How Long Can a Medical Negligence Claim Take?

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This is usually one of the first questions that a prospective Client will ask their Solicitor when we start working on their case. Although we can’t offer a definite answer to this question at the outset of your claim, we can give guidance based on our prior experience.

In this article, we’ve outlined the key stages of a typical Medical Negligence claim as well as how long each of these steps typically take. It’s important to note that these are guidelines and should not be taken as concrete timescales. The reason for that is that every case is specific and there are factors out of our control that can affect how long each stage takes.

Read on to find out more or get in touch with our expert Medical Negligence team for free, no obligation initial case assessment.

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The Stages of a Clinical Negligence Case


    Free Claims Assessment

    When you first speak to us, we’ll offer you a free claims assessment. This will be a conversation over the phone where we’ll listen to the details of your claim and get all the information we need to provide you with the outcome of the assessment and how we may be able to help. This can be done quickly and within the first call.


    Taking on your claim

    After you’ve spoken to our team, your case will be assessed by a senior lawyer within a 24-hour window. After this we will then be able to let you know as to whether we can help you and take on your claim. If we can, we’ll start the process of getting your case opened, explaining all the elements within our agreement as well as any relevant information. This will usually be completed within one week.


    Requesting medical records

    Once initial documentation has been signed, your Solicitor will request all the medical records available that are relevant to your case. All NHS Trusts and GPs are expected to release these records within a month. But it’s becoming increasingly common that these requests are taking longer because of the volume of requests they receive.


    Sorting medical records

    Once your Solicitor has obtained and reviewed your medical records, they will review them carefully to make sure there are no records missing. Once this has been done (usually within four weeks), your solicitor will send the records for pagination (the process of sorting records into a logical format, adding page numbers and indexes). This will be dealt with by external companies and will usually take a further four weeks.


    Instructing medical experts

    The next step will be identifying and instructing appropriate independent medical experts to report on your case. This usually takes around six weeks but could take up to 12 months depending on the medical expert’s clinical commitments and the type of report needed. In this time, there may be a requirement for additional evidence.


    Preparing a Letter of Claim

    Your Solicitor will then prepare a Letter of Claim and send it to the Defendant(s) for them to investigate internally. They’ll then have four months to provide a formal response known as the Letter of Response. But it’s important to note that extensions are usually required. The other party will either admit, partially admit or deny liability.


    Settling your claim

    If there is an admission of liability, there will be scope for a settlement to be achieved as the next step will be to issue proceedings with Court. In this case, the Solicitor will issue a Claim Form and have four months to then serve proceedings. It’s very rare that Medical Negligence claims go to Trial, but if yours does, it’s currently estimated that the Court timetable could take just under a year.

Because of the nature of Medical Negligence claims, and all of the steps involved, it would be irresponsible for a Solicitor to make promises as to how long it might take at the beginning of your claim.

In these types of cases, there are always evolving components that may delay or even speed up the outcome of a case. Although a Solicitor may not be able to guarantee how long a case will take, they will be able to ensure that the case progresses regularly and that you are updated along the way.

If there is an admission of liability, we can also seek to recover an interim payment. This is a payment which the other side pay in advance of the final settlement. These can help clients with any immediate financial burdens that they are experiencing as a result of the incident.

For a free claims assessment, get in touch with our expert Medical Negligence Solicitors today.

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