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Medical practitioners owe a duty of care
At Devonshires Claims our experienced and compassionate ‘No Win-No Fee’ medical negligence solicitors have helped hundreds of clients throughout the UK and Ireland obtain compensation as a result of negligent care or treatment provided by a nurse, GP, surgeon, consultant, anaesthetist, dentist or other healthcare practitioner.
Medical negligence compensation is also available if you have suffered avoidable harm as a result of negligence in other ways, e.g. infections, poor after care, injured in hospital or care home as a result of a fall, or as a result of negligence following elective surgery, e.g. negligent laser eye surgery or having received a faulty eye lens.
Medical practitioners owe a duty of care to a patient, and if the care or treatment falls below a standard, you could be entitled to make a compensation claim against your GP, surgeon,nurse, consultant, dentist, hospital or pharmacy. Our medical negligence claims experts have helped clients obtain significant payouts for the pain and suffering, corrective surgery or treatment required, rehabilitation costs and loss of earnings amongst other losses. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.
Common situations where medical negligence could arise
Ambulance and A & E delays
Delay or Misdiagnosis
Mistakes made before, during or after surgery
Childbirth injuries to mother or baby
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Health professionals such as GPs, consultants, surgeons, nurses, dentists and others have a duty of care to look after a patient to an acceptable medical standard.
Medical or clinical negligence occurs when a health professional provides substandard care which results in injury to the patient or causes an existing condition to get worse. Hospital negligence also occurs if the standards of the clinical environment fell below what was expected – resulting in infection such as sepsis or MRSA.
If you have sustained a serious injury resulting from medical negligence – either in the NHS or the private medical sector, you could be entitled to make a medical negligence compensation claim.
In order to bring a successful claim for clinical or medical negligence you will need to satisfy two legal tests:
- Breach of duty – In order to establish a breach of duty by a health care professional it must be shown that the medical treatment you received fell below a reasonable standard. A ‘reasonable’ standard of treatment is treatment to be expected from a reasonably competent medical professional in the specific area of medicine concerned at the time of care.
- Causation – In order to establish causation it must be shown that the breach of duty of care directly resulted in a physical or psychological injury that would not have occurred otherwise.
In addition you must prove that you have suffered a loss.
Common examples of medical negligence include:
- The late or delayed diagnosis of a medical condition
- Mistakes during an operation or treatment – either by a dentist, surgeon, anaesthetist or nurse, pre and post-surgery care
- Failure to obtain consent from a patient and / or explain the risks of surgery or treatment
- Infections acquired in hospital or poor care during a hospital stay
In 2018-2019, the NHS reported receiving 10,673 new claims of medical negligence.
If it can be proven that the health care professional or organisation acted negligently and that this negligence directly led to an injury or made an existing condition worse, you could be entitled to compensation.
To prepare a claim for medical negligence you will need to:
- Provide details on the treatment or care you received
- Provide details of dates / times of appointments of GP visits, consultations, surgery and other treatment
- Provide supporting information such as medical records and letters from your GP, consultant, surgeon, dentist etc.
Compensation is broken down into two categories called General and Special Damages
- General damages – this involves compensation relating to the pain and suffering you have sustained which is directly attributable to the harm, injury or negligence of a medical practitioner or organisation and loss of amenity. General damages can also provide compensation for the impact of the injury on your lifestyle such as the inability to participate in any activities or hobbies you once enjoyed.
General damages are calculated according to guidelines set by the Judicial College in England & Wales.
- Special damages – are awarded for any past or future financial loss. They can include:
- Loss of earnings / promotion prospects – unpaid time off work and loss of future promotion prospects and pension loss
- Past care and future care needs – a claim can also be made for the unpaid care provided by family members as well for professional care staff.
- Aids and equipment – You can also claim for equipment costs or rehabilitation to repair the damage and return to heath and also for the psychological injury or trauma resulting from the negligence.
- Future medical treatment – if the medical negligence necessitates further surgery or treatment you can make a claim for this treatment on private paying basis.
- Prosthetics – victims of medical negligence which resulted in amputations can claim for prosthetics from the private sector
- Past / future home or garden tasks – A claim can be made for employing people to help you carry out household and gardening tasks, if you no longer able to do these.
- Interest – this can be claimed on all past losses.
- Out of pocket losses – compensation may also be awarded for your travel expenses to a health practitioner or facility or follow up care – following the harm or injury sustained.
Devonshires Claims work hard to obtain the maximum compensation for you. When preparing your case and calculating the compensation you may receive, our medical claims experts will consider:
- The nature and severity of your case and the injury sustained
- The impact of the medical negligence on you and your family
- Any expenses or losses incurred
- Potential future costs of care, treatment, surgery and rehabilitation
- Loss of earnings and the impact on you and your family
Devonshires Claims medical negligence solicitors provide a no win no fee claims service. This also known as a “Conditional Fee Agreement” (CFAs).
The benefits to you are:
- No upfront costs to begin a compensation claim
- No costs to pay if your claim is not successful*
- Peace of mind knowing that we will make every effort to ensure that your compensation claim is successful
Under a conditional fee agreement, you are not charged any legal fees or costs at any time if your case is not successful*. If your case is successful we will seek to recover costs from the defendant. CFAs permit a maximum deduction of 25% from the compensation you are awarded**.
After the Event Insurance (ATE) :
When acting for our clients on a non win no fee basis, we may advise a client to take out a specialist policy called “After the Event Insurance Policy (ATE) This is usually a small cost and will protect you in the event that your claim not be successful.
Other funding options
- Before the event legal expenses insurance – you may have cover via your motor or household insurance or credit card agreements
- Trade union – you may have legal insurance as a member of a trade union
- Private funding – you pay an hourly rate for the advice provided.
Our experts will provide you with clear information on the process and keep you informed throughout your case.
The time limit is three years from the date of the injury.
Exceptions to the 3 year time limit:
The exception to this limit is if you are claiming compensation on behalf of a child. You can make a medical negligence claim on behalf of a child at any point until they are 18. Once they turn 18, the individual then has 3 years within which to make a claim themselves.
Lack of mental capacity:
A child or adult without capacity to run a claim, may not have a time limit within which to bring a claim. We recommend that you contact Devonshires Claims if you have any queries involving those who lack capacity and our specialist solicitors will be able to assist.
- You will need to gather all the relevant information: nature of condition, the nature of the injury, any correspondence from your GP, consultant, surgeon, primary health care centre, nurse or dentist.
- Contact a medical negligence claims expert such as Devonshires Claims.
- Your medical negligence solicitor will review your case and may request more information in order to improve your chances of winning your claim and obtaining a satisfactory compensation payment.
- The solicitor may request witness statements from other individuals eg family members.
- Your solicitor may ask a medical expert to review your case in order to determine if your care fell below the level expected from a medical practitioner.
- The solicitor will contact the individuals or institution involved and ask them to accept responsibility for the injury sustained. If liability is accepted, your solicitor may request interim compensation to help you with any current expenses such as medical care or equipment.
- If liability is not accepted, then the medical negligence solicitor will consider why, and if appropriate, instigate court proceedings. Your claim may then potentially be taken to trial.
Devonshires Claims medical negligence solicitors take the stress out of making a compensation claim.
Why choose us to represent you?
- We will move your case forward and keep your informed
- We have access to a network of medical experts and specialised barristers so that your case receives the best support
- We work hard to secure maximum compensation for our clients
- We operate on a no win no fee basis.
The majority of medical negligence cases are settled out of court. According to an NHS report, 69.6% of claims in 2017 – 18 were settled out of court, with 29.7 % of cases beginning proceedings and only 0.8% going to trial.
If your case reaches trial, then the following is likely to occur:
- You will be called as a witness to give evidence
- Your experts and other witnesses will also be called to give evidence
- The defence witnesses will also be called to give evidence
If your medical negligence case reaches trial we will keep you informed on the process.
Because every case is unique there is no defined period within which a medical negligence case will be settled. On average standard cases can take between 2 and 3 years to settle while larger and more complex cases can take longer, with claims involving children sometimes taking more than 10 years.
If liability is admitted in may be possible to obtain an interim payment before your case is concluded.
Devonshires Claims will advise you on the best approach to take with regard to medical negligence compensation claims..
There are situations where it is advisable to wait before accepting a settlement figure. The reasons for this are:
- You may not be fully aware of the extent of your injuries and the care required. Once you are in a clearer position and have evaluated your future requirements, you will be in a better position to determine what a fair settlement is.
- You will not be able to make another claim for additional expenses if you find that the compensation is not able to cover your needs and requirements.
Medical negligence claims made against the NHS will not only highlight the nature and extent of your injury but it may help prevent it happening to other patients. The compensation awarded to you will:
- Acknowledge the injury that you sustained
- Highlight errors or negligent care for the benefit other patients
- Provide financial compensation for the poor treatment received
- Provide financial compensation for any further care, treatment, rehabilitation, carers, aid devices or prosthetics required
When making a claim against an NHS GP, nurse or hospital you will be making a claim against the NHS trust.
You can make a medical negligence compensation claim against a private clinician, such as a GP or Dentist, or a private medical facility such as a private hospital or laser eye surgery hospital or clinic.
Parents or guardians may bring a medical negligence claim on behalf of a child.
Devonshires Claims have obtained compensation for many children including those affected by Cerebral Palsy, Erb’s Palsy and birth defects.
It is possible to bring a claim on behalf of their estate.
In order to instruct us to act in this situation you will need a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. In order to bring a claim, there must be a right to such damages by the Estate or Dependants of the deceased, to get more information we would suggest that you get in touch with our experts.