If you have suffered harm as a result of a medical mistake, Truth Legal can help you to claim compensation.
What is clinical negligence?
Clinical negligence (also called medical negligence) refers to situations where a medical professional’s conduct has fallen below the standards required of them and you have suffered harm as a result.
There can be a particularly keen sense of injustice when you have been the victim of clinical negligence. Treatment intended to make you feel better or to improve your quality of life has had the opposite effect due to someone else’s negligent behaviour.
Sadly, clinical negligence can be encountered in many different forms:
- Surgical errors – Any surgery can be a traumatic experience, but when something goes wrong the consequences can be life-changing. Complicated and dangerous procedures require the highest standards of skill and care possible. Surgical errors could include anything from:
- carrying out an operation poorly
- carrying out surgery which was unnecessary
- making mistakes with anaesthetic
- defective implants such as artificial hips
- retained objects
- mistakes in cosmetic surgery
- Misdiagnosis – We rely upon the advice of medical professionals when seeking help for ailments etc – if that advice is below the required standards then harm can easily result. It could be through:
- misinterpreting test results
- overlooking symptoms or injuries which need to be treated
- failing to refer you for appropriate tests.
- Hospital negligence – We expect hospitals to be the best place for us when we have health problems. However, if a hospital is poorly managed or staff are negligent in their care, serious harm can result instead. This could be through:
- Poor hygiene procedures, leading to infections such as MRSA or C Difficile.
- Delays in treatment
- Negligent care on the ward
- Pressure sores
- Mistakes with medication
- Dental negligence
How can Truth Legal help?
When you’ve been through a medical nightmare, often the last thing you want is a period of more upheaval. The idea of bringing a claim can be daunting.
We understand that the human side of a claim should not be ignored. After all, it is the whole point of the claim. Compensation is not just a financial concept, it has wider significance in how you come to terms with your injuries and move forward with your life. It can represent a way of making a difference, and allows you to take a stand against the mistakes that affected you – often in the hope that they are not repeated with someone else.
Truth Legal’s solicitors are experienced specialists in making all kinds of clinical negligence claims. We have helped many clients recover justly-deserved compensation for the pain and suffering they have experienced. We are based in Harrogate, with offices in Manchester, York, and London.
If you would like to start your claim for compensation, contact us today to discuss your case.
Is it right to claim compensation from the NHS?
We all know the difficulties faced by the NHS and its staff. In general, the NHS provides an excellent service to the vast majority of its patients. However, it is completely possible to sympathise with the challenges healthcare professionals encounter.
When receiving medical treatment, advice, or a diagnosis, you are entitled to a professional and quality service. Your health has been affected by the negligence of someone else, through no fault of your own. You placed your trust in their professional skills and they let you down. You have a right to seek redress.
If you are concerned about making a claim against the NHS, read our blog post on why you shouldn’t feel guilty.
What happens in a clinical negligence claim?
We will first arrange an initial consultation with you. This will be free and there is no obligation for you to proceed any further with your case.
Provided you wish to do so, we will then begin investigating. Our first step is often to contact the party or parties you believe to be responsible for the negligence. With clinical negligence cases, this will usually be the relevant NHS trust, or private healthcare provider. If the harm caused to you was through the actions or inaction of a member of staff, it is extremely rare for them to be sued directly. If they were employed by the NHS trust or private healthcare provider – and they were negligent during the course of their work – then their employers will be ‘vicariously liable’ for their conduct. This means that the employers will be to blame by extension that they are responsible for the standard of work of their employees.
The other party will then indicate whether they are disputing fault. If they do, there are several things which you and your legal representatives must prove:
- That their standards of care fell below those required
- That this failure caused the harm which you are claiming for
For point one, the required standard of care that a medical professional must meet is that of an ordinarily competent medical practitioner, as considered by a responsible body of medical opinion. You might see this referred to as ‘the Bolitho test’.
Point two is often termed ‘causation’. To be successful, you must prove that the negligence being alleged was the cause of the harm you are claiming compensation for. Depending on the circumstances, this can be difficult. For example, if you were already suffering from a medical condition, there are challenges of proving that certain actions (or a lack of action) caused your condition to worsen.
Medical evidence is often crucial to establishing that harm has been caused through clinical negligence. This involves consulting an independent medico-legal expert for their opinion on the harm you have suffered, often by arranging a medical examination with them.
Medical evidence is important even if the other side accepts full responsibility for your injuries. It acts as proof of the extent of your injuries themselves and forms the basis for valuing your compensation claim.
Can I make a clinical negligence claim on behalf of someone else?
Ordinarily, claims for injury compensation must be made by the person who has been injured.
There are situations, however, where you can bring a claim on someone else’s behalf in the capacity of their ‘Litigation Friend’. These are cases where the injured person is:
- A child – under the age of 18
- Someone without mental capacity – whether this has been caused by the negligence in question or not
Where the victim of the negligence has passed away, it is possible for a claim to be brought by the people who are dealing with the late person’s estate.
If you are thinking of bringing a claim on behalf of someone else, please make us aware of this so that we can advise you fully on your situation.
How long do I have to make a clinical negligence claim?
As a general rule, you must start your clinical negligence claim within 3 years of the date upon which you suffered the harm. If this time limit expires, you could be prevented from ever bringing a negligence claim in relation to it. However, this time limit can be altered by certain circumstances. One example would be if you only found out you had been the victim of negligence after the date on which it occurred. So if a negligent misdiagnosis occurred several years ago, and you only now become aware that a serious medical condition was overlooked, the 3-year time limit will begin from the date when you found out about the negligence.
There are other rules which can affect the time limit. If you are thinking of claiming compensation for clinical negligence, or if you are concerned it might be too late, contact us as soon as possible so that we can advise you.
Can I make a ‘No Win No Fee’ clinical negligence claim?
In most cases, Truth Legal can act for you under a ‘No Win, No Fee’ agreement. This means that, in all but very rare circumstances, you will not have to pay our fees if your claim is unsuccessful.
With a successful outcome, some of our fees are paid by a portion of your compensation award. This is the normal way in which No Win No Fee agreements operate. It is also usual for most of our fees to be paid by the other party or their insurers.
How a claim is funded is always explained in more detail before a claim begins. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to know more.
What can I claim compensation for?
Your injuries are not the only thing you can claim compensation for. Your life can be affected in many different ways as a result of the harm you have suffered. This can lead to you incurring a variety of other losses and expenses. If these losses have arisen as a direct consequence of the harm, you can include them in your claim.
Some of the most common losses include:
- Travel expenses
- Medical expenses and treatment costs
- Loss of earnings
- Care and assistance
Losses which are anticipated to occur in future can also be included in a compensation claim. These future losses, like all losses, must be supported by evidence and must have been incurred as a result of your injuries. For example, if the harm you sustained will mean you require long-term care, expenses relating to this could be added in your compensation claim.
Finding out more
Deciding whether to bring a clinical negligence claim can often feel like a big decision. If you have any concerns about this, or you would just like some more information, please contact us today so we can discuss your situation.
Our initial consultations are free and there is no pressure on you to take matters any further.