By Cat Mulligan. Last Updated 6th October 2023. Medical negligence is a growing area of law. In this guide, we discuss some of the complexities, show whether or not you could be entitled to compensation, and explain how our panel of No Win No Fee solicitors can help with claims for medical negligence.
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Select A Section
- What Is The Definition Of Medical Negligence?
- What Claims For Medical Negligence Can We Help With?
- Who Could I Make A Medical Negligence Claim Against?
- Are There Time Limits To Make A Medical Negligence Claim?
- How Do I Prove Negligent Medical Care Harmed Me?
- Medical Negligence Compensation Payouts
- Start Your No Win No Fee Medical Negligence Claim
- Related Articles On Claims For Medical Negligence
Medically trained staff owe their patients a duty of care. Therefore medical practitioners should abide by professional standards to deliver the right level of care to their patients. Medical negligence (also known as clinical negligence) occurs when a patient receives a substandard level of care and suffers avoidable harm as a result. Medical practitioners who breach their duty of care towards their patients may be liable for any preventable harm caused.
A patient can make a medical negligence claim for compensation if they are able to prove that the medical staff treating them diverted from professional standards which led to either a worsening of their condition or a totally new avoidable illness.
When a medical negligence claim is successful there are two types of damages that can be awarded. Firstly, general damages will be paid for the claimant’s pain and suffering. Additionally, if the claimant is entitled to general damages they may be able to claim special damages also. To find out if you have a valid medical negligence claim why not call our advisors? They can assess your case and if it has a strong chance of success they may offer to connect you with a medical negligence solicitor from our panel.
In order to make a claim for medical negligence, you have to be able to prove that:
- You were owed a duty of care by a medical professional.
- This duty of care was breached.
- As a result, you suffered unnecessary or avoidable harm.
All medical professionals owe their patients a duty of care. This means that the treatment they provide must meet a minimum standard. The steps that they must take can vary depending on the field they work in, but the General Medical Council (GMC) offers guidelines for doctors in their Duties of a Doctor.
With this in mind, our panel of solicitors could help you make medical negligence claims for:
- Prescription errors.
- Surgical errors.
- Delayed treatment.
These are just a few examples of the kinds of claims for medical negligence that our panel of solicitors could help you with. To find out if you could be eligible to make a claim or to learn more about how a solicitor from our panel could help you, get in touch with our team of solicitors today.
Types Of Medical Negligence
What qualifies as medical negligence? Here are some examples of types of medical negligence. Please note that in order to make a claim it is not enough that medical negligence has taken place, the patient must have suffered harm that would not have otherwise come about or would not have happened in the way it did.
- Negligent misdiagnosis could occur if a doctor fails to listen to what the patient is telling them. Therefore the patient’s condition could worsen due to the wrong treatment being prescribed.
- A doctor may fail to spot the early signs of a medical condition because they do not examine the patient when needed, leading to delayed diagnosis. So the patient’s condition may worsen unnecessarily over time.
- A preventable dental injury could occur if a dentist, dental nurse or oral hygenist delivers substandard care. Such as a dentist removing the wrong tooth from a patient’s mouth.
- Pressure sores are caused by lying in bed or being in a wheelchair for a long time without movement. A nurse may neglect to move a patient correctly, leading to pressure sores.
- Hospital-acquired infections are infections that are contracted in hospitals. If a nurse fails to sterilise surgical tools properly, this can lead to preventable infections.
- Medical negligence during childbirth can cause birth injuries. Birth injuries can harm the mother or the child. What’s more, some birth injuries can cause lifelong disabilities.
- Suing my doctor for negligence. To have a valid medical negligence claim against a doctor the law requires you to prove how that doctor was negligent as well as how this negligence caused you to suffer in a way that was totally preventable.
Examples Of Negligence In Surgery
Surgery is a critical time. Although you are told about complications that could arise and risks of the surgery these are completely different to injuries that arise from negligence. The following are examples of surgical negligence:
- Wrong-site surgery is when a surgeon operates on the wrong part of a patient’s body. Wrong-site surgery can be life-threatening. For example, a surgeon removes a healthy kidney and leaves the patient with the diseased one.
- A surgeon may leave a foreign body inside a patient, which means they will need another operation to remove it.
- A patient may experience anaesthesia complications if it is not administered properly.
- Negligent cosmetic surgery.
All medical professionals owe their patients a duty of care. A medical negligence claim can be made against the NHS or a private medical company.
Here is a list of medical professionals:
- Dental nurses
- Oral hygienists
The time limit for making a medical negligence claim is normally three years from when the medical negligence took place. Or three years from the date that you realised that a medical professional had caused an avoidable injury due to negligence. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, in a child claim, they will have three years after their eighteenth birthday in which to claim. On the other hand, before their eighteenth birthday, a parent or guardian can act as a litigation friend.
You may be wondering how long a medical negligence case take. This all depends on individual circumstances. No two claims are the same. Although they may appear similar they will have differences. For this reason, an exact time frame cannot be worked out accurately.
In the very sad circumstances that a close relative died because of medical negligence, you may be able to claim compensation on their behalf. You will have three years from the day of their accidental death to make a compensation claim.
If you have decided to use a medical negligence solicitor they will have to prove the following for you to make a successful medical negligence claim.
- Firstly, it must be proven that the medical professional owed you a duty of care.
- Secondly, it must be proven that medical negligence took place.
- And thirdly, your solicitor must provide evidence that medical negligence injured you. Or medical negligence made your condition worse.
Your solicitor may use medical records, eyewitness statements and additional evidence to support your claim.
If you have suffered harm due to medical negligence at a private healthcare facility or one run by the NHS, compensation could be awarded for your pain and suffering.
Your settlement could include general and special damages when claiming compensation for hospital negligence. General damages compensate you for the harm you have suffered due to a medical practitioner breaching their duty of care.
Below, we have created a table to help you understand how much you could receive in general damages following a successful claim for medical negligence. The payouts we have listed have been taken from the 16th edition of the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). The JCG is a document used by various legal professionals when valuing claims. This is because the JCG lists compensation brackets for different injuries based on previous claims.
Please only use this table as a guide, as how much you could receive may differ from the amounts listed. This is because the various factors of your claim will affect how much you could receive, such as the prognosis and if you have suffered any psychological effects.
|Type of Harm||Severity||Notes||Amount|
|Kidney||(a)||Both kidneys have been lost or seriously and permanently damaged.||£169,400 to £210,400|
|Kidney||(c)||One kidney is lost but the other is not damaged at all.||£30,770 to £44,880|
|Reproductive System: Female||(a)||Infertility by disease or injury. Could also include cases with serious medical complications, such as a failure to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy.||£114,900 to £170,280|
|Reproductive System: Male||(a)||A total loss of the male reproductive organs.||In excess of £153,870|
|Bowel||(b)||A total loss of the bowels natural function. Depending on the person's age, they may also depend on a colostomy.||Up to £150,110|
|Bladder||(b)||The person has suffered a complete loss of the control and function of the bladder.||Up to £140,660|
|Lung Disease||(c)||A disease such as emphysema the causes the lungs function to worsen and will restrict employment prospects.||£54,830 to £70,030|
|Digestive System||(b)(i)||The person may require hospital admission for a few days or weeks due to severe toxicosis. This could also cause vomiting and acute pain.||£38,430 to £52,500|
|Asthma||(b)||Cases of chronic asthma which cause the person difficulty breathing. The person will have to use an inhaler on occasion and may find job roles are restricted.||£26,290 to £43,010|
|Spleen||(a)||The spleen has been lost. There is also a continuing risk of internal infections due to the immune system being damaged.||£20,800 to £26,290|
Special Damages In Claims For Medical Negligence
Special damages in claims for medical negligence compensate you for the financial losses you have accrued due to being harmed by medical negligence. Some of the things that you could claim under special damages include:
- Travel expenses.
- Medical costs.
- Loss of earnings.
- Home adaptations.
Providing evidence of these losses could help support your claim, such as bank statements, payslips, and invoices.
We are often asked, ”Do I need to use solicitors near me?”. It is important to note that it is not necessary to use solicitors near you. You can choose a lawyer no matter where they are based. Much of the communication can be achieved through phone calls, along with emailing and video calling. In the rare case that your claim goes to court, your solicitor will be there to represent you.
You can fund your solicitor using a No Win No Fee agreement. No Win No Fee solicitors receive a success fee if you win your medical negligence claim. No upfront solicitor fees are needed. If you do not win your claim, you won’t be charged a success fee.
Lawyers Near Me – Do I Need To Stay Local?
Specialist medical negligence solicitors have experience with medical negligence cases in the UK and could potentially help you claim. You may be wondering, ‘Do I need to use lawyers near me?’.
Although you could use a local lawyer, you do not have to. Due to technology, many claims can be handled online. A solicitor based anywhere in the country could potentially help you.
An experienced medical negligence solicitor from our panel could help you with your claim. They have experience handling various medical negligence cases; some examples include:
- Medication error claims.
- Misdiagnosis claims.
- Retained foreign object claims.
Contact our advisors today for more information about starting a claim. Additionally, they could inform you of the medical negligence time limit in the UK to start a claim.
We appreciate you taking the time to read our medical negligence compensation guide. Please feel free to read these guides to learn more about making a medical negligence claim:
- How long does a medical negligence case take?
- Do I need to work with medical negligence solicitors near me? If you’re looking for advice on which solicitor to use, this guide offers crucial advice on finding legal representation and how a lawyer can help you claim.
- Sepsis claims
- Claim compensation for being starved of oxygen at birth
- How much money can you get for medical negligence?
- If you’ve suffered a misdiagnosis of testicular cancer, you could be entitled to claim compensation under medical negligence law.
- To learn about claiming compensation for a broken bone suffered during childbirth, head here. You can find out about the claims process and potential compensation payouts for birth injury claims
- If you or a loved one have suffered harm as a result of a leukaemia misdiagnosis, you could be entitled to make a clinical negligence claim. This guide explains the process and what evidence you may need.
- Can I sue my doctor for negligence?
- Common prescription error examples
- A guide to No Win No Fee solicitors
- Medication calculation errors – how to claim compensation
- This guide explains prescription error claims in comprehensive detail. So if your pharmacist or GP has prescribed you the wrong medication or a dosage that’s too high you could claim compensation if you suffer an illness as a result.
- Wrong patient medication error claims
- Clinical negligence in health and social care
- To learn more about unnecessary surgery compensation claims head here. You can find details about how negligent surgical procedures happen and what steps you can take if you’ve been affected by one.
- Drug errors and medical negligence claims
- Medication error claims
- A guide to clinical negligence, from Citizens Advice
- Gov, Department for Health and Social Care gives directions to NHS Litigation Authority
- How to complain about NHS dental treatment
For more advice on claims for medical negligence, please get in touch.