Medical Negligence Claims

Medical negligence is a growing area of law. In this guide, we explain some of the complexities and show whether or not you could be entitled to compensation.

When a patient is unwell or injured, they rely on medical professionals to take good care of them. Patients can expect to receive a minimum standard of care from a medical professional. Medical negligence is when a patient receives substandard medical care. Consequently, a patient could become injured because of medical negligence. Or the patient’s pre-existing condition may get worse.

Medical negligence claims guide

Medical negligence claims guide

Examples of medical negligence include the following:

  • Doctors negligently prescribing the wrong medication
  • Dentists taking out the wrong tooth.
  • Nurses ignoring the signs of infected bedsores.
  • Surgeons carrying out an operation on the wrong part of the body.

Has medical negligence harmed you? Then you may be eligible to claim compensation. Please get in touch with Public Interest Lawyers to begin your claim. We may be able to provide you with an experienced medical negligence solicitor from our panel to handle your compensation claim. To begin your claim, please call our claims helpline on 0800 408 7825. Or contact us online.

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What Is The Definition Of 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 that 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.

What Are Medical Negligence Claims?

Medical negligence can happen when standards of care do not meet the level they should be at. It is fair to say that medical staff do not intend to cause anyone avoidable harm but if care and treatment fall below the expected level harm that otherwise could have been avoided may result. The Bolam test is often used to decide whether a medical practitioner provided care that was negligent. This test asks medical piers whether they consider the treatment to be of an acceptable standard.

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.
  • Pressures 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.

Who Could I Make A Medical Negligence Claim Against?

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:

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Surgeons
  • Anaesthetists
  • Radiologist
  • Dentists
  • Dental nurses
  • Oral hygienists
  • Orthodontists
  • GP

Are There Time Limits To Make A Medical Negligence Claim?

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.

How Do I Prove That Negligent Medical Care Harmed Me?

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, eye witness statements and additional evidence to support your claim.

What Is The Average Payout For Medical Negligence Claims?

You may be wondering, “What is the average payout for a medical negligence claim?“. How much medical negligence compensation you receive depends on the type of injuries suffered and the impact they have had on your life. As part of a successful claim, both general and special damages may be awarded. General damages compensate for the pain and suffering caused by the injury. Examples are in the table below. Please note special damages are not included in the table.

Reason For ClaimSeverityDamagesAbout The Injury
Foot injurySevere£39,390 to £65,710At this degree of severity, the injury may cause substantial restriction of movement in the foot. It could cause the person permanent or considerable pain.
Ankle injurySevere£29,380 to £46,980Severe ankle injuries requiring extensive medical care. This could include the person having pins put in place and the ankle in plaster.
Back InjuryMinor (i)£7,410 to £11,730The person will have already recovered or any continuing symptoms will be minor. There should not be the need for surgical care and recovery should happen in around 2-5 years.
Elbow InjuryModerate / MinorUp to £11,820This could include a fracture or could present as things such as tennis elbow. The bracket could also include deep wounds and soft tissue injuries.
Leg InjuryModerate£26,050 to £36,790Where the person has a complicated fracture or suffered multiple fractures. The person could have suffered a severe crush injury. This could have affected one leg.
Neck InjuryMinor (i)£4,080 to £7,410Where the person suffered a soft tissue injury but where recovery happens in 1-2 years.
Asthma(B)£24,680 to £40,370Cases 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.
BowelAbdominal Injury £41,850 to £65,440A temporary colostomy may be needed and impairment function will result.
ChestWorst Case Type£94,470 to £140,870The person could have suffered a total removal of one lung and/or serious heart damage.
BladderComplete loss of function Up to £132,040The person has suffered a complete loss of control and bladder function.

The compensation amounts in this table are based on Judicial College guidelines. However, the amount of compensation you can claim may vary according to personal circumstances. You may be invited to a medical appointment as part of your claim. So please call Public Interest Lawyers today to see how much you can claim.

If your claim is successful, you will receive general damages. General damages are compensation for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity caused by your injuries. Moreover, you may be eligible to receive special damages. The purpose of special damages is to pay you for any expenses or financial losses caused by your injuries.

Examples of special damages you can claim include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Mobility equipment expenses
  • Home or car adaptation expenses
  • Loss of income
  • Travel expenses
  • Care expenses

Start Your No Win No Fee Medical Negligence Claim

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.

To begin your claim, please call us on 0800 408 7825. Alternatively, you can contact us via our website or the Live Support widget on your browser.

Related Articles And Medical Negligence Claims Guides

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:

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

Thank you for reading our guide to making a medical negligence claim.