For anyone looking into the possibility of making a medical negligence claim, it can be a complex and confusing process. When you entrust your health to a medical professional, you expect an expert level of care. For the most part, the care provided – at NHS hospitals and medical centres, by local GPs and at private medical centres – is usually very good and many people never have a problem with their care.
But sometimes things can go wrong, and if this happens, it is vital to find the support of a qualified and reliable medical negligence solicitor. Here at Hampson Hughes Solicitors, we are equipped to look at every circumstance of your medical negligence claim. We will listen, support and help to make the process as easy as possible for you.
With this in mind, we’ve put together a short guide on the key details for making a medical negligence claim.
Medical negligence claims can occur when a hospital, doctor or other healthcare professional, through either a negligent act or an omission, causes recognisable injury and/or harm to a patient. The negligence might be the result of errors in your diagnosis, treatment, aftercare and/or health management.
If you explore a medical negligence claim with Hampson Hughes, from day one we will look to understand what has happened, in order to identify two key points towards helping you make a successful case;
Fault – Our medical negligence solicitors may talk to you about a ‘breach of duty’. Simply, this means that the treatment you received fell below standards expected of a reasonably competent and skilled medical professional.
Avoidable Damage – Your solicitor may refer to this as ‘causation’ and this simply means that the medical care you received caused you harm that could have been avoided without the negligent act or omission.
When it comes to pursuing a medical negligence claim in the UK, you may well be identifying an individual act of negligence by a specific medical professional such as a GP or a surgeon, but you will usually be claiming against the medical service they represent. The majority of medical negligence compensation cases at present will be made against the NHS overall, or an NHS-related service.
Under recent changes enacted in April 2017, the NHS Resolution has three main functions – The NHS Litigation Authority (NHS LA), National Clinical Assessment Services (NCAS) and Family Health Services Appeal Unit (FHSAU) – A primary function of the NHS Litigation Authority is to represent the NHS if you make a claim against them, with fewer than 2% of the cases* handled by the NHS LA currently ending up in court. The rest are usually settled out of court through your medical negligence solicitor, so it is key that you have the right legal support.
As for private practitioners, they are usually insured by private insurance companies and to run their practices, will be required to have insurance cover. Any claim made thereafter will be dealt with by their insurance company, with the medical negligence lawyers at Hampson Hughes able to guide you through making a claim. We have the experience and expertise to offer guidance on the best course of action to take for a No Win, No Fee claim.
*Data taken directly from the NHS LA claims website.
As detailed in the image section above, there is a general limit of three years for medical negligence claims, with the following qualifications:
In many medical negligence claims, you can claim up to 3 years after you became aware of the medical negligence, which may give a limit of slightly longer than 3 years from the actual medical negligence itself.
Should the medical negligence occur on an individual who is under the age of 18 at the time, the limit can be extended to 3 years from the date they turn 18, which again can be somewhat longer than 3 years from the date of the medical negligence itself.
One of our medical negligence experts here at Hampson Hughes will be able to explore the details of your case and advise you on your available time limits in more detail. For now, it is important to get in touch with a trusted medical negligence lawyer as soon as possible, especially if you believe it may be close to the 3 year point.
Our medical negligence solicitors specialise in helping families in claims involving cerebral palsy, which can happen when a child’s brain is starved of oxygen before or during birth. Obstetrics is a branch of surgery that specialises in pregnancy and childbirth, gynaecology is the branch specialising in the female reproductive system. Disorders or injuries caused by medical negligence during birth can include Erb’s palsy (brachial palsy) and injuries suffered by the mother.
Brain Injury Claims
Brain injuries caused by medical negligence can have life-changing consequences. Compensation is needed to fund a variety of factors, including long-term treatment, care and rehabilitation. Whether you were treated by the NHS or privately, you may have a medical negligence compensation claim if you have suffered any of the following:
Brain aneurysm(s); Brain damage; Loss of speech or movement; Memory issues; Meningitis; Stroke; Haematoma or Tissue damage
Brain injuries resulting in long-term medical care
Cancer Compensation, Misdiagnosis or Delay
Receiving a diagnosis of cancer can be devastating in any circumstance. If your cancer was misdiagnosed by a medical professional, or diagnosed later than it should have been, it can be even more damaging. If you have suffered this circumstance, you may be able to bring a cancer compensation claim.
When someone dies due to an accident or lack of care that wasn’t their fault, their family may raise a fatal injury compensation claim against the responsible party. This can apply whether that is an NHS service, or in many cases a care home where the individual suffered mistreatment that led to their death in the home or in a hospital.
Nobody wants to have to make a fatal accident claim, but it can be vital that dependants claim compensation.It is crucial for emotional wellbeing to pursue such a claim with a highly sensitive and professional negligence solicitor, with our team at Hampson Hughes able to guide you with a hospital, care home or other fatal injury claim.
If you have received a misdiagnosis that has contributed to further injury or harm, we can help you pursue a medical misdiagnosis compensation claim. This can be across a number of diagnosis points from different medical professionals, ranging from GPs to surgeons, with cases including misdiagnosis of cancer, misdiagnosis of a fracture, and a range of other medical misdiagnosis situations.
An orthopaedic injury is one which affects a person’s joints, ligaments, muscles, tendons, bones and/or nerves, with such injuries often being very serious in nature. Cases for which you may be able to claim orthopaedic injury compensation may include negligent surgery that has exasperated a condition, or has caused irreversible harm.
Spinal Cord Injury
A spinal cord injury (SCI) is damage to the spinal cord that causes changes in its function, whether temporary or permanent. These changes can translate into a loss of muscle function, sensation, or autonomic function in parts of the body served by the spinal cord below the level of the lesion. This injury may occur during surgical procedures in close proximity to the spinal cord, with our medical negligence lawyers able to help you pursue a claim.
If you have suffered an injury, pain, discomfort or serious long-lasting health problems following any surgery you may be able to bring a compensation claim for surgical negligence, alongside the expert legal advice and guidance of our specialist medical negligence team.
The amount of compensation that you receive will depend on the type and extent of the illness or injury you have suffered as a result of medical negligence. We recommend that you speak with a member of our medical negligence team for an accurate evaluation of your claim.
Many individuals are concerned about the possible financial burden of legal costs when pursuing a claim. You may have heard of No Win, No Fee Claims, which in the legal industry are known as Conditional Fee Agreements (CFA). Hampson Hughes Solicitors is able to offer this arrangement to clients in cases where we think it would be in your financial interests. We can help you explore your funding options and work out the best fit.
Some people have existing insurance policies that cover their legal expenses, or access to Legal Aid, but for many others this No Win No Fee model is most preferred. In a No Win No Fee model, we are able to recover most of the legal costs from the defendant, protecting your financial interests. In the vast majority of cases, if your claim is not successful, there are no client costs to pay, hence the No Win No Fee aspect. Once you’ve made contact, if we think we can take on your representation, our legal team will find your ideal funding model.
You may worry about whether or not you have the required evidence to show you have suffered from medical negligence. Hampson Hughes Solicitors can help with this process, as we will request your medical records in order to review and support your claim. However, in further support of your medical negligence claim, you can also:
Make a note of any visits made to your medical practitioner
Keep any documents relating to your medical care – prescription orders, receipts, x-rays etc
Keep all letters from your employer evidencing any lost working hours and income
Keep receipts for any other out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of your accident, such as taxi fares
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Why use Hampson Hughes
At Hampson Hughes Solicitors we believe that if you have been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault you deserve access to legal support. Our objective is to ensure we recover the maximum amount of personal injury compensation you deserve. We can help secure access to expert rehabilitation services to ensure that you have the quickest recovery possible. We can ensure you are compensated for any losses you may have suffered, from out of pocket expenses to loss of enjoyment and loss of earnings as a result of your personal injury.
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