Anyone can claim compensation for an injury or worse medical outcome based upon medical negligence and, in some cases, you can make a claim for a person who is deceased or is without capacity or still a child. Reasons for claiming against medical negligence vary and are reviewed on a case by case basis however, some examples include:
- Errors during surgery
- Delayed cancer diagnosis
- Incorrect drugs or dose administered
- Pharmacy dispensing mistakes
- Missed infection or Sepsis
- Birth injuries
- Appendicitis following abdominal pain
- GP failure to refer promptly to a Consultant
- Any failure to treat which has resulted in a worse outcome
A large proportion (70%) of clinical negligence claims are resolved without needing to take the case to litigation and less than 5% go all the way to a Trial. Whilst most claims will fail at the early stages because of the evidence gathered from the medical records, witnesses and independent experts is not sufficient to meet the high level need to hold a clinician professionally negligent, medical negligence solicitors will expertly advise you if you have a valid claim.
Any litigation must be started by issuing a claim form at court within three years from the alleged negligence, later date of knowledge of harm caused by the negligence or the date of death (unless the Claimant has no mental capacity or is a minor and then the limitation period does not start to run). In order to create the strongest case possible, the following pieces of evidence will best support your claim:-
Your initial letter of complaint is the first and arguably most important document for this process. Not only will it highlight the initial problems but, it will also help to refresh your memory throughout the proceedings.
The potential Defendant’s response to that complaint will also be helpful in setting out the likely problems with your claim or alternatively, the strengths if a mistake is admitted.
A formal written statement of your experience, injuries or disablement and associated expenses will be vital.
Financial losses or expenses can form part of your claim and includes any money spent and/or lost due to travel and parking for appointments, loss of earnings, both present and future and the time spent by friends and family assisting you do your personal and domestic chores because you are incapacitated as a result.
With all documentation, as soon as a claim goes to court, there is an expectation of full disclosure from both sides. The definition of full disclosure will be set out by the court in conjunction with law, but both parties mustdisclose all necessary documents in order not to mislead the other party or the Judge.
Medical records are mandatory to disclose to all parties, expert and the court in medical negligence cases. Accessing your records can be requested via a subject access request form, easily sourced online. This process is usually free and you can nominate your solicitor to receive the records on your behalf.
When claiming for someone who has died, a request must be made in writing to the record holder under the Access to Health Records Act (1990). All medical records for the deceased are held for 10 years. After this, all information is destroyed.
Expert opinion and witnesses
Other than your own personal medical records, you will need your own statement and those from any other witnesses as to the ‘facts’ of the negligence or extent of the injuries caused to your health. This can be friends or family who were present at the time of the alleged negligence or have witnessed the issues the matter has caused for you in daily life.
Another compulsory element of evidence once litigation has commenced is an impartial and expert opinion from a medic in the applicable area of medicine to support your claim that there was a failure in the standard of care owed to you as a patient. It is also normal to have another expert comment upon the effects of the negligence on your medical outcome, usually following an examination.
Any legitimate photographic evidence of visible injury, such as bruising, scarring, burning or partial amputation, will be a strong pillar to your case. These should be dated and a statement obtained from the photographer.
The process of taking a medical negligence claim to court can be a lengthy and stressful one, which sometimes doesn’t have the desired outcomes for the Claimant. However, here at Lysander Law, we will do all we can to ensure that you are listened to, understood and treated with the upmost care through this difficult period.
For more information and answers to FAQs, please head to our Clinical Negligence page.
Should your health have been adversely affected by a clinical negligence, then we are here to help. Lysander Law’s specialist medical negligence solicitors provide a ‘No Win, No Fee’ agreement for their legal fees and offer an expert, professional and personal service for all of their clients. Contact us today for a no obligation chat;