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Claim Compensation for Clinical & Medical Negligence
Most of us put our health in the hands of medical professionals at various points during our lives, and while the majority of care we receive is of the highest quality, there is always a risk that something could go wrong. If this happens due to poor treatment or human error, it is imperative you are able to make a claim to compensate you for the pain and suffering caused.
The team of specialist clinical negligence solicitors at JMW is greatly experienced in helping people to successfully make a claim, providing professional, considered guidance throughout the process.
To speak to our expert team about your situation today, simply call us on 0800 054 6512 or allow us to call you back at a more convenient time by completing our online enquiry form. We are friendly and approachable, and a free, no-obligation conversation can help you better understand your position and the next steps you should take.
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What Is Clinical Negligence?
Clinical negligence relates to the care provided by doctors and other healthcare professionals. If the treatment provided by such a professional represents a breach of the legal duty of care that the professional owes to the patient and this results in the patient suffering harm, it may be possible for a clinical negligence claim to be brought against the healthcare professional or their employer.
For a successful claim to be made, we need to show:
- The healthcare professional owed a duty of care to the patient
- This duty of care was breached
- This breach resulted in the patient being caused harm
- This harm resulted in damages or other losses
What Areas Do We Cover?
We cover all aspects of clinical negligence. For more information about the individual areas and how we can help with these particular types of claim, please see the list below:
Why Making a Claim Is Important
Making a claim is often the only means of putting right the damage that has been caused by the negligence of a medical professional.
By claiming compensation, the victim is not only better able to cope with the injuries they have been left with, they are also compensated for any other financial losses they have suffered as a result of the mistakes made. These losses can be many and varied, and may include money lost due to being unable to work for a period of time or not being able to return to their previous job at all.
However, making a claim can achieve much more than securing compensation, and there is often more that we can help patients with that they may not realise. For instance, we can help to:
Hold those responsible to account: Patients and families injured by poor medical care often feel very angry and upset about what has happened to them. Bringing a medical negligence claim enables them to do something about their ordeal, with the support of a legal team fighting on their behalf.
Ensure someone says sorry: Sometimes, all a patient or family wants to hear is for someone to say "sorry, we made a mistake". In the course of a claim, we can often secure an apology for the patient or family, and while nothing can turn back the clock, an apology can help with the patient's recovery process.
Raise awareness: Many patients and families wish to raise awareness of what has happened to them by highlighting their case in the media. We can help those who want to speak out by managing all media involvement in their case. It is a brave step to take and can help the client to move on and help to prevent the same thing from happening to others.
Ensure lessons are learned: By bringing wrongdoing to the attention of those responsible via a claim, the subsequent investigation and potential financial implications can help to ensure lessons are learned.
Protect other patients: The bringing of a claim can result in safety being improved and steps taken to prevent the same thing from happening again.
How to Fund Your Claim
There are many different ways to fund your claim, and you can find out more about the various options available to you here.
Although GPs generally provide excellent care, and although you may enjoy a good relationship with yours, it is imperative you are able to make a claim should their error or negligence create or worsen your injury or illness.
If you are the victim of medical negligence on the part of your GP, you should not let your relationship with them prevent you from making a claim in order to access the justice to which you are entitled. GPs are often our first port of call when we are ill or injured, but they are susceptible to errors just like any other medical professional, and the mistakes they make can result in serious health problems.
What is Medical Negligence?
Despite the fact that health care in this country is generally of a high standard occasionally things do go wrong. This is particularly true nowadays when treatments can be highly technical and complex and many different health care professionals are involved in the care of each patient. If the results of treatment are not as good as expected, or if complications have arisen, it does not automatically mean there has been a mistake or someone is to blame.
However, sometimes doctors and other health care workers do make mistakes that could have been avoided with more care, skill or organisation and this is called clinical (or medical) negligence. An operation may be incompetently performed, or a GP may fail to recognise the seriousness of symptoms or a baby may be damaged because of a mishandled birth.
Can I Claim Compensation?
If you have been harmed, either physically or mentally, because of the negligence of a health care professional, you may be able to claim compensation (damages). The harm needs to be serious enough to make it worth paying the costs of making a claim. In most case it is not worth pursuing legal action if the injury is fairly minor or if a rapid recovery is expected.
In cases such as these the cost of making a claim could be greater than the compensation. However, if there has been an admission of fault it may be worth pursuing a low value case. We can advise you on this.
How Much Compensation Could I Get?
There are many variables that can affect the amount of compensation you could hope to receive following a successful claim, including the type and severity of the negligence you have suffered, and the physical, financial and emotional impact it has had on your life. The compensation amount will also take into consideration any expenses you’ve incurred and your future care needs. As such, it is not possible to predict exactly how much compensation you will receive. To find out more, speak to our expert team of solicitors today, or take a look at our case studies.
What is the Process for a Clinical Negligence Claim?
Your first step in the claims process is simply to get in touch with our specialist team of clinical negligence lawyers. From there, you will have a one-to-one discussion with one of our experts who will assess your situation and decide the next best steps to take. Every clinical negligence claim is different and we thoroughly investigate all of the facts of your case, including reviewing your medical records, so we can provide you with the very best advice tailored to your personal situation. We will be there every step of the way to guide you through the process in a clear, jargon-free way to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Can You Sue the NHS For Medical Negligence?
If a medical mistake or accident was due to lack of judgement or incompetence by an NHS hospital, GP surgery, doctor, nurse, surgeon or other NHS healthcare professional, then you may be entitled to claim compensation for medical negligence. Suing the NHS can be a complicated process and so you will need the assistance and expertise of a medical negligence specialist solicitor to guide you through the process.
Is There a Time Limit on Medical Negligence Claims?
Legal action must be started within three years of the date you first knew, or could reasonably have been expected to know, that something had gone wrong with your medical treatment (this is called date of knowledge).
This will usually be quite soon after the operation or treatment has taken place, but occasionally it will not become obvious that an intervention has had long-term consequences until months, or sometimes years, after the event.
- If the claimant is under 18, the three-year time limit only expires on his/her 21st birthday
- For people under a legal disability (i.e. those suffering from a mental disorder), no limitation period applies
- If someone has died because of negligence, the three-year time limit runs from the date of death
The courts strictly enforce time limits and it is only in exceptional circumstances that a Judge will exercise discretion to allow a case to be brought "out of time".
As it takes time to investigate a claim, it is a good idea to start proceedings well before the end of the limitation period. Also, the sooner the case is investigated, the more likely it is that documents will still be available and that people will be able to remember what happened.
How Long do the Claims Take?
We try and settle claims as quickly as possible in order to help you move forward with your life with the compensation you deserve. As every clinical negligence case is different there is no defined timescale as to how long a claim can take. Speak to your solicitor to find more about your claim.
We take a highly professional yet sensitive and personal approach to all of the cases we take on. Many of our clients approach us having been through very traumatic circumstances, and we therefore do all we can to make the process as straightforward and stress-free as possible.
Such is our standing that Chambers UK 2017, a guide to the legal profession, praised us for our expertise in:
It also recognised that clients feel our firm has a ‘wonderful blend between expertise and client empathy that has been simply first-class in every respect. The communication, degree of engagement, the time given to the case and their clear understanding of me as a layperson has been beyond courteous’.
Our head of department Eddie Jones is described as a leading brain and spinal injury expert, approachable, down-to-earth and very genuine.
Partners Sally Leonards and Melissa Gardner are also highly praised.