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Steps to Take if You've Experienced Medical Negligence

What is Medical Negligence?


Medical negligence, also known as clinical negligence, occurs when a healthcare professional fails to provide the expected standard of care, resulting in harm or injury to a patient. This standard of care is measured against what a reasonably competent professional would provide under similar circumstances.


Example 1: A patient suffering from severe stomach pain is misdiagnosed with a minor ailment by their GP. The actual cause is appendicitis, and the delay in diagnosis leads to a ruptured appendix, causing severe complications and extended recovery time​.


Example 2: During childbirth, a midwife fails to monitor the baby's heart rate properly, resulting in delayed intervention. The baby is born with brain damage due to lack of oxygen, significantly affecting the child’s quality of life and requiring lifelong care​.

Steps to Take if You Think You Have Been a Victim of Medical Negligence


  • Gather Evidence: Collect all medical records, including diagnosis details, treatment plans, and communication with healthcare providers. Document the harm suffered and any related expenses. Consider keeping a diary of your symptoms and treatments received.

  • Make a Complaint: Initially, you can make a formal complaint to the healthcare provider or hospital where the incident occurred. This can sometimes lead to an internal resolution. Use resources like the NHS Complaints Advocacy Service for guidance on how to write your complaint.

  • Seek Legal Advice: Consult with a solicitor specialising in medical negligence. They can help assess your case, gather necessary evidence, and guide you through the legal process. Most firms operate on a "no win, no fee" basis, meaning you won’t have to pay if your claim is unsuccessful.

  • File a Claim: If the complaint does not resolve the issue, you can file a medical negligence claim. This involves proving that a duty of care was breached, causing you harm, and that this harm was directly due to the healthcare provider's negligence. Your solicitor will help prepare and submit the claim.

Costs and Practical Information

  • Legal Costs: Many solicitors work on a "no win, no fee" basis, which means you only pay if you win the case. However, it’s crucial to discuss any potential hidden costs upfront.

  • Compensation Amounts: Compensation varies widely based on the severity of the injury and its impact on your life. For example, moderate injuries might warrant compensation between £17,500-£25,750, while severe, life-altering injuries could attract much higher payouts​​.

  • Time Limits: Generally, you have three years from the date of the incident or from when you became aware of the negligence to file a claim. Exceptions exist, such as cases involving children or those with mental incapacitation​.

  • Support Resources: Consider reaching out to support groups and organisations like Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) for additional help and advice.

Navigating a medical negligence claim can be complex and emotionally taxing, but understanding your rights and the process can help ensure you receive the justice and compensation you deserve. Always consult with an experienced medical negligence solicitor to guide you through this challenging process.



 

At Caseguru, our commitment is to helping you deal with medical negligence. Explore our free AI chat for further information tailored to your situation, and compare solicitors and their prices before committing any money.

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