If you or a member of your family has suffered as the result of medical or clinical negligence you have the right to claim against the party responsible for the damage, pain and suffering you have 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.
Clinical negligence, medical negligence and medical malpractice all relate to the same thing; i.e. when insufficient or inadequate care has been given from a health care professional to a patient, resulting in an injury or death.
Medical professionals include:
There is an endless list of different medical conditions and situations where medical negligence can occur, and 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, administration of the wrong dosage of medication or the wrong type of medication altogether.
These instances of clinical negligence can be broken down further and recognised in the following scenarios:
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 £787 million in clinical negligence claims in 2009/2010. If your treatment was carried out in an NHS hospital, 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, 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.
As with other types of personal injury compensation claims, a number of factors are considered when estimating the potential amount of compensation:
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 hoist will be added to this equation as well as any loss of earnings or care provided, now or in the future, such as costs for a care home.
The aim of compensation for medical negligence is to put an individual in the same set of financial circumstances he/she was in before the accident that caused the injury; it also aims to recompense any suffering. Figures are therefore heavily dependent on the individual facts of a case and are difficult to predict. Past cases of medical negligence 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 – 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 permanent 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 compensation you deserve.
If you have suffered as a result of an accident that wasn’t your fault, you could be entitled to make a personal injury claim for compensation.
Contact Jefferies’ no win, no fee solicitors on our national accident helpline above or complete our quick online enquiry form. One of our team of experienced specialists will get in touch to discuss your prospect of claiming for accidents or injuries, in confidence.