What is medical negligence?
Medical negligence, also known as clinical negligence or medical malpractice, occurs when a medical professional breaches their duty of care to a patient, resulting in an injury, making an existing injury worse, or in some instances, death.
When claiming for clinical negligence compensation, it has to be established that:
- the treatment fell below a “reasonable” standard of care; and
- avoidable harm was caused as a result.
What finance options are available to help me fund my case?
There are various funding options available in medical negligence cases. We can discuss these with you to see what is available and what would be appropriate.
Legal Aid is still available, but only in limited circumstances of brain injury occurring to a child either during birth or shortly after.
Our Lincoln office is one of the three solicitors’ firms in Lincoln who provide legal aid for medical negligence cases. Find out more on our legal aid page.
What is the medical negligence claims process?
We investigate a potential claim by obtaining the medical records and then seek to obtain independent medical expert evidence on the care provided. It is on their evidence that a case would be based on.
We would then need to discuss the incident with the Defendant(s) to seek their views on the care provided. Sometimes they accept negligence on their part, but sometimes this is denied. Depending on the stance they take determines the further steps that may be needed.
Types of medical negligence claims
Whilst every potential case is different; we are typically involved in the following types of claims:
- Brain injury;
- Birth injury (to mother and baby);
- Missed pre-birth conditions/defects;
- Spinal injuries/Cauda Equina;
- Surgical/medical errors;
- Orthopaedic cases;
- Eye claims;
- Dental claims;
- GP complaints;
- Claims against care/nursing homes;
- Cosmetic injuries;
- Cancer (missed/delay in diagnosis and treatment);
- Delay in diagnosis/treatment;
- Military medical negligence
How long will my clinical negligence claim take?
This will depend upon a number of factors, including the nature of the injuries, the number of experts that may be required and the stance of the Defendant(s). On average, cases will take around three years to complete. However, if a Defendant makes early admissions of negligence, then the claim can conclude much sooner.
What is the time limit for making a medical claim?
Generally, there is a time limit of three years to make a claim. This is taken from the date of the negligence or the date of knowledge of the negligence if that is later.
By ‘making a claim’, we mean being in the position to issue and file the necessary documents at Court to begin the claim. It does not mean to contact a solicitor within this time. That is why it is important to seek advice as soon as possible.
There are some exceptions to this:
· children have three years from their 18th birthday to make a claim;
· with cases involving a death, it is generally three years from the date of death;
· if as a result of the negligence the injured person “lacks capacity”, there may be no time limit at all.
Will my claim go to Court?
Whilst it is possible that we would have to issue Court proceedings, most cases are resolved without the need to go to a Trial, which would be a final hearing. This is because most cases, even in the Court process, are resolved through negotiation.
What is my claim worth?
Medical negligence compensation depends on numerous factors, including:
· The nature and extent of the injuries caused by the negligence;
· The financial impact the injuries have on you/your loved ones both now and in the future;
· The risk of further complications;
· Whether any pre-existing problems are involved;
· Whether or not you require any further medical treatment, operations or long-term care or treatment
Will I have to attend any meetings with my solicitor in person?
Usually we will see clients face to face during the lifetime of their case, but we live in a busy digital age, which along with geographical location, work and other commitments, allows us to discuss your claim by telephone, video calls and email. It can also extend to sending you all the relevant documents that need reviewing, completing and signing by post, email or other electronic means. So, we do not necessarily need to meet face to face regularly or at all if preferred.
Please note, the information on this page is not meant to be a substitute for advice provided by a doctor. Always consult with an appropriate professional for specific advice related to your situation.