Medical Negligence Solicitors

How Medical Negligence Solicitors Can Help you Recover Compensation

Only a small proportion of the millions of medical procedures conducted each year go wrong in the UK, but when they do they can have serious ramifications for the victims. Often they can result in a lifetime of care, expensive medical treatments and can seriously affect the victim´s quality of life. Medical negligence solicitors can help you to recover compensation for your injuries, and while compensation will never make up for any pain suffering and loss, it can be of vital importance to ensure that the proper treatment and care can be provided.

If you have suffered an injury when undergoing medical treatment, or a diagnosis has not been made in a suitable time frame, or you believe the level of medical care that you received was substandard, you should consult medical negligence solicitors for advice about making a claim to recover compensation for your suffering.

What is Medical Negligence?

Medical negligence is a failure in the duty of care of a medical professional to a patient, which is usually due to standard lack of skill or the inability to demonstrate that skill. The majority of cases of medical negligence taken on by UK medical negligence solicitors are for birth injuries and failed diagnoses of life changing illnesses such as cancer; however medical negligence can apply to any error which has caused a patient to suffer unduly and it is not limited to those caused by doctors and surgeons.

Medical Negligence Solicitors Medical negligence can apply to any medical practitioner, including dentists, psychiatrists, physiotherapists, nurses and health care workers. If their actions have caused a deterioration of health or an injury to be sustained, and it can be proven that the errors directly contributed to a condition or caused an injury, you may be eligible to claim compensation. You will need to be able to prove that no competent doctor would have made the same mistake under the same circumstances, and the advice and help that medical negligence solicitors provide can be invaluable when making a claim.

Medical Negligence, Clinical Negligence or Medical Malpractice?

Many people are confused by the legal terminology used to describe lapses in medical standards. Medical negligence is often referred to as clinical negligence, or even medical or clinical malpractice. Malpractice and negligence have subtle differences, which are best explained by medical negligence solicitors.

Essentially there is little difference between all of these terms and they are often used interchangeably. Medical negligence tends to be the main term used in the UK, and applies to a medical professional who has breached his or her duty of care to a patient. Medical malpractice is concerned with negligent performance of a doctor’s duties, such as a surgeon who has injured a patient during an operation, and tends to be used in the most severe cases when there has been a serious breach in standards of care.

Am I Eligible to Claim Compensation?

Compensation can be claimed when medical professionals fail in their duty of care to you as a patient, and you suffer an injury as a direct result. As long as it is possible to prove “on the balance of probabilities” that a medical professional has been negligent, and that the negligence caused or contributed to the injury you are claiming against, you have a strong chance of making a successful claim for medical negligence compensation. Contacting medical negligence solicitors for advice will allow you to quickly determine whether you have a valid claim to recover compensation for your injuries.

How Can I Make a Claim?

The first step to take when you are considering taking legal action is to seek advice from a specialist solicitor, as many personal injury solicitors lack the specific experience to deal with such claims. Medical negligence solicitors will listen to your account of how an injury has been sustained, provide an assessment of whether a claim for compensation is appropriate and guide the potential claimant through the steps which must be taken in order to initiate legal proceedings to recover compensation for any injuries.

Is It Ethical to Claim Against a Doctor Who Was Trying to Cure Me?

Medical professionals are human, and are therefore liable to make mistakes from time to time. Most of these mistakes may cause a slight delay in obtaining the proper diagnosis and starting treatment, but they usually they do not cause significant harm to a patient and are part and parcel of medicine. However when those mistakes are serious and cause significant harm, it is perfectly reasonable that medical negligence compensation should be claimed.

In almost all cases, it is an insurance policy held by the negligent party that pays out compensation, and not the medical professional personally. This is why doctors and other medical professionals are required to pay high insurance premiums, and ensures that – should an error of judgment be made – the patient concerned will be able to claim medical negligence compensation to cover the cost of treatment of their injuries.

How much do Medical Negligence Solicitors Charge?

The fees charged by medical negligence solicitors are highly variable, and are discussed on a case by case basis. The claimant will only be responsible for paying their own legal fees in the event that a claim is unsuccessful as, under UK claims law, it is the defendant who is responsible for the legal costs of the claimant if the defendant loses the case. Legal fees and disbursements are not usually deducted from the compensation award; however if a judge deems that they are excessive, he may cap the amount for which the defendant is liable and the claimant will be responsible for any shortfall.

Other costs associated with a claim include paying for the time of expert witnesses to testify against a defendant, and any court costs. These are usually the responsibility of the claimant in the event that a claim is unsuccessful but are covered by the defence if the claim is successful. Medical negligence solicitors should be asked to explain their fees in full and make clear any financial exposure that the claimant will be liable for under all outcomes.

Avoiding Medical Negligence Solicitors Costs

When a case is particularly strong, medical negligence solicitors may be able to take on a case on a conditional fee arrangement. Although “No Win No Fee” representation is usually possible with most personal injury claims, with medical negligence claims this is far less common. Cases can be complicated, the costs of legal action higher, and the case can take months or even years to resolve.

However, even if a conditional fee arrangement is not possible, a claimant may not be personally liable for costs should the claim prove to be unsuccessful. Medical negligence solicitors will discuss funding options, which may be covered by an existing insurance policy held by the claimant, or there is often the possibility of funding through the Community Legal Service fund.

How Much Medical Negligence Compensation Will I Get?

Stories of large compensation settlements for medical negligence are frequently featured in the press, with landmark cases and million pound plus settlements often front page newspaper material. However the majority of medical negligence claims escape media attention and are settled out of court for smaller sums. The value of a claim will depend on the nature of the injuries, the circumstances leading to negligence, and how any injury affects the quality of life of the claimant.

Medical negligence solicitors have a thorough working knowledge of medical claims law, and are able to calculate the value of a claim after a thorough assessment of the case. It is not unusual for medical negligence solicitors to be able to provide an approximate figure after an initial assessment of a case; however it is only when the case has been fully evaluated that the value of any claim can be accurately concluded.

What Can Be Included in Medical Negligence Claims?

Medical negligence compensation, as with any personal injury compensation claim, is paid in two separate categories. Each category is concerned with a different aspect of compensation. General damages are awarded for any physical pain and suffering caused, together with an award for damages calculated from the loss of amenity suffered. General damages can be considerable, especially with injuries sustained to children, as the loss of amenity can affect the victim for a lifetime.

The second aspect of any medical negligence claim is the special damages award. Special damages are concerned with compensating for any financial loss directly attributable to the injury. Medical negligence special damages can include any loss of income, transportation costs, future operations that may be required, and any medical care bills. If a cost can be attributed to the injury, and it can be substantiated by receipts or invoices, it can usually be added to a medical negligence claim for special damages.

How Long Do I have to Make A Compensation Claim?

Medical negligence solicitors will advise a claimant of the time limit for making a claim for compensation. Although the time limit is usually set at 3 years after the date of the injury, there are many notable exceptions. Many medical errors are not immediately discovered, and it can be several years before the first symptoms are known and attributed to medical negligence. A failure to diagnose the early stages of cancer for instance, may see the condition progress for many years before it is actually diagnosed. In such cases, it is the date of knowledge of the condition that sets clock ticking, and in the case of injuries to children, the three year time limit will start from the date of the victims eighteenth birthday.

Limitation law can be complicated, and the time limits applied will vary depending on the specifics of each case. As such it is vital that medical negligence solicitors are consulted at the earliest opportunity. Claims attempted outside of the statute of limitations will almost certainly not succeed, and a defence will call for the case to be struck and time barred.

Why Should I Use Medical Negligence Solicitors?

Even with clear cut cases of gross negligence or medical malpractice, obtaining a fair compensation settlement without the use of medical negligence solicitors is far from certain. The experience of medical negligence solicitors can be the difference between awarded a full compensation settlement and the case being unsuccessful.

Making a claim for injuries which have resulted from medical negligence are rarely simple, and it is for this reason that it is of vital important that claimants use medical negligence solicitors to pursue a claim. Many medical negligence claims pursued by individuals without the assistance of medical negligence solicitors are abandoned, and few are likely to succeed. Medical negligence solicitors can make the process of claiming shorter, and will help to reduce the stress associated with taking legal action.

Medical negligence solicitors will usually offer a free initial consultation to determine eligibility to claim, and will provide a free assessment of the strength of the case. They will advise on the likely level of compensation that can be claimed, and will explain the legal procedures in full. Our medical negligence solicitors speak in plain English, and will treat any enquiry in confidence and with compassion and empathy. Contacting medical negligence solicitors should not be a stressful experience, and is the first step you need to take to gain recompense for any injuries that you have sustained at the hands of a medical professional.