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Medical Negligence
What Is Medical (Clinical) Negligence?

What Is Medical (Clinical) Negligence?

Medical (or clinical) negligence is when a medical professional (such as a doctor, nurse, or dentist) fails to provide an acceptable standard of care, which in turn causes a patient injury. In the UK, victims of medical negligence have the right to make a claim regarding the treatment they have received. If successful, a Claimant could be awarded compensation for the pain and suffering caused.

How Do I Make A Medical Negligence Claim?

If you would like to make a medical negligence claim, the first step is to contact a medical negligence solicitor. You will be asked questions surrounding your health and the details of your case, before being advised upon what your options are.

Should a medical negligence solicitor confirm that you do have grounds for a claim, it must be proven that a healthcare professional breached their duty of care, and that this breach caused you to suffer as a result. Each point is looked at in more detail below:-

Breach of a Duty of Care

All healthcare professionals have a duty of care towards their patients. If the treatment a patient receives falls below an acceptable standard, then it can be said a duty of care has been breached.

In court, a breach of duty of care is measured according to something called the "Bolam Test". Impartial medical experts are employed to establish whether the care provided has “fallen below the standard of a responsible body of medical men”. Thus if it is determined a medical professional failed to provide care which a responsible body would have felt necessary, then a duty of care has been breached. However, if it is verified that a medical professional followed a course of action which a responsible body of medical experts would deem to be correct, even if they are in a minority, then there will be little ground for a claim.

Causation

Furthermore, an individual making a claim must also prove the negligent treatment they received caused them injury. Such injury can be:-

  • A direct injury as a result of the negligent treatment;
  • A failure to recover from a medical condition as a result of the negligent treatment;
  • A medical condition that has been made more serious as a result of the negligent treatment.

In other words, it must be established that injury would not have occurred had the correct treatment been provided. This causal link can be difficult to prove, as there are cases in which a patient would have developed an injury despite the treatment they received. For example, if a late diagnosis of cancer is made, then it could be argued this reduced a patient's chance of recovery. However, if it is found that a timely diagnosis would have made little difference to a patient's health, then it may be difficult to make a successful claim.

How Long Do I Have To Make A Claim?

In the majority of medical negligence claims, cases must be settled within three years of the incident in question. For example, if you had surgery and a swab was retained, then you would have three years from the date which the swab was discovered to be still inside your body. The time frame in which a claim can be made is known as 'limitation', and is usually only extended in cases which involve children, those with learning difficulties, and sometimes those with mental health problems.

Can We Help You With A Medical Negligence Enquiry?

Early legal assistance can be vital so please contact us if you would like to discuss your situation. Please call us free on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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Can We Help You With A Medical Negligence Enquiry?

Early legal assistance can be vital so please contact us if you would like to discuss your situation. Please call us free on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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Testimonials

"Before we contacted you we had no real idea that we had grounds for a medical negligence claim but after speaking to you if became clear that Wendy was indeed treated poorly. Chris took the time to explain what was happening and kept us to speed. Our deepest gratitude to you all and Chris in particular."

"I would like to say a big thank you to you for making this whole process easy and relatively painless. You kept me informed throughout and you were always polite and courteous in all forms of communication. I would not hesitate to recommend you to friends and family, so a really big thank you and I wish you all the best in the future."

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