Read our easy to follow guide on how to make a medical negligence claim
Medical negligence occurs when a patient receives substandard treatment, resulting in an injury. Examples of medical negligence include incorrect treatment, mistakes made during surgery or a missed diagnosis.
When medical negligence occurs, the patient has the right to claim compensation for the harm they suffer and the financial consequences of it.
We have created this easy to follow guide on how to make a medical negligence claim.
If you think you have a medical negligence claim, you can contact us to discuss your case. We offer free initial guidance and one of our expert lawyers will be happy to talk through what has happened and let you know if we think you have a valid claim.
DO I NEED A SOLICITOR TO MAKE A MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE CLAIM?
While you don’t have to retain a solicitor to deal with your medical negligence claim, most people choose to do so as the law can be complex. As explained below, we are able to work on a No Win, No Fee basis, so concerns about paying legal fees shouldn’t put you off appointing an expert medical negligence solicitor.
THE COMPENSATION CLAIMS PROCESS
The first step on the road to claiming compensation is to gather evidence to prove that negligence occurred. This will include obtaining your medical records and taking a detailed statement from you. When we deal with a medical negligence claim we will also usually ask an independent medical expert to prepare a report on whether the care provided to you was negligent and if so, whether that treatment caused your injury or made an existing condition even worse.
These investigations can take a while, but once we have sufficient evidence, we will send a Letter of Claim to the organisation responsible for your treatment. They will then investigate the claim and provide a Letter of Response. If they admit they made a mistake then it may be possible to negotiate a settlement of your claim at that stage.
If no admissions are made, it is often necessary to commence court proceedings. This requires both sides to follow a timetable that is put in place by the court. The timetable sets out when witness evidence needs to be exchanged, when medical evidence needs to be exchanged and the date by which the medical experts need to meet and discuss the case.
It does not necessarily mean the claim will go to trial however, as most cases settle ‘out of court’ long before the trial is due to take place.
THE AMOUNT OF COMPENSATION YOU RECEIVE
Throughout the process of making a medical negligence claim both sides are encouraged to negotiate and try to reach settlement.
In most cases, we manage to negotiate a settlement and reach an agreement on how much compensation you receive. However, when this cannot be achieved it will be for a judge to decide on how much compensation you should receive if your case is successful.
Your compensation, whether arrived at through negotiation or awarded by a judge, will generally include separate amounts for:
- your pain and suffering;
- your financial expenses, such as lost earnings and any treatment/medication costs; and
- the cost of future medical treatment or care to assist you during your rehabilitation or to lessen the impact the negligence has on your life.
TIME LIMITS FOR BRINGING A MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE CLAIM
If you think your medical care may have been negligent, it is important that you contact our medical negligence solicitors as soon as possible. Not only will the details still be fresh in your mind, but there is also a time limit which applies to medical negligence cases. Usually, claims have to be commenced in court within three years of the date of the medical treatment, or three years from finding out you received negligent treatment. However, there are exceptions to this:
- Mental Capacity – there is no time limit if someone lacks mental capacity to bring the claim themselves; and
- Children – they have until they are 21 to bring a medical negligence compensation claim.
In cases where a patient has died as a result of medical treatment, the time limit is usually three years from the date of death.
FUNDING YOUR MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE CLAIM
People understandably worry about paying legal costs and this can put them off making a claim. However, there really is no need to allow worries about funding a case to prevent you claiming the compensation you deserve. This is because we deal with medical negligence claims on a No Win – No Fee basis. This means that there are no upfront fees and nothing to pay if you lose your case.
Our lawyers will be happy to discuss No Win – No Fee funding with you and answer any questions you have.
OBTAINING YOUR FREE CASE ASSESSMENT
If having read this guide on how to make a medical negligence claim you would like us to assess your case for free then contact our legal helpline by calling 0333 888 0404 or emailing us at [email protected]