How Long Before I Get My Medical Negligence Compensation?29th Jan 2019
Recovering damages from your GP or hospital can take several years because so much expert medical evidence is needed.
But in the meantime you will almost certainly need rapid treatment and care.
The solution is to obtain an initial payout while your No Win No Fee claim is being settled. This is called an interim payment.
How To Claim Interim Damages For Medical Negligence
Our solicitors have a strong track record in obtaining interim payments while cases are progressing. Five key factors are needed to make this happen:
- breach (of duty of care) – first we must prove that the clinicians involved acted in a way that no responsible body of competent doctors would consider acceptable
- causation – the treatment you received made your condition worse than if you had been treated correctly
- significant injury – the injuries you suffered as a result of the negligence are having a major impact on your physical or mental health
- you are likely to win your case
- you are likely be awarded a significant sum in compensation.
All these points are important – not just one or two. To obtain interim compensation, you need to satisfy all five criteria.
How We Helped One Client To Claim Interim Compensation
We were recently able to obtain £50,000 as an interim payment for a young local man following negligent medical treatment.
The £50,000 interim payment is a significant advance on what is likely to be a final award of substantial damages.
Why Defendants Should Pay Interim Damages
No defendant wants to pay damages – not even the NHS in its collective duty of care to us all.
The NHS may be regarded as a much-loved national treasure but we know from decades of experience that its trusts can be very defensive when dealing with medical negligence victims.
So how can a trust be persuaded that it is in its best interests to pay you interim damages? The answer is simple – to reduce its final bill.
The sooner you can be treated, the faster you will recover…and the sooner you can return to paid employment and the less care you will need over the following months and years.
That will reduce the overall claim for lost earnings and the cost of long-term treatment you will need and ultimately the amount that the NHS will need to pay out.
What If The Defendant Won’t Admit Liability?
Most medical negligence cases never go to court; they are settled in advance.
But sometimes a defendant refuses to settle and attempts to fight the claim in court. Interim compensation has a role to play in these cases too.
You can apply to the court for interim damages if:
- you have a strong case – you have obtained judgement or are likely to win at any trial
- the resulting compensation sum is likely to be significant.
- You must satisfy both these points for an interim damages application to succeed.
Why Do Medical Negligence Cases Take Years?
As stated above, cases can take several years because of the sheer volume and complexity of the evidence involved.
First our solicitors will need breach and causation reports to confirm the clinicians who treated you were negligent and that additional injury resulted.
Then we will need condition and prognosis reports to ascertain your present state of health and what the future holds in terms of any recovery or permanent symptoms.
It can take a great deal of time to obtain the necessary reports from the medical experts. That is because they are done one after the other, rather than all at the same time. It would be unwise to fund many simultaneous reports if a case were to fail at an early stage or certain aspects of injury were to be proved not to be related to the negligent treatment.
Further reports will be required if more medical evidence is needed to back up your case. Cauda Equina Syndrome claims are a prime example of this (find out more here).
To support a Cauda Equina case, we may need evidence from a GP, a neurosurgeon, a urologist, an orthopaedic surgeon, a psychiatrist and an occupational therapist because of the nature of the symptoms involved.
Even the simplest clinical negligence case can take 18 months to two years to settle. More complex cases can take three years, sometimes as long as five years in rare instances. This is why obtaining interim compensation can be so valuable.
Claim Compensation No Win, No Fee – Book A Free Chat
Coles Miller handles all medical negligence claims on a No Win No Fee basis – so there is no financial risk to you.