Welcome to Medical Negligence Law!
Medical Negligence Law UK – Clinical Negligence Lawyers Guide
You have a right to expect safe and effective treatment when you go to the doctor or visit a hospital. Whenever you are under the care of a doctor they are under a strict duty of care to treat you with the utmost professionalism and skill expected of someone qualified in medicine.
When something goes wrong because they haven’t done their job properly it is a serious breach of trust and could leave you with new or exacerbated hea
lth issues or injuries. It could also leave you injured or ill through no fault of your own. And in such cases, a medical negligence claim may be justified.
We are here to help. We are specialists in medical negligence law in the UK and can provide you with free legal advice about making a clinical negligence claim. We can also connect you with our panel of medical negligence solicitors.
On our page, we have lots of useful guides that may answer your questions. But if you have any more, or if you’d like to make a claim for medical negligence, get in touch with our friendly advisers using any of the methods below:
- Call us on 0800 408 7827
- Write to us about your clinical negligence case on our contact us page
- Or chat with us now using our live chat, bottom right corner
Read Our Medical Negligence Guides
Below, we’ve included some of our guides on the medical negligence claims process.
What Is Medical Negligence?
Medical negligence is any instance in which a doctor or any other kind of practitioner or healthcare worker provides their patient with treatment or care that falls below the standards of skill and diligence that are expected of them.
Medical negligence can often lead to harm being done to the patients’ health, either directly inflicting harm on a patient or allowing a patient to come to harm through failing to provide the appropriate treatment for their injury or illness.
Some examples of what medical negligence is, how it could occur and what the consequences of it could be include:
- Surgical mistakes – when errors are made while performing surgical procedures
- Misdiagnosis – when a doctor fails to spot or correctly diagnose the symptoms of an illness or injury
- Prescription errors – where a doctor or pharmacist provides an incorrect prescription, leading to overdoses or failures to treat illnesses or injuries.
- Negligent medical advice
Remember, if you have any questions about medical negligence law, just get in touch with our team.
Medical Negligence Statistics
The Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts recorded costs of £8.3 billion for cases of harm caused by medical negligence in 2019/20.
15,550 claims were recorded as being resolved in 2019/20, with a majority of 71.5% being resolved before they reached court. The most valuable types of negligence claims lodged were those involving maternity care, which represents 50% of the value of all medical negligence claims.
How Long Does A Medical Negligence Claim Take?
There isn’t an average amount of time that a medical negligence claim takes to resolve. A number of factors can impact how a claim progresses—namely the severity of the injuries and the defendant’s position on liability.
If the defendant is quick to admit that they were at fault and accept that their negligence was the cause of the injury or illness, a claim could be resolved within 6 to 9 months.
A key consideration here, however, is the severity of the injuries. If they haven’t properly healed, or if further treatment is needed down the line, it may be the case that a medical negligence solicitor opts to wait to see how those injuries heal.
This is important; a claim can only be made once, so settling it too soon may see you miss out on crucial compensation.
If the defendant denies liability, it could see the claim take longer to resolve. In such cases, the defendant may have a defence to the allegations made, or further evidence may be required to encourage them to change their position.
It may help to learn that in 2019/20, 71.5% of all NHS clinical negligence claims were resolved without the need to issue court proceedings or go to trial. Some of these claims may have been abandoned due to lack of merit, but others would have been settled.
How To Prove Medical Negligence
Medical negligence law isn’t always straightforward, and proving medical negligence can be tricky. Just like in personal injury claims, it’s necessary to establish that:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care
- That they breached that duty of care
- And as a result of that breach, you suffered harm.
If you’re undergoing treatment at your local GP, hospital, walk-in centre, dentist or optician, or receiving medication from a pharmacy or other service, those treating you will owe you a duty of care.
This duty is to provide care in accordance with the relevant standard, that is the standard expected of an “ordinarily competent practitioner” performing that specific task or job.
Should this standard not be met, or if there’s a failure to discharge those duties, the medical practitioner may be deemed negligent.
However, it isn’t straightforward establishing that a medical professional breached their duty. Legal tests, such as the Bolam Test, need to be employed to determine whether or not other practitioners placed in the same situation would have acted differently. This is where having a medical negligence solicitor on your side can really help.
In order to establish negligence, it’s also important to prove that the injury or illness suffered was caused by the practitioner’s breach of duty. This is often a matter of evidence, though again, without expert legal support, it can be hard to prove.
That’s where we can help you. If you’re at all fazed by the prospect of proving that a medical professional breached their duty of care, get in touch.
We can offer free legal advice you can trust. And if you wanted to proceed with a claim, we can connect you with our panel of specialist clinical negligence lawyers who are well-versed and experienced in pursuing medical negligence claims.
Examples Of Medical Negligence Compensation Payouts In The UK
Money alone isn’t enough to truly undo the harm and wrongdoing that stems from medical negligence. But the compensation you receive could help you cope with the situation financially as well as provide you with a sense of justice being done.
Calculating your compensation is done in two parts.
Under medical negligence law in the UK, general damages is the compensation that is awarded for the physical and psychological harm that is done by medical negligence. The more severe the harm, the more compensation you could be entitled to receive.
Things like the length of your recovery, the amount of physical pain and anguish you experienced and the extent to which your health has permanently been affected all factor towards a larger payout.
The table below shows the rough amount of compensation that could be awarded in general damages for certain injuries that could stem from medical negligence. These figures are taken from the guidelines of the Judicial College.
If you can’t see your injury or illness listed, or if you’d like a more precise valuation of your case, simply get in touch with us on the number at the top of this page.
|Ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis||£3,180 to £19,170|
|Failed sterilisation||In the region of £9,570|
|Disfiguring scars||£7,350 to £21,330|
|Superficial scarring||£2,220 to £7,350|
|Lapartomy scars||In the region of £8,110|
|Severe Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)||£49,270 to £78,840|
|Other pain disorders||£39,530 to £59,110|
|Penetrating injuries to the intestines||£6,190 to £11,820|
|Minor damage to the bladder||£21,970 to £29,380|
|Penetrating injuries to the bowels||£11,820 to £22,970|
This is the compensation that can be awarded to cover any financial losses that result from being affected by medical negligence.
This can include things like:
- Loss of earnings, both past and in the future
- Medication costs, including over-the-counter medicines, like paracetamol
- Travel costs, such as to and from doctor’s appointments
- Care costs. If family or friends had to look after you while you recovered, you can claim money back for their time and input
- Home adaptation costs. If you had to adapt your home in some way in order to live comfortably following the incident of negligence, this can also be factored in.
In order to claim back these losses, you will have to provide evidence of the costs incurred, such as receipts (even bus tickets), invoices and bank statements.
No Win No Fee Medical Negligence Claims
One of the cornerstones of our service is the ability to pursue your medical negligence claim on a No Win No Fee basis. This is a term you may have heard before, but what does it mean?
- No Win No Fee essentially means that if you don’t win your claim, you don’t pay any of your solicitor’s fees.
- Under such an agreement, you won’t be asked to pay any fees upfront, or any while the case proceeds.
- Only if the claim succeeds do you pay your clinical negligence solicitor a fee. This works out as a small percentage of your compensation award, which is used to cover your lawyer’s costs. This percentage is capped by law and will be stated clearly within your agreement.
So payment of your lawyer’s fee is very much conditional upon them winning the case. And that’s why another name for a No Win No Fee agreement is a Conditional Fee Agreement.
To learn more about this or anything else to do with medical negligence law, get in touch with our advisers.
Tips On Making A Claim Under Medical Negligence Law
Medical negligence law in the UK can be complex and tricky to understand. However, like all claims of this nature, the success or failure of a case depends on the available evidence.
If you’re looking to make a clinical negligence claim, it’s therefore important to gather as much evidence as you can.
A good starting point is letters or emails from the healthcare organisation that treated you. This may be a GP surgery or it may be a hospital trust.
Sometimes this letter confirms that an error has been made, and this can help give your medical negligence solicitor the information they need to work out if there’s a case to be pursued.
Other evidence can include:
- Prescriptions or medication, especially if you were given the wrong ones and they made you ill.
- Photographs of any scarring, which may be relevant in claims involving unnecessary surgery
- Your medical records – you do not need to worry about obtaining these, however, as your solicitor requests them as part of a claim
If you’re able to present this evidence to a solicitor, they not only will have a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your case, but they may be more likely to represent you under a No Win No Fee agreement.
If you’re looking for help and advice on what evidence is best for your case under medical negligence law, please get in touch. The advice we provide is free and there’s no obligation on your part to take matters beyond that.
Medical Negligence Law FAQs
Below, you can find answers to some frequently asked questions about medical negligence law in the UK.
What qualifies as medical negligence?
Medical negligence is when a doctor or other healthcare provider harms their patient by providing care that is beneath the standards of professionalism, skill and diligence expected of them.
What is the average payout for medical negligence?
The amount that you could be entitled to receive in medical negligence payouts depends on the degree of harm you can prove you have suffered. However, NHS Resolution, which handles litigation against the organisation, states the average amount awarded in medical negligence payouts in the UK is around £50,000.
Can you sue for medical negligence?
If you believe that the treatment that you received was negligent, then you should contact us to find out if you could be entitled to make a claim through our panel of medical negligence solicitors.
How hard is it to prove medical negligence?
The goal of pursuing a clinical negligence compensation claim is to prove that the care and treatment that you received from your doctor or at a hospital was below the standards expected of qualified practitioners and that you were harmed as a result.
The standards of proof are high, proving it may involve a Bolam test where a doctor testifies as to whether or not they would have done the same thing as the doctor you are accusing would have done.
What are the odds of winning a medical negligence claim?
If a solicitor agrees to take on your case as a No Win No Fee medical negligence claim then that is a good indication that your claim has at least an even chance of success, otherwise, they would be unlikely to take on the risk.
Remember, if you have any questions about medical negligence law, get in touch.