What is Medical Negligence?
Medical negligence happens when a GP, consultant, nurse or another health professional, is in breach of their duty of care to their patient, with the end result being physical and/or mental harm and suffering, to that patient.
Surgeons, GPs, nurses and other types of healthcare professionals are trained to the highest levels of skill and competence. Every time we seek medical treatment or advice from a healthcare professional, we put our total faith in them to get their advice and treatment of us right. Most of the time, that faith is justified, and we receive superb treatment.
However, medical professionals are still human. As such, they can make mistakes just like the rest of us. They work under great pressure. When they make a mistake or fail in their duty of care to you, then you may be able to make a claim for clinical negligence.
How do you prove medical negligence?
Proving medical negligence isn’t always straightforward. That’s why getting legal advice at the earliest opportunity from a specialist medical negligence lawyer is vitally important. What is known as the ‘burden of proof’ lies with you, the person making a claim.
In other words, it is down to you to prove that medical negligence occurred, by getting together sufficient evidence to support your negligence claim. Don’t worry – if you come to Mooneerams for help with your medical negligence claim, the medical negligence solicitors we work with will help you gather all the appropriate evidence.
This evidence must be sufficient to help you prove that the medical treatment you received from the health professional, was below the standard expected of a competent and skilled practitioner in that same field of medicine. It isn’t just enough to prove negligence either. You must also prove that you have suffered as a result of that negligence. That loss will take the form of pain and suffering and any other loss (such as loss of earnings).
How to claim medical negligence in the UK
At Mooneerams solicitors we help people to bring medical negligence compensation claims for clinical negligence that takes place in Wales and England (even if you live in Scotland and Northern Ireland). For medical negligence which takes place in Scotland and Northern Ireland, you will need to consult lawyers in those countries as they have different legal systems.
Gathering together enough evidence to prove your claim is the key to making a successful medical negligence claim. Here are some points to help you understand what is involved and where necessary, what you can do to help your clinical negligence claim succeed:
- You will need to give a detailed statement to your clinical negligence solicitor so making some notes before you meet with them, will help jog your memory as well as remembering all the points you want to get across to your lawyer.
- If you have not done so already, when you meet with your specialist medical negligence solicitor they can assist you to put together a letter of complaint to the body you hold responsible for the clinical negligence and subsequent pain and suffering you are suffering.
- Most bodies whether NHS controlled or private will have a specified complaints procedure. It is always a good idea to follow this procedure before embarking upon a formal medical negligence claim.
- The health authority’s complaints protocol will specify a period of time that the authority has to respond to your claim.When that response is received, how the matter has been dealt with by the health body concerned, will dictate what happens next. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the complaints’ procedure, then the solicitor will take the necessary steps to look into making a medical negligence claim.
- When you first consult with your medical negligence solicitor, they will ask you to sign an authorisation form to obtain your medical records. When these are received the medical negligence expertise of the solicitor will enable them to consider the records in conjunction with your statement and any response received to your complaints letter.
- They will then be in a better position to advise you whether they believe your claim for medical negligence has reasonable prospects of success.
- If your solicitor decides there are reasonable prospects of success, then obtaining reports from a medical expert or experts will be crucial to your claim. The medical expert that the solicitor will recommend will be one who is a specialist in the field of medicine that applies to your case. This person will be a medico-legal expert. This means that the expert will have experience of giving evidence in medical negligence cases, as well as being an authority in medicine.
- Time limits – you will have 3 years from the date of the negligent treatment within which to bring a claim. That really means 3 years within which to formally start a claim. This is called the ‘limitation period.’ Starting the claim involves presenting papers to the court to issue proceedings i.e. to get the court process underway.
- In most cases, there will have been often considerable negotiations with the other side (the insurers of the medical body or doctor) before court proceedings are started. However, it is vital to get proceedings underway before the limitation date is reached, even if negotiations are proceeding. If the discussions come to nothing and you have missed limitation, then your claim will go no further.
- It is worth noting that sometimes in cases involving medical negligence, you may not be aware that any negligence has taken place at the time that you received the treatment.You may not suffer from the consequences of the negligence until some months afterwards. An example of this might be if an organ was damaged during an operation, but the damage didn’t come to light until sometime later. The 3-year period will commence at the date of that knowledge.
Can I claim for medical negligence using a No Win No Fee agreement?
If the specialist medical negligence solicitor believes that your potential claim for negligence has reasonable prospects of succeeding, then there is every chance of you being able to get the benefits of No Win, No Fee agreement.
Mooneerams recommended expert medical negligence solicitor will discuss this with you at the earliest opportunity. If you are eligible for a No Win, No Fee agreement, then even if your claim does not succeed, there will be no financial risk on you. You will have no fees to pay.
If you win your claim, then you will be asked to pay to your lawyer a percentage of your compensation, at a rate that you will agree with the lawyer in writing, before your claim gets underway.
You will also be asked to pay the ATE insurance fee (‘After the Event’ insurance fee). ATE is taken out when we start your case, to protect you from facing any legal fees from the other side, in the event of your claim not being successful.
What are the different types of medical negligence claim?
Our trusted recommended medical negligence solicitors are able to deal with all types of medical negligence claims including the following types:
Who will the Medical Negligence claim be made against?
- If you received negligent treatment whilst in an NHS hospital, your claim will be made against the NHS Trust responsible for the hospital.
- If you were negligently treated by a GP, a dentist or a doctor working out of a private hospital, your claim will be made against the individual, who in each case will be insured against such claims.
Can Mooneerams help me with my medical negligence claim?
Mooneerams work very closely with a team of experienced and trusted specialist medical negligence solicitors, who are some of the best in the country. With home visits and No Win, No Fee funding plus the specialist expertise and care that you would expect from Mooneerams, you can contact us in the confidence that the service you receive will be outstanding.
Contact Mooneerams on 029 2048 3615 or fill in the contact form on this page and one of the experienced medical negligence solicitors will call you at your convenience. Their telephone consultation with you will be entirely free of charge. If they believe that you have reasonable grounds for successfully claiming compensation, then they will arrange to visit you at home.
Mooneerams solicitors do not receive a fee for recommending you to the medical negligence claim solicitor, nor do we take any form of fee from you. We want you to receive the same level of care and attention to your medical negligence claim, that you would get from us if we were pursuing a personal injury claim for you. We are confident that by entrusting your negligence claim to our trusted partners, that you will be in very good hands.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of this with any of Mooneerams solicitors, please feel free to call us on 029 2048 3615 or contact us by using the form on this page.