You may be entitled to take legal action to receive compensation in the manner that you’ve been injured from negligent medical treatment, for instance. Clinical negligence claims can be made for a variety of reasons.
If you’re the next of kin of someone who has either died as a result of negligent medical treatment or are unable to take legal action themselves because they don’t have the capacity, you can take legal action for compensation on their behalf. You don’t need to be the person directly affected, which is a misjudgment of many.
This guide by Tilly Bailey & Irvine Law Firm can help people when they wish to make a medical negligence claim and lays out the necessary steps you must consider…
Considering your claim
The the sum of the clinical negligence payments which are being made across the UK have always been a concern for medical experts.
Senior members making up the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the British Medical Association and the NHS Confederation stated in a letter to justice secretary David Gauke that the costs of these payments are now close to double those recorded in 2011. They also calculated that if all claims which are currently in progress were to be paid out, then it would cost £65 billion. This is a sum which they fear could bankrupt the NHS and so have requested caps on compensation payments to be put into effect.
NHS Confederation’s chief executive Niall Dickson said: “We fully accept there must be reasonable compensation for patients harmed through clinical negligence. Yet this must be balanced against society’s ability to pay.”
Can you determine that you’ve definitely suffered as a result of clinical negligence?
There are certainly instances when patients are harmed as a result of clinical negligence and are therefore entitled to a reasonable amount of compensation as Mr Dickson states. Answer yes to any of these questions and you may certainly have a case:
- Did your condition or that of your next of kin not get diagnosed?
- Did you or a next of kin get the wrong diagnosis for a condition?
- Was a mistake made during a medical procedure or operation?
- Were you or your next of kin given the wrong drug for a condition?
- Did you or your next of kin not get informed consent to treatment?
- Did you or your next of kin not get warned about the risks which were related to a certain form of treatment?
One thing you must be aware of is that injuries suffered due to medical treatment may not strictly mean that your treatment was negligent. A compensation claim will be brought to order if it’s established ‘on the balance of probability’ that both;
- The treatment you or your next of kin received was performed negligently in the manner that the care provided was below medically acceptable standards, and;
- The treatment itself directly caused you or your next of kin injury as a result.
If you’re now satisfied that you’ve suffered from clinical negligence yourself or on behalf of a next of kin, here’s some examples of what you can claim for:
- Compensation for psychological damage.
- Compensation related to the pain and suffering you or a next of kin have endured.
- Compensation when you or your next of kin have been unable to perform certain activities or enjoy selected hobbies.
- Loss of earnings.
- Payments that you or a next of kin have had to make for ongoing treatment.
- The costs of adapting your home or the property of your next of kin.
- The costs of any extra care or equipment you or your next of kin may have required.
Clinical negligence claim limits
A very important note however to consider when making a claim, is the time limits which are attached to them.
A legal claim for clinical negligence must begin within three years of the incident in question occurring. This time limit can be extended if any of the below apply to the case:
- The victim was unaware that a negligent act had been committed. In this case, the three-year time limit will begin from the date of knowledge that something went wrong.
- The victim was a child when the incident occurred. In this case, the three-year time limit will begin on their 18th birthday.
- The victim has suffered from a mental disability and has been unable to manage their own affairs. In this case, the three-year time limit will begin once they have fully recovered from the disability. Also in this case, a parent or another individual close to the patient can make a claim on their behalf.
- (Linked to point 3) The victim never recovers from a mental disability and is unable to manage their own affairs. In this case, the victim has a lifetime to begin their claim. Also in this case, a parent or another individual close to the patient can make a claim on their behalf.
After reading this guide, If you believe that you have a claim for clinical negligence for yourself or a next of kin, it is recommended that you seek out a solicitor who specialises in such cases. Two recognised panels for these solicitors exist in the UK — those administered by the Action against Medical Accidents charity, and those administered by the Law Society.
We wish you the best of luck with your case.