Can I make a clinical negligence claim?
If you have received treatment from a doctor, dentist or other healthcare professional, which is negligent then you may be entitled to claim compensation. For a clinical negligence claim to be successful and for compensation to be awarded the patient must prove:
1. Firstly that the care provided fell below an acceptable standard. This is known as the ‘breach of duty’ test.
2. Secondly that the unacceptable standard of care by the medic has caused an injury / additional pain and suffering - known as ‘causation test’.
What do I need to do to investigate a claim for clinical negligence?
If you think you have suffered as a result of clinical negligence you should contact the specialist team of lawyers at headinjuryuk.com as soon as possible who are highly experienced and have many years of expertise in pursuing successful clinical negligence claims. They are authorised by the Legal Services Commission to offer public funding to those who are eligible.
One of our specialist lawyers will need to take details from you as to the nature of the clinical negligence in order to advise whether it may be possible for you to claim. In particular they will need to know:
- the personal details of the patient who has received the negligent medical treatment
- the name of the doctor/ specialist who provided treatment
- the address of all doctors’ surgeries and hospitals where treatment has been provided
the dates the treatment was provided
- why you think there may be a claim for clinical negligence
- what injury or additional pain and suffering has been caused by the negligent medical treatment
After discussing the case with you, we will be able to:
- advise you how your claim will proceed and the likely outcome of the claim
- discuss appropriate funding methods with you
- give an indication of the amount of compensation you could expect to receive
- explain to you the strengths and weaknesses of your case
- give you a timescale as to how long a claim could take.
What are the first steps to bringing a claim for clinical negligence?
The first step will be for us to take your detailed instructions and arrange for funding to be in place to cover the costs. The next step will be to obtain your full medical records, from your GP and all the hospitals and clinics, where you have attended for treatment. We will then review your records. We will then make arrangements to go through the medical records and take a statement from you and possibly other members of your family as to what has happened.
What evidence will be needed to support the claim for clinical negligence?
The next step will be to instruct an independent expert to prepare a report on the care that was provided to you. The report will be prepared by a medic who specialises in the same area of expertise as the medic whom you believe has been negligent. For example if you consider that your GP has been negligent in failing to refer you for tests or investigations which would have led to an earlier diagnosis, then we will instruct an independent GP to prepare the report. This will be the ‘Breach of Duty’ report.
If the expert believes the standard of care was unacceptable we then may need a further report to comment on the injury, pain or suffering that was caused. In the example above, if the expert GP indicates that the care provided was unacceptable and a referral for tests or to see a Consultant should have taken place at an earlier date, then a further report will be needed from a Consultant to comment upon the consequences of the delay and the treatment options that would have been available if you had been referred earlier. This is the ‘Causation report’.
If the Causation report confirms that the treatment options or outcome would have been different if the negligence had not occurred, then we will be able to start the legal claim. A letter of claim will be sent to the GP surgery or hospital where the negligence occurred and we will start negotiations.
How long will it take?
Generally, it takes 18 months to investigate the claim to the point where we know whether fault is admitted or denied. Clinical negligence claims can take several years to come to a final conclusion and it is important that you are aware of this from the outset.
How much compensation will I receive?
If your clinical negligence claim is successful you will receive compensation. Compensation can be claimed for not only the pain and suffering caused to you as a result of the injuries but also the impact of these upon your life including:
- loss of earnings for the past and future
- assistance required with household tasks, DIY or gardening
- medical care and treatment
- the cost of any adaptations or special equipment for your house or car
As specialist solicitors at headinjuryuk.com we have access to a network of experts across the UK who can assist in analysing the circumstances of any potential claim and report upon both the injuries you have suffered together with your financial losses to ensure you achieve the best settlement possible.