What you need to know before making a medical negligence claim

Medical negligence is something you might have heard on TV adverts where they talk about no win no fee claims, or you might know someone personally who has experienced medical negligence and needs to make a claim.

Unfortunately, I understand how damaging medical negligence can be after my sister experienced it. After giving birth to my nephew she developed gallstones and had an operation to remove her gallbladder, unfortunately, one of the gallstones was missed and made it’s way to her bile duct where it caused damage resulting in a condition called Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction. Since developing this condition over 9 years ago she has been in and out of the hospital on numerous occasions, usually for a week or more at a time. She has also undergone a major operation and had to endure several exploratory operations. It’s a lifelong condition and there’s no treatment to fix it, only some treatments that can offer a little relief, sadly she is always in pain as a result and is prone to infections. After 9 years she is only now being referred to a specialist in London who will hopefully have a few other treatment options she can try to help ease her pain and increase her quality of life.

If you have experienced medical negligence and you’re considering bringing a claim against the establishment then there are a few things you will need to know. Below I have answered some of the most common questions you might have if you are looking to make a medical negligence claim.

What is medical negligence?

The term medical negligence is used to describe a medical professional who’s treatment falls below the expected level and can result in injury or illness.

There are a few different things that can amount to medical negligence, these include but are not limited to;

  • A mistake during surgery
  • Incorrect medical
  • An incorrect diagnosis or a delay in diagnosis
  • Failure to transfer a patients care when needed
  • Providing incorrect advice or not providing advice on potential risk

Is it possible to make a claim against a private professional?

Making a claim is not limited to the NHS, you can bring a claim against any medical professional who has been negligent, this includes private healthcare providers, the NHS, cosmetic clinics and dental surgeries.

Is there a time limit?

Yes. A medical negligence claim must be started within 3 years of the incident or within 3 years of becoming aware of the negligent act.

If the person who suffered medical negligence is a child then the time frame is different. Parents can raise a claim on behalf of their children or a child can raise a claim from their 18th birthday to their 21st birthday.

Where can I find a solicitor?

The first thing you should do is find a solicitor that specialises in medical negligence. When choosing your solicitor you should make sure you do your research into the company they work for and read any reviews left by others who have used their service. It’s important to ensure you select a specialist in the medical negligence field and not someone who has simply dealt with a few small cases as this could hamper your chances of a successful claim.

Am I entitled to compensation?

If you, your child or a family member has experienced medical negligence that has resulted in injury then you could have a valid claim. Not every small error is classed as negligence so it’s important to speak to a solicitor in the medical negligence field to check if you have a valid claim.

You don’t have to make a claim, that’s entirely your choice. If you have been affected by medical negligence then it’s possible you have a could make a claim but that doesn’t mean you have to pursue it unless you want to. How someone’s life is affected by medical negligence can vary drastically and some people can have lifelong difficulties as a result.

Will it go to trial?

Many medical negligence cases don’t reach trial and are settled before this stage if the defence makes an offer which you agree to accept. Although a trial is a possibility, you will be guided through this process by your solicitor so it’s not something you should worry about and they will be happy to answer any questions you might have about the process.

Please note I am not a lawyer and have written this article through personal experience and research to hopefully help answer some common medical negligence questions. Please contact a solicitor who specialises in medical negligence if you have any queries regarding a claim you wish to pursue, they will be able to advise you further.


*This is a collaborative post.

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