What is a medical negligence claim? Firstly, a medical professional is negligent in the standard of care they provide. In turn, it causes a serious reduction in your quality of life. Additionally, it can mean that your career path has been altered in a negative manner.
Therefore, you may want to pursue a medical negligence claim against the medical professional who has caused this.
Proving a medical negligence claim
If you believe that a doctor or nurse is responsible, you will need to be able to prove negligence before any medical negligence compensation can be paid though. This can be challenging, as courts assess negligence in comparison to the procedures that a reasonably competent doctor would carry out, and that can be difficult to prove.
You will also need to prove that you have suffered from unnecessary injuries as a result of that negligence. This too can often be difficult to determine, although with the right advice it is often the simplest element of the process.
In this guide, we will explain how medical negligence compensation claims work, the types of compensation you may be eligible for and how long you have to make your claim.
How courts assess medical negligence claims
Firstly, your reason for making a claim will need to be established. As such, judgement on claims usually depends on the negligence factor. Deciding if you have suffered due to the negligence will also play a significant factor in this process. It can be the difference as to if you are awarded compensation and the level of compensation you receive.
In short, medical negligence is deemed to have occurred if any of the following is true:
- You were incorrectly diagnosed.
- Mistakes were made during operations and procedures.
- Incorrect medicines were given to you.
- You were not able to give informed consent before treatment started.
- Finally: you were not advised of the potential risks before starting a course of treatment.
You will only be able to claim for compensation if you can show that you received care that fell below medically acceptable standards and that the care you received has caused you to suffer from a reduced quality of life, you have incurred additional expenses due to the negligent treatment or you have suffered a loss of earnings due to the negligence.
Types of compensation
There are a number of questions to consider when it comes to assessing your type of compensation. Primarily, the amount of compensation you receive will be based on the damage you suffered, the financial losses you have incurred and the loss of quality of life. This means that you will need to be able to show the life track you were on had you not been a medical negligence victim. Additionally, you need to compare it to how your life will be moving forward as a result of the negligence.
General and Special Damages
If a court finds that there is a clear difference between the two elements, the court can potentially grant compensation covering two specific areas. These are:
- General Damages: A total sum of money that will reflect the pain or injury that you have suffered.
- Special Damages: This is compensation for the loss of earnings as a result of the negligent medical procedure. In addition, Special Damages also covers medical costs and any additional travel expenses you have incurred too.
More about special damages and lost earnings
In these instances, you will need to provide evidence of these expenses. Ergo, it is important that you keep all receipts for any costs incurred due to the medical negligence you suffered.
Furthermore, the figure can be affected if your ability to work has been affected. For example, you’re physically incapable of performing the duties of the job you were in. As a result, you had to take a lower-paying job.
Alternatively, you now require ongoing physiotherapy or other rehabilitative treatment due to the negligence you suffered. If so, you may also be able to receive further damages to cost your future loss of earnings and the cost of your ongoing treatment. Again though, you will have to provide the court with the relevant information regarding your future loss of earnings. Additionally, they’ll want to see any costs of your future care, accommodation and treatment.
How long do you have to claim?
Whenever you feel you have cause to make a legal complaint, start the process as quickly as possible. This is largely due to the need to ensure that the relevant evidence is available.
However, there is a three-year time limit for medical negligence claims. This grace period starts from the date of your medical procedure that you have to allow for. That said, this three-year deadline is not always applicable. For instance:
- if the injury happened to someone under the age of 18, or;1
- those who are mentally unstable as a result of the medical procedure or as a pre-existing condition.
How we can help with a medical negligence claim
Claiming due to medical negligence can be a long and complex process. Therefore, it is vital then that you seek the support of legal professionals. They can help you secure the level of compensation you or your family member deserves.
At The Medical Negligence Experts, we work with specialist law firms that have a lot of experience in handling medical negligence claims. This doesn’t change how negative the experience was. However, it does mean that our solicitors are the best at helping you get the maximum amount of compensation.
If you feel that you or a family member have received negligent medical treatment and would like some advice to see if you may have a claim, do not hesitate to contact The Medical Negligence Experts via the contact form on our website or by calling 0161 413 8761.
1. People who instead have up to their 21st birthday to make a claim.