Can I Sue a Doctor for Medical Negligence?
Yes. If you have suffered an injury (whether physical or psychological) and that injury is as a result of a negligent act or omission by a doctor or GP, you can claim for medical negligence compensation.
This includes whether you feel you’ve suffered medical negligence from care your doctor has provided, in which case the individual GP will be the defendant, or whether the medical negligence has been committed by a doctor in a hospital, in which case the NHS Trust governing the hospital is generally the defendant.
Examples of Medical Negligence include:
- Surgical errors
- Delay in diagnoses
- Misdiagnoses of injuries
- Prescribing the wrong medication
- Failure to refer for further investigations
- Failure to provide adequate information to allow patients to make an informed decision regarding treatment
However, medical negligence claims can cover all aspects of clinical care provided to you by medical professionals.
Do I Have a Claim?
In order to succeed with a medical negligence claim, a claimant will need to get over two hurdles.
Breach of Duty
There is an established duty of care that exists between a doctor and patient, so you must show that your doctor or GP has breached this duty of care. During the course of the claim, it’s likely that independent medical experts will be asked to provide an opinion as to whether there has been a breach in the duty of care owed to you. It’s simply not enough for the independent medical expert to disagree with how you have been treated; the medical expert must state that no reasonable doctor would have treated you in the way that you were treated.
After getting over the first hurdle, you must then demonstrate that an injury has been caused and that you’ve suffered loss as a result. In some medical negligence cases, this can be very difficult to prove. Would the eventual outcome have been any different if the breach of duty hadn’t occurred?
Clearing the Hurdles
Take for example a common medical negligence claim subject - a misdiagnosed fracture by a doctor at the A&E department of a busy hospital. You’ve injured your arm but are told by the doctor it isn’t fractured, so you go home and rest. You return to the hospital the following day and, following an X-ray, a fracture is identified.
It may be established that the doctor has breached his/her duty of care in misdiagnosing the fracture. However, this is only one hurdle that has been cleared and you must still attempt to prove causation.
If the treatment you subsequently receive hasn’t been altered by the breach of duty, and you haven’t suffered any loss or injury as a result of the breach of duty, then you won’t succeed with a claim for medical negligence. But if the breach of duty has caused an injury that otherwise wouldn’t have occurred or you require surgery that you otherwise would have avoided, then “causation” can be established and you’ve cleared the second hurdle.
What Can I Claim Compensation For?
A medical negligence claim can only obtain compensation and attempt to put you back in the position you would have been, but for the negligence. Your injuries are therefore not the only item you can claim for.
You can claim for all losses that you’ve incurred or will incur due to the negligence. This includes costs involving care, loss of earnings, travel expenses and other costs associated with the negligence that you otherwise would not have paid out.
If you feel that you’ve been the victim of medical negligence, it’s vitally important that you get legal advice from a specialist Medical Negligence Solicitor.
Time Limit to Make a Medical Negligence Claim
You have 3 years from the date of your injury in which to bring a medical negligence claim.
For free legal advice call our Medical Negligence Solicitors
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