How Long Does a Medical Negligence Claim Take?
A straightforward medical negligence claim in which the circumstances are clear and liability is admitted typically takes 18 months to 2 years to settle.
However, if a case needs to go to Court, it could be between 3 and 4 years until a compensation settlement can be reached. In the event of a highly complex claim that’s being contested, a medical negligence claim may take between 5 and 6 years to be resolved.
While this is a long time, you may be able to receive Interim Payments early on, so you can receive some of the compensation before full legal proceedings have concluded; or the case is settled out of Court. It’s not uncommon for a Defendant to settle out of Court just before the case goes to Trial.
For a free, initial assessment of your case, get in touch with our specialist team of Medical Negligence Solicitors – ask if we can deal with your case on a No Win, No Fee basis.
What Affects the Length of a Case?
To make a successful medical negligence claim, you need to prove that the treatment you received fell below the standards you’d expect and that this has led to damage and loss.
In many instances, the circumstances surrounding a case will be clear and straightforward, with the NHS Hospital or healthcare provider responsible admitting liability (fault). Your Medical Negligence Solicitor will obtain copies of your medical records and arrange an independent medical examination to assess your condition, the likely causes and its lasting effects.
With this independent medical information, your Solicitor can assess whether the treatment you received was substandard, and whether you’ve suffered as a result of the care you received.
However, other medical negligence cases can be much more complex and require more than one medical expert, each with separate specialisms, to provide specialist medical reports on the client’s condition. For instance, if a victim of medical negligence is seeking compensation for how an orthopaedic condition was treated in an Accident and Emergency department, we may need to consult specialists in both A&E and orthopaedics.
Anyone wishing to make a medical negligence claim may also wish to go through the NHS Complaints procedure before taking any legal action. Usually aggrieved patients are required to complain to the NHS Hospital or healthcare provider that treated them within 12 months of the negligence occurring, or within a year of the date they became aware of a problem following their medical treatment. Some Hospitals or healthcare providers may allow complaints outside of these time frames.
Another factor that can delay the case is whether or not the healthcare provider admits responsibility. If they are adamant there is no case to answer, your case may need to be heard in Court, and prolong the entire legal process.
What are Interim Payments?
If the other side (the Defendant) has admitted partial or full liability for the ill-effects you’ve suffered, you may be able to get Interim Payments.
This is a sum of money that is paid to medical negligence claimants before the case has reached a final settlement. As a result, claimants get some money to help deal with the consequences of the medical negligence, rather than be forced to wait for legal proceedings to end.
How much is paid in an Interim Payment will depend entirely on your particular case, but in one case our Medical Negligence Solicitors secured £1.4 million in Interim Payments for a client.
How Long Do I Have to Claim?
You must start a medical negligence claim within 3 years of when the incident occurred, or 3 years from the date you became aware of a problem linked to your medical treatment. That means you shouldn’t wait to get legal advice from a specialist Medical Negligence Solicitor.
While the Courts in England and Wales do have the right to alter the time limit for making a claim, it’s very rare for them to exercise this power. However, the time limitation period may occasionally be extended in some circumstances, for instance if the injured person is suffering from a temporary mental disability.
If you’re making a claim following the death of another person, you must do so within 3 years of the date they died.
For free legal advice call our Medical Negligence Solicitors
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Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Bristol, Cardiff, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.