Our NHS services are the envy of many people around the world. Whilst they carry out excellent work, there are rare occasions when something goes wrong. For people who experience medical or clinical negligence, the effects can be massive, and this is why there is the possibility for them to make a medical negligence claim.
To make a claim for medical negligence, you need to be able to prove that the care that you have received from the medical professional was below the expected standard and that this has caused you harm.
Medical negligence claims are in place to compensate you for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity and financial expenses that you have experienced (or are experiencing) as a result of the medical negligence.
What is the average pay-out for an NHS negligence claim?
The pay-out that you might receive for an NHS medical negligence claim covers two specific areas:
- Physical and psychological pain, suffering, and loss of amenity;
- Past and future financial expenses incurred because of medical negligence
The payout in the claim can be split into two heads:
General damages –compensation for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity that you have suffered as a result of the medical negligence. This usually has set ranges attached to it.
Special damages – financial losses that you have incurred due to the injury. Some of these losses include the cost of medication and treatment, loss of earnings due to time off work, the cost of travel to and from medical appointments, and the cost of specialist equipment that you need as a result of the injury.
NHS medical negligence claims can range in value according to your specific circumstances as well as the nature of your injury. Received compensation can range from £1000 to over £1 million. In 2019-2020, £8.3 billion was paid out by the Clinical Negligence Scheme, and there were 11,683 new claims made.
The highest pay-out awarded due to NHS negligence in the UK
It is believed that the highest pay-out that has been awarded due to NHS negligence in the UK was in the case of a 6-year-old boy. The claim was won in 2018 when he was awarded £37 million in compensation for a brain injury because of an undetected virus. The virus caused damage to his eyesight, cognitive function, ability to communicate and move, meaning that he now needs round-the-clock care.
NHS Negligence Claim Statistics
- The difference in the number of medical negligence claims between 2017/18 and 2018/2019 was just 5
- 13% clinical negligence claims were for emergency medicine, 12% orthopaedic surgery, and 10% obstetrics in 2018/2019
- A total of £2.5 billion was paid out to obstetrics, £422 million to emergency medicine, and £333 million to paediatrics in 2018/2019
- It is difficult to compare statistics from more recent years because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the effect that this has had on the NHS and the way that we lived our lives
How do I sue the NHS for negligence?
If you are in a situation where you have suffered an injury that you believe to be the result of medical negligence in the NHS, there is a possibility that you can make a claim against them.
You must first be able to prove that the care that you received can be defined as negligence. Some examples of medical negligence include:
- Wrong or failed diagnosis
- A mistake during an operation or procedure
- Informed consent not being sought before a procedure
- Not being sent for further investigations such as a scan or x-ray
- Wrong medication or treatment given
- Not being given details of the risks of a treatment
If you feel that you have suffered potential medical negligence in the NHS, the first thing that you should do (although it is not obligatory) is make a complaint to them. Formal complaints must be made through the NHS Complaints Procedure.
You must be able to prove that “on the balance of probability”, the care that you received fell below medically acceptable standard of care – there was negligent behaviour and that his directly caused your injury or illness.
If you think that you have a case for clinical negligence, you should then get in touch with a solicitor who will give you a better idea of whether they believe that you have a case.
There are a couple of other aspects that you should bear in mind:
- The law allows you three years in which to bring Court action for a clinical negligence claim. The 3 year period runs from the date of the alleged negligence, or from the date on which you should have started to investigate the alleged negligence. For children under 18, the 3 year period runs from the date of their 18th birthday. There is no time limit if the person has been left psychologically incapable of making the claim.
- Claims can also be made by the next of kin of someone who has died
- Some special compensation schemes are open to people with specific injuries or losses caused by medical negligence without the need to go to court – a solicitor will be able to give you more details
- Claiming compensation does not automatically lead to the disciplining of a healthcare professional
- Claiming medical negligence does not mandate an institution or individual to change the way that they do something
- Claiming medical compensation does not force an institution or individual to apologise to you
No-win no-fee with Waldrons Solicitors
The NHS provides an excellent service most of the time to the UK population. However, occasionally mistakes happen that can have consequences for your life. If you believe that you have suffered an injury due to medical negligence on the part of the NHS, the first step should be to make an official complaint to them through the NHS Complaints Procedure.
Contact Waldrons solicitors
Whatever your query, get in touch with us here at Waldrons today.
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Last reviewed on 11/07/23 by Joseph Norton who is a Director and Head of Compensation