Frequently Asked Questions About Medical Negligence Compensation Claims

Welcome to our guide on medical negligence claim FAQs. Through this guide, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about medical negligence compensation.

Within it, we define what classes as medical negligence. We also look at eligibility to claim and take you through the process of doing so.

If you meet the eligibility criteria to claim medical negligence compensation, you may want to know how much you could receive should your case be a success. For this reason, we have provided a section that examines the two types of damages you could be awarded if your case wins.

Finally, we look at how a No Win No Fee solicitor could help you with your claim by explaining the benefits of instructing one on this basis.

Our advisors are available 24/7 with free advice. If you have suffered medical negligence, contact our team today to find out if you could claim compensation:

A doctor sits at a desk with their head in their hands.

Browse Our Guide

What Is Medical Negligence?

All medical practitioners owe their patients a duty of care. They should ensure that the treatment or care they provide meets the expected minimum professional standards. Clinical or medical negligence is when a healthcare provider or practitioner, through a negligent act or omission, deviates from professional standards, causing harm to a patient that would not have otherwise occurred.

If a medical practitioner has breached their duty of care to you and this caused unnecessary harm, they may be liable for your injuries or illness. However, in order to have a valid claim as a patient who has suffered medical negligence, you will need to prove that:

  • The medical professional owed you a duty of care. You will need to show that you were under their care at the time of the incident.
  • That they breached their duty of care to you, such as by providing substandard care. For example, if the healthcare professional failed to consider all of your symptoms, causing a delayed diagnosis.
  • That, as a result of this breach, you suffered avoidable harm. For example, as a result of the delayed diagnosis, your condition worsened.

We should note that not all instances of harm may be avoidable. Cases where harm was caused, but the professional standards were met may not be considered instances of medical or clinical negligence.

To find out if you have a valid clinical negligence claim against the NHS or a private healthcare provider, please contact our team.

Can I Claim For Medical Negligence Compensation?

In order to make a claim for medical negligence compensation you need to show that a medical professional has acted negligently. This could occur in a variety of different scenarios. Below we have included examples of three different categories of clinical negligence.

Medication errors

Medicines may be prescribed by a GP or may be prescribed and administered in a hospital or other medical setting. Medication is designed to treat your symptoms or the cause of your illness. Additionally, in some cases, it may be given as a preventative measure.

A medical professional may be considered negligent if they:

  • Provide you with the wrong medication.
  • Provide the wrong dosage of a medication.
  • Tell you or administer the medication at the wrong time interval.
  • Give you medication prescribed for another patient.

Any of these circumstances could lead to your injury or illness being made worse. Being prescribed the wrong medication, dosage or time interval could also cause you new illnesses. If you sustained harm due to a medication error, please get in touch.


Injuries or illnesses being misdiagnosed could have a serious impact on patients. Conditions such as cancer are time-bound. The earlier treatment is started, the better chance a patient may have of recovering.

If you presented to your GP with the symptoms of a specific type of cancer (which a doctor should be expected to diagnose) and you were not referred for testing and were diagnosed with a different illness, your condition may deteriorate and be worsened by this delay in getting the treatment you need.

Birth injuries

Medical negligence during pregnancy, childbirth or aftercare could result in injuries to the mother or child. Midwives, doctors, nurses and healthcare assistants all owe mother and baby a duty of care. Birth injuries could have serious and even lifelong consequences for those injured.

If a doctor fails to diagnose the symptoms of pre-eclampsia in the mother, appropriate medical care may not be provided at the right time. As a result, the mother could be left seriously or even fatally injured.

To discuss the exact situation that caused you unnecessary harm, please call an advisor.

Is There A Time Limit To Make A Medical Negligence Compensation Claim?

In most instances, a medical negligence compensation claim must be started within three years of the incident taking place or of you becoming aware that the harm you sustained was caused by a negligent practitioner or healthcare provider. This limitation period for medical negligence claims is set out in The Limitation Act 1980.

There are some exceptions in which you may have longer in which to start a claim, including:

  • Those under the age of eighteen are unable to claim compensation for medical negligence on their own behalf. Prior to the age of eighteen, a Litigation Friend (who may be a parent or other suitable adult) may be appointed by the court to act on behalf of the child. The Litigation Friend could begin the claim at any point prior to the claimant’s 18th birthday. At this point, the standard three-year time limit will apply, and the claimant can act on their own behalf.
  • The standard three-year time limit to claim will also not apply in cases where the claimant lacks sufficient mental capacity to act on their own behalf. If the person regains the mental capacity to make a claim, then the three-year time limit will apply. If the person is unable to claim on their own behalf, a Litigation Friend could act for them at any point while they are without this capacity.

Can A Medical Negligence Claim Be Made For Someone Who Has Died?

If a loved one has died due to fatal medical negligence, you could claim compensation.

The estate can bring forward a medical negligence claim for general and special damages under the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934. General damages compensate for the pain and suffering your loved one experienced between the incident and their death. Whereas special damages compensate for the financial losses before the deceased’s death, such as lost earnings. The estate is also the only entity that can bring forth a claim on behalf of dependants in the first 6 months following the death.

If, after six months, a fatal medical negligence claim has not been filed, dependents can launch one for the impact the death has had on them. This is under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976.

Contact an advisor to find out if you can make a medical negligence compensation claim on behalf of a loved one.

Several medical professionals stand with crossed arms.

How Do I Prove I Have A Medical Negligence Compensation Claim?

In order to successfully claim medical negligence compensation, you will need to collect sufficient evidence. This will need to show that you were under the care of a healthcare professional, that they breached their duty to you and that you were harmed as a result of this.

There are different types of evidence and documentation which could help you prove a medical negligence claim. These include:

  • Medical evidence, including copies of your medical records. This may help to highlight how a medical professional acted negligently and show how you were injured or harmed. As part of the medical negligence claims process, you might be asked to attend an independent medical assessment to help establish the impact the harm you suffered will have on your life.
  • You can also keep a record of the medical practitioners who treated you. You should include their names and the location in which you were treated. You can also record dates and times of your appointment.
  • You may request the details of anyone who could act as a witness to the negligence (such as a friend who attended appointments with you) or who witnessed the effect the negligent treatment had on you. Statements can then be collected later on.

One of the specialist medical negligence solicitors from our panel could help you to collect evidence and to build your claim. Contact an advisor about your case today.

Will Making A Claim For Medical Negligence Affect Or Delay My Treatment?

If you choose to claim for clinical negligence, it will not have any bearing or impact on your medical treatment. Healthcare providers welcome mistakes and errors being brought to light as these can help identify where treatment falls below a minimum standard and monitor outcomes.

Getting the treatment you need and recovering from your illness or injuries are the most important steps you can take. Working with a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel means you can concentrate on your recovery whilst they handle your medical negligence claim.

Surgery is being performed by a surgical team.

How Much Compensation For Medical Negligence Could I Receive?

The first thing we should note is that each medical negligence claim is unique. As such, we can not say how much compensation for medical negligence you could be awarded without assessing the unique circumstances of your claim.

Compensation for medical negligence may be made up of two heads of claim. These are general damages, awarded for the pain and suffering caused by the harm and special damages, awarded for financial losses that you suffered as a result.

Those tasked with valuing claims, such as clinical negligence solicitors and other legal professionals, may refer to the guidelines published by the Judicial College (otherwise known as the JCG) to help them. The JCG is a resource which is prepared to help solicitors, lawyers and courts work out how much compensation claimants may be eligible to claim.

The table below includes examples of figures taken from the JCG. Please note that the figure in the first row was not taken from the JCG and includes compensation for financial losses. Your compensation settlement may differ from these figures.

Illness or InjurySeverityCompensation Guideline
Multiple Severe Injuries or Illnesses and Related ExpensesVery serious illnesses and special damages, such as lost wages and nursing costs.Up to £1,000,000+
Brain DamageVery Severe£344,150 to £493,000
Brain DamageModerate (iii)£52,550 to £110,720
Leg Injuries - AmputationsAbove-Knee Amputation of One Leg£127,930 to £167,760
Lung CancerSevere (b)£85,460 to£118,790
Bladder Serious (c )£78,080 to £97,540
Reproductive System - MaleUncomplicated Sterility (d)£68,430 to £87,080
Reproductive System - FemaleInfertility (c)£68,440 to £87,070
KidneySignificant (b)Up to £78,080
SpleenLoss (a)£25,380 to £32,090

Can I Claim For Financial Losses Caused By Medical Negligence?

Where claimants have faced expenses and losses as a result of medical negligence, those costs could be reclaimed from the defendant under special damages.

Examples of past or future financial losses could include:

  • Travel expenses to get to medical appointments,
  • Loss of workplace benefits or loss of earnings whilst taking time off,
  • Care costs for help in your home,
  • The cost of past and future medical expenses such as for treatment or medication.

In addition to evidence proving negligent treatment, you may also gather evidence which shows any financial impact the negligence has had on you. If you had to pay for medical care or took time off work, keep documentation which shows this, such as payslips and receipts. You will need to submit this as part of the medical negligence claims process.

Find out how much money you could get by contacting an advisor. They could assess the value of your medical negligence claim.

Why Make A Medical Negligence Claim On A No Win No Fee Basis?

If you are considering working with medical negligence solicitors on your claim you may be concerned about the cost of doing so. A solicitor from our expert panel could work on your medical negligence case under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA).

Under a Conditional Fee Agreement, if your No Win No Fee medical negligence claim fails, you will not have to pay for your solicitor’s services. Additionally, you will not be charged at the start of the claims process for their services, nor make payments for their work whilst the claim is underway.

At the end of a successful claim, your solicitor will deduct a success fee from your awarded compensation. The success fee is legally capped and the percentage charged will be set out in the CFA.

Contact a member of our team to find out if you could claim on a No Win No Fee Basis. If your medical negligence claim is eligible and you wish to proceed, you could be connected to one of the expert medical negligence solicitors on our panel. You can talk to our team by:

A solicitor begins work on a medical negligence claim.

Read More About Medical Negligence Claims

Below we have included resources from our site and trusted external sources.

Our related guides:

Trusted external resources:

We hope our guide to some of the most frequently asked questions about making a claim for medical negligence compensation has helped you.