How long do medical negligence claims take?

Medical negligence claims vary considerably in duration. Whereas simple and straightforward claims for more minor injuries can take just a few months when the defendant admits negligence, more complex and serious cases will nearly always take longer with an average time frame of 2-3 years.

When the defendant(s) denies responsibility or negligence, the case may have to go to court.

Evidence gathering and analysis is the most time-consuming part of a claim. Your medical negligence solicitor will have to obtain your medical records before analysing them with the assistance of medical specialists.

Obtaining the evidence and booking appointments for analysis can take months in itself, even if the evidence itself is clear-cut and points quite obviously to negligence.

In some situations, it’s possible to reach a settlement before the evidence is even analysed, for example, if the defendant is keen to admit their mistakes and reach a settlement as soon as realistically possible.

How long does it take for a claim to go through?

A claim will ‘go through’ once appropriate medical evidence has been gathered, collated and analysed by solicitors and medical professionals. It is only then that the full claim will be submitted with the medical organisation involved, whether that’s an NHS trust or a private medical organisation.

A rough estimate for the average clinical negligence claim is 2 to 3 years. The shortest claims will have a clear selection of evidence linking harm or injury to negligence. Where the defendant responds promptly to a claim and admits their negligence, a settlement out of court could be reached within just a few months.

The longest claims are when the injuries or harm is more serious and has life-changing consequences, and thus, the suggested damages payments are also much higher. If you are waiting to receive further treatment, second opinions or alternative diagnosis then this will also lengthen your claim.

Claims can be made within 3-years of the incident or realisation of injury or harm.

Will my claim be settled in court?

Most clinical or medical negligence cases are settled out of court. That means that an agreement is reached between the two parties without the claim ever needing to progress to court.

This will typically happen when the defendant concedes some level of responsibility, admitting that they could have better upheld their duty of care and prevented any error, mistakes or malpractice. Settlements out of court are the swiftest and most favourable resolution for all parties involved.

Waldrons Solicitors will always strive for settlements outside of court unless there are serious discrepancies between the out-of-court damages figure and the original damages expected from the claim.

Settlements out of court are usually favourable for the claimant. The Court process can be a long, drawn-out and stressful experience for the Claimant, although our specialist lawyers will be with you every step of the way to ensure the experience is as stress-free as possible.

For a clinical negligence claim to go to court, the defendant will likely have to deny any and all responsibility.

When a clinical negligence case does go to court, Waldrons Solicitors are fully equipped to prepare the court process, advise and represent you through court.

What affects the length of a case?

The length of the case primarily revolves around the complexity of the case and whether or not a straightforward settlement out of court can be obtained. More serious cases involving disabling or life-changing injuries will be the slowest to revolve. Clinical negligence cases can also be made on the behalf of the deceased, children or others without the mental capacity to make their own claims.

These cases can often be more complex than average and will take longer to resolve.

Where the defendant denies any and all responsibility, court will usually be the only way to progress the case towards a possible claim.

Simple claims involving more minor injuries that are readily admitted by the defendant as being caused by error, lack of judgement or negligence will be the quickest to resolve.

The quality and quantity of evidence will also affect the length of a case. A strong body of well-signposted evidence that supports the involvement of negligence will make the claim harder to deny.

What are interim payments?

For longer claims where the claimant is suffering during the claim period, it’s possible to obtain interim payments when liability is admitted. Interim payments can pay for treatment, rehabilitation and other damages sustained from negligence before the case is settled.

Interim payments will be deducted from the final claim award.

If you have any other queries or questions surrounding medical or clinical negligence claims or are considering starting one yourself then please get in contact with Waldrons Solicitors.

One of our highly experienced dedicated medical negligence solicitors will be in contact as soon as we can.

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Last reviewed on 11/07/23 by Joseph Norton who is a Director and Head of Compensation