Medical Negligence Claims – The Ultimate Guide

Medical practitioners are here to provide relief and treatment to the ill. Knowing that someone knows about your condition and is ready to make you feel better is enough to lessen your worry. But what if your health care provider fails and instead of treating you, is the one who have made your condition worse? The thought of this can already make you feel desperate. However, there is no reason to lose hope. First and foremost, you can do something about it. The initial step is to seek another medical professional, one who is more competent, and second is to complain. As mentioned in our legal advice guide you may seek redress and pursue claim compensation.

Overview

Picture of a doctor subjected to medical negligence claimsYou can file a negligence complaint, but it is a complex and specialised area of law. Since it involves professional liability, it has a set of principles and rules that differ from those covering other injury claims. The process is simply about a patient taking his medical attendants to civil court for compensation. In order for negligence to be proven, a claimant, who is usually the patient himself, must show that the physician or doctor owed a duty or care, and that he or she was negligent in management, resulting to the patient suffering harm. In order to be compensated, the claimant has to succeed on both causation and liability.

The loss of a claimant is assessed in terms of the loss of current and future earnings, mental anguish, and reduced quality of life. The recompense is monetary for both hospital claims and gp negligence. A case should be brought to the civil court within 36 months (2 years) from the time of knowledge of harm. But if the claimant was a child at the time of injury, there would be no time limit. If the claimant was mentally ill at the time of injury, limit starts from the time of recovery. The judge can also decide that a case deemed to be out of time can proceed. If you are unsure about hospital claims or GP negligence claims please consult a medical solicitor for expert advice.

Clinical Negligence

Picture of a tired nurse under investigation for clinical negligenceNurses, doctors and medical practitioners are expected to provide satisfactory care for patients. If you, your child, or spouse has been injured as a result of a medical treatment, you are entitled to an explanation, at the very least. This also applies if you are the child or dependent of someone who died at the same cause. Doctors are required by their governing body to tell the patient what has gone wrong with the procedure. Doctors are governed by the General Medical Council.

Clinical negligence, also known as medical negligence, is a case that happens when there is injury or death contributed by a breach of a duty of care, which was committed during the course of a medical service. This includes nursing and dental services, making you entitled to monetary compensation. Medical malpractice claims can arise out of anesthetics, emergency, accident, general practice, cancer treatment, mental health, plastic surgery, and many others.

Doctors can be found in a breach of a duty of care because of delayed or failed diagnosis, medication errors, careless surgery, negligence in warning risks of treatment, and many other things. New issues continue to arise in this type of claim. For example, cases of retention of tissues and organs after post-mortem, breast screening or smear testing interpretation error, use of unsterilised tools. Medical compensation for injuries is different from road traffic accident claims. The case of the latter shows that it would be easy to establish who was at fault and if injuries came as a result. In negligence claims, you must prove that there were serious errors in the treatment in which no competent doctor would have made, and that errors caused or contributed to the injury being complained. An experienced solicitor can make an initial assessment of a claim and give advice if it is worth investigating.

See in the video below a clinical negligence lawyer discusses the issue of negligence within the NHS with Sky News.

Medical Neglect (UK) Law

Photo of a court exteriorAgain, clinical claims are a highly specialised area of law since it involves negligence and professional liability. Causation is hard to prove since the effects of the alleged negligent treatment should be distinguished from the patient’s underlying condition that gave rise to the need for treatment. The court must also compare claimant’s prognosis and actual condition with the prognosis and hypothetical condition if he or she had received better medical treatment. Claimants shall only be compensated for injuries brought by negligent medical treatment and not for the underlying condition.

Two tests of liability are used in negligence cases, and these are the Bolam and Bolitho tests. In a Bolam test, a doctor is not guilty if a responsible body of medical practitioners supports the practice that allegedly caused the injury, even if such practice was not the standard of care. The doctor involved must only find an expert who could testify he had done the same practice. Bolam has been modified by the Bolitho test.

A Bolitho test is a legal test that the English courts had been using to establish negligence by a nurse or doctor. It restricted Bolam’s boundaries, stating that the court must not accept the argument of the defence as reasonable, responsible or respectable without assessing first if such opinion is susceptible to logical analysis. In case a body of medical experts states that a practice is respectable, reasonable or responsible, it will be uncommon for the court to be able to hold such argument otherwise.

Negligence compensation payouts will depend upon the circumstances surrounding a claim. They will be calculated based on past and future financial costs implicated by the negligence, the suffering that results from it and the accrued interests from the time the proceedings were taking place. It could be possible to claim for earning lost even up to retirement.

Medical Solicitors

Picture of a lawyer filing a medical neglect documentMedical claims could be difficult to handle because of the clinical aspects. Evidences should be backed with learned documents that may require extensive study. These cases should be handled by a solicitor experienced in medical claims who is aware of the different pitfalls of the field. You need these specialists to make independent medical practitioners to comment on whether the treatment was negligent. A case can fail by instructing the wrong medical expert. Only a good solicitor knows the best medico-legal experts, and they are here to tell you how to make a medical claim that can effectively work.

Solicitors provide medical claims advice on a wide range of cases, including surgical errors, birth injury, anaesthetic problems, dental and orthopaedic negligence, delayed diagnosis, neglect of vulnerable patients such as the elderly, and wrong diagnosis by private and NHS doctors. Delayed or wrong diagnosis covers broad range of medical conditions.

Solicitors can also advise claimants on how the claim is funded. If the firm is part of the clinical negligence panel, he may be eligible for public funding if your situation calls for it. This may be applied immediately. If you are not qualified for a legal aid, you will be asked for medical expert fees, initial costs and the firm’s disbursements. However, top firms have facilities in place to meet such costs. Some clinical solicitors may offer to act for you on a no win no fee agreement. They must explain it in a way that is understood. They can also advise on how AEI or ‘After Event Insurance’ can be used to cover legal costs of the GP or NHS in case the claim fails. Top firms have access to funding through insurance providers or banks. Find medical solicitors from firms who have a record of success in handling negligence litigation. Please also ensure you have researched and spoken with a professional about the various fees involved in pursuing a case.

Medical Compensation

Picture of a medical malpractice compensation chequeThere are four types of loss and expense you can be entitled to claim as part of your medical claim. These are the special damages, general damages, interest, and legal costs. Special damages are past expenses incurred as a result of the alleged negligence. To prove these, you will need receipts of all the medical expenses. You may also include lost income. General damages are payouts intended to compensate for pain and suffering you endured following the medical neglect. You can get an estimate of the financial compensation you may receive here. You can also be entitled to claim interest on both the special and general damages. Legal costs are the expenses you made in filing the claim.

Your medical solicitor can calculate the pain and suffering of the compensation by looking at average payouts awarded to similar cases in the UK. If a similar claim was awarded years ago, he may increase the sum with inflation prior to using it to get the value of your injury today. The value of the payout depends on the type of injury. For instance, surgical error involving unsterilised operation for a woman may lead to payouts of up to £7,500. Every year, the government issues guidelines of assessment for general damages in personal injuries. This sets out amounts awarded for specific injuries filed under hospital negligence cases.

The court will try to put a claimant in a position he or she would have been in if the negligent deed had not occurred. If physical or psychiatric injury has occurred, the court shall determine the monetary value to be given to the injuries based on previously decided cases. It is worth taking note however that not all losses could be recovered. A court will only award damages for losses that are reasonably foreseeable. Awards for general damages can be low. Most of the money is awarded for future loss rather than the actual injury.

Summary
Medical Negligence Claims - The Ultimate Guide
Article Name
Medical Negligence Claims - The Ultimate Guide
Description
A complete guide to clinical negligence or medical negligence claims. This page can help those pursuing medical or hospital claims or medical compensation.
Author