How To Make A Medical Negligence Claim?
20 November 2019
Medical negligence, also known as clinical negligence, is the broad term used to describe incidents when patients suffer injuries as the result of a medical professional failing in their duty to provide a good standard of care. This applies to care administered by medical staff in both the NHS and private healthcare settings. It includes any medical treatment whether it is provided at hospitals, GP surgeries, health centres or even at home.
Common types of medical negligence can include misdiagnosis, surgical errors, prescribing error or treatment errors.
How to start a medical negligence claim?
If you have suffered an illness or injury that was caused or made worse by negligent medical treatment, administered within the last three years, you could be entitled to make a claim.
You can start the claims process by contacting our First Response Team on 0344 854 7000, a member of our friendly team will ask you a series of questions to outline the details of your case which will help us to determine if you’re likely to have a successful claim. Alternatively you can submit your details using our online enquiry form below and we will contact you at a time convenient for you.
Our expert solicitors are experienced in dealing with medical negligence claims and will handle your case with empathy and understanding. We handle claims on a No Win, No Fee basis, giving you the peace of mind that you need.
What is the medical negligence claims process?
The claims process can be lengthy. As soon as you believe that you may have been effected you should start keeping a record of any important information that may assist with investigation into your claim. Keep a note of relevant dates, times and names of anyone involved, and keep any supporting documents such as letters you receive from the hospital or GP surgery.
There are many stages the medical claims process. The steps below briefly outline the initial steps before it is necessary to issue a claim at Court:
Step 1: Instruct a solicitor – Contacting a solicitor to help you investigate your claim is essential and will make the process less stressful. Your solicitor will review the details of your treatment and consider the prospects of whether it is more likely than not of being successful.
Step 2: Investigation – Once you’ve instructed your solicitor they will investigate your case to establish whether the treatment you received was negligent. Your medical records will be obtained for review and a preliminary analysis of your treatment will be performed.
Your solicitor will also instruct the help of an independent medical expert who will review the details of the treatment that you received and the effect that this has had on you. The medical expert will prepare a report in which they will comment on whether the treatment you received was substandard, and will assess the loss or damage caused by the substandard treatment.
The medical expert may also advise on whether any rehabilitation or further medical treatment and/or equipment is needed in order to aid you in your recovery. You will also be asked to provide a witness statement and full details of any losses you have suffered as a consequence of the negligent treatment.
Following investigation, if you have a case that has good prospects of success, the next step is to formally present details of your allegations to the defendant hospital/GP/medical organisation.
Step 3: Letter of claim – Your solicitor will write a Letter of Claim to the defendant, setting out the allegations of negligence in respect of your treatment, and detailing the losses you have suffered as a direct consequence of the negligence.
The Letter of Claim will also set out an estimate as to the value of the claim. Upon receipt of the Letter of Claim the defendant will have a 4 month period to investigate the allegations and to provide a formal response, in which they will have to confirm whether they accept or deny liability.
Step 4: Reaching a settlement – If the defendant accepts liability negotiations will commence between the legal representatives of the claimant and the defendant in order to reach an agreed settlement.
If the defendant denies liability, or settlement cannot be reached though negotiation, then your solicitor will discuss the next steps with you, which may involve commencing court proceedings.
What evidence will I need to provide to support my claim?
In order to support your claim it is important to supply your solicitor with as much information as possible about your treatment and the injury or illness that has been caused. Keeping a diary can be a useful tool to record details of your ongoing treatment and symptoms, and can also be used to record details of medical appointments and advice you have received.
It is also helpful to keep proof of any additional expenses that you have incurred as a result of the negligent treatment, including:
- Travel receipts to and from medical appointments.
- Evidence of any lost income due to time off work.
- Invoices from private treatment or therapy.
- Proof of purchase of any equipment or aids that you have needed to buy, such as installing hand rails, a wheelchair or walking stick.
- Details of any care and assistance you require as a consequence of your injuries.
Such expenses will be included by your solicitor when quantifying the value of your claim.
Can I make a medical negligence claim on behalf of someone else?
Usually the person who receives the negligent treatment is the one to make the claim. However, it is possible to make a medical negligence claim on behalf of someone else in certain circumstances. A claim can be made on behalf of someone else if the injured person is under the age of 18, lacks mental capacity or if you are the personal representative of someone who has sadly died.
Is there a time limit for making a medical negligence claim?
In most cases you need to issue your claim with the court within three years of the date of the negligent treatment. There are exceptions to this rule, which include cases where the patient involved is a children or those who are mentally incapacitated to make a claim themselves.
Children do not face the time limit of three years, as a claim can be made by an adult on their behalf at any time before they turn 18. Once the child turns 18, the three year time limit will start to run. There is no time limit to make a claim for those who are mentally incapacitated to make a claim themselves.
How to claim medical negligence?
If you or a loved one has suffered illness or injury, which you feel has been caused by negligent treatment that has been received within the last three years, contact us to find out if you’re eligible to make a claim.
Call us on 0344 854 7000 or submit your details below and we will call you back at a time that is suitable for you.