How to report a negligent doctor

Our doctors play an important role in our world. They are the people that we all turn to in our hour of greatest need – when we or our loved ones are ill.

Doctors are our biggest hope and knowing that they will do what they can to make us better is key to this. This is why doctors are bound by oath to do their best to get the best outcome for you and have a duty of care towards their patients.

Whilst most of the time, doctors do their very best for their patients, there are times when mistakes happen. Perhaps a misdiagnosis is made or a procedure has gone wrong. On these rare occasions, injury, harm, or financial loss can be suffered. This could be medical negligence and should be reported.

How do I know if my doctor has been negligent?

If something has happened to you that you believe could be caused by medical negligence, there is a chance that you can make a claim against them. If you are in this situation, it is important to first understand whether your doctor has been negligent.

To be able to prove that your doctor has been negligent, you must first be able to prove that they owed you a  duty of care. When it comes to a doctor, this is pretty straightforward, as every doctor has a duty of care towards their patients.

You will then need to prove that the doctor has breached their duty of care. This will often require the skills of an expert who will know the details of how a doctor should behave, to be able to prove whether they were then negligent. This is known as the Bolam test.

Finally, you must be able to prove that your harm, injury, or loss was caused as a result of the breach of the duty of care. Often, a medical expert will be used to explain how the breach caused the  harm.

Why make a medical claim against your doctor?

There are a number of reasons why you might choose to make a medical negligence claim against your doctor. If your injury or the harm has caused a financial loss or a loss in your quality of life, these are very good reasons why you might wish to get compensation.

Perhaps you have not been able to work or have had to cover expensive medical expenses. The claim against your doctor could cover all of these. In addition to this, making a medical negligence claim against a doctor highlights shortcomings, gaps in knowledge, or ineffective procedures.

Making a claim can highlight these issues, meaning that procedures are changed, extra training is provided – or a person could lose their job. This can help to protect patients from suffering in the same way in the future.

Time limits to medial claims

When any kind of personal injury claim is made, there is normally a time limit. This is also the case with medical negligence claims against your doctor. Normally, the claim must be made within three years of the incident occurring.

There are, however, a few exceptions. If, for example, your injury only became apparent sometime after the incident, you will have to make the claim within three years of you having knowledge of the potential negligence.

This does not apply to children. In clinical negligence cases where the Claimant is under 18 years of age, limitation does not start to run until their 18th birthday. This means that a child has up until their 21st birthday to make a claim.

Additionally, limitation does not start to run if the Claimant lacks mental capacity. If the Claimant regains capacity, limitation will start to run.

Proving medical claims against your doctor

As previously stated, in order to make a claim for medical negligence against your doctor, you must be able to prove that they had a duty of care, have breached that duty of care and that this caused you harm. There are many ways that evidence can be gathered.

These include:

  • Letters
  • Medical records
  • Statements from medical professionals (expert medical evidence)
  • Letters of complaint
  • Financial evidence
  • Photographs or videos showing the injury or harm that has been caused

Why choose Waldrons for medical claims

Here at Waldrons, we have a professional team of solicitors who can give legal advice and representation in your personal injury and medical negligence case. We appreciate that money might not be able to take away the injury or harm that you have suffered but should make life easier for you and compensate you for the money that you have lost (and may do in the future).

If you have suffered from an injury or loss that you feel was a result of medical negligence, get in touch with us today, and we can discuss where to go from there.

More information Medical Negligence

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