Millions of us undergo treatment at the doctors, dentist or a hospital every year and the risks of suffering a medical negligence error is ever increasing. In fact, the latest statistics published by the NHS Litigation Authority stated that in 2016-17, over 17,300 claims arose from various forms of medical negligence .
Our team at The Medical Negligence Experts speak to a number of customers every day that have suffered due to poor treatment or a medical mistake by a healthcare professional. Some of these medical negligence cases are completely unforeseen by both parties while other cases could potentially have been avoided if best practices were applied, therefore we have decided to outline the best ways to protect yourself in the event of negligence or even prevent it before it happens:
- Consent Forms
If you are undergoing a surgical procedure whether it be minor or major, you should be presented with a consent form that details the risks involved. Be sure to read the details of the consent form very carefully and do not get pressured into signing it unless you are completely comfortable. If there is something you do not understand ask for an explanation from the person carrying out the procedure and if there is something you are really not comfortable with it might be best to weigh up the situation. I.e. If the procedure is minor and purely for cosmetic reasons, is it worth taking the risk?
We sometimes don’t have any other choice but to take the word of a doctor or health professional when being diagnosed but you are also well within your right to question their opinion. Ask them for a clear explanation of your diagnosis and why exactly they have diagnosed you with it. The risk of misdiagnosis ties in closely with being prescribed the wrong medication; if you are misdiagnosed then it is likely you have been given the wrong treatment, which can lead to further issues or complications. If you are still not entirely convinced by your diagnosis seek a second opinion.
- Keeping Records
It is always advisable to keep a copy of any consent forms you may have signed or any medical appointment cards that you have been given in the event you wish to pursue the legal route. If you sustained any physical, visible injuries then it is best to take pictures which adds weight to your case. If you have made a formal complaint, keep a copy of your letter and any response that you receive.
- PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service)
If you have been a victim of medical negligence it is best to make a formal complaint to the NHS PALS. This is the starting point for most solicitors as they will want to see the responses you may have received and if a mistake has been acknowledged. PALS will guide you through the complaints procedure and until you instruct a solicitor will be your point of contact in dealing with the medical negligence complaint. More information about PALS can be found here .
- Time Limits
Every medical negligence case is different and has to be assessed on their own individual merits by our legal team. However, one thing that is the same in all cases is the time you have to bring a claim once the negligence has occurred. You usually have 3 years to make a claim from when your injury has been linked to the negligence. We understand that any form of medical negligence can be very traumatic, but it is in your best interests to pursue a claim as soon as you can – once the negligence has been identified.
- Be Consistent
When bringing a claim, you will be asked about the details of treatment and what exactly happened; however, to get the right paperwork in order a solicitor may ask you what happened on a few different occasions. It is very important to try and stick to your version of events as best as possible, your solicitor will understand if you forget the odd fact or bit of information as you have most likely been through a traumatic event – but changing your story completely could mean the case fails.
- Instruct a Specialist Medical Negligence Solicitor
Due to the complex nature of medical negligence cases, you will need to speak with an expert solicitor who has experience in dealing with these types of cases. Less than 2% of clinical negligence cases go to trial  and securing a good solicitor will most likely reduce these odds further – achieving a settlement before the case gets to court. The Medical Negligence Experts work with some of the best medical negligence solicitors in the country and can make sure our case is in safe hands if you are looking to pursue a claim.
If you have suffered due to medical negligence, we may be able to help you make a compensation claim. You can reach us today for a free initial chat on 0808 274 0714 or we can call you back at a time that suits you by filling in our contact form here.
 NHS reveals latest Clinical Negligence claims stats
 What is PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service)? https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/nhs-services-and-treatments/what-is-pals-patient-advice-and-liaison-service/
 Clinical negligence in the NHS – taking legal action https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/health/nhs-and-social-care-complaints/complaining-about-the-nhs/taking-your-complaint-against-the-nhs-to-court/clinical-negligence-in-the-nhs-taking-legal-action/