Can I Sue My Doctor For Negligence?

In this guide to suing a doctor for negligence, we look at what medical negligence is and the eligibility criteria that you must satisfy to be able to claim compensation. If you have suffered harm because a medical professional was negligent, you will know all too well the impacts this can have on your health as well as your life as a whole. In the sections that follow, you will see how compensation looks to reimburse you for the consequences of negligence.

You may be unsure of what doctor negligence could look like, and for this reason, we have provided illustrative examples of common causes. We also look at how a specialist No Win, No Fee solicitor could help you sue a negligent doctor.

Direct any questions about starting a claim for negligent GP treatment to one of our advisors.  An advisor could help you get started on a medical negligence claim. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation assessment of your case.

Several doctors stand looking at test results.

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What Is Medical Negligence?

When under the care of a doctor, whether in the NHS or private sector, you expect your care to meet the minimum professional standards. This is the duty of care that all medical professionals automatically owe to anyone they’ve agreed to provide with medical treatment.

Medical or clinical negligence occurs when a medical professional provides care which falls short of expected standards, and the patient suffers avoidable harm.  If you have been harmed by a doctor or GP unnecessarily because of a breach of this duty, you could be eligible to claim compensation.

Contact our team to find out if you could sue your doctor for negligence.

Can I Sue My Doctor For Negligence?

When answering questions such as “Can I sue my doctor for negligence?”, it is important to consider how you were harmed. In order to bring negligence claims against doctors, claimants need to prove that you were harmed due to substandard care provided by a doctor.

Negligent care may have been provided by a doctor working at a hospital or in general practice. As such, this guide covers instances of claims against both GP’s and other doctors, such as an oncologist.

The standard of care which doctors should provide is set by the General Medical Council (GMC). The GMC works with doctors and patients to support good, safe care in the UK.

Good medical practice for doctors may include:

  • Providing good clinical care, such as adequately assessing patients’ symptoms and referring them for further tests where necessary.
  • Using various modes of consultation, including remote. If the one provided isn’t safe and effective, an alternative should be offered.
  • Working in partnership with colleagues and patients.
  • Acting with integrity and honesty.
  • Treating patients with dignity.

However, in order to have good grounds to make a clinical negligence claim, you will need to meet the eligibility requirements. You will need to show that:

  • You were owed a duty of care by the doctor.
  • That they have breached this duty. This may be by failing to carry out tests or scans when you present with clear symptoms that indicate the need for further investigation.
  • That you were unnecessarily harmed by the breach. For example, as a result of the doctor not sending you for further testing, your illness became worse when it wouldn’t have otherwise.

If you can prove doctor or GP negligence, such as an injury caused by an overdose,  you could claim compensation.

What Are Common Causes Of Doctor Negligence?

Potential circumstances in which negligence claims against doctors may be brought could include,

  • Medication errors. Your doctor may have prescribed the wrong medication. For example, you were prescribed medication that harmfully interacted with medication you were already on, as listed in your medical records.
  • Surgical negligence. This could occur if a doctor carries out unnecessary surgery before trying other treatments.
  • Failing to refer you for further tests such as blood tests, scans or x-rays despite your clear symptoms indicating this is necessary. This could lead to conditions such as testicular cancer being undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
  • Misdiagnosis. If your doctor did not spot the clear symptoms of an illness or condition your treatment could be delayed or you may be given treatment for a different condition.

To discuss whether you can sue your doctor for negligence, get in touch with a team member.

How Often Are Medical Negligence Claims Made Against The NHS?

13,511 Clinical claims were made against the NHS in 2022/23, which is a decrease from the year before, which saw 15,078 claims. This number can include cases closed or still open at the end of the year.

Further details of compensation claims may be found in the NHS Annual Report Statistics for 2022/23.

A medical negligence solicitor from our panel could help you claim compensation against a negligent doctor or GP. Contact us to find out how we could help you.

What Compensation Could I Receive From A Doctor Negligence Claim?

If you make a successful GP negligence claim, your compensation payout could include general damages and special damages.

General damages compensate claimants for their pain and suffering caused by medical negligence. To help when calculating this part of your compensation, those responsible for doing so, such as specialist clinical negligence solicitors or other legal professionals, may refer to the guidelines published by the Judicial College. This is a list of guideline compensation figures for different types of illnesses and injuries in varying severities.

In the table below, we look at figures taken from the 17th edition of the Judicial College Guidelines. Figures in the table should only be taken as a guide. Your award will be unique to your case and may differ from these amounts.

Please note that the figures in the first row are not from the JCG and are inclusive of special damages.

InjurySeverityCompensation Bracket
Multiple illnesses of a serious nature and financial losses.Serious to severeUp to £1,000,000+
Brain injuryVery severe£344,150 to £493,000
Brain injuryModerately severe£267,340 to £344,150
Arm AmputationLoss of one arm (i)Not less than £167,380
Lung DieseaseSerious disability and premature death.£122,850 to £165,860
BladderImpairment (c)£78,080 to £97,540
Male Reproductive OrgansSterility (d)£68,430 to £87,080
Female Reproductive OrgansInfertility (c)£68,440 to £87,070
KidneySignificant (b)Up to £78,080
SpleenLoss (a)£25,380 to £32,090

Special Damages

Special damages are designed to compensate you for any past or future financial losses. These losses must be caused by clinical negligence.

Examples of financial losses you could claim for and the evidence which may support them could include,

  • Loss of earnings. You could claim compensation for lost income, such as earnings and workplace benefits, including pension contributions. In order to do so, you will need to supply evidence of the impact on your income such as bank statements and wage slips.
  • Medical expenses. Examples could include physiotherapy needed to rehabilitate an injury. You will need to supply evidence such as invoices to claim.
  • Home renovations. If your home or your vehicle needed to be adapted, such as to accommodate a disability caused by negligence, you could claim the costs of doing so. You will need to show that you needed the renovations and invoices for the work to be carried out.

Contact us to learn more about how medical negligence payouts are calculated.

Can I Sue My Doctor For Negligence On A No Win No Fee Basis?

If you have an eligible claim, one of the clinical negligence solicitors from our panel could represent you. Our panel of specialist solicitors typically offer their legal services under a type of No Win No Fee arrangement called a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA).

Under a CFA, a No Win No Fee solicitor could begin working on your claim without you needing to make any upfront payments for their work. You will also not need to make any payments for their work whilst the claim is ongoing. Furthermore, if your compensation claim is not successful, you will not need to pay your solicitor for their work.

However, if your claim is successful, a success fee will be taken from the compensation awarded to you. Details of this will be set out in the Conditional Fee Agreement before your solicitor starts work on your medical negligence case. The amount which can be claimed is legally limited as a percentage.

To find out more about how a solicitor could help you sue your doctor for negligence, speak to a member of our advisory team.  If it seems like your case against a healthcare professional is eligible, you could be connected to one of the medical negligence solicitors from our panel.

To discuss doctor negligence claims:

  • Call us today on 0800 408 7825
  • Fill out our ‘contact us’ form to get a call back from our team.
  • Discuss your case with us over our live-chat.

A lawyer stands ready to discuss whether you can sue your doctor for negligence.

Read More About How To Make A Medical Negligence Claim

Here you can find out more about medical negligence claims.

  • Details about claiming for pressure sores and how much compensation you could be eligible for.
  • In this guide we look harm caused by being starved of oxygen at birth and how to claim compensation.
  • Sepsis can be a serious complication arising from medical negligence. Find out how to make sepsis claims in this guide.

External references:

FAQs About Medical Negligence Claims

Below we answer further questions you may have about making a doctor negligence claim.

Is There A Time Limit For Medical Negligence Claims?

Any doctor negligence claim must be started within the applicable time limit. For most claims, this will be three years from either the date the negligence took place, or the date at which you became aware of the negligence. This time limit is set by the Limitation Act 1980.

There are exceptions to this rule. Our team can check which limitation period applies to your case and assess how long your medical negligence case may take to process.

How Do I Make A Medical Negligence Claim Against My GP?

GP negligence claims may be made in the same way as other medical negligence claims, such as those for errors in hospitals. A solicitor could work with you to help maximise your compensation settlement.

We hope our guide has answered the question, “Can I sue my doctor for negligence?”. Find out more about how we could help you by contacting our advisory team today.