For the most part, healthcare professionals like doctors and nurses deliver high-quality and reliable medical care. However, mistakes can happen, and you must know what to do when something goes wrong. There are more than 10,000 clinical negligence claims reported to the NHS every year according to recent statistics.
If you believe that you have been the victim of medical negligence, then you must act quickly and seek professional legal advice. Medical negligence claims can seem complex, here are 7 things you need to know about medical negligence:
Medical negligence claims must be brought within 3 years
The general rule is that medical negligence claims must be brought within 3 years of the alleged negligence. Often, this is when the negligence occurred e.g. following medical treatment, but this is not always the case. There are some exceptions to this rule e.g. if the patient was under the age of 18 at the time of the alleged negligence, but expectations are rare. If you suspect medical negligence, then you must not delay bringing a claim and should contact specialist lawyers at the earliest opportunity.
You can bring a claim against any health practitioner
Medical negligence claims don’t have to be brought against NHS doctors. Any and all healthcare professionals will be held accountable if there is proof of negligence. This includes private clinics, nurses, dentists, cosmetic surgeons, and so on.
You can claim compensation for various losses
If you have been injured as a result of negligent medical care, then you may be eligible to claim for various losses. Compensation can be claimed for treatment costs to improve your physical and psychological health and to compensate for pain and suffering caused by injuries.
You can also claim for financial losses that are a direct result of the negligence. This may include unpaid leave from work, adaptions to your home, or medical equipment. You can claim for both past and future losses. The purpose of compensation is to restore you to the same quality of life you had before the negligence happened or to make things easier for you financially if this is not possible.
You will need physical proof and evidence
It is very unlikely that your claim will be successful if you don’t have physical evidence of your injury and losses. For instance, you will need to show valid receipts to claim for medical expenses and bank statements to show lost earnings. This is why you must keep a detailed record of all losses and expenses.
Most claims are settled before trial
Many victims of medical negligence are hesitant to bring a claim as they don’t want to attend a trial or speak in court. You will be pleased to know that the majority of medical negligence claims are settled before they make it to trial. Your solicitor will do everything they can to settle the claim before it goes to a full trial while ensuring a fair settlement offer. However, you should be prepared that the claim may go to trial if a financial settlement cannot be agreed upon. In this situation, your solicitor will talk you through what to expect and help you prepare for the trial.
Medical negligence claims can be lengthy
Some medical negligence claims are settled quickly. However, you should expect your claim to take between 18 months and three years to settle. This time frame may be longer if your claim is complex or you are claiming a higher amount of compensation. It takes solicitors time to collect all of the evidence needed to bring a successful medical negligence claim. You must be prepared for this and be patient when it comes to the claims process.
You will need to attend a medical examination
When you bring a medical negligence claim, you will need to attend an examination with a medical specialist. They will examine you and write a report detailing the extent of your injuries. The medical report is a vital component used to calculate your compensation. In some cases, you may need to attend multiple medical examinations e.g. if you are claiming for both physical and psychological injuries.
Understanding what constitutes medical negligence will help you identify malpractice and act quickly to recover losses. If you suspect that you have been a victim of medical negligence, then you should contact specialists for legal advice straight away and start the claims process.