaints first before making a claim. You may want to make complaints to the doctor or GP or to the hospital where you received the negligent treatment. In very minor cases you may resolve the issues about the treatment you received via this means.
However, it is recommended that you make a formal complaint within 12months of the incident. The defendant will have to make investigations and respond to your complaint. In the NHS, you can contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) for the procedure to make your complaints. The response you receive from your complaints can help give you a better understanding of what happened, if your claim is valid, as well as help the hospital to take adequate measures to prevent a recurrence.
The major difference between complaints and claims is that complaints do not end in compensations as claims do. Therefore, if you have been severely harmed by negligent treatment from your GP or any healthcare professional, you may want to make a claim to be compensated as a response or apology would not be enough to ease the pain, trauma, provide the required rehabilitation or pay for medical appointments.
At this point, you will need to speak to a medical negligence solicitor to assist you with your claim process. Your solicitor will help you request documents, witness statements, doctor’s comments and every other relevant data needed to prove your claim.
The Medical Negligence Claims Procedure
- Contact Us: To begin your medical claims procedure, you will have to contact a medical negligence solicitor. Our expert clinical negligence lawyers can assist you to understand what the process entails, determine if you have a case and give you the legal advice you will need to begin the claims process.
- Funding Your Claim: This is a very vital step towards investigating your claim. Funds will be needed for preliminary investigations, accessing relevant documents. There are several ways of funding your claim. They are;
- Legal Aid- which is funded through a legal aid agency but is limited to birth injuries occurring within the 1st 8weeks of the child’s life. For example: brain injury such as cerebral palsy. With this funding, deductions from your compensation award are unlikely.
- Legal Expenses Or Before The Event Insurance (BTE) from Legal expenses in insurance companies
- No Win No Fee Agreements- our no win no fee NHS negligence policy allows you to speak with us without fear of legal fees. Most of our medical negligence claims are funded using no win no fee agreement. However, a success fee of 25% will be deducted from your compensation value if the case is successful. It is also important that you have an insurance cover called “After The Event´ (ATE) insurance policy. The insurance policy will cover for costs incurred if the case is not successful so that you wouldn’t have to pay.
- Trade Union Funding- clients who are members of Trade unions can see if their trade union offers to fund for their negligence claim type.
- Private Funding- Although used rarely, the victim may decide to fund personally.
- Getting Together relevant documents and other evidence. Several documents are needed to prove your claim. These include detailed statements of events, details of medical appointments, test results and scans, evidence of financial losses and more. Our medical negligence solicitors can assist you with this.
- Establishing liability: We will notify the defendant's party of your decision to make a claim. They can now make their own findings and investigations. They will issue a response accepting or refusing liability. If they accept liability, we can now proceed to agree on an amount for compensation. If they refuse, the case will be registered with a court to be trialed by a competent judge.
- Negotiating Settlement: Both parties will make use of the Judicial College Guidelines as a basis for calculating settlement fees. Other determinants of compensation value include the severity of the injury, its impact on daily life, financial losses, loss of earnings, rehabilitation costs and estimated future cost. However, if we are unable to agree on the amount of settlement, the case will go to court. A competent judge will take charge of the case, decide the amount of compensation as well as how it will be paid.
In the event the claim is successful, the defendant will be required by law to pay the legal fees and expenses incurred by the claimant’s party during the case.
Most medical negligence claims cases are settled out of court. In fact, in 2019/20, only 0.6% of the over 15,500 claims resolved went to a trial. In the same year, about 71.5% of total claims were resolved without court proceedings, meaning that they were either settled or dropped by the claimant.
Contact us today and let us help you make that claim!
Medical Negligence Claims Time Limit
By law, you would have to begin the process of medical claims before the expiration of 3years from the date of negligence or when you first noticed the negligent treatment. If the victim of the negligent treatment is dead, the 3-year time limit begins from the date of death.
There are exceptions to this rule.
- If the claimant is a child, the child would be allowed up to his 21st birthday to make a claim.
- The victim is incapacitated or mentally unable to make a claim.
How Long Does A Medical Negligence Case Take?
On average, it takes between 12 months and 36months to settle a case. some may take longer than that especially if it went all the way to a court trial.
Q: Can I Sue The NHS?
Absolutely! We have stated in this article how you can sue the NHS. If you have any more questions about suing the NHS, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Q: How Do You Win A Medical Negligence Case?
To win a medical negligence case, it must be proven that an act of medical negligence occurred which caused you harm. If there is no causation, the claim will not be successful. It must therefore be established that-
- There was the existence of a doctor-patient relationship
- The doctor was negligent (breached the terms of the relationship). This may be in the form of misdiagnosis, wrong prescriptions, delayed tests or failure to warn the patient of any risks involved in the treatment procedure.
- The doctor's action or inaction caused you harm or injury
- You suffered damages as a direct result of the harm suffered
Q: Do the NHS settle out of court?
Most cases against the NHS are settled by the NHS Resolution out of court. The NHS reports that less than 2% of cases brought against her end up in court.
Q: What Is Patient Neglect?
Patient neglect is defined as “the failure of an assigned medical officer or caregiver to attend to the needs of a patient or dependent, causing harm or injury”
Q: What Is Duty Of Care In Medical Negligence?
This is an obligation or responsibility laid on a healthcare provider to care for his or her patients and prevent them from the risk of harm. A healthcare provider must owe a duty of care to patients before it can be said if there was a case of negligence. Also, if the medical personnel willingly decides to offer help to patients not originally under his care, he becomes responsible for them and must be held accountable for whatever harm they suffer under his care.
Q: What Are The 4 D's Of Medical Negligence?
The “four Ds” of medical negligence are; Duty, Deviation, Direct Causation and Damages. These four parts must be established in proving a claim for medical negligence.
Q: What Is “Causation” In Medical Negligence?
Causation is a legal terminology used to describe the severity of the damage caused by the medical negligence. For instance, if you had your breasts surgically removed as a result of cancer, we can prove causation by investigating the misdiagnosis, delay in diagnosis or completely missed diagnosis to prove that your condition worsened as a result.
Q: What Is The Average Payout For Medical Negligence?
The NHS Resolution reports that the average payout for medical negligence is £50,000. However, the value of compensation can range anywhere between £1,000 and several millions of pounds.
Q: Do I Need To Undergo A Medical Examination To Make A Medical Negligence Claim?
Most times it is necessary that you undergo a medical examination performed by an independent medical officer who is a specialist in that field to determine the injury, severity and causation. This is vital to prove the medical negligence claim.
Q: Can I Make A Medical Negligence Claim For My Child?
Of course, parents and guardians can make a medical negligence claim for their child or ward. In order to protect the future of your child, we will assist you protect whatever compensation that has been awarded to your child or ward by setting up compensation protection trusts. This will help you plan your child’s future and help the child manage his life when he comes of age.
Q: How Will My Compensation Be Paid To Me?
Once your compensation has been agreed, the court will make a decision as to how you will receive your compensation. Some are paid in full all at once, while others come in instalments especially in cases where you will be needing care, rehabilitation for a long time.
The aim of compensation is to ensure you do not suffer as a result of the injury suffered but you will be able to get the best care possible. To this end, we can help you secure your compensation in a compensation protection trust to ensure it retains its real value.