In the UK, we are very lucky to have such a good healthcare system in the NHS. It means, in normal times we can visit a GP quite quickly, discuss any medical concerns, and get treatment for free (at the point of delivery) when needed. In the main, most medical conditions are dealt with professionally and correctly meaning that the medical outcome is positive. However, mistakes and negligence do sometimes happen that can cause the patient to endure avoidable suffering. In these situations, compensation for that suffering could be sought.
In this guide to claiming compensation for medical negligence, we’ll review the types of negligence that could require you to make a claim, explain how the process of claiming compensation works, and look into how much compensation for medical negligence might be paid
We can help with medical negligence claims. Our specialist advisors will start by reviewing your case for free. During your initial consultation, they’ll provide legal advice and set out your options. If there’s a chance you could win your case, we could appoint a medical negligence solicitor from our team to it. If they take your claim for medical negligence compensation on, they will do so on a No Win No Fee basis. This means you’ll pay nothing for their work until you’re awarded compensation.
If you are ready to start a claim for medical negligence right away, please call 0800 6524 881 to contact us and get started. Alternatively, please consider reading the rest of this guide to find out more about your eligibility to claim compensation.
Table of contents
- What Is Medical Negligence?
- Am I Eligible To Make A Medical Negligence Claim?
- Types Of Medical Negligence
- How Much Compensation Will I Get For Medical Negligence?
- How Much Compensation For Medical Negligence Resulting In Death?
- Time Limits For Claiming Medical Negligence Compensation
- Using A Medical Negligence Solicitor When Claiming Compensation
- Starting The Medical Negligence Claims Process
Medical negligence is where the standard of treatment provided by a medical professional falls below what can be reasonably expected of a similarly-trained specialist. Some examples of how medical negligence can occur include:
- Where the medical professional failed to advise you of the risks involved with your treatment.
- If other treatment options were not considered.
- Where the correct procedures or guidelines were not followed during your treatment.
- If you weren’t referred for additional tests.
- Where your condition was not diagnosed correctly.
Compensation for medical negligence can be sought against any negligent medical professional. This includes nurses, doctors, dentists, paediatricians, anaesthetists, and surgeons. Importantly, claims are possible against medical professionals, NHS Trusts, and private healthcare companies as well.
When seeking compensation for medical negligence, there are two key criteria that must be proven. They are:
- Negligence (breach of duty). Here it will need to be proven that a substandard level of care or treatment was provided by a medical professional.
- Causation. This element requires evidence that your suffering was caused directly by their negligence (causation) and your injuries or illness were not sustained in any other way.
A good test for this is the ‘but for’ test i.e. if you can say your suffering wouldn’t have happened but for the treatment provided, or not provided, you could have the grounds to begin a medical negligence compensation claim.
To give you some idea about what could result in compensation for medical negligence, here are some examples:
- Anaesthetic errors. Mistakes with anaesthetics can be dangerous. In some cases, brain damage can occur while in others, the patient might wake up during surgery.
- Surgical negligence. While most surgery comes with inherent risks, avoidable injuries or suffering could lead to compensation claims. Examples include where surgical tools are left inside the body or where the wrong organ is removed.
- A wrong or delayed diagnosis can cause suffering if the underlying problem gets worse. In some cases of misdiagnosis, treatment may have to be more aggressive than it would have been if the diagnosis was made correctly sooner.
- Negligent advice. If you are to be treated by a medical professional, they should advise you of any risks or side effects. If they don’t, you won’t be able to make an informed decision about your treatment options.
- Prescription mistakes. Having the wrong medication prescribed or dispensed can cause adverse reactions that can cause a lot of harm. Such prescription errors could lead to a compensation claim for any additional suffering caused.
- Avoidable birth injuries. No two births are the same and complications can arise. As such, midwives and doctors are trained on what to do when something goes wrong. If they fail to spot a problem or react properly and the mother or baby is injured, a claim may be possible.
- Hospital-acquired infections. You could be eligible to claim compensation if you contract MRSA or similar conditions whilst being treated at a hospital.
- Cosmetic Negligence. It’s important to point out that clinical negligence also covers some beauty treatments and cosmetic surgery. Again, the proper procedures should always be followed and advice on any risks should be clearly explained.
This list is just a tiny sample of scenarios that could result in compensation for medical negligence. If you believe you’ve got the grounds to take action, please get in touch today. You can also find more information on claiming compensation against the NHS here.
When calculating what amount of compensation you should get for medical negligence, your solicitor will essentially separate the claim into two types of damages, and calculate compensation individually for both. These damages are:
- General damages. Where compensation for your pain, suffering, and loss of amenity resulting from medical negligence will be claimed for.
- Special damages. This element of the claim looks at recovering any costs or expenses. For example, you may need to claim for care costs, travel expenses, medical costs, and lost income.
To determine the extent of the pain and suffering you’ve gone through and may continue to go through in the future, a medical assessment is required for medical and clinical negligence claims. In most cases, medical assessments can be arranged locally for our clients.
The amount of compensation for medical negligence resulting in death will essentially be determined as above. However, there is more information relating to fatal accidents and injuries on this page that goes into greater detail.
Compensation could also be claimed in certain circumstances (as part of general damages) where an individual has suffered from being aware death is imminent. These amounts are:
- £4,670 compensation where mental anguish was present due to impending death.
- £3,760 – £4,390 compensation where the individual concerned is immediately unconscious following their injury and passes away after six weeks.
- £1,370 – £2,790 compensation where the individual concerned is immediately unconscious or is unconscious very shortly following their injury and passes away within a week.
Please don’t hesitate to contact our advisors if you have any questions or concerns.
If a loved one has been affected by medical negligence and is not able to claim compensation themselves, we could help you to represent them in a medical negligence claim. The litigation friend process allows family, friends, or other responsible adults to deal with solicitors and courts on behalf of the claimant.
Additionally, if your loved one has died following clinical negligence, you could also start a claim with us. Two types of claims are possible. Firstly, a claim could be made on behalf of the deceased’s estate to cover the pain and suffering they endured prior to death. Secondly, any dependants of the deceased could be eligible for a bereavement payment and further compensation if they were financially dependent.
Claims for medical negligence have a 3-year time limit in the UK. The limitation period usually starts from:
- When your injuries or illness were sustained by medical negligence; or
- The date your condition was diagnosed – the date of knowledge.
It’s important to note that there can be exceptions and variations to these time limits. For instance, in cases involving children, the three-year limitation period starts from their 18th birthday, allowing them to make a claim until they turn 21. Additionally, if the claimant lacks mental capacity, the time limit for filing a claim may not apply until such time they are well enough to do so. In both cases, a litigation friend could claim compensation on their behalf.
Our solicitors recommend starting the claims process as soon as possible. That’s because clinical negligence cases may require a lot of evidence or medical reports. By starting as early as you can, you’ll give your solicitor plenty of time to complete the necessary tasks before filing the claim.
We believe you have a better chance of being compensated correctly if you have a medical negligence solicitor on your side. If your claim is taken on by a medical negligence solicitor for our team, they will:
- Work for you on a No Win No Fee basis.
- Work with you to understand how you’ve been affected by clinical negligence.
- Try to collect evidence to back up your allegations.
- File the claim on your behalf.
- Request interim payments to pay for treatment, care or modifications to your home if needed.
- Deal with all communication on your behalf.
- Aim to achieve the highest amount of compensation possible for your suffering.
Rather than accepting the first settlement offer that’s received, your solicitor will always discuss them with you first. If it doesn’t appear to be a fair amount, they’ll try to renegotiate a fairer payment with the defendant.
We understand that you won’t want to risk losing money on solicitor’s fees in the event of an unsuccessful claim. That’s why the specialist solicitors on our team provide a No Win No Fee service for all cases they take on.
Their work is funded by a Conditional Fee Agreement. This is your contract and it shows you what needs to happen before you’ll need to pay your solicitor for their work. If the claim fails, you won’t pay them at all. If the claim is won, a success fee (up to 25%) will simply be deducted from your compensation.
Are you ready to claim compensation for medical negligence today? If so, call our team on 0800 6524 881. Your case will be considered during your call and you’ll be given free legal advice. If there appears there’s a case to be answered, they’ll connect you with a solicitor from our team as soon as possible. Once they have all the details at hand they’ll be able to better inform you of how much compensation for medical negligence you could claim.