What is Clinical Negligence?
Clinical negligence, also known as medical negligence, refers to cases where a person is injured or falls ill due to the improper care of a doctor, nurse, cosmetic surgeon, dentist or another medical practitioner, either, private or and NHS. It includes:
- Misdiagnosis or failed diagnosis that has resulted in a medical issue worsening
- Inappropriate courses of treatment for your medical issue that have resulted in it getting worse
- Lack of proper procedures on the part of your medical professional during treatment causing further injury or illness that could have been prevented
- Lack of proper advice from your medical professional prior to treatment resulting in poor decisions or inappropriate treatments.
For a claim to be eligible, you would need to demonstrate that:
- You had been a patient/client of the medical practitioner(s)
- The medical practitioner(s) neglected their duty of care towards you
- Their negligence caused or contributed to your illness or injury
Not being satisfied with the results of treatment – particularly in the case of cosmetic procedures – is not cause for a clinical negligence claim.
What Does Clinical Negligence Compensation Cover?
If you have suffered as a result of medical malpractice, you may be eligible for compensation. Your settlement amount will cover a variety of different things:
- Physical suffering, including pain, wounds, illness etc.
- Emotional suffering such as trauma and lasting psychological damage
- Loss of earnings if you’ve been forced to take time off work
- The cost of further medical treatment required to rectify the situation
- Other costs directly arising from the instance of clinical negligence such as transport costs or adjustments to your home
Our expert team at Jefferies Solicitors will be able to advise you as to the eligibility of your case as well as what you could claim for.
How Much Compensation Will I Receive For Clinical Negligence?
Every case is different, so the amount you receive will depend on your particular circumstances. Your solicitors will take into account the severity of your illness or injury and its outcome, the amount of earnings lost, other costs and the wider impact that the incident has had on you and your loved ones.
It is important to remember that you can claim compensation for medical negligence when things go wrong with your medical treatment, whether you receive that treatment from a doctor, dentist, surgeon or nurse as long as it can be proved that the treatment was negligent. Negligent care is that which is below the generally accepted standard. It is also important to remember that the level of medical or clinical care expected will be the same regardless of whether you have been treated by the NHS or a private doctor or hospital.
If you or a member of your family has suffered as the result of medical malpractice then it is your/their right to claim against the responsible party for the damage, pain and suffering endured. The size of the compensation fee will be determined largely, by the severity of the physical and/or psychological consequences experienced and any financial shortfalls sustained.
How can Jefferies Solicitors help?
Because clinical negligence can have devastating effects, you need a team of solicitors with years of experience to fight your case and ensure you’re awarded the compensation you deserve. For decades, the lawyers at Jefferies have worked on all types of cases in this area. They will be able to advise you through the whole process with their no win, no fee promise.
Call us today on 0800 342 3206 or fill in our online enquiry form and one of our team will contact you as soon as possible.
What Counts As Clinical Or Medical Negligence?
Clinical or medical negligence and medical malpractice relate to the same thing; when insufficient or inadequate care has been given from a health care professional to a patient, resulting in an injury or death.
Medical professionals may include:
- Doctors and GPs
There is an inexhaustible list of different medical conditions and situations where medical negligence can occur, even minor injuries should not be ruled out for seeking compensation. Most cases will come under the categories of poor or incorrect surgical procedures, incorrect or non-existent diagnosis of a condition, the wrong dosage for medication or use of the wrong type of medication.
These instances of clinical negligence may be broken down further and recognised in the following scenarios:
- Cosmetic procedures not being carried out correctly
- Birth injuries causing cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy or other conditions
- Neglect in any type of surgery
- Situations giving rise to MRSA or other infections
- Cancer care neglect
- Specific orthopaedic, gynaecological or paediatric negligence
- Ineffective anaesthetic
- Spinal, head and eye injuries
- Poor psychiatric care
- Community healthcare
Unfortunately, clinical negligence occurs on a daily basis in both NHS and privately managed organisations, with a whole host of different circumstances leading to accidents and injuries. In 2010, the National Health Service Litigation Authority (NHSLA) revealed that the NHS received 6,652 clinical negligence claims worth £787 million in 2009/2010. If your treatment was carried out in an NHS hospital then any legal action will see the NHS Trust or the NHSLA take responsibility for the proposed damage. If your treatment has been carried out in a private hospital, then responsibility can lie in different places; some staff will be employed directly by the hospital and therefore insured by the hospital, whereas others will be self-employed and have their own insurance.
If you have suffered an injury as a result of negligent medical treatment you may have a right to compensation.
Choosing The Right Legal Team
Because this is a highly specialist area, it is important that you contact a solicitor with specific experience in this field. The team at Jefferies Solicitors are experts in dealing with clinical negligence cases and are members of Headway and The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers.
When Can You Make Your Claim?
If you have suffered an injury because of medical malpractice within the last 3 years then you may be able to recover damages. A claim for compensation must be commenced at Court within three years of the event causing the injury if the matter is not settled at that point. Legal action will become statute barred if this time limit is exceeded however there are some exceptions to this rule:
- In claims for children – the three-year period does not start running until the child is eighteen.
- In clinical negligence cases, the three-year period begins to run from the date when you first had knowledge that your injury was caused by the malpractice of the medical practitioner.
- For people who suffer from mental incapacity, the time will only start to run if they gain capacity.
What Can You Make A Clinical Negligence Compensation Claim For?
Compensation may cover things such as:
- Loss of past and future income
- The cost of care
- Medical expenses and prescriptions
- Compensation for pain and suffering
- Loss of amenity
- Reduced employment prospects
- Legal expenses
How Much Compensation For Medical Negligence?
As with other types of personal injury claims, there are key considerations to make:
- The impact of the injury on the victim’s life
- Special damages which include past and future financial losses
Case law draws on legal outcomes of previous similar cases and such information will be deliberated when working out how much compensation needs to be awarded. Financial loss equates to anything paid out as a result of an injury. Buying certain equipment to help with mobility such as a wheelchair or a hoist will be added to this equation as well as any loss of earnings or care provided, now or in the future. E.g. a care home.
What compensation figure will I receive?
The aim of compensation for medical negligence is to put an individual in the same set of financial circumstances he/she was in prior to the accident causing the injury; it also aims to recompense for any suffering. Figures are therefore heavily dependent on the facts of a case and difficult to predict. Past cases have begun with small figure settlements in the thousands whereas some, albeit on rare occasions, have received 7 figure settlements.
A recent case involving breast surgery gone wrong at a Barnsley Hospital between 2005 and 2008, saw 6 women receive a total of £1.2 million in compensation from the NHS, equalling approximately £45,000 each. The women suffered leaking, scarring and infections. Another case involving a children’s author who was left with permanently blurred vision in one eye following laser eye surgery at an Ultralase Clinic in Guilford, involved the victim, Jan Fearnley, collecting £250,000 in compensation. Her loss of 5 years’ earnings was considered in the settlement in acknowledgement of her inability to perform her job working with children’s picture books.
Stories like these often make headlines but there are a plethora of minor injuries and conditions acquired as the result of someone else’s mistake which gain suitable amounts of compensation. Even if you think your injury is small, it is worth getting expert legal advice on how much you are likely to receive.
Apart from in exceptional circumstances, you must make your claim within 3 years of the injury/accident occurring. Once your claim has been validated you will undergo medical assessment from a medical consultant.
Beginning a claim for medical negligence can mark the start of a long journey for some clients. Fine details of the case need to be examined, often including those of a personal nature. However, all these elements are important in our ultimate aim of getting you the maximum amount of personal injury compensation you deserve.
This firm is not authorised under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 but we are able in certain circumstances to offer a limited range of investment services to clients because we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority of England and Wales. We can provide these investment services if they are an incidental part of the professional services we have been engaged to provide.
If you think you might have a case that falls under the category of medical negligence please contact us for informal advice. We operate on a No Win, No Fee* basis.
You can either call us free on 0800 342 3206 or contact us online and one of our team will be in touch with you to discuss your circumstances in more detail, on an informal and confidential, yet professional, basis.
*Please note – In limited circumstances, fees may be charged when your claim is not successful. These specific limited circumstances are set out in our No Win, No Fee Agreement. In addition, if you fail to attend a medical appointment arranged for you, the doctor may charge a non-attendance fee.