Medical Negligence Claims Guide

13 April 2017

By Medical Negligence Solicitor Daniel Comerford

When victims of clinical or medical negligence contact me for a free consultation they usually have a number of questions about what's involved in making a claim. One of those questions is frequently how much compensation will I get?

When you make a medical negligence claim, the amount of compensation you receive is intended to put you back in the position you would have been in, had the negligence not happened. As each medical negligence claim and each person’s situation is unique, there is no standard answer as to how much compensation a victim of medical negligence is entitled to. Typical factors that affect the level of compensation are:

  • The severity of the injury
  • Whether the injury is permanent
  • Whether further medical treatment is required
  • The impact of the injury – whether you have lost your independence and whether you now require care and assistance
  • Whether you have suffered a loss of earnings/income
  • Whether you are able to return to work
  • Whether you have suffered any other financial losses

In order to advise you on the appropriate amount of compensation, your specialist Medical Negligence Solicitor will consider your personal situation before the negligence or medical mistake occurred, the nature of your injury, and then analyse the impact and aftermath of the negligence.

Calculating the Amount of Compensation

In medical negligence claims the amount of compensation awarded is made up of two separate elements, these are General Damages and Special Damages.

General Damages

The general damages element is also known as ‘Pain, Suffering and Loss of Amenity.’ It reflects the nature and severity of the injury. General damages are fixed by Judges using a tariff system. The amount of compensation is based on the medical injury and previous concluded cases involving similar injuries.

The figures for general damages compensation are often much lower than people expect. At the top of the tariff system are severe brain and spinal injuries, which reach around £335,000 compensation. The lowest tariff for minor injuries, where there is complete recovery within three months, reaches £1,060 to £2,050.

In order to identify the correct amount of general damages for your injury, your Medical Negligence Solicitor will obtain a report from an independent medical expert. The expert will consider your medical records, a witness statement prepared by your Medical Negligence Solicitor on your behalf, and probably examine you in order to prepare their report. The report will detail what injuries have been caused by the medical negligence, how the injuries are affecting you and your prognosis for the future.

Special Damages

The special damages element is made up of any past and likely future financial losses and expenses caused by the negligence, such as:

  • Loss of earnings
  • Care
  • Medical expenses
  • Aids and equipment
  • Transport costs
  • Accommodation costs

Assuming that you have been able to prove that the medical negligence caused your injuries, your claim for past financial losses and expenses can be calculated from the receipts and invoices which evidence the losses. Your independent medical expert will be asked to consider the losses claimed and confirm that these were as a result of the negligence.

Calculating future losses and expenses is more difficult. This aspect of special damages relies on the independent medical expert’s opinion on how the injuries are affecting you now, your prognosis for the future, and related financial losses you are likely to encounter in the future.

Why use Co-op Legal Services?

It is part of the Co-op’s ethos and values to provide help and support in enforcing legal rights so as to prevent injustice. We will always strive to secure the best possible compensation and rehabilitation support for our clients.

Medical negligence claims usually involve complicated medical issues and/or complicated compensation calculations. At Co-op Legal Services, we provide legal advice without the jargon. Your Medical Negligence Solicitor will communicate clearly with you, ensuring that the process is straightforward and easy to understand. Most claims can be dealt with on a No Win No Fee basis.

Your specialist Medical Negligence Solicitor will consider all appropriate routes to successfully conclude your claim, such as mediation. Mediation enables you to be heard by your opponent and can offer non-financial benefits which traditional litigation is unable to guarantee, such as an apology.

Mediation can also lead to a faster resolution of the claim. Medical negligence claims typically involve complex medical issues. If an alternative route such as mediation is advised, your Solicitor will ensure that you have all the information and evidence you need ahead of the mediation. Your Solicitor will also attend the mediation to support and advise you.

As part of a large ethical organisation Co-op Legal Services can ensure that you are fully supported throughout your medical negligence claim, whatever your injuries, your circumstances.

For free legal initial advice, contact our Medical Negligence Solicitors. We will help you understand whether you have a valid claim for compensation and what the next steps are.

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