The first step is to arrange an initial consultation with us. This will be free and there is no obligation for you to proceed any further with your case.
Provided you wish to proceed,
we will provide you with initial advice including whether a complaint is likely to be suitable process, arrange funding for your claim, arrange for access to your medical records, obtain other evidence to support your claim including witness statements and independent medical opinion on the standard of the treatment you received. We will arrange for you to be examined by our own medical experts.
Once we have sufficient evidence of there having been negligence we will make the claim to those responsible.
Most claims will settle at this point with offers being made by those responsible for the negligence. If a settlement is not reached then sometimes we may issue court proceedings on your behalf to secure the compensation you deserve.
With clinical negligence cases, the responsible party will usually be the relevant NHS trust, or private healthcare provider. If the harm caused to you was through the conduct 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 are held responsible for the standard of work of their employees.
When receiving a claim, the other party will 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 1, 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 Bolam test’.
Point two is often termed ‘causation’. To be successful, you must prove that the alleged negligence was the cause of the harm for which you are claiming compensation. 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 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.