Medical Negligence Compensation FAQs
How can I tell if Medical Negligence has happened?
If you think you may have a medical negligence compensation claim it can be hard to be sure. We all know the NHS is chronically underfunded and short staffed. So for example is it perhaps understandable that Mum wasn’t seen all day by any hospital staff? Even though she was desperate for water? Maybe a child wasn’t seen in A&E for eight hours. Is that just how it is these days?
We are specialist medical negligence lawyers and we will go through any concerns you may have. We will advise whether clinical negligence has taken place. So don’t be put off contacting us just because you think you might not have a case for clinical neglect compensation. We don’t mind at all, and we should be able to tell quite quickly whether you have a case for clinical neglect.
Will my Medical Negligence claim affect my future care?
You clinical negligence claim will be against the hospital if it’s NHS, or the insurer if it’s a GP or private clinician. The individual who was negligent, for example a Doctor or a Nurse, is not sued. Making a claim does not automatically mean they will lose their job, or even receive any disciplinary proceedings. It is down to how severe the neglect was and whether any criminal offence has taken place. Whatever consequences the individual health worker faces is down to their employer and is an entirely separate matter from your claim for compensation.
Isn’t it wrong to sue the NHS for medical negligence, don’t they have enough trouble already?
In our experience no-one decides to sue for medical negligence lightly, in fact many victims are quite reluctant to do so. There are two important considerations here. Firstly compensation is often needed to allow the victim to return their life to something like it was before the negligence took place. In other words they have little choice as money needs to be found to meet the challenges they now have to face as a result of the negligence. Secondly a strong motivation for many victims of clinical negligence is that they don’t want this to happen to anyone else in the future. By making the hospital or medical organisation know what happened, and making them face real consequences, they are more inclined to carry out a proper investigation which may result in new procedures and checks being put in place.
If I sue for medical negligence will I have to go to court?
Many people are understandably anxious about going to court and are put off making a claim by this thought. In fact only a small amount of cases end up in court. It’s usually cases of a particularly complex nature or where liability cannot be agreed that end up in court. Most cases are settled outside court by both sides agreeing to liability and settlement. If your case does have to go to court we will be with you every step of the way and ensure you are fully prepared and supported throughout.
How quickly do you have to make a claim for clinical negligence?
Under normal circumstances a claim for medical negligence has to be made within 3 years after the negligence.
However there are exception:
- If you only become aware of the negligence at a later date, after the actual negligence took place. Here the limit of three years can start from the time you became aware of your injury, or realised it may have been caused by neglect.
- When a child suffers clinical neglect. The deadline is their 21st birthday no matter how much earlier the neglect took place.
- For an adult patient without the mental capacity to make a claim at the time of the incident. The 3 year limit only starts when their mental capacity recovers. If their capacity doesn’t recover then there is no limit to the time a claim can be made.
However it is important that you act as soon as possible in all cases. This is because as time passes it gets harder and harder to remember all the important details. Most importantly this applies not just to you but also to any witnesses who may be crucial in proving negligence occurred. Furthermore people move on. This means the process of contacting witnesses and other key people can become very difficult, even impossible, if it is left too long.
How much medical negligence compensation can I expect to receive?
There is no straightforward answer to the amount you may expect to be paid in a clinical compensation claim. There are so many different factors to each case that each case is virtually unique. So we recommend you talk as soon as possible to one of our specialist lawyers. They will in turn usually consult a medical expert in the relevant field. It is only then that they can begin to assess the likely level of compensation. This means that it is virtually impossible to make an assessment in the early stages of a case.
For more information
Please feel free to contact Adam Law Solicitors if you have any questions or would like to discuss any concerns about the treatment you or a loved one have received. You can also see our page on clinical and medical negligence.