The healthcare we receive in the UK is some of the best in the world and we have a unique system with the NHS offering free treatment to all at the point of need. Thankfully medical mistakes are few and far between, but when they do happen it is important to know what you can do about making a medical negligence claim if you choose to.
Make a Complaint or Make a Claim?
Your first decision is what action you want to take. You may want to have an informal discussion with the doctor or hospital where the incident happened. This may be enough for you to resolve the issues you have about your treatment but equally you may not feel comfortable doing that.
You should in any case make a formal complaint about the incident. If the issue was with a GP, you should contact the practice manager at your GP surgery or if it happened in a hospital, you should follow the complaints procedure of that hospital. For help you can contact NHS Patient Advice and Liaison Service, also known as PALS. There is usually someone on site in most hospitals.
Making a complaint can help you to come to terms with what’s happened and help you to know that your concerns will be taken on board and action can be taken to put right what went wrong.
But if you’ve been injured by medical negligence, an apology and a change in practice may not be enough for you. You may have a claim for medical negligence compensation and this will be the decision that you need to make.
Using a Specialist Solicitor
If you were injured as a result of clinical or medical negligence you should get legal advice from a specialist Medical Negligence Solicitor.
Using a specialist Medical Negligence Solicitor will help you when you make a claim. Your Solicitor can make sure you have all the support you need to get the compensation you deserve. Your medical negligence claim will probably be defended by the NHS Trust or GP so having a legal expert on your side is vital.
You should be aware that there are time limits for making a medical negligence claim. You have 3 years from the date of your injury or from the date you became aware that your illness or injury was caused or connected to medical negligence.
Getting legal advice from a Medical Negligence Solicitor as early as possible is the best approach. It will allow your Solicitor to get as much evidence about your injuries and illness as possible and they could get you some rehabilitation and additional medical treatment if you need it.
Types of Medical Negligence Claims
There are many different types of Clinical and Medical Negligence Claims, and they cover a very wide remit. They can include:
- A&E Negligence such as missed fractures, missed diagnosis
- Surgical mistakes such as surgery in the wrong place or a mistake when performing the surgery
- GP mistakes such as missed or lost referrals
- Missed or late cancer diagnosis
- Child birth injuries
- Incorrect medication being given
- Pressure sores
- Hospital infections such as MRSA
- Nursing home injuries or abuse
- Cosmetic surgery mistakes
- Cosmetic dentistry mistakes.
A medical negligence claim can be brought against a private doctor, hospital or clinic, an NHS hospital, a GP or a cosmetic surgery practitioner. If you are not sure whether you have a claim or not, talk to a specialist Medical Negligence Solicitor.
To make a claim for medical negligence, you’ll need to prove two things. The first is that you can show that the person treating you was negligent and that the treatment you had fell below what could sensibly be expected by a normal person. You’ll then have to show that the negligent treatment you receive actually caused your injury.
Both of these points can be difficult to prove, but at Co-op Legal Services our Medical Negligence Solicitors use medical experts to help make your case and use all the evidence we can get from sources such as your medical notes.
If you do decide to go ahead and make a claim, based on the information you provide to us, we’ll obtain a copy of your medical notes and ask an expert to review them.
The medical expert will give their opinion on whether they think your treatment was negligent. They’ll give their expert opinion on what the consequences are of the treatment you received and whether it links to your ongoing symptoms and problems.
Finally we’ll gather all the evidence to make your claim for you and then issue the claim in Court. Most medical negligence claims are settled before it gets to Court, but we often find that no negotiations or agreements happen before we start Court proceedings.