What is Medical Negligence?
Medical negligence is a breach of the duty of care by a healthcare professional which results in avoidable harm and it can take place at any point in the process of receiving medical attention. When medical negligence results in unnecessary consequences for you or your loved ones, you may be entitled to make a claim for medical negligence.
The medical community has several safeguards in place to protect the patients who visit hospitals and doctor’s offices for their varied healthcare needs, from ample training of staff members to acceptable targets for patient wait times. It isn’t possible for things to always go as planned, however, and medical negligence could take place despite these protections. In a case of medical negligence, you must be able to prove two distinct issues: firstly, that breach of duty occurred (someone was negligent), and secondly, that negligence was the cause of harm to you as the patient.
Breach of duty may sound daunting to prove, but it simply means that the care you received from a doctor or other healthcare professional fell below the standard of care one would expect in that particular setting from a doctor, nurse, or another medical specialist. In essence, they failed to do their job. Medical negligence occurs not only when a breach of duty is proven, but when avoidable harm is the result of that breach. Think of avoidable harm as causation – you should be able to pinpoint the connection between the lacklustre care and the injury or illness you suffered. For those consequences, you may be able to claim for compensation to help offset the costs incurred from poor quality care.
How do I Start a Medical Negligence Claim?
The process of making a claim for medical negligence against a medical professional or an organisation providing health care begins with speaking to an experienced specialist about your specific situation. We want to have the best possible understanding of the experience you had in receiving medical attention and the impact that experience has had on your life. This is so we can ensure you receive the right amount of compensation to cover your current and future needs.
Making a claim for medical negligence may seem overwhelming at first, but it the responsibility of our legal team to do the upfront work. That involves preparing for a medical negligence case by obtaining medical records and any documentation related to the care you received, and taking detailed statements which spell out what took place in your specific case. Getting an expert opinion is often also necessary to gain a full understanding of the breach of duty and the subsequent avoidable harm you endured. All of this work is completed by one of our expert lawyers – all you need to do is call us or fill out our make a claim form to start the process, and it costs you nothing to do so.
What are the Time Restrictions for a Medical Negligence Claim?
You have three years from the date you were first injured or sick due to medical negligence, or three years from the date when it was discovered that an injury or illness was caused by a breach of duty, to file a claim for medical negligence compensation. Because of this time constraint, it is incredibly important for you to seek out legal help as soon as you are able. The earlier in the process you speak with our solicitors, the better chance you have to remember important details about the case which will help if a claim is filed. There are certain exceptions to this, so even if you feel the time has passed, it is still worth checking with our team.
Who Pays for a Medical Negligence Claim?
Some people who have suffered pain, injuries, or an ongoing illness because they received less than ideal care at the hands of a healthcare professional delay speaking with a solicitor about their potential case out of fear of the cost. However, we work on a conditional fee agreement, most commonly referred to as a no win, no fee agreement. This means that if your case is not successful, and you co-operated fully, you don’t have to pay a penny – we never ask for upfront payments.
You can focus on getting better and let us do the work for you or your loved one without the pressure of paying for the claim or our service out of your own pocket.
Patient Claim Line understand that suffering from medical negligence takes an emotional toll, which is why we work diligently to understand your situation and determine quickly if bringing a case for compensation is in your best interest. If you believe you experienced avoidable harm due to a breach of duty by a doctor, medical specialist, or another provider, contact us or fill out our quick and easy 30 second claim test to get the process started.
What Types of Medical Negligence are There?
Medical negligence can take place in any healthcare setting, but some of the most common types of claim we dealt with are detailed below.
We get enquiries on a regular basis from individuals who have suffered a wide range of harm at the hands of a medical professional, and not all fit perfectly into one of the categories listed. If you believe you have a claim for medical negligence, but you aren’t certain, we recommend you give us a call. It costs you nothing to find out if you have a medical negligence claim to pursue.
Care home claims
There are many people who need assistance with their day to day lives, whether it’s because of old age, disability, or just needing some extra help with certain tasks. For some, this assistance is provided at home and for others, they will move into a care home. There, they can be looked after and get the 24/7 care that they need.
A care home should be a place of trust. If you are paying fees for a service, and entrusting that service with a family member, you should rightly expect a certain level of service and that the person in the care home will receive a good quality of life. Anything less is unacceptable. Unfortunately, we see many cases where that level of service has fallen so far below what it should be, that it is deemed negligent. The result is often that the resident feels sad, depressed and in many cases, suffers physically as a result.
Cosmetic surgery has never been more popular, with tummy tucks, breast enhancements, rhinoplasty and liposuction now much more commonplace then they used to be. There are now a wide variety of options for those seeking to change their appearance. Cosmetic surgery is also often necessary for health or corrective reasons.
Regardless of the reason for electing to undergo a cosmetic procedure, it is important that any risks are fully explained to you by the surgeon before you agree to proceed. The surgeon should also advise you on rehabilitation and recovery times after surgery.
If you feel that your surgeon has made a mistake, your procedure has not gone to plan, things were not properly explained to you or any error has been made, then you may be entitled to compensation, including claiming the cost of putting things right again.
Dental negligence claims
Few people enjoy a visit to the dentist, but attending for routine treatment and regular check-ups is something everyone should do to help keep your teeth in good condition and hopefully prevent any major work being needed. You only get one set of teeth. Most people receive their treatment under the NHS, but many people do now elect to have private treatment either because of waiting times, or because the procedure they want is not covered by the NHS.
If mistakes are made during dental treatment, you can find yourself facing extensive corrective treatment that is not only painful, but also can be extremely expensive if the dentist in question does not accept the mistake or offer to put things right. Mistakes are made both by NHS dentists and private dentists. Both have the same duty to you as the patient.
Pregnancy and birth
Giving birth can be and should be the most amazing day of your life. To help ensure that both the child and mother remain healthy, a series of antenatal tests should be carried out at the appropriate times. The birth itself should always be overseen and conducted properly by the right professionals. You are placing your trust in their hands.
If the correct care isn’t given then it can be very traumatising. In some cases, this can lead to a lifetime of health problems for the child, who may require around the clock care.
Hospital negligence claims
For most, visiting a hospital for an emergency illness or injury is a routine experience. The care is sufficient and the professionals you interact with treat your situation with a great deal of concern, with quality as their top priority. Visiting a hospital is never easy, but when hospital treatment is needed, you want and deserve to feel comfortable with the individuals and the health care systems that step in to get you back on the road to recovery.
Unfortunately, sometimes a hospital visit doesn’t go to plan. The impact of a medical mistake can be huge, often leaving you with life-altering injuries and losses that cannot be fixed with a simple apology. Sometimes, the hospital doesn’t even apologise. If errors are made at any point in the process, whether that is a mis-diagnosis, a missed opportunity to treat a serious injury or illness, poorly performed surgery or a delay in treatment that makes your condition worse, you or a loved one may be entitled to make a hospital negligence claim.
Any surgery or medical treatment that goes wrong can be devastating, but incidents involving gynaecological or urological procedures can often be worse for people. Any illness or injury in this area of medicine must and should be dealt with properly and professionally.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. When it comes to medical mistakes in this area, the implication of any error can be devastating, long-lasting and often leaves people feeling embarrassed and mistrustful.
When a GP prescribes a certain medication, most people visit a pharmacy to collect that medication, armed with their prescription for the selected tablets or medicine that will hopefully help improve their symptoms. For some people, visiting a pharmacy might be a rare occurrence and for others, they may have more long term requirements for medication, making them a frequent visitor.
On the face of it, dispensing medication at a pharmacy should be relatively straight forward. However, sometimes, mistakes can be made which can end up being rather serious, leading to a range of potential side effects and problems from taking improper medicines. Perhaps worse still, is that a wrong prescription not only means taking medication not intended for you, but that you wont be receiving and taking the medication which was prescribed to help your symptoms. This can mean your condition getting worse, when it should be getting better.
What started off as simple human error can and often does have quite serious implications. If your condition worsens as a result of not getting the correct medication, or from side effects of incorrect medication, then this can cause pain, suffering and may result in time off work, which itself may have financial implications.
Eye injury compensation
Sight is one of the most important senses and functions of the human body. It plays a vital role in everyday life, and without sight, even the most basic of tasks can become a real struggle. Often we elect to undergo procedures to improve our eyesight such as laser eye surgery, while other times surgery might be necessary to correct or cure an underlying eye condition.
Procedures involving the eye can be particularly complex and need to be dealt with by specialist and well trained surgeons. They should be able to perform your procedure properly and with confidence. Any mistakes or errors may result in loss of vision, which can be totally devastating for the individual.
For most of us with a medical problem, our first port of call is our GP. We have a referral system in the UK whereby we visit our GP first, who makes an assessment and then will refer us on to the specialist needed to further assess the problem, or provide a diagnosis there and then, and recommend treatment or prescribe medication.
It is therefore vital that your GP takes the time to listen to you, considers everything they are being told, and then makes the right assessment as to what should happen next. If this doesn’t happen, the impact can be devastating. Failing to see the right specialist can prolong your illness. Not being referred for scans or x-rays when one should have been authorised can mean conditions go undetected and untreated. Misdiagnosis can delay treatment, sometimes until it is too late. Your GP is the gateway into the NHS, and to the treatment you need, so them getting it right is vital.
Pressure sore claims
If you or a loved one are staying in hospital, or in residential care, you are entitled to expect the best level of care to ensure that you are comfortable, receiving the appropriate attention and where possible, get back to full health. Unfortunately, sometimes levels of care can fall to a standard that is not acceptable and patients and residents are not given the level of attention they require day to day, especially during more prolonged stays.
Insufficient attention to patients and residents needs may result in pressure sores (also known as bedsores or pressure ulcers) occurring. This is especially problematic if someone lacks the mobility to be able to shift their body themselves and relies on hospital or care home staff to alter their resting position for them. Pressure sores are caused by excessive pressure on body parts that have continuous contact with a surface such as a wheelchair or a bed, as circulation becomes limited. There are varying degrees of pressure sores and they can be incredibly debilitating in their most severe form, and may lead to further health problems.
Ear, nose, and throat negligence
Most of us take our senses for granted, but when a medical issue arises that takes away or diminishes our ability to smell, hear, or taste, we’re quick to make a doctor’s appointment. In the most serious cases of medical problems affecting the ear, nose, or throat, ENT surgeons or otorhinolaryngologists are there to offer a medical solution either in a private hospital or through the NHS.
The majority of ENT procedures are relatively straightforward, posing little risk to you as the patient. ENT surgeries are meant to correct issues that ultimately improve your overall quality of life. Procedures to correct snoring and sleep apnea, pinnaplasty (ear surgery) and rhinoplasty (nasal surgery) are all common treatments performed under the skilled care of ENT surgeons. However, just like with other surgical treatments, things can go wrong due to medical negligence or mistakes. When ENT negligence occurs, you or a loved one may be left with injuries that are debilitating or disfiguring in nature, creating the need for ongoing, specialised treatment that may require compensation for your losses.
Negligent surgery claims
Needing surgical intervention for an illness or severe injury is common among adults, and for most, the process is straightforward. However, surgery can come with stress as most surgical procedures carry risk. The majority of surgeries performed are completed without any complications, as the doctors and medical staff who you entrust with your medical care are highly trained and fully capable of getting you on the road to recovery.
However, there are instances when things don’t go as planned when a surgery is required. Complications can take place through no fault of your surgeon or due to a negligent mistake. When a complication that occurs during or after surgery is the result of poor-quality care or negligence, you and your family may be entitled to compensation from a surgical negligence claim.
The ability to get access to high-quality medical care in an emergency situation is a necessary component of the UK healthcare system. As such, the Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments of hospitals around the country are meant to serve patients who are experiencing serious or life-threatening injuries or illnesses. More than 1.75 million patients are seen in the A&E department each and every month, making it the busiest, and arguably, the most error-prone division of the country’s healthcare system.
While most experience quality medical care and attention while visiting the A&E department for treatment of a critical injury or illness, others are not so fortunate. Because of the often hectic scene, patients have the potential to endure A&E negligence by way of additional injuries or illnesses due to lack of proper care, misdiagnosis, or undiagnosed issues. Despite the fast pace of A&E departments, you are still entitled to the best medical care available. When that isn’t received, you may have cause for an A&E claim to offset your financial losses and regain peace of mind.
NHS negligence claims
As one of the largest and oldest national, publicly-funded institutions for medical care, the National Health Service (NHS) plays a significant role in treating millions of patients each year. The premise behind the establishment of NHS was the need for quality healthcare made available to everyone in England. However, the growing patient population puts pressure on NHS trusts each year, and the medical care received is not always the best it can be.
Individuals trust the NHS to provide medical care for an array of health needs, including routine screenings, treatments for mild to severe long-term conditions, emergency services, end-of-life care, surgeries, and prescriptions. Given the breadth of care services offered at NHS trusts, it is not surprising that things can – and do – go wrong. Unfortunately, the sheer size of the NHS makes it difficult to get answers to your questions when poor-quality care results in devastating outcomes. One of the few ways to get justice for caused by poor care provided through NHS is to make a claim against the NHS. We’re here to help with that process.