Medical Negligence In Scotland – Making A Compensation Claim

By Lewis Houston. Last Updated 1st June 2023. Have you been affected by medical negligence in Scotland? Has this medical negligence left you with an injury? If you have answered yes to both of these questions, then you might be entitled to claim.

Claiming for medical negligence in Scotland guide

Claiming for medical negligence in Scotland guide

Medical negligence can cause a wide range of different effects. In some cases, for example, if you’re misdiagnosed and not treated as a result, your original condition could get worse. On the other hand, you could be given the incorrect medication which could lead to you developing another condition on top of the one that you sought treatment for. In some cases, medical negligence can be fatal.

Our advisors are on hand 24/7 to give you free legal advice with no obligation, and can even connect you with a solicitor from our panel. This may make a key difference in your medical negligence claim. To find out more, consider:

For more general information, continue reading.

Select A Section

  1. What Is Medical Negligence?
  2. Types Of Medical Negligence In Scotland
  3. Patients’ Rights In Scotland
  4. Medical Duty Of Candour
  5. How Do I Prove I Was The Victim Of Clinical Negligence?
  6. How To Make A Claim For Medical Negligence
  7. Calculating Payouts For Medical Negligence In Scotland
  8. Start Your Claim For Medical Negligence In Scotland Today
  9. Support And Advice

What Is Medical Negligence?

When you seek medical attention, including in Scotland, the medical professional who is administering the treatment owes you a duty of care. This duty of care means that they need to provide a minimum standard of care.

If this minimum standard of care is deviated from, this is an example of medical negligence. A breach of duty of care can happen when you’re seeking care from the NHS or a private healthcare facility.

You can also be harmed by medical negligence in many different areas of medicine. This includes when seeking advice from a GP, undergoing surgery in a hospital or going to the dentist.

It’s important to consider that when claiming for medical negligence, you will only be compensated for the additional harm caused by the negligence. For example, if you fractured your leg and this was missed, causing it to worsen, then you might need to spend 6 weeks recovering. However, if you would have needed to take 4 weeks to recover if the correct level of care was administered, then only the additional two weeks of suffering will be considered in your claim.

Furthermore, you cannot claim compensation just because you have been harmed. In some cases, complications can arise even when the right level of care is given. In others, causing the patient necessary harm is a part of treatment (for example, when amputating a crushed limb or administering chemotherapy).

Call us for free legal advice on claiming for medical negligence in Scotland. Otherwise, read on for more information on how medical negligence can present itself.

Types Of Medical Negligence In Scotland

It’s important to remember that you cannot claim just because you experienced negligent medical treatment; you must also have experienced harm as a result. Below, we have included some examples of how medical negligence can occur:

  • Misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis. Sometimes, medical professionals make incorrect diagnoses or miss conditions entirely, even when administering the right level of care. However, if they do so as a result of negligence and you’re harmed as a result (for example, because your condition gets worse than it would have if you’d been diagnosed at the right time), you might be able to claim.
  • Surgical errors. If a surgeon harms you because they breached their duty of care while performing an operation, you might be able to claim. Some events (referred to as “never events”) should never occur if the right procedures are followed. These include things like leaving an object in a patient’s body post-surgery and will always be claimable. Surgical errors could result in conditions like sepsis or nerve damage.
  • Prescription errors. If you’re given the wrong medication when seeking care, the impact of this could be twofold. Your condition might not improve because you don’t have the drugs you need, and you could have an adverse reaction to the medicine you do take. You could also be harmed as a result of taking a dosage of medication that is too high or too low.

What Injuries Can I Claim For?

As well as physical injuries, medical negligence could result in psychological injuries like depression, anxiety, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. These can also be claimed for, provided you can prove that your injuries were caused by the negligence of a medical professional who treated you.

This list is not exhaustive. For more information on the types of medical negligence you could claim for, we recommend speaking to one of our advisors.

Patients’ Rights In Scotland

The General Medical Council outline the duties of a doctor. They are the body that aims to safeguard patients and improve medical practices across the UK. Their role includes:

  • Deciding which doctors are qualified to practice medicine in the UK
  • Setting professional standards that medical professionals need to follow
  • Taking action against doctors who pose a risk to patient safety, or to the public opinion of the medical profession

In addition to this, the Patient Rights (Scotland) Act 2011 outlines the things that you can expect when you seek medical attention from, and receive care from the NHS, in Scotland. It also states that Ministers must release a Charter of Patient Rights and Responsibilities which outlines the rights of those who use NHS services in Scotland.

It’s important to note that while this legislation relates specifically to the NHS, you can make a claim if a breach of duty in a private healthcare facility has caused you harm.

Time Limitations

There’s a general three-year time limit to starting a claim in Scotland. This also applies to medical negligence claims.

This three-year limit can begin from the date of the incident or the date that you knew (or should have known) that your injuries were caused by negligence.

There are some exceptions to this. For example, if a child has been injured because of medical negligence, the time limit is suspended until they turn 16. At this point, they can make their own claim if one has not already been done for them by a litigation friend.

For more information on the time limits that apply to claims for medical negligence in Scotland, speak with our team today.

Medical Duty Of Candour

The Scottish Government includes a duty of candour in the expected healthcare standards of medical professionals. It sets out the steps that should be taken if an unintended or unexpected incident occurs that causes harm or death occurs.

Medical professionals in these circumstances should:

  • Agree to any actions that are required to improve the quality of medical care
  • Apologise to those affected
  • Involve those affected in a review of what happened
  • Agree to any actions that are highlighted by the review as being required to improve the quality of care
  • Tell the person who was harmed (or their representative) about the actions to be taken and when they’ll be implemented

To find out if you might be able to claim for medical negligence in Scotland, get in touch with one of our advisors for free legal advice.

How Do I Prove I Was The Victim Of Clinical Negligence?

In order to make a claim for harm caused by medical negligence in Scotland, it;’s important that you provide evidence in support of this. Some of the evidence you could use in support of your claim might include:

  • Photographic evidence. If medical negligence has led to your condition worsening, you could take photographs of any symptoms that progress.
  • Medical records. If you’ve been harmed by medical negligence, then you should seek medical attention so that you have the best chance of recovery. Medical records from this appointment, as well as ones that were generated when you received your initial treatment, could be used to support your claim.
  • Witness statements. While you cannot collect a statement yourself, you could collect contact details so a statement can be taken down the line.

If you have any questions about the evidence you need to support a claim, speak to us today. If your claim is valid, you could be connected with a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel.

How To Make A Claim For Medical Negligence

There are two options when it comes to making a claim for medical negligence. Firstly, you could try and represent yourself. Alternatively, you could seek the support of medical negligence solicitors. Scotland has a slightly different legal system, so you’ll need someone with that specialist knowledge.

Let’s explain how the process works.

You would formally begin a compensation claim by following the pre-action protocols. This begins with writing a letter of claim to the party that you believe is liable for your injuries or illness.

In the letter, you will detail your grievance, explaining how they acted negligently, how this negligence harmed you and optionally you may include the amount of compensation you are seeking. It’s also wise to supply evidence to substantiate the claim.

The other party will respond, either accepting liability or denying it – which in turn can begin a series of discussions and negotiations between you and the other party.

This is why collecting evidence can be a vital step in a claim. If the defendant were to deny liability, the evidence you could present of their fault could act in support of your claim and convince them to try and reach a settlement with you rather than take the matter to court – which can be a more expensive option.

As mentioned above, you can make a claim for medical negligence by yourself but as you can see, the process is a tricky one. Evidence can be expensive to obtain, and the arguments the defendant presents can be tough to understand.

If you want to make a claim for medical negligence in Scotland we would advise you to first reach out to us. We can connect you with specialist medical negligence solicitors for Scotland claims.

A solicitor’s help can be invaluable. Medical negligence can be complicated and difficult to prove. A solicitor’s knowledge, resources, and experience in succeeding in such claims could help better the chances of success.

You can reach out to us today for a free, no-strings-attached case check. After a quick chat, we can advise you as to whether or not you could be entitled to compensation. And if you’d like to make a claim, we can connect you with a No Win No Fee solicitor specialising in medical negligence in Scotland.

Calculating Payouts For Medical Negligence In Scotland

When you make a compensation claim, your settlement could include general and special damages. General damages is the part of your claim related to the pain and suffering that your injuries cause you.

You might be invited to a medical appointment as part of the process of claiming. Here, a healthcare professional who is independent of the case will assess your injuries and create a report. This report will be used to value your claim.

In order to help assess how much this head of your claim could be worth, a publication called the Judicial College Guidelines may be referred to. This is a document containing guideline compensation brackets for a wide range of different injuries. Below, we have included a table that includes excerpts from these guidelines.

Injury and SeverityPossible compensation
(a) Tetraplegia (also known as Quadriplegia)£324,600 to
(L) Leg Injuries (a)(i) Loss of both legs £240,790 to £282,010
(A) Injuries Affecting Sight (b) Total BlindnessIn the region of
(A) Brain Damage (c) Moderate Brain Damage£150,110 to £219,070
(F) Reproductive System: Female(a) £114,900 to
(B) Back Injuries (a) Severe (i) £91,090 to £160,980
(A) Psychiatric Damage Generally (a) Severe £54,830 to £115,730
(B) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder£59,860 to £100,670

(B) Facial Disfigurement (b) Less Severe Scarring£17,960 to £48,420
(H) Kidney (c)£30,770 to

Special Damages For A Medical Negligence Claim In Scotland

Alongside general damages, you might also be compensated for any financial harm or monetary losses resulting from medical negligence in Scotland. This head of claim is referred to as special damages and is designed to put you back in the financial position you were in before you suffered the harm.

Below are some examples of what special damages could cover in a medical negligence claim in Scotland:

  • A loss of earnings due to taking time out of work to recover from any harm you have experienced.
  • Travel expenses, such as taxi fares to and from medical appointments.
  • Medical expenses, such as having to pay for prescriptions.

You will need to provide evidence of these financial losses, such as with bank statements, payslips and invoices.

If you have any questions about medical negligence solicitors in Scotland, you can contact our advisors.

Start Your Claim For Medical Negligence In Scotland Today

If you would like to start a claim with the help of a lawyer but are concerned about legal fees, you might like to consider a No Win No Fee agreement, otherwise known as a Conditional Fee Agreement. In this kind of agreement, you don’t pay anything upfront or as the claim progresses. There is also nothing to pay your lawyer if you’re unsuccessful in your claim.

If you win, you will pay a success fee. This is a legally capped percentage of your compensation that your solicitor will deduct; this legal limit ensures you get the majority of the compensation you’re awarded.

If you would like to know more about funding legal representation with a No Win No Fee agreement, get in touch with an advisor today. They are available 24/7. Contact us now for free legal advice with no obligation. You can do so by:

Support And Advice

Latex Allergy Compensation Case Study Guide

Wrong Prescription Medical Negligence Claims Guide

Scar Personal Injury Guide

Complain about an NHS service — Scottish Government resource explaining how to make an NHS complaint.

Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2013– The legislation outlining Conditional Fee Agreements.

About NHS Resolution — The official website for NHS Resolution.

Thank you for reading this guide about claiming for harm caused by medical negligence in Scotland.

Article by EC

Publisher ET