The 4D’s of Medical Negligence

Reviewed by
Peter Rigby, Director of Medical Neglience

Thinking of making a medical negligence claim?

If you’re thinking of making a claim for medical negligence, we understand that you might be feeling particularly vulnerable. As the UK’s top-rated medical negligence specialists, we have successfully represented thousands of clients right across the UK. The 4 Ds are pivotal to any negligence claim, regardless of whether this is a straightforward case or a more complex one.

It’s important to know that although medical mistakes do happen, you can lean on our dedicated legal professionals for help and guidance.
If a medical professional has caused you harm as a result of a medical mistake or procedure, the following information help you understand how the 4 D’s will impact your potential claim.


Know the 4 D’s

  • Duty
  • Dereliction
  • Damages
  • Direct cause


When investigating your medical negligence claim, all of these factors are taken into account and assessed by your legal representative. The 4 D’s can be related to:


1. There is a Duty of Care

In its truest sense, medical negligence is a substandard of care provided by a medical professional or healthcare professional that directly causes harm to a patient.

In the eyes of the law, where your healthcare provider has fallen short is by failing to provide the appropriate duty of care.

Such neglect can unfortunately happen at any point when receiving medical attention, from visiting your GP, to any substandard aftercare following a medical procedure.

As a patient, it is only right for you to expect reasonable care from a medical / healthcare professional. When a medical professional takes on the role of offering medical advice or carrying out a procedure, this then constitutes as the duty of care.


2. Dereliction of your care

You may not be familiar with the term, but dereliction is where a medical / healthcare professional has failed you, as a patient, in your professional relationship.

This is when the medical professional fails to meet the expected standards of healthcare, whilst also stepping beyond the line of appropriate care.

In our experience, we find that any deviation from the expected standard of care is especially prevalent in cases involving:

  • Medication errors
  • Post-operative negligence
  • Birthing and pregnancy injuries
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Delayed diagnosis
  • Surgical errors


3. Claiming for damages

The third D is your final settlement; universally known as damages.

Legally speaking, damage compensation is the total, quantifiable payment made to a claimant following their case against negligence. It’s also not uncommon for damages to be staggered to cover and meet necessary costs, such as:

  • Medical bills
  • Loss of earnings
  • Psychological suffering
  • Physical pain
  • The impact on your family i.e. care and support

The figure you receive in damages can go some way to compensate for the negative experiences you have been through.

As medical negligence specialists, we understand that your experience can be life-changing. Especially for anyone who has fallen victim to a medical error, misdiagnosis or surgical mistake. The damages received may not change your physical state, but they can have a lasting positive impact.


4. Direct causation

Our fourth and final D, direct causation, is the link between medical dereliction and the damages you receive.

Irrespective of the level of negligence you have experienced, what this fourth D tells you is that if you can’t prove this, you’re unlikely to be able to claim.

Now, that can be a bitter pill to swallow, especially if your experience is having a big impact on you, both physically or mentally.

However, with our guiding hand and professional judgement, your odds of linking the two will only improve working with us as your chosen legal representative.

What we can tell you now is that the causation must be direct, or already in action. This means, if you have knowingly been misdiagnosed for an illness and taken medication following a misdiagnosis, you must be able to prove that impact.


Before making your claim…

Medical witnesses can support your claim

Proving dereliction can be one of the more difficult and time-consuming aspects of making your claim. But don’t worry, this is where our expertise shine.

We would always recommend that a claim for medical negligence is supported with an expert medical witness.

An independent, expert witness will showcase their credentials and demonstrate that they are a trustworthy, well trained medical professional, even if they have since retired from practice.

Furthermore, any medical witness is bound by law to be completely honest when offering their perspective.


Effectively proving damages

Taking on a compensation case all on your own is difficult and stressful. Furthermore, you stand a greater chance of receiving the damage compensation you’re entitled to with a dedicated, expert medical negligence lawyer fighting on your side. This is where we come in.

The evidence required includes:

  • Prescription records
  • Medical records
  • Medical bills
  • Expert witnesses and testimonies
  • Your own testimony


Ready to make your claim for medical negligence?

Ask yourself, have the consequences of the medical negligence impacted you severely?

Rest assured, with Patient Claim Line, we have the knowledge and experience to cut through the legal red tape.

Call Patient Claim Line today, the UK’s top-rated medical negligence specialists on 03300 080 352 and know for certain whether or not you can claim.

Meet our medical negligence team

Peter Rigby

Peter Rigby
Director of Medical Negligence

Peter leads the Medical Negligence Serious Injury department, which now boasts some of our most knowledgeable, dedicated and hardworking team members.

Peter is dedicated to supporting victims of catastrophic medical negligence injuries and endeavours to provide a clear and coherent approach to claims. He recognises the effects serious injuries can have and therefore ensures his customers’ need for support is met. Peter also has a vast amount of experience working with customers who have been injured abroad and is able to act under international law to provide the best outcomes.

Read profile
Christian Beadell

Christian Beadell
Partner, Head of Strategy and Legal Operations

Christian is Head of Medical Negligence at Patient Claim Line and has specialised in clinical negligence claims since qualifying in 1998; having dealt with a wide variety of claims throughout his career. He is also featured in the Legal 500 as a recommended claimant solicitor in the North West.

Christian qualified as a solicitor in 1998, specialising in clinical negligence. From 2010 onward he has had a particular interest in gynaecological and urogynaecological claims, having represented several hundred claimants in the George Rowland Litigation against the Liverpool Women’s and Aintree Hospitals. This investigated the treatment given to women in the Merseyside area over several decades, and in particular focused on the introduction and development of mesh into the UK in both the treatment of stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. The development of this area involved pursuing claims under a unique ADR protocol with the NHS and also looking to develop the current thinking on the valuation of compensation for complex urinary symptoms. He has successfully recovered hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation on behalf of my clients.

Christian was also involved in setting up and chairing a Claimant Support Group for those involved in the Rowland litigation, which provided a discussion forum for the many women who were left isolated and damaged by negligent gynaecological treatment. He now co-ordinates the firm’s mesh claims and has delivered training and commented extensively on the medico-legal implications of urogynaecological / mesh complications. He is a member of APIL, Liverpool Law Society and Legal 500 recommended.

Read profile
Francesca Paul

Francesca Paul
Associate Solicitor

Francesca Paul is an Associate, Senior Solicitor and Team Leader within the Clinical Negligence Department.  She is one of the driving Solicitors in the Group Litigation Team dealing with this niche and specialist area of work that Fletchers undertakes.   

Francesca previously worked in Nottingham, dealing with Group Action work.  She now works at Fletchers, bringing with her those years of experience heading up a team of 10 people.  Francesca is involved in the early identification of potential new Group Litigation Work and analyses information from the collective pool of new enquiries into the business, of which there are hundreds per week looking for hot spots or recurrent issues which might suggest a potential pool of Claimants.   

One of the highlights for Francesca and her team is that they have successfully recovered over a million pounds in compensation for clients who have received treatment from a single orthopaedic surgeon who was operating in the Colchester area.  Her role requires a specific set of skills, patience and a forensic approach to detail whilst being able to see the wider picture.   

Francesca has previously acted for a claimant in a case that reached the Supreme Court in the case of NA v Nottinghamshire County Council. 

Read profile
Sion Wynne

Sion Wynne
Senior Solicitor

Sion is a team leader and senior solicitor with many years’ experience in dealing with a wide range of medical specialisms and different types of injuries. He is an experienced medical negligence solicitor and manages a team of lawyers within our department.

Sion joined Fletchers in 2018 as a Team Leader in the Medical Negligence Department. Throughout his 24 year legal career, he has specialised in conducting medical negligence claims on behalf of Claimants, previously working for other highly ranked leading firms in the field.

He has undertaken claims covering the full spectrum of medical specialisms, clinical settings, categories of defendant and types of negligent medical care and treatment.
These include high value and complex maximum severity cases, such as those involving limb amputations and permanent neurological injuries.

Sion is experienced at representing bereaved families at inquests and has a particular interest in fatal accident claims.


Notable Cases

JI v Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Trust: £1.25m recovered for client left paraplegic after spinal anaesthesia.

RS v Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust: £150,000 recovered for client in respect of a failure to recognise complications after a kidney transplant, where her father was the donor.

JN v MA: £100,000 recovered for a client who suffered 2 years persistent pain and disability after knee replacement surgery undertaken as a private patient.

CS v Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust: £400,000 recovered for a child who sustained Erb’s palsy during her delivery.

WO’C (Deceased) v Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; £450,000 recovered for the family of the deceased who died as a result of a delay in diagnosing a brain tumour.


Read profile

Sarah's Story

"Now we have peace of mind"

My husband, Nick, went back and forth to the doctors for a long time and tried everything the doctor recommended. But his illness got worse, to the point that he was in agony.

In the end we got so desperate that we asked for a referral. The doctor was reluctant, so we had to consult a private hospital. That’s when we found out there was a tumour. It took years from the onset of his illness to finally start cancer treatment.

He used to be a man with a lot to live for, but in the end he was in so much pain that he withdrew from the family. He became angry that nobody had helped him sooner, and the legal team were able to give him the validation that he was desperately seeking. The NHS confirmed if they had done more, Nick would still be alive today.