Types of clinical negligence claims

In the UK different types of clinical negligence compensation claims can be made for injuries caused by sub-standard or negligent treatment.

Regardless of the type of injury caused, a clinical negligence claim can be brought against either an individual healthcare professional such as a GP, hospital surgeon, consultant, doctor, dentist or cosmetic surgeon; or made against a clinical or medical institution such as a private clinic or NHS hospital.

Types of clinical negligence claims

Accident and emergency (A&E) compensation claims

Across the UK these days, Accident and Emergency units can be chaotic 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and are usually the busiest departments in any NHS hospital. A&E units are under considerable pressure to "process" patients as quickly as possible either by treating and discharging or transferring to another unit.

Sadly, this can and often does lead to a failure to diagnose and treat medical conditions appropriately. More importantly, because of the pressures on other NHS hospital units, patients are retained within the A&E unit inappropriately and receive inadequate care leading to a deterioration in their condition. There are many types of reported cases of NHS A&E units failing to diagnose serious injuries and conditions resulting in disability and even death.

More about accident and emergency (A&E) compensation claims.

Adult and child brain injuries

There are a number of types of medical negligence claims that involve brain injuries, such as the diagnosis and treatment of:

  • sub-arachnoid haemorrhages
  • subdural haematomas
  • strokes
  • aneurysms
  • meningitis

Common types of brain injury include hypoxic brain injury, caused by the brain not getting enough oxygen and traumatic brain injury, caused by external force.

More about Adult and child brain injuries.

Amputation claims

These types of medical negligence claim cases are often due to failures to identify and treat pre-existing illnesses and diseases. Amputation can also be as a result of misidentification of the correct limb to be amputated and the patient has the physical and psychological trauma of losing two limbs. On other occasions amputation can be the result of mistakes made during routine procedures which leaves the limb vulnerable to infection or deterioration and thereafter removal.

More about Amputation claims.

Cosmetic surgery claims

There is constant pressure from the media, television and film industry to strive for perfection in how we all look. This pressure has transformed the attitudes of people from all walks of life and include men and women as to the benefits of cosmetic surgery.

Inevitably, this increase in surgical enhancement surgery has resulted in a noticeable increase in the number of botched cosmetic surgery compensation claims. The cosmetic surgery industry is loosely regulated compared to the NHS sector and it is far easier for commercial entrepreneurs to set up cosmetic surgery treatment centres with little regard to the standards of care that we expect.

Cosmetic surgeons and other practitioners who do not have the appropriate level of technical expertise and experience undertake cosmetic procedures which may lead to medical complications, injury and even death. Considerable cosmetic surgery rectification work may be required to undo the damage if possible, but the emotional and physical impact on the individual is often devastating and long lasting. More about Cosmetic surgery claims.

Common types of cosmetic surgery claims

  • Botox
  • Breast enlargement/reductions
  • Ear re-shaping
  • Eyelid surgery
  • Face lift
  • Liposuction
  • Male enhancement
  • Nose re-shaping
  • Tummy tuck

Sometimes the results of cosmetic surgery procedures are less than expected. If you think that your cosmetic surgeon or Botox practitioner has been negligent then you may have a claim for compensation.

Pressure sore claims

For anyone confined to bed for medical reasons, there is an expectation that basic daily needs will be met by nursing and support staff but on occasions the standard of care provided falls below acceptable levels.

Many patients are vulnerable because of pre-existing medical conditions, poor nutrition and dehydration whilst immobile. Patients have a right to be cared for appropriately and properly, so whether they are recuperating after surgery, suffering from a pre-existing condition or experiencing a disability that prevents them from mobilising for long periods of time or whether they are on extended bed rests the standard of medical and support care should be at an acceptable level. If it is not then there is a significant risk that they will develop pressure sores, which can be difficult to treat and may lead to a prolonged stay or even life threatening infections.

The psychological impact of developing pressure sores cannot be underestimated which also affects the patient's ability to recover from the injury or illness originally being treated.

Pregnancy and birth injury claims

Being pregnant and giving birth to a child is supposed to be one of the most fulfilling of human experiences. It is a time of great expectation, trepidation, excitement, happiness and joy.

Sadly, those dreams and expectations can be shattered if it transpires that a child has suffered a birth injury because of medical negligence. Birth and pregnancy related clinical negligence can occur at any stage in the pregnancy.

However, one of the most vulnerable times is the time of delivery, and clinical negligence at this stage can result in conditions such as cerebral palsy which is a lifelong injury. It is all the more devastating to know that many of these injuries are preventable.

Common types of birth injury claims

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Bowel trauma
  • Perineal trauma
  • Erbs palsy
  • Low blood sugar

Sometimes the results of midwifery care and medical treatment are less than expected but if you think that your midwife or medical team have been negligent then you may have a claim for compensation.

Cancer claims

Cancer is more prevalent now than it ever was. Advances in medical treatments and therapies are comforting but a cancer diagnosis still remains a life-changing event, both for the individual and for their family.

Being diagnosed with cancer impacts hard psychologically which is compounded by the knowledge that the diagnosis was made late and or treatment has been delayed because of medical negligence. It could be as simple as a misreading of a diagnostic scan or a failure by medical staff to interpret test results but the effect is devastating.

More about Cancer claims.

Common types of clinical negligence in cancer claims

  • Misreporting of a scan
  • Misreporting of a smear
  • Misreporting of a biopsy
  • Misdiagnosis of cancer
  • Delay in investigations
  • Delay in treatments
  • Delay in referring patients to specialists

Sometimes the initial cancer symptoms are not investigated properly, or your medical staff failed to notice or recognise the cancer symptoms or the investigations were misreported. In any event the results of your medical care and treatment are less than expected but if you think that your nursing or medical staff have been negligent then you may have a claim for compensation.

GP mistakes

For many people across the UK, their GP has known their entire family from birth. There is and always has been a general reluctance to make a clinical negligence claim against a GP for their mistakes because of this long term relationship.

Many people accept mistakes from a GP that they would not ordinarily accept from other medical professionals such as a surgeon or hospital consultant. However, the standards of care provided by a GP should not be detrimental to someone's physical or psychological wellbeing.

Unfortunately, sometimes GPs make mistakes as a direct result of negligence, including misdiagnosis or failing to refer patients on to specialists. GPs are under increasing pressures of growing lists of patients, restrictions on treatments they can prescribe and the time they have to carry out a proper examination.

In the limited time available to see patients and write up their notes, a GP may fail or forget to record or communicate important details to their colleagues to ensure proper continuity of care within the practice.

More about GP mistakes.

Injuries caused by poor nursing care

Regrettably, sometimes mistakes are made in nursing, and these mistakes can result in injuries being sustained.

Some of the most common nursing mistakes include failure to carry out assessments, failure to make or follow a care plan, incorrect use of equipment or dispensing prescription medication incorrectly.

More about Injuries caused by poor nursing care.

Medical misdiagnosis or non-diagnosis

If a medical condition is misdiagnosed or undiagnosed, this can cause pain, suffering or financial loss to the patient or their family. If the misdiagnosis was negligent, the patient could be entitled to compensation.

See our step by step guide to misdiagnosis or non-diagnosis claims (PDF 187 KB)

Never events

Never Events are incidents that should never occur if the correct procedures are followed. There are many types of Never Events, but some of the most common include:

  • Surgery being performed on the wrong part of the body
  • Surgical instruments or other foreign objects being left inside a patient
  • Naso-gastric tubes being placed incorrectly

More about Never events.

Orthopaedic negligence claims

Some of the most common orthopaedic conditions relate to bones and muscles, which in turn affect the body's ability to move. These types of conditions are difficult enough to deal with but any deterioration can amplify those difficulties immeasurably.

In some cases surgical intervention is negligent which increases the rate of deterioration and can lead to revision surgery. The frustrations, pain and discomfort can also be compounded by the knowledge that the deterioration is as a result of medical negligence. In some cases delays in diagnosis and treatment of orthopaedic fractures can lead to more serious conditions such as Compartmental Syndrome and Developmental Dysplasia. In significant medical negligence cases some conditions are not diagnosed such as certain bone cancers which can be life threatening.

Common types of orthopaedic conditions

  • Compartment syndrome
  • Myeloma
  • Developmental dysplasia
  • Osteosarcoma

Sometimes the initial orthopaedic injury to bones is not investigated properly, or the doctor or medical staff failed to notice or recognise the bone cancer symptoms, or the investigations were misreported.

More about orthopaedic conditions.

Fatal medical negligence claims

If medical negligence has contributed to a death, the death will be reported to the Coroner.

The Coroner will hear evidence from those that treated the patient, review medical records and may hear expert evidence to assist the Court in reaching a decision. The Court allows family members to review evidence and question medical staff, usually through a Coroner and Inquest Solicitor, to enable them to find out what happened.

If the coroner finds that medical negligence did contribute to the death, a medical negligence claim can be brought.

At Co-op Legal Services we have an expert team of specialist Clinical Negligence Solicitors and Medical Lawyers with a wealth of expertise.

More about Fatal medical negligence claims.

Spinal injuries

Spinal injuries can be caused by medical negligence, and this type of injury can have devastating effects.

While it's not always possible to make a full recovery from a spinal injury, the purpose of a spinal injury claim is to secure compensation and rehabilitation support to minimise the impact of the injury as much as possible.

More about Spinal injuries.

Surgical negligence

Mistakes do occasionally happen during surgery, which can result in injury.

Some of the most common types of surgical negligence that our clinical negligence solicitors see include:

  • Unreasonable delay to surgery
  • Perforation of the bowel or bladder
  • Damage caused to nerves
  • Surgical instruments left in the body

More about Surgical negligence.

Other medical negligence types

Other types of medical negligence can include bowel injuries, eye injuries and the exacerbation of existing injuries, as well as hospital acquired illnesses such as MRSA.

Nursing and care home abuse and injuries also fall under medical negligence, which incorporates any form of medical malpractice, medical misdiagnosis or the incorrect dispensing of medication.

If you believe you may have been the victim of medical negligence, speak to a medical negligence solicitor.

Clinical negligence claim time limits in the UK

In most cases, the time limit for starting a clinical negligence claim is three years from the date you first realised that you had been injured as a result of negligent or sub-standard clinical or medical treatment.

We have had significant success in helping victims of clinical and medical negligence to claim compensation. These types of negligence cases can be complicated and often the surgeons fail to co-operate which compounds the feeling of isolation, depression, embarrassment and vulnerability. We treat our clients holistically and understand that they suffer physically and psychologically.

We offer discrete, professional and thorough legal advice from a team of specialist Clinical Negligence Solicitors who draw on a wide range of highly regarded experts in the fields of medical and clinical negligence. This ensures that our customers receive the help and support they need to get you through this very difficult time.

We have an excellent track record of supporting our customers through the clinical negligence claims process and we place enormous emphasis on meeting all of our client's face-to-face. This ensures that we maintain our commitment to treat our customers holistically by thoroughly understanding each and every detail so that we get the best possible results. More importantly, we understand the sensitivity of clinical negligence cases and that you may feel more comfortable in discussing your case in the presence of family and friends.

About Co-op Legal Services

As part of the largest Co-operative organisation in the UK, Co-op Legal Services works to ensure that our clients receive the best legal advice and support services available from our teams of personal injury and clinical negligence solicitors, legal executives and staff.

We are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and several of our Personal Injury Solicitors are members of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).

Co-op Legal Services has over 600 staff working in different businesses with offices in Manchester, Bristol, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sheffield and London.