How Long Does it Take to Make a Medical Negligence Claim?

medical negligence claim timeLegal matters are always viewed as a lengthy process, and that is especially true when it comes to cases that involve medical negligence. These cases can be very complex and will require the specialist knowledge of a solicitor who has experience in this field. The potential wait for a resolution can be frustrating, but there are some clear timescales which can act as a general guide when you’re trying to find out just how long you might have to wait before you receive compensation. The general rule of thumb is:

  • 18 months to Two Years: This is often a best-case scenario, and will be the timescale to anticipate for the more straightforward cases that the medical professional or group does not contest.
  • Three to Four Years: If your case necessitates going to court, then the process is going to take longer.
  • Five to Six Years: If you are suing for medical negligence, you may find that the details can become very complicated very quickly. There will be longer to wait the more complex a case is, and that time will only get longer if the claim is contested.

It’s important to remember that you should not let timescales put you off making a claim if you believe that you suffered from medical negligence. In many cases, the dispute is not contested, and by the defendant accepting liability early, you will reach a conclusion much faster.

How does the Process Work?

There are typically six stages to the process of making a medical negligence claim. The time that you have to wait until you receive any compensation will depend on each of these stages. They are:

One: Your solicitor will contact the relevant health authority or GP surgery. They will request your medical records, and this can take up to 40 days to receive.

Two: Next, your solicitor will then go through your records and look for any evidence that you received any level of substandard care. This can be a lengthy part of the proceedings, and depending on the complexity of the case and how many specialists are involved, can take between three and four months.

Three: Once this has been completed, a Letter of Claim will be sent to the relevant medical facilities. Legally, they have up to four months to respond to this letter, although this can be stretched out in order to allow those defending to build their case.

Four: At this point, you will need to be examined. Your health will be assessed, and this too can take some time to complete. The more issues that you are having due to medical negligence, the longer it will take. This is because you may need a range of specialists to check you over.

Five: There are two potential outcomes after your examination. The first is that the defendant accepts liability. In these cases, your solicitor will ask for an offer of compensation. There will usually be some back and forth as the overall amount is revised. It’s worth noting that the majority of medical negligence claims will end at this stage. However, in some instances, the defendant will not accept liability. In those situations, your case will first go to civil court, and then (if the situation has still not been resolved) to trial.

Six: Should you win your case, you will then receive your medical compensation. The court will specify the amount and the time that it will need to be paid by.


It may seem as if this is a long time to wait. Remember that your ongoing costs will all be addressed throughout your claim, and if you retain the services of a no win no fee medical negligence solicitor, then costs will not usually be an issue throughout the process. Medical negligence claims are common, and if your life has been negatively affected by poor health care or treatment, then it’s vital that you contact legal experts as quickly as possible.