Medical Negligence: Do I have a claim?
Q: I am not happy with the care I received from my doctor but I am undecided whether to sue. Is there anything else I can do?
A: Yes. Every NHS organisation must have a formal complaints procedure
and you have the right to complain, have your complaint investigated and be given a full and prompt reply. If you do not feel confident doing the complaint yourself we are happy to help.
Q: Can I sue my doctor for making a mistake?
A: Every healthcare provider such as hospitals, doctors, nurses, paramedics, dentists owe their patient a duty of care not to harm them
but negligence is only established if the standard of care falls below an acceptable standard. To be entitled to compensation you must also prove that the negligence has resulted in harm or injury. This may be obvious if the surgeon has removed the wrong leg but not so easy if there has been a delayed diagnosis of cancer
and the issue is whether starting treatment earlier would, on the balance of probabilities, have made any difference to the outcome.
Q: Is it easy to sue for medical negligence?
A: No. The law recognises that it would be undesirable for society if it were too easy to sue health care providers. This may lead to defensive medicine and impact negatively on healthcare
generally. If you are unsure about whether you have a claim you should seek specialist advice.
Q: I think I have a case but can I afford the lawyers’ fees?
A: If we think you have a case, we will act under No Win, No Fee Agreement. This means there are no upfront or hidden costs
and if you are unsuccessful we do not charge you a penny. To protect you from having to pay your own disbursements and the other sides legal costs we can take out insurance with no upfront cost to you. If the case is unsuccessful the premium is waived.
Q: How much time do I have to bring a claim for medical negligence?
A: You must bring your legal claim within 3 years from when the incident occurred
or when you first realised you had suffered an injury. It is advisable to take specialist legal advice as soon as possible. In the case of children the 3 year limitation period does not start to run until their 18th birthday
and for persons lacking mental capacity the limitation period does not start to run until they regain capacity.