Making a Medical Negligence Claim
In order to pursue a medical negligence claim, it’s necessary to put some funding in place to assist you with the likely legal costs, this funding can be:
- Conditional Fee Agreement - No Win, No Fee
- Public Funding - Legal Aid
- Legal Expense Insurance
- Trade Union Funding
- Private Funds
Your Medical Negligence Solicitor will then need to access copies of all relevant medical records before obtaining appropriate expert medical evidence to consider whether
- The treatment you received was of a substandard nature, and
- You’ve suffered as a result of that treatment, or whether you would have suffered the same complications in any event
In some medical negligence cases, we only have to instruct one medical expert, but in others, we have to instruct more than one, especially if the medical condition is complex or the medical negligence claim is difficult. For instance, more than one medical expert may need to be involved if negligent treatment took place in A&E and the injury was orthopaedic in nature. Potentially both an A&E expert and an orthopaedic consultant might need to provide expert medical reports.
The medical opinion put forward by the expert/s will be crucial in enabling your Medical Negligence Solicitor to assess whether or not a medical negligence claim can proceed further.
What Can I Be Compensated For?
There are two components to medical negligence compensation:
- The injury and damage caused, called General Damages
- Out of pocket and other expenses, called Special Damages
In many medical negligence cases, the special damages are a substantial part of the overall compensation award, particularly if care and loss of earnings are included. These will reflect both the costs you’ve already accrued and those you are expected to accrue in the future.
If you’ve suffered a catastrophic injury, we’ll also consider your wider needs in the future, such as housing and rehabilitation such as occupational therapy.
NHS Complaints Procedure
In medical negligence cases where your complaint or medical negligence claim isn’t particularly clear cut, you should first access the relevant NHS Complaints procedure. This may resolve any concerns you’ve got, and if it doesn’t, should result in a reasoned response. This could in turn help to assess whether legal action would then be appropriate. If you register a grievance through the NHS Complaints procedure, you have the right to:
- Complain and have your complaint investigated
- Refer the matter to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman if you’re not happy with the outcome of your complaint
- Make a claim for Judicial Review
- Receive compensation
You should complain to the healthcare provider responsible for treating you within 12 months of the date of the incident or the date you became aware that there was a problem. Once you have received the outcome of your complaint, the next step would be to seek independent legal advice, with a view to making a medical negligence claim.