The claim process explained
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Why choose Patient Claim Line?
Will it cost me anything if I make a claim?
We hear from many people who have suffered, but put off pursuing a claim because they were worried about legal costs and being left out of pocket.
At Patient Claim Line, we don’t want anyone with a possible claim to be put off by the worry of legal fees. That’s why we always work on a no win no fee basis. It’s probably a phrase you have heard a lot, but basically it means exactly that. If you pursue your claim with us, and the claim is not successful, then you walk away without having to pay us a penny. That’s our promise to you.
As well as our fees (which are covered under the no win, no fee), there are other costs that need to be covered. For example, we will need to pay for your Medical records, and may need to get a specialist doctor to draft a report to show what went wrong, and what can be done to put things right.
At Patient Claim Line, we offer all our customers insurance which covers all these costs if the claim does not succeed. Most companies charge up to £900 for this insurance, but at Patient Claim Line, we offer this insurance at no cost to you. We also pay all these fees for you during the case. We never ask for anything upfront and there are no hidden costs or surprises. We explain everything to you, very clearly and in plain English.
By choosing Patient Claim Line, you are guaranteed peace of mind in all areas, at all times. It costs you nothing to find out if you have a claim and even if you don’t have a case, at least you will have asked the question and found out, and it will not have cost you anything. Again, that’s a promise.
What can I claim for? How much could I get?
Because we are no win no fee and we offer you insurance, it will not have cost you anything if your claim is unsuccessful. However, if you win your case, you will be entitled to compensation. The compensation you receive depends on the length of time you have suffered for, and of course the impact that the error has had on your daily life. Your claim will also include other losses as well as compensation.
If you were unable to work, the team here at Patient Claim Line will recovery any lost earnings for any period you were absent as a result of what happened. You may have needed family and friends to help out, or even professional care, and our team will make sure their time is compensated for as well. Every medical negligence case is different, and unlike a Road Traffic Accident, we cannot easily say what level of compensation you may get.
What we can say is that our specialist medical lawyers will use their experience to make sure that you receive every penny you are entitled to, including any losses you have suffered as a result of the negligence, as well as the maximum amount of compensation you deserve.
How long do I have to make a claim? Is there a time limit?
As a general rule of thumb, you have 3 years from the “date of knowledge” in which to make your claim for Medical Negligence. The “date of knowledge” is the date when you first found out or became aware that a mistake has been made. Often people find out that a mistake has been made straight away, but sometimes a lot of time can pass before anyone admits that something has gone wrong. Remember its not 3 years from when the mistake happened, its 3 years from when you first knew something had gone wrong.
If you or the person the mistake happened to is or was under 18 at the time, the time limit is 3 years from the date of their 18th birthday (i.e. their 21st birthday). If the person the mistake happened to does not have mental capacity, there can be no time limit.
We would always advise you to call if there is any doubt about whether or not you are out of time. It costs you nothing to get some advice from us and its always better to be certain.
I am still having treatment, or have already made a complaint. Should I wait for that to finish before making a claim?
If a medical mistake has been made, then usually you will require further treatment. Here at Patient Claim Line, many of our clients are still undergoing treatment when they contact us, and are even still under the care of the same hospital or doctor. Also, you may have already made a complaint and be waiting for a response from the doctor or the hospital in question.
Neither of these things are things you should worry about. Doctors and hospitals have to continue to treat patients professionally at all times, regardless of whether any complaints or claims are made. They cannot refuse to treat you in the future, and cannot refuse ongoing treatment if you want to stay with the same doctor. Most doctors are okay with a second opinion, and indeed care often improves following a claim.
If you have made a complaint, there is nothing stopping you making a claim as well. In our experience people rarely get a satisfactory response, if indeed they get a response at all. Usually, getting our legal team involved is the only way to get your voice heard, or to get someone to even acknowledge that a mistake or error has occurred.
Is it right to make a claim against the NHS?
At Patient Claim Line, we are not here to bash the NHS, and most of the service it provides is very good. However, it is important to remember that the NHS does not have a lower duty of care because it is funded by the tax payer. If a mistake or error has occurred which is negligent, then it is your right to make a claim to put things right. You cannot rely on the hospital or doctors to admit that something has gone wrong, or to set things right. You can’t even rely on the regulators or the government, who are failing to be open about the problems, as recent headlines have shown. You can rely on our Medical Lawyers to take on these institutions and get to the truth.
In our opinion, making a claim where an error has occurred is a positive thing, not only to help you personally get your life back on track, but also to prevent the same thing happening to someone else. When you make a claim, the NHS has to examine what happened to you in your individual case, and report back to all hospitals and doctors and recommend how things can be improved to stop what happened to you or a loved one, happening again to someone else. That is part of their claims process. Only by making a claim can you be assured that the NHS has taken notice, and recommended changes to stop this happening again.
What is the meaning of medical negligence?
Medical negligence takes place when a patient receives care from a medical professional that is substandard and causes some degree of injury or harm. This could mean a previous injury or medical condition worsened due to poor quality care, or a new injury or illness presented after the substandard care was received. Medical negligence comes in several different forms, but all cases of substandard care that fall under this definition involve a failure to provide reasonable care along with harm suffered by the patient. Our experts will advise you whether the standard of care fell short enough to be considered negligent and therefore whether you are able to make a claim.
What can be classed as medical negligence
Medical negligence cases come in different forms, based on the patient’s experience and the harm suffered due to substandard care. However, all medical negligence cases have two things in common: a breach of duty of care by the medical professional or facility, and injury or illness as a result of that breach that could have ultimately been avoided. Medical negligence cases can be brought against medical professionals, both public and private, or facilities like the NHS, for misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, errors from surgery, birth injuries, or dental work, to name some of the most common.
Is there a difference between medical malpractice and medical negligence?
If you have experienced a negative outcome after receiving medical care, the difference between medical malpractice and negligence may seem unimportant. Often the two terms are seen as one and the same. However, there is technically a difference between the two terms. Medical malpractice is the breach of the duty of care of a medical provider or facility that has an element of intent. For example, a GP that fails to perform a diagnostic test when he or she knows not doing so presents a risk to the patient.
Medical negligence, on the other hand, is a duty of the breach of care from a provider or facility that does not have this sort of intent. For instance, a mistake in a surgical procedure or misdiagnosis that causes harm to the patient but had no apparent intent behind it may fall under medical negligence. Either situation can give rise to a claim and this is something that our experts can advise you on.
What types of medical negligence do you cover?
At Patient Claim Line, our medical negligence solicitors have worked with a wide variety of patients and their loved ones to win compensation claims. We receive thousands of enquiries every month and there is unlikely to be any situation or scenario we haven’t dealt with before. Medical negligence claims we have dealt with include areas like cosmetic and dental negligence claims, along with birth injury, surgical and general hospital claims. Our solicitors also cover gynaecology and urology claims, pharmacy negligence claims, NHS negligence, GP negligence claims and A&E claims. This list is not exhaustive, but it does cover many of the medical negligence claims we cover for our clients.
How do I make a medical negligence claim?
If you are thinking about making a medical negligence claim, it is crucial to contact us to discuss your case as soon as possible, either via phone or through our online claim form. Most of the time, claiming for medical negligence needs to take place within three years from the time you become aware of the problem, which makes it important to get in touch as soon as possible. Once we receive your information, because we’re experts, we can usually advise you very quickly if you have a valid claim. Then, we collect the relevant details about your medical negligence claim and notify the negligent party that claim proceedings have begun.
With the help of our expert solicitors, you will either win your medical negligence claim, typically through a settlement rather than at court, or providing you have cooperated fully with us, you will pay nothing after an unsuccessful claim because of our no win, no fee arrangement. In either case, you can rest assured we will work with you closely through every step of the claims process.
What happens when you first contact Patient Claim Line?
We have worked diligently to keep the medical negligence claims process as simple and stress-free as possible. This starts with the first contact with our team. During the initial enquiry, we take the time to listen to your experience with medical negligence to help determine if you have a valid claim. We also use our vast experience to ask the right questions about your potential case so that our legal team can offer up the right advice.
After talking about your unique experiences, our legal team will advise if you have a valid case for medical negligence or one that is highly unlikely to be successful. You will have a clear understanding which direction to head with your medical negligence case. No matter who you speak with at Patient Claim Line, all calls are kept highly confidential.
How do you prove a medical negligence case?
In order to make a successful medical negligence claim, we must have proof that you suffered an injury or illness, or that your condition worsened, because of a lack of duty of care. This means we must have sufficient evidence including but not limited to medical records (we retrieve these for you), photographs of injuries, and a detailed statement from you about what you experienced. In some cases, family members may also be asked to provide their statements about what took place.
We also gather evidence from independent medical experts who prepare reports on your treatment and the results of that treatment. These experts weigh in on whether your treatment was below the usual and expected standard of care, and if that substandard care resulted in your illness or injury. Each of these components is necessary in proving a medical negligence case. Again, your legal team will arrange these expert assessments and will ensure you will not have to pay for these.
How long will the claim take?
There is no singular answer to this question, because each medical negligence case is different from the next. While we work hard to get more straight forward claims settled within a few months, more complex cases make take years to settle. This is because successful medical negligence claims require extensive research, gathering of medical records, personal statements, and expert opinions. But do not worry – our legal team do all the heavy lifting and keep you updated on a regular basis.
Can I claim for a family member?
If a loved one has been involved in a medical negligence case, you do have the right to make a claim on his or her behalf. A parent or legal guardian of an injured child can make a claim on their behalf, so long as the child is under the age of 18. You may also bring a claim for an adult family member who no longer has the mental capacity to bring a claim himself. In other cases, we are happy to deal with you on the day to day progress of the claim providing we are given permission to do so, but we will still need the injured patient to cooperate when needed, such as when attending medical appointments or signing documents.
What must medical negligence solicitors prove in a claim?
Each medical negligence claim is different, but generally, solicitors must prove both negligence and causation in a case. This means that an injury, illness, or other harm took place because a medical provider or facility failed to perform under a duty of care for the patient and that failure led to the injury, illness or harm. Compensation for a medical negligence claim is only viable when the error that took place would not have taken place under the care of a reasonable provider or facility. This is what we will advise you on when you first contact us, and what our legal team will fight to prove when your case is taken on.
Our team here at Patient Claim Line always work on a no win no fee basis and are available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have.