When you visit the hospital for medical treatment, you don’t expect to leave in a worse condition than you came. Unfortunately, however, this is the case for thousands of patients in the United Kingdom. The truth is that some medical conditions will worsen over time because they have no cure. However, in many other cases, it’s because of the medical practitioners’ negligence or recklessness.
If you’ve suffered severe injuries due to a doctor’s carelessness, you’re not alone. But there’s good news! You can hold the negligent medical practitioner liable for your damages via a medical/clinical negligence claim. If you succeed, you’ll receive monetary compensation to cover your medical expenses.
You can determine how successful your case’s success by the settlement sum you receive. On the other hand, your compensatory amount partly depends on the quality of your medical negligence solicitor. We’ll discuss why a competent clinical negligence solicitor is a valuable asset in your case in this article.
But before we do that, how much do you know about medical negligence claims in the UK?
10 Things To Know About Medical Negligence Claims in the UK
Did you know that about 13 thousand clinical negligence claims were reported to National Health Service (NHS), England, in 2020/21? Here is more information to note regarding medical negligence claims in the UK:
Clinical Negligence Manifests in Numerous Ways
Medical negligence is pretty broad, and many actions can amount to recklessness in the medical field. So, if you suspect that your case falls under clinical negligence, it’s likely that it is. It would help if you spoke to your solicitor to confirm your eligibility for an injury claim.
Common examples of medical negligence include incorrect diagnosis, ignored symptoms, incorrect surgical procedures, wrong medications, etc.
The Elements of a Medical Negligence Claim
The elements of a clinical medical claim include breach of duty of care, causation, and damages. The presence of these characteristics is what makes you eligible for compensation.
In proving breach of duty, you must establish that the defendant acted below the standard skill required from medical practitioners. That is, the health professional worked outside what their reasonable colleagues would have done in similar situations.
Causation indicates that the injury you suffered is a direct consequence of the practitioner’s carelessness. Damages refer to the actual harm the negligence act caused you.
There’s a Time Limit for Medical Negligence Claims
You don’t have all the time to file a clinical injury claim in the UK. According to UK laws, you have only three years after the negligence happened to file a lawsuit. If you were aware of the misdeed after it happened, the time starts counting from the date you discovered it. As such, you’re no longer qualified for damages if you file after the deadline.
However, there are exceptions to the rule. For example, patients under eighteen at the time of injury can file within three years after their 18th birthday. Also, mentally-impaired claimants can bring their claims three years after they recover.
Your Case Will Likely Not Go to Court
There’s a high probability that your case wouldn’t result in litigation. That’s because defendants in medical negligence claims typically prefer to settle out of court before a full trial. However, it depends on the circumstances of your case. You must still prepare for a court case, especially if the defendants vehemently deny responsibility for your injuries.
The Defendant Doesn’t Have to Be an NHS Doctor
Many NHS doctors have been implicated in medical negligence claims. However, they’re not the only ones who may be liable for clinical negligence. Other health professionals like dentists, nurses, pharmacists, cosmetics surgeons, etc., also owe you a duty of care. You can file a negligence claim against them if their carelessness harms you.
Medical Negligence Claims Thrive on Adequate Evidence
The success of your clinical negligence claim depends on how well you can prove your allegations. You need physical evidence to do this. Otherwise, your case will fail from the beginning. Therefore, you must preserve every piece of evidence in your possession, no matter how insignificant you think it is.
These include pictures of your injury, medical records, hospital bills, etc. Your solicitor can also carry out investigations to reveal specific hidden facts in your case.
You’ll Need Expert Witnesses
Medical expert witnesses are vital to many clinical negligence cases. These experts in the medical field will give their professional opinion to establish negligence in your case. In addition, if their testimony corroborates your allegations, it increases your chances of success.
Medical Negligence Cases May Take Time
Medical negligence claims are generally complex and involve technical procedures. As such, your case may not progress as fast as you want. On average, clinical negligence cases typically take many months to settle.
Your claim may drag on for more than three years in other cases. It’s essential to exercise patience when pursuing negligence claims for the best outcomes.
How to Fund Your Claim
There’s no doubt that medical negligence cases are expensive to handle. So funding should be an essential consideration before deciding on a claim.
The common ways claimants fund their injury claims include legal aid, legal expenses insurance, and a No Win-No Fee arrangement. Unfortunately, legal aid is only available for limited types of medical negligence cases.
On the other hand, you can only leverage legal insurance if you’re a policyholder. The last option is to hire a solicitor who agrees to no legal fees except you get your compensation.
You Can File a Medical Negligence Claim on Someone Else’s Behalf
It’s possible to make a clinical negligence claim on behalf of a family member or loved one. This is common in cases where a parent or legal guidance sues on behalf of their minors. You may also sue on behalf of an injured family member who lacks the mental capacity to pursue a claim.
Why Do You Need to Hire a Medical Negligence Solicitor?
A medical negligence lawyer undergoes intense training to enable them to represent your best interest. With their legal experience, they’ll quickly detect and deter whatever tricks the defendants may play to frustrate your claim.
Aside from leveraging a solicitor’s knowledge and experience, these are other reasons to get legal representation:
Improved Chances of Fair Compensation
There’s no use spending lots of time and other resources on a case that will yield little. In some instances, you may accept a seemingly adequate sum, only to discover that it’s less than you deserve.
As such, it’s wise first to calculate your case’s worth to determine your maximum compensation. This makes it easy to realize when the defendant tries to cheat you. Then, a solicitor can assess your claim and estimate how much you deserve.
Faster Claims Process
Clinical negligence solicitors understand, more than anyone else, that time is of the essence in cases of this nature. Apart from the three-year time frame, they know that you want to quickly move on with your life. So, they’ll work as fast as possible and ensure an accelerated claims process for you.
Negotiations are crucial parts of every medical negligence claims process. How well you handle this process is one of the determining factors in how much compensation you’ll get. Negotiations with insurance companies require impeccable interpersonal skills and adequate knowledge of insurance laws. As such, a solicitor is the perfect professional for this role.
Paperwork and Documentation
Pursuing a medical negligence claim involves reading multiple-page documents with confusing legal jargon. Then, again, you may have to draft documents, write and reply to letters, file motions, etc. Again, only an experienced solicitor can handle the unending paperwork without breaking a sweat.
Faster Healing Process
It’s no news that stress can affect your body’s ability to heal correctly and speedily. As such, bothering yourself with the nitty-gritty of your medical negligence case can take its toll on you. However, with a qualified solicitor handling your case, you’ll have enough time to rest and focus on your recovery.
Like your friends and family, your legal representatives will do everything to support you emotionally through this process. They’ll ease whatever fears you have and open their phone line to you at any time. Your solicitor will also advise you on the correct steps to improve your chances of maximum settlement.
What’s the Average Payout for Medical Negligence?
Compensation for clinical negligence in the UK typically includes general and special damages. While special damages compensate for intangible losses, general damages focus on actual financial losses. It’s challenging to determine their precise value because it depends on numerous factors and the case’s specifics.
For example, you’ll have to consider the injury severity and financial losses. Your damages will also depend on the weight of evidence you have to prove your losses. As such, while claimants in minor cases may receive a few thousand pounds, complex suits can be valued at millions of pounds.
Ready to submit your claim? Use the enquiry form on this page.