Can I Claim for Medical Negligence?
The NHS was founded on the ideal that good healthcare should be available to all. Funded entirely through taxation it was seen as the greatest social experiment in history.
The NHS of today is vastly different from the service outlined by Aneurin Bevan on 5th July 1948. Almost 70 years on the NHS funds an average of 340 million GP consultations and 10 million procedures a year.
It is without doubt a remarkable service.
However things do occasionally go wrong or get missed and in those rare cases lives can be ruined. If that happens to you or a family member then you may be entitled to claim for medical negligence.
Serious injury from medical (clinical) negligence can result in long term repercussions for both the individual and the family as a whole. All of which can permanently impact on quality of life, household income and education to name a few.
Make no mistake: the impact of medical negligence on a family can be severe and far reaching.
Choosing to take legal action is a big decision as there are financial implications and no small amount of stress. However, if you or a family member has been injured as a result of medical negligence then you have the right to claim for compensation.
The first step must be to seek advice from a solicitor who specialises in medical negligence claims. Although in a lot of cases the conduct of the medical professionals in question can lead to a claim, this is not always the case.
As such it is important to establish whether or not you have a strong enough case before you become too emotionally, or financially, invested in a legal battle.
You also have the option of going through the NHS complaints procedure. This process can happen in parallel to any legal action you may take and can actually prove useful to your case as it will often give you – and your solicitor – more information regarding what went wrong.
Should you decide to take make a claim for medical negligence you will need to instruct a solicitor. We strongly recommend against taking any action without legal counsel.
Whilst only 2% of all claims against the NHS go to court, your family’s long term future isn’t something to be taken lightly. As such you want to make sure you have an expert in your corner giving you the benefit of their years of experience and accumulated knowledge.
In the vast majority of cases directed at them, the NHS will be represented by NHS Resolution who keep a database of all claims made against the NHS whether they are resolved, abandoned, ongoing or pending. This will give you some insight into the success rate of your type of claim.
It is worth noting that there is a 3 year time limit to make a claim from either when the incident happened or when you first realised you had suffered an injury.
Exceptions to this are when the victim has died in which event a new 3-year period commences, the victim lacks capacity to manage their own affairs or they are under the age of 18. At the point when they turn 18 or regain their capacity the clock starts ticking.
Starting the Process
Providing your case appears strong enough a solicitor will agree to take it on.
A good solicitor will also make sure you understand the process, what you need to do, any liability for payment under a ‘No Win No Fee’ agreement and what should happen should your case be lost.
They are also there to answer your questions and help to take some of the stress away from proceedings. They’re the expert after all.
In order to build the most robust case possible it is really important to have kept all correspondence and any other records of your treatment.
You should also maintain an accurate record of any costs/expenses you have incurred resulting from the injury be it adaptations to home, travel costs or loss of earnings, etc.
The more information you have the easier it is for your solicitor to build an accurate timeline of what has happened and the impact it has had on you and your family.
If you have made a formal complaint your solicitor will need to know about that too.
Once everything has been gathered together your solicitor should be able to give you a rough idea of how much compensation you may be entitled to should your claim prove to be successful.
If you or a member of your family has suffered as the result of medical negligence the let Coles Miller help you get the compensation you deserve.
Contact our Medical Negligence team to discuss your case today.