Anaesthetic Negligence Claims
Anaesthetics are used to numb parts of the body or to induce sleep in order to perform tests or operations. They work by stopping nerve signals reaching the brain, so that you can undergo procedures without feeling any pain.
If a mistake is made using anesthesia the impact can be devastating, leading to lifelong physical and psychological injuries.
If you have suffered due to anaesthetic negligence within the last three years you might be able to make a claim.
True Solicitors medical negligence team offer a free, no-obligation assessment of your case and will handle your claim on a no win, no fee basis.
Call us on 0344 854 7000 or submit your details below and we will call you back:
What is anaesthesia?
Anaesthesia is commonly used in hospitals and in dental surgeries to numb certain parts of the body or to sedate patients when performing operations or procedures.
The two most commonly used anaesthetics are:
- Local anaesthetic: This is when a small, specific area of the body is numbed but the patient remains fully conscious. This is commonly used in minor procedures like dental treatments.
- General anaesthetic: This is used to fully sedate patients for more serious operations, so that they are unaware and fully unconscious.
What is classed as anaesthetic negligence?
Anaesthetic negligence can take many forms including:
- Brain damage and stroke: In the worst case scenarios if anaesthetists make a serious error during an operation, people can develop brain damage or stroke. This can happen if the patients’ oxygen levels and heart rate are not monitored properly. If the brain is starved of oxygen this can lead to permanent brain damage.
- Nerve and spinal cord damage: If an anaesthetic is mistakenly injected into the spinal cord or nerves, this can lead to permanent nerve damage and even paralysis. This can happen in procedures such as an epidural.
- Anaesthetic awareness: Although it is extremely rare, patients can sometimes awaken whilst under general anaesthetic. This can be very distressing to be left feeling completely helpless, whilst being unable to speak to raise awareness. Patients can also sometimes feel the pain caused by the operation. Experiencing awareness whilst under general anaesthetic can lead to psychological damage like anxiety and PTSD.
- Administering too much anaesthetic: If a patient is given too much anaesthetic, this may lead to them suffering from an overdose or organ damage.
- Failure to take into consideration the patient’s medical history: i.e. if they have experienced an adverse reaction to anaesthetic in the past.
- Failure to check that the patient is positioned correctly on the operating table: If someone is under anaesthetic and is left in an incorrect position for an extended period of time this may lead to nerve damage.
How much will my claim be worth?
The amount of compensation that you may get for your anaesthetic negligence claim is dependent on the individual circumstances of your case. Your solicitor will value your claim based on the severity of your injuries and the impact that this has had on your life.
Medical negligence compensation is broken down into two categories – general and special damages:
General Damages: These are awarded to the victim to compensate them for the pain and suffering that they have experienced due to the negligent treatment received.
The level of general damages depends upon the extent of the victim’s injuries or illness, and the impact this has had on their quality of life.
Medical records and independent medical expert evidence will be used to determine the extent of the victim’s injuries and their prognosis. This will enable general damages to be assessed.
Special Damages: These are awarded to compensate for any out of pocket expenses that have been incurred as a result of the negligence. This includes losses which have been sustained from the date in which the negligent treatment took place, and extend to also include any future financial losses that you are likely to suffer.
Special damages can include:
- Medication and rehabilitation
- Current and future financial losses i.e. through not being able to work or to the same capacity as before the incident.
- Current and future care costs.
- Travel costs to and from medical appointments.
- Home and vehicle adaptations.
- Mobility aids.
Special damages which cover past losses will need to be proven through receipts and payslips or annual tax returns to show the loss of earnings or expenses incurred. Future losses will be calculated following consideration of independent expert evidence assessing the future impact of the injuries suffered.
Is there a time limit for making a claim?
Anaesthetic negligence claims need to be brought within three years of the date in which you received the treatment, or within three years from when your symptoms manifested themselves.
Children do not face the claims time limit of three years as a claim can be made by an adult on their behalf at any time before they turn 18. There is no time limit to make a claim for those who are mentally incapacitated to make a claim themselves. Read our guide on making a medical negligence claim on the behalf of a child for more information.
What evidence do I need to support my claim?
The following evidence can be used to help support your anaesthetic negligence claim:
- Medical records
- Witness statements
- Photos of injuries (if applicable)
- Proof of loss of earnings such as payslips or tax returns
- An independent medical examination report – this can be arranged by True Solicitors.
How much will it cost to make a claim?
If you have suffered due to an anaesthetic error, you may be eligible to make a No Win, No Fee claim with True Solicitors. This simply means that should we not win your case, you will not need to pay us a penny to cover your legal fees.
If you win your case your opponent will pay most of your legal costs.
Any legal costs not paid by your opponent will be deducted from the compensation that you receive. These costs include:
- The cost of your no win no fee insurance policy
- Some of your basic legal costs which can’t be recovered from your opponent
- A “success fee” which compensates us for the risk that if your claim was unsuccessful then we would not be paid at all.
Your solicitor will discuss this with you in advance, so you’ll know what to expect when your claim settles.
Read our guide on how personal injury claims are funded for more information.
Contact us today for a free, initial assessment of your claim. Submit your details below or call us on 0344 854 7000.