Medical negligence occurs when a patient receives substandard care from a medical professional which unfortunately causes an injury, makes an existing condition worse or prevents a better recovery. Medical negligence can take many forms. This could include, but isn’t limited to, misdiagnosis, failure to advise of treatment options, failing to warn of risks, incorrect treatments or surgical mistakes (for more information visit our medical negligence page).
If you look at medical negligence from the outside it looks very complicated and this can sometimes put people off seeking the compensation that they deserve, but at Pryers our role is to make the whole process a lot smoother. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask one of our experts who will provide you with the information you need.
What support to expect when making a medical negligence claim
Headed by Neil Fearn and founded by Ian Pryer, Pryers work to ensure that our clients, no matter what sort of medical negligence claim they might have, get the compensation that they deserve. To ensure you get the compensation you deserve, we have a team of medical negligence solicitors with experience of claims in every area of medicine, so no matter how complex or unusual your case might be, we’re able to restore the balance and get the compensation you deserve.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of medical negligence, then you have the right to seek compensation. The following are some examples of what medical negligence could be:
- Incorrect diagnosis
- Delayed diagnosis
- Failing to advise of treatment options or warn of risks
- Incorrect medication, treatment, prescriptions etc
- Failure to refer the patient to a specialist
- Errors during surgery
We have decades of experience to ensure that no matter what your claim, our specialists can help you.
How to claim for medical negligence
All medical professionals have a duty of care when performing any medical task, but if you believe they fell below the standards of other professionals, a claim could be made. There’s a well-established test to determine whether or not the doctor breached their duty of care and if they’ve failed to reach the standards set by other practitioners within that field.
Whether the professional is providing treatment, surgery, diagnosis or advice, you’re entitled to a certain level of care.
As well as proving that the healthcare provider has failed to provide an adequate level of care, the claimant must be able to establish that the negligence has directly caused the injury that they have suffered. This can be difficult to demonstrate; but if the error cannot be proven to have caused your injuries, you will be unable to claim any compensation.
If you are able to prove that there was a breach of the duty of care and that the injury you received was probably due to the professional’s negligence, then a claim can be made. You’ll be able to claim damages whether you have had sustained a physical or psychiatric injury.
In addition to compensation for pain and suffering, damages can be awarded for such losses as:
- Earnings and pension
- Care and assistance, whether provided by professional carers or by family and friends
- The cost of any private treatment, such as physiotherapy, remedial surgery
- Transport and travelling expenses
Basic medical negligence information you may need to know
Before you begin making a medical negligence claim there are a few basics you should know:
- Medical negligence time limits
If you have been a victim of medical negligence, the claim should be made within three years of you becoming aware of the issue which is normally when the negligence occurred, but could be later if your injury occurred later, or if you couldn’t be expected to have realised that you had suffered injury through a medical error.
Children’s time limits start to run on their 18th birthday, so they have until their 21st birthday to bring their claim. In the case of a patient who lacks the mental capacity to instruct solicitors, their time limit only starts to run from when they regain capacity.
If possible, it is best to approach a solicitor well before the end of the three-year period as it provides them with the time needed to investigate the claim. It is not enough to merely instruct a solicitor within the time limit; court proceedings must be started and often substantial investigations are required first.
- Find a solicitor as soon as possible
The first thing you should do if you’ve suffered an injury through a medical mistake is to find a firm of medical negligence solicitors who are experienced and knowledgeable in the area.
We have a hugely experienced team of professionals who always strive to get the compensation that you deserve. View some of our success stories here. We will tell you whether or not you have a viable claim or not, and if so, we will guide you through the next steps.
- It’s not just about the NHS
All health professionals are accountable for their mistakes, whether they’re in the NHS or not. Those outside the NHS will be insured for negligence claims. Claims can be brought against private physiotherapists, surgeons, doctors, dentists, chiropractors, podiatrists, anyone who provides any form of medical or dental treatment.
- Funding your claim
Unfortunately, Legal Aid for negligence claims can only be used in very limited circumstances. However, most claimants can use the no win no fee agreement we offer at Pryers, which states that if your claim is not successful, you don’t have to pay a penny, so there’s nothing to lose.
The compensation you will receive will depend entirely on the severity of the injury caused and could be anything from a few thousand pounds to many millions.
- You won’t necessarily go to trial
The vast majority of medical negligence cases are settled without having to go to court. This is usually because a defendant makes an offer of compensation that accounts for the injury sustained, the financial losses incurred and the risk that the case might fail. However, as any case could possibly end up in court, your case will be prepared on that basis so that the defendant knows that if they don’t settle the case, it will end up before a judge.
- How long it could take
This depends entirely on the type of medical negligence case brought, the amount of evidence, the type of evidence required and the defendant’s response to it. However, most cases are resolved in between eighteen months and three years.
- A medical witness will be needed
Medical negligence cases are different from most other types of claims because they are reliant on independent medical expert witnesses to provide opinions as to whether the treatment was negligent and, if so, whether the negligent mistake probably caused further injury. Pryers work with a large network of reliable and experienced medical experts in all fields of medicine. These experts are entirely impartial and unafraid of criticising other healthcare providers in their field. There is no issue of “closing ranks” or sticking up for colleagues.
We also work with three charities that can help victims of clinical negligence. Action Against Medical Accidents (AvMA) is a charity that provides patients affected by medical negligence with support including free confidential advice, support and information. Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) is the leading national user-led spinal cord injuries charity who provide support for rebuilding your life after such an injury. Headway provides support for people who have suffered a brain injury to regain their quality of life through rehabilitation programmes, carer support, social re-integration, community outreach and respite care.
If you believe that you have been a victim of medical negligence then contact one of our expert advisors who will be able to provide the information you need to see whether or not you have solid grounds for compensation.
We have a huge team of professional medical negligence solicitors who are experts in a vast number of areas to ensure that your medical negligence case will have the best chance of succeeding and receiving the compensation you deserve.