Simply put some treatments aren’t successful, others have well known risks attached to them, what is more likely to give you a right to claim medical negligence is injury caused by a mistake or a healthcare professional not taking sufficient care.
It is therefore, essential that you seek out sensitive but realistic advice from a specialist solicitor as soon as possible.
It is important to understand if your treatment was negligent
The treatment which the vast majority of people receive from health professionals is of a very high standard, but things can go wrong during medical treatment for many reasons. Sometimes patients have to accept that treatment may not be successful.
Complications can occur for which no one is to blame. Some operations or procedures carry well known risks and you may have been made aware of these at the outset of the treatment.
However, there are occasions when a patient is injured as a result of a doctor or healthcare professional making a mistake or not taking sufficient care. This can be medical negligence - also referred to as "clinical" negligence.
Seeking experience and caring legal support
Our highly experienced team of specialist medical negligence lawyers know that if you have been injured as a result of a medical accident, the consequences can be serious for you and your family. With four of our solicitors being members of the specialist Law Society's Clinical Negligence panel, we have a wide range of experience and areas of expertise within the team.
What injuries can be claimed against?
Medical Negligence can take many forms, for example;
- Mismanagement of the birth of a child, causing injury to the mother and/or baby;
- Being administered the incorrect drug or the incorrect dosage
- Failing to diagnose an illness or injury - e.g. failure to diagnose cancer sufficiently early or to recognise that a bone has been fractured
- Mismanagement of an operation
It is important to consider timescales when making a claim
In most situations you must start your legal claim within 3 years from when the incident happened or when you become aware you’d suffered an injury. In the case of children, the 3-year limit doesn’t start to apply until their 18th birthday.
If you are looking to claim on behalf of someone who can’t manage their own affairs because of a mental disability, the 3-year period doesn’t apply until (and unless) they recover from their disability.
Will it cost me money to make a claim?
We provide an assessment of your situation free of charge, and in instances where we can help you make a claim, we will discuss the costs and funding of those with you, upfront.
In appropriate cases we can offer Legal Aid but in most cases we act on a no win no fee basis. This means you won't pay anything if your claim is lost. If you win your case, the defendant will pay most of your legal fees with the rest coming out of your damages.
The likely outcomes of a successful claim
If you are successful in your claim and you are awarded damages the compensation will be made up of 2 components: general damages and special damages.
General damages are the portion of your compensation which is awarded for your pain; suffering and what lawyers call "loss of amenity" or loss of enjoyment of life. This takes account of the physical and mental effects your injury has had on you and also the limitations it has placed on your everyday life. General damages deal with the non-financial consequences of your injury.
Special damages are awarded for the financial losses and expenses you have incurred and are likely to incur in the future as a result of your injury. These vary from case to case but may include:
- future loss of earnings until retirement
- the cost of any nursing care you have needed in the past and may need in the future
- the cost of private treatments such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy
- the cost of purchasing and/or adapting suitable accommodation
- the cost of specialist aids and equipment