Medical Negligence Solicitors
Most of us put our health in the hands of medical professionals at various points in our lives and, while most of the care we receive is of high quality, there is always a risk that something could go wrong. If this happens due to poor treatment or human error, you are entitled to claim compensation for the pain and suffering it has caused you, and any care needs you may have as a result.
The specialist medical negligence solicitors at JMW are experienced in helping people successfully make compensation claims, providing professional guidance throughout the process. We are friendly and approachable and are happy to have a free, no-obligation conversation to help you better understand your position and the next steps you should take.
We are able to deal with cases through no win, no fee agreements, or Legal Aid for those that qualify.
How JMW Can Help
The medical negligence solicitors at JMW are among the most respected in the UK thanks to their professional and proactive approach, which gets results for our clients. Our team includes members of the Law Society's specialist panel of clinical negligence solicitors and the Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) solicitors panel.
In this video, JMW's head of medical negligence Eddie Jones and some of our clients talk about how we help to rebuild lives.
We provide a service that will deliver the best outcome for you, as we have for thousands of clients previously. We will help you to understand the process of making a claim, maintaining transparency throughout so you are kept updated every step of the way.
We offer a no win, no fee medical negligence claims service. This means that if your claim is not successful you will not pay any legal costs. You only pay a proportion of your legal costs if you win your case, and the majority of your legal costs will then be paid by the losing party (defendant). What’s left to pay from the compensation you are awarded will be discussed with you in advance and a capped figure will be agreed with you.
If you require the services of medical negligence solicitors, no win no fee agreements offer a level of protection and security for you. This arrangement means you will never be left in a situation where you cannot afford to pay legal fees, and we will make sure to discuss any potential costs with you upfront to ensure you have a clear understanding of what is involved.
What do I need to prove to win my compensation claim?
To make a successful medical negligence claim, you must prove two things:
- The standard of care you received fell below that of a reasonably competent health care professional in that specific area of medicine (negligence)
- You have suffered a physical or mental injury as a direct result of the negligence (causation)
Sometimes, it is difficult to know whether the harm has been caused directly by clinical negligence, or as a consequence of some underlying disease or illness.
For a medical negligence claim to be successful, you must prove both negligence and causation. You cannot claim compensation just because someone has done something wrong; you must prove that this has caused your injury.
We will first obtain your medical records. These will be sent to an independent medical expert who will compile a detailed report for us. A supportive independent medical opinion is necessary for any case to succeed.
If there is enough evidence to bring a successful case, we will work to settle it was soon as possible and for the maximum amount of compensation that you are entitled to. We will also strive to obtain acknowledgment from the responsible healthcare trust that mistakes were made to help give you closure.
What is medical negligence?
Even though healthcare in the UK is generally of a high standard, things occasionally go wrong. If the results of treatment are not as effective as expected, fell below a reasonable standard, or if complications have arisen, it does not automatically mean there has been a mistake or someone is to blame.
However, doctors and other healthcare workers do sometimes make mistakes that could have been avoided with more care, skill or better organisation, and sometimes this amounts to medical negligence (sometimes referred to as clinical negligence). Examples of medical negligence include:
- An operation being incompetently performed: this could include errors in surgical technique, failure to sterilise equipment, or operating on the wrong body part.
- A GP failing to recognise the seriousness of symptoms: this might involve misdiagnosing a serious condition, failing to refer a patient to a specialist, or dismissing symptoms that require urgent attention.
- A baby being injured because of a mishandled birth: this could include failure to monitor the baby's heartbeat, improper use of forceps, or delays in performing a necessary C-section.
- Prescription errors: this might involve prescribing the wrong medication, the wrong dosage, or failing to consider harmful interactions with other medications the patient is taking.
- Failure to obtain informed consent: this includes not fully explaining the risks and benefits of a procedure, or performing a procedure without the patient's consent.
- Neglecting patient care: this could include failing to provide necessary follow-up care, ignoring a patient's complaints or concerns, or failing to take necessary precautions to prevent infections.
- Radiology errors: this might involve misinterpreting X-rays, MRIs or other imaging studies, leading to incorrect diagnoses or treatment plans.
- Anaesthetic mistakes: this could include administering too much or too little anaesthetic, failing to monitor the patient's vital signs, or using faulty equipment.
Sadly, patients who experience medical negligence are at risk of experiencing life-altering consequences, including financial damage, bodily harm and psychological injury, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Through our no win, no fee medical negligence claims service, we can help you obtain the compensation you are entitled to if you or a loved one has suffered harm because of the medical care you have received.
What is the medical negligence claim process?
Your first step in the claims process is to get in touch with our specialist team of medical negligence solicitors. 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. As there are often just three years to bring a claim (unless the claim involves a child), make sure you do this as soon as you can.
Sometimes we will ask you to make a formal complaint about your care to the relevant healthcare trust as the response can provide valuable information. We can provide help with this if needed.
We must obtain and review your medical records to start a claim and we will need you to sign some forms to give us permission to do so. We will then source leading and independent medical experts, working in the area of medicine concerned, to provide evidence as to whether or not the care was negligent and if it was, what harm it caused.
Every medical negligence claim is different and we will 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 understand how a no win, no fee medical negligence claim works, ensuring you get the compensation you deserve.
For more information on how to claim for medical negligence, take a look at our complete guide to the medical negligence claims process.
What is the medical negligence claims time limit?
Typically, the medical negligence claims time limit is three years from the date you first knew, or could reasonably have been expected to know, that something had gone wrong with the medical treatment that caused your injury. This is called the 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 poor care has had long-term consequences until months, or sometimes years, after the event. Due to this, the date of knowledge may vary depending on the type of treatment or injury you had.
Time limits include:
- Three years for anyone over the age of 18
- For children there is no time limit until their 18th birthday, when the three-year time limit kicks in and expires on their 21st birthday. A three-year time limit if someone has died because of negligence, starting from the date of death
- No limitations for people under a legal disability (i.e. those suffering from a brain injury, or with a learning difficulty that means they don’t have the capacity to bring a claim)
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, you should speak to the no win, no fee medical negligence solicitors at JMW well before the end of the limitation period. The sooner we are able to investigate the case, the more likely it is that documents will still be available and that people will be able to remember what happened.
Can I claim medical negligence after 10 or 20 years?
If your clinical negligence claim falls into one of the exceptional categories listed above, it may be possible to make a valid claim many years after the original incident took place. This applies most commonly to injuries that do not become apparent until many years after the original event.
The only situations in which an extension to the standard time limit is granted at the discretion of the court are where a judge decides that it would be unjust for the claim not to proceed. However, these cases are extremely rare and will need to be justified in depth on a case-by-case basis.
As such, as a rule, claimants should assume that the three-year limit will be strictly enforced in most cases, making it important to bring medical negligence claims as soon as possible.
What are the different types of medical negligence?
Medical negligence is a relatively broad term that describes a wide range of experiences. There are many different types of medical negligence, from misdiagnosis to severe surgical errors. Take a look at some of the examples of medical negligence claims we handle below:
- Hospital negligence cases, such as those brought against both private and NHS hospitals.
- Incorrect medication/prescriptions
- Delayed diagnosis of illnesses such as stroke or meningitis
- Delayed scans leading to harm
- Failure to recognise signs of serious injury, such as those affecting the spine
- Harm sustained during or following surgery
- Improper treatment due to misdiagnosis of a medical condition
- Birth injuries including harm to both mother and child, whether it occurs before, during, or after childbirth (Erb’s palsy, cerebral palsy, pre-eclampsia, hip dysplasia).
How much compensation for medical negligence?
After receiving inadequate care, you may feel in pain, alone and disappointed. It is unfair for you to be burdened with financial concerns on top of everything else. This is especially true if you needed additional treatment to correct the problem. You probably did not plan on being hospitalised for such a long time, separated from loved ones, and possibly unable to work.
Medical negligence compensation amounts will be calculated to take all of these factors into account. By speaking to a no win, no fee medical negligence lawyer at JMW, we can help to provide a broad estimate of the value of your claim, depending on the seriousness of your injuries and other circumstances.
All of the following factors will be taken into account when calculating medical negligence compensation amounts:
- Loss of income and any time off work
- Losses to your future income and any future impact on your ability to work
- Psychological conditions you have developed that were caused by the medical negligence
- The care you now need
- Any adaptations you have had to make to your car or home (or may need in the future)
- Any medical care costs, treatment, travel or accommodation expenses incurred as a consequence of the negligence
- Any rehabilitation programmes prescribed to you by a medical professional as a result of the injury
- The extra daily expenses you incurred
- Any negative effects on your social life or interests and hobbies you may no longer be able to enjoy
FAQs About Medical Negligence
Will I need a medical examination if I make a medical negligence claim?
In most cases, the medical negligence claims process will require you to undergo a medical examination. This examination provides an independent assessment of your injuries and the impact they have had on your life, making it possible to determine the full extent of any harm or injury you may have sustained because of negligence in your medical treatment. This includes both physical injuries and psychological harm. The examination can also help to establish a link between the negligent treatment and your injuries.
The examination will be conducted by a medical expert who specialises in the area of medicine relevant to your claim. This could be a consultant, a surgeon or another type of specialist. The expert will not be involved in your treatment and will provide an independent opinion.
The findings from the medical examination will be used to support your claim. The medical expert will produce a report detailing your injuries, the impact they have had on your life, and any future implications such as ongoing treatment or care needs. This report can be crucial evidence in showing you have suffered medical negligence, and helping to calculate how much clinical negligence compensation you could claim.
At JMW Solicitors, we understand that the idea of a medical examination can be daunting, but we will support you throughout this process. We can arrange the examination for you, explain what to expect, and ensure that you are prepared.
How long does a medical negligence claim take?
The duration of a medical negligence claim will vary depending on the specifics of the case. While we will strive to settle your clinical negligence claim as swiftly as possible, it is important to understand that these cases have the potential to be complex and time-consuming.
The following factors can influence the timeline of medical negligence claims:
- Complexity of the case - cases involving severe injuries or complex medical procedures may require extensive evidence gathering and expert testimony, which can extend the timeline
- Cooperation of the other party - the willingness of the healthcare provider or their legal representative to negotiate and settle the claim can also impact how long the process takes. Some medical negligence cases may be resolved relatively quickly through negotiation, while others may require court proceedings.
- Investigation process - thoroughly investigating your clinical negligence claim and gathering all necessary evidence can be a time-consuming process. This can include obtaining medical records, arranging for medical examinations, or consulting with medical experts.
- Legal proceedings - if a claim cannot be settled out of court and proceeds to trial, this can significantly extend the timeline. Court schedules can be unpredictable and can lead to delays.
- Settlement negotiations - the process of negotiating a settlement can also take time. Both sides will need to consider the evidence, evaluate the claim's worth, and negotiate a fair settlement.
While it is understandable to want a quick resolution, it is important to remember that taking the necessary time to build a strong case can ultimately help you achieve the maximum possible medical negligence compensation. At JMW Solicitors, we will keep you informed at every stage of the process, so you always know what to expect and how your case is progressing.
Can I make a medical negligence claim against the NHS?
You are entitled to start a medical negligence case against the NHS if you have received substandard care or negligent treatment from NHS doctors. However, some people are uncomfortable about doing so due to concerns that doing so will be taking much-needed funds away from frontline care.
Medical negligence claims against the NHS are handled by NHS Resolution, a government-created organisation that essentially performs the duties of an insurance company, managing claims and ensuring that compensation is paid where it is due. Each NHS trust in the England pays an annual premium to NHS Resolution, creating a fund that is specifically set aside to settle any medical negligence claims brought against NHS trusts. As such, making a claim does not take money directly out of the NHS's budget for patient care.
Everyone has the right to safe and effective medical care. If you have suffered medical negligence, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries, additional treatment costs, loss of earnings, and any other damages you have incurred. However, the purpose of making a medical negligence claim is not just about receiving compensation. It also plays an important role in holding healthcare providers accountable for their actions, and ensuring that lessons are learned to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.
Making a medical negligence claim against the NHS can be a complex process, but the experienced medical negligence team at JMW can guide you through the process, ensuring that your claim is handled professionally and efficiently.
What happens if I want to make a medical negligence claim against a private healthcare provider?
If you have received private healthcare and believe you have experienced medical negligence, you have the right to claim clinical negligence compensation. However, the process for making a claim against a private healthcare provider is slightly different than making a claim against the NHS.
Medical professionals working in private healthcare are classified as contractors rather than employees. According to General Medical Council (GMC) criteria, they are required to obtain their own liability insurance to protect against allegations of negligence. This means that any claim would be made against the individual healthcare provider's insurance, rather than against a larger organisation like the NHS.
Medical negligence claims made against private healthcare providers can be more complex than those made against the NHS. This is because you may need to deal directly with the individual healthcare provider and their insurance company.
Given the added complexity of these medical negligence cases, it is particularly important to have expert legal support when making a claim against a private healthcare provider. At JMW Solicitors, our medical negligence team has extensive experience in handling both NHS and private healthcare claims. We can guide you through the process, negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, and represent you in court if necessary.
If I make a medical negligence claim, will it affect my current treatment?
It is understandable to worry that making a clinical negligence claim could impact your ongoing treatment, especially if you are still receiving care from the same healthcare provider. However, your right to receive high-quality care is protected by law, regardless of whether you are making a claim.
It is illegal for a hospital, doctor or any other healthcare provider to refuse to treat you, or to treat you differently, because you have made a complaint or are pursuing a medical negligence compensation claim. This is protected under the Equality Act 2010, which prohibits discrimination on various grounds, including for exercising your legal rights.
Healthcare professionals are also bound by codes of conduct that require them to provide care based on your health needs, not on any personal issues or disputes. This means that they have a professional duty to continue providing you with the necessary care, regardless of the circumstances.
If you feel uncomfortable continuing to receive care from the same provider, you have the right to request a transfer to a different hospital or to be referred to a different doctor. Your comfort and trust in your healthcare provider are important parts of your care, and if these have been compromised, it may be in your best interest to seek care elsewhere.
If you are concerned about how your claim might affect your treatment, you can discuss this with the medical negligence team at JMW. We can provide advice and support to help you navigate this situation, and liaise with your healthcare provider on your behalf if necessary.
Will I have to appear in court as part of my medical negligence claim?
The vast majority of medical negligence claims are settled out of court, as everyone involved in your medical negligence case will be focused on resolving the case quickly and efficiently. In the unlikely event that your case does go to court, your medical negligence solicitor will prepare you thoroughly for the process. They will explain what to expect, help you understand the procedures and terminology, and guide you through each step of the process. Their goal is to make sure you feel secure and at ease.
We will represent you in court and handle most of the work. This includes presenting your case, questioning witnesses, and arguing on your behalf. While you may need to give evidence, your solicitor will support you through this process.
We understand that going to court can be emotionally challenging, which is why our medical negligence team will be there to support you. We understand the anxiety you may be feeling, and will do everything we can to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Can I make a medical negligence claim on behalf of someone else?
In certain circumstances, you can claim medical negligence compensation on behalf of someone else. This is typically allowed when the person who suffered the injury is unable to make the claim themselves, including the following circumstances:
- If the person who suffered the injury is under 18, a parent or guardian can make a claim on their behalf. The claim can be made at any time before the child's 18th birthday. After turning 18, the individual has until their 21st birthday to make a claim themselves.
- If an adult lacks the mental capacity to handle their own medical negligence claim, you can claim on their behalf. This could be due to a mental health condition, a brain injury or a developmental disorder. This person is referred to as a 'protected party'.
Those making medical negligence claims on someone else's behalf are 'litigation friends'. The litigation friend is responsible for making decisions about the legal case, and is required to act in the best interests of the person they are representing. They will work closely with solicitors who deal with medical negligence, and will need to approve any decisions about the case, including whether to accept a settlement offer.
Additionally, in cases involving a protected party, any settlement reached must be approved by the court to ensure it is in the best interests of the protected party. This includes cases involving children, even if a parent or guardian is acting as the litigation friend.
Talk to Us
If you feel you could benefit from the expertise of our medical negligence lawyers, call JMW Solicitors free on 0345 872 6666, or complete our online contact form. Our no win, no fee clinical negligence solicitors work for clients nationwide and will deal with your enquiry without any initial cost or obligation.