The NHS carries out a lot of excellent work for the people of the UK. Most of the time, there is no problem with the treatment that is received, but occasionally, something can go wrong. If this is the case, there is a chance that you could be eligible to claim for medical negligence.
According to NHS Resolution, in 2020/2021, more than 12,500 new claims were made for medical negligence, which is more than 951 claims over what was claimed for in the previous year. It is claimed that 40% of medical negligence claims are worth over £25,000, and 74.7% of them get resolved without having to go to court. 70% of them get resolved without having to go to court.
What is NHS medical negligence?
Every medical professional must provide their patients with a duty of care. If they breach their duty of care by acting in such a way that no reasonable or responsible body of medical opinion would agree with them then there is a chance that you have a case for medical negligence.
There are many situations where medical negligence can occur. These could be, for example, a failure to diagnose (or diagnose correctly), inappropriate treatment, or errors made in surgery. The harm that is inflicted on the person can range from relatively mild, to extremely severe. Medical negligence claims can be made in order to compensate you for general damages – the damage that has been done to you, as well as special damages – to cover the financial costs that you have incurred and will incur in the future.
Another important aspect of making a claim for medical negligence if something has gone wrong with the way that you are cared for by the NHS is that it draws attention to malpractice, issues, and other potential hazards. This then enables the NHS to look into how these things have happened and put measures in place to ensure that they do not happen to anyone else.
How do I know if I can make a claim against the NHS?
If you are not happy with your treatment from the NHS, there is a chance that you might be eligible to make a claim against them. In order to do this, there are four areas that must be satisfied – otherwise known as “the 4 D’s”.
- Duty – you must be able to prove that the medical professional or healthcare provider had a duty of care towards you. This evidence can be easy to provide – for example, medical records should be able to do this for you.
- Dereliction – or deviation refers to the fact that you must be able to prove that the medical professional or healthcare provider has failed in their duty of care towards you by either accidentally or deliberately failing to follow set standards – and that this has caused you harm.
- Direct Cause – you must be able to prove that the error, action, or inaction was a direct cause of the harm or injury that you have suffered. These could include misdiagnosis, errors during surgery, or the mis-prescription of medicines, for example.
- Damages – this is the calculation of the physical, psychological, and financial losses that you have experienced, enabling your solicitor to decide how much money you should be claiming. The claim will need to be supported by evidence such as medical records, expert witness testimonies, prescriptions, and evidence of the cost of corrective treatment.
For more information about whether you can make a medical negligence claim against the NHS, you should get in touch with one of our expert solicitors here at Waldrons.
How do you prove liability in NHS negligence claims?
In order to prove liability in NHS negligence claims, it is important that you keep copies of as many of your medical records and reports as possible. It might be necessary for you to gain an opinion from experts in the field. You should keep as much of the paperwork as you possibly can to enable your solicitor to gather the best evidence for you to give you the best chance of a successful claim.
How much compensation can I claim for medical negligence?
Every medical negligence claim is different as every situation is different. All of the circumstances around your claim will be examined to ensure that the best outcome is reached, however, the process can be complicated and time-consuming. Some of the aspects that are looked at can include:
- Circumstances of the negligence
- The severity of the negligence
- Recovery prognosis
- Your ability to work and other effects on your life
You may also be awarded money for special damages to help to cover the financial implications of the harm or injury. These could include loss of earnings, modifications that need to be carried out on your home, and ongoing medical costs.
With this in mind, the average NHS medical negligence payout is £50,000 according to NHS Resolution, with the lowest claims paying out £1,000 and no upper limit.
How long does an NHS negligence claim take?
Due to the complexities of making a medical negligence claim, it is difficult to say how long it will take to be resolved. Several different aspects of the claim will be taken into account, but it is often the case that, for example, a severe brain injury case will take a lot longer to resolve than a ‘simple’ broken bone case.
It should be noted, however, that the law stipulates that in most cases, you have three years from the moment that you notice the injury/negligence or from when you ought to have noticed the injury/negligence (not necessarily from when the injury occurred) to make a claim. There are two exceptions to this rule, however. Children who have suffered harm or an injury under the age of 18 have until they are 21 to make a claim. Additionally, if you have diminished mental capacity, there is no time limit. Others can also make the claim on your behalf.
Start your claim against the NHS with Waldrons Solicitors
If you have suffered harm or injury due to your treatment from the NHS, you can prove that they had a duty of care and that their error is the cause of that harm or injury, there is a chance that you can make a claim. Now is the time that you should get in touch with our team of experts here at Waldrons Solicitors who will be able to go through your case and help you to decide whether to make a claim.
Contact Waldrons solicitors
Here at Waldrons our team of expert solicitors are on hand to speak to you, get in touch today!
More information on Medical Negligence
Back to all Insights
Last reviewed on 11/07/23 by Joseph Norton who is an Associate Director and Head of Compensation