With medical systems often understaffed, overworked, and underfunded, it’s perhaps not surprising that on rare occasions, mistakes are made. In cases where there has been medical or clinical negligence – in other words, where the care received was so substandard or negligent that it led to long-term health damage – it might be possible for you to make a claim for compensation. This can result in being awarded financial compensation to cover both monetary losses and also non-financial losses such as pain and changes you’ve had to make to your lifestyle. So if you or a loved one have suffered as a result of medical negligence, here’s an overview of how you can go about making a claim.
What can I make a compensation claim for?
There are many different types of medical negligence compensation claims, ranging from misdiagnosis and late diagnosis to birth injuries, surgical errors, and other serious mistakes. Claims can be brought against either an individual healthcare professional such as a doctor or surgeon or a medical institution like a clinic or hospital as a whole. This is true for both NHS and private healthcare services.
In most cases, you must start your compensation claim within three years of becoming aware of the health damage caused by medical negligence. However, there are some exceptions to this, for example, if the person who was injured is a child or if they lack the capacity to bring a claim themselves.
How do I make a compensation claim?
The best way to begin making a claim is to speak to an experienced and knowledgeable solicitor who specialises in the type of medical negligence that is relevant in your case. So, for example, if you want to pursue a birth injury claim, speak to a birth injury solicitor such as Diane Rostron. They will be able to advise you on whether or not your claim is worth pursuing and how best to go about it. Due to the sensitive nature of medical negligence claims, it’s important to choose a solicitor who is an expert in the field and who you feel comfortable with. Many take cases on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis, too, so the upfront costs of making a claim are often low.
Normally, you will need various pieces of evidence to prove medical negligence, ranging from medical records and witness statements to opinions from independent experts. Your solicitor will help you gather everything that’s required but will need as much detail from you as possible about what happened and the impact it has had on your life (or that of the person you are making a claim on behalf of).
The entire process can take a few years to resolve depending on the complexity of the claim, so be prepared that making a claim will be time-consuming and perhaps frustrating at times. Usually, clinical negligence compensation claims can be settled outside of court; however, there is a chance that the case will have to go to trial, and you would need to attend the proceedings.