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:

  • Misdiagnosis claims
  • Hospital negligence claims
  • GP claims
  • A&E claims
  • Care home claims
  • Pregnancy and birth claims


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 the team

Georgia Briscoe

Georgia Briscoe
Director of Legal Strategy and Transformation

Georgia is one of our Directors of Medical Negligence and has an impressive wealth of knowledge. She has over 15 years of legal experience and is responsible for overseeing the whole medical negligence team.

Georgia prides herself on the development of her team and aims to ensure that everyone in the department shares the same passion, tenacity and drive to get the best possible result for the injured patient.

Georgia is in charge of the day to day operational running of our largest medical negligence department, working hard to ensure a self-sustainable future for the team. Georgia is heavily involved in developing Fletchers’ nationwide reputation as medical negligence experts, alongside ensuring that all of our cases are dealt with the utmost efficiency and professionalism.

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Bilal Qasim

Bilal Qasim
Team Leader/Senior Solicitor

Having joined Patient Claim Line in 2017, Bilal is a Clinical Negligence Solicitor with extensive experience in the medical negligence field. He has recently qualified as an internationally and nationally accredited mediator, recognised by the Civil Mediation Council, International Mediation Institute and Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. Bilal has been recognised for his excellent client work, having received the ‘Customer Award’ at our annual awards evening.

Having had continuous exposure to medical negligence claims throughout his career, Bilal has developed a large skillset, enabling him to bring matters to time-efficient, amicable solutions. Bilal completes a formal assessment of each case and strategically plans the progression of the case, ensuring all cases within his team run smoothly and that our customers receive the justice they deserve.

Bilal was also the recipient of the Customer Feedback Champion award in 2019.


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Jennifer Argent

Jennifer Argent
Medical Negligence Solicitor

Jennifer joined the team in 2018 with a wealth of experience of working in Medical Negligence in several firms across the North of England. As a Solicitor, Jennifer has an in-depth knowledge of the law and a recognition of the suffering that customers have already been through and the support that they may need through their claim. She works efficiently to achieve the best outcome for her customers. She has a wide range of experience within Medical Negligence and has particular expertise in delayed diagnoses of cancer, shoulder and eye injuries.


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Kate Goodman

Kate Goodman
Senior Litigation Executive

Admitted to the roll of Solicitors in 2016, Kate is a Senior Litigation Executive at Patient Claim Line. She handles cases through to settlement or issuing. Within the team she is responsible for corresponding with customers and experts to ensure cases are conducted in a proactive and effective manner. Kate provides support and guidance to the team to deliver an outstanding service to our customers.



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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.