How long do you have to bring a claim for medical negligence?
In most cases, the time (known as the time limitation period) to bring forward a case for medical negligence is three years from when the negligence occurred or three years from the date you became aware that the treatment you or a loved one received was negligent, this is commonly referred to as the date of knowledge.
In the event that a child has suffered an injury as a result of negligent medical treatment, the above time limits do not apply until the child reaches their eighteenth birthday. The Limitation Period would commence upon their eighteenth birthday and the case would be deemed out of time on their twenty-first birthday.
In the event that someone sadly dies, the time limitation period would then run three years from the date of death. However, the initial case must still be within the three-year time limit on the date that person died.
There are further exceptions to this rule. For instance, if somebody lacks the mental capacity to bring forward their own claim, then the Limitation Period does not commence until that person regains capability and capacity to run their own claim
The Limitation Period can initially be difficult to understand, that is why here at Pryers we are here to offer our support and free professional advice on this matter.
How do I know if I have a medical negligence claim?
If yourself or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of a medical mistake, then you may be able to claim financial redress for the injury you have suffered and for any medical treatment you may require in future. In order to successfully bring forward a medical negligence claim a two-part legal test has to be proven:
- Firstly, we will need to show that a medical professional has made an avoidable error and that no other reasonable body of medical professionals would have acted in the same way.
- Secondly, we must then prove that this error has caused you an injury that was otherwise avoidable.
At Pryers Solicitors we have a dedicated, expert team who are here to provide you with free legal advice and guide you through the initial steps of your enquiry. Contact Pryers Solicitors, who will be able to advise you if you have a medical negligence claim.
Does proving negligence mean I will receive compensation?
If it can be proven that the treatment you received was negligent, you also have to prove that it probably caused you some further injury or prevented your recovery.
It might be that the negligent care made your injury or illness worse. It might be that it caused an entirely new injury or illness. In some cases, negligent treatment denies the patient the opportunity to make the best recovery.
How are medical negligence claims funded?
When seeking legal advice, you may have concerns about the costs involved in running a claim and how this would be funded. Pryers Solicitors offer free legal advice for all initial discussions to help us establish if we are able to assist you with a claim.
If we are able to bring forward a claim on your behalf, this would be carried out under a Conditional Fee Agreement (also known as a ‘no win, no fee agreement’). This means that if your case was unsuccessful then we would close your file and all of our legal costs would be written off – there would be absolutely no charge to yourself.
If your case is successful, then we would deduct a success fee of up to 25% from the overall general damages that you are awarded. This means we would only ever deduct a maximum of 25% from damages relating to ‘past loss’. We may also advise you to take out insurance to cover the cost of the expenses involved in investigating and conducting your claim. The cost of the insurance premium is also deducted from the damages. We would never deduct any amount of money from damages that are awarded for any losses or treatment you may require in the future.
Who can I bring a claim against?
A claim can be brought against any medical professional who owes you a medical duty of care. Commonly this may be your GP or the medical staff at a NHS Hospital, Private Hospital or Medical Clinic.
There are also other medical professionals who owe you are medical duty of care, these include; Dentists, Pharmacists, Community Nurses, Midwives, School Nurses, Prison Healthcare staff and Army/Military medical staff.
If you feel that you have not been provided with the correct medical treatment and that this has caused you an injury, then you may have a claim for medical negligence.
How long does a medical negligence claim take?
The length of time it takes to bring forward a successful claim varies vastly in cases concerning medical negligence. This is because cases of this nature are completely individual and it will entirely depend on your individual circumstances.
Firstly, if the alleged negligent party (the Defendant) does not admit fault then we will likely need to instruct medical experts to write detailed reports to comment on the treatment you have received and the injuries you have suffered.
Cases of this type are complex and require thorough investigation. Due to this cases can sometimes take several years to reach a successful outcome. However, there are exceptions to this and some cases may settle sooner or take longer.
Pryers Solicitors are specialists in medical negligence and we are dedicated to providing our clients with all of the support and assistance required to help them through the legal process. If we are able to assist you with a claim, we would keep you updated on the progress of your claim and we always strive to bring you the best possible outcome in a realistic and appropriate timeframe.
Will a claim affect my ongoing medical treatment?
A claim for medical negligence should never had any negative impact on any ongoing treatment you are receiving or may require in future. The majority of clients we help are still receiving ongoing medical treatment whilst we are investigating their claim, in almost every case this does not interfere with any ongoing operations, procedures or treatment.
If you have concerns about your treatment throughout your claim, we would encourage you to contact us directly and we would be here to advise you of your options at this stage.
Will I have to go to court if I make a Claim?
While it is possible, it is very unlikely.
According to NHS Resolution, which deals with claims against NHS Trusts, fewer than 2% of the claims brought against NHS organisations will go to court. Usually, the parties will recognise the strengths and weaknesses of their case, and their chance of winning and losing in court, and the case will settle before it gets to court.
Can you claim compensation for death due to medical or clinical negligence?
You can bring a claim for death caused by clinical negligence where you can show that the treatment the deceased received was in some way negligent, that is falling below what is considered a reasonable standard. It needs to be proven that the alleged negligence led to an outcome that was avoidable had greater care been taken. Often mistakes make no difference to the final outcome and there are many cases where things go wrong where there has not in fact been any negligence. This is a very complex area of law and each case needs to be carefully assessed on its own merits by skilled medical negligence solicitors. There is usually a 3 year time limit for bringing such claims starting from the date of death, the exception being cases where the deceased’s personal representative’s “knowledge” of the negligence occurred after the date of death.Is there support or a charity for clinical negligence victims?
Are there any medical negligence charities?
We 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.