As in all professions, doctors and other medical professionals have a duty of care to ensure the safety of all members of the public in their premises. However, clinical or medical negligence claims are somewhat different to other personal injury claims in that medical professionals are responsible for the health of their patients and are expected to notice any problems in a timely fashion.
Furthermore, many of the tasks a medical professional does as part of their job, such as perform delicate surgical operations, administer potentially lethal drugs or diagnose health problems, carry inherent risks, and if a worker fails to do these jobs properly, patients can suffer serious adverse effects or can even die.
If you are making a clinical negligence compensation claim, you will have experienced medical treatment in which the healthcare provider’s standards fell well below those you expect to receive. Most cases involve one of the following issues:
- Failures in surgery
- Delayed diagnosis
- Inappropriate or incorrect treatment
- Providing the wrong drugs or patients suffering adversely from drugs
- Failures in medical products or devices
- Problems in childbirth leading to the mother or child being injured
Medical professionals are not merely required to conduct procedures, however. Medical negligence claims often involve cases in which patients have received treatment but have not been informed of the risks this treatment poses. People must give informed consent when undergoing any dangerous procedures or any medical tests and in cases when this does not happen, they may be able to apply for medical negligence compensation.
What can I expect from my clinical negligence claim?
When people pursue a clinical negligence claim, the very least they can expect to receive is an explanation of the errors or issues that have led to the case, apologies when relevant, and assurances that the problems that led to your clinical negligence claim have been resolved and that other patients are not at risk.
Solicitors can help you understand whether clinical negligence was involved in your particular case and if you can make a medical negligence compensation claim. This area of law is confusing and specialized and it is unlikely that a layperson will be able to understand the nuances of their particular case.
You must be able to demonstrate that the care you received from the healthcare provider reaches an unacceptable standard of negligence, and that this treatment resulted in you suffering from adverse affects, such as a personal injury.
What will be considered in my clinical negligence claim?
If you are successful in your claim for clinical negligence compensation, you will receive money for the losses you had to deal with as a result of the personal injury the negligence led to. This will include factors such as the cost of ongoing treatment, any earnings you did not receive due to your injury, the cost of any renovations to your home that are required, the price of any equipment you need to buy, and other relevant expenses.
You will also be compensated for your pain and suffering, as well as the extent of any psychological or mental harm you sustained. If you have suffered a decline in your quality of life-for instance, if you used to enjoy playing sport but are now unable to-you may also be able to claim for this.
You may also be able to claim if a loved one on whom you are dependent died as a result of clinical negligence, or you could have a deceased relative’s medical negligence compensation claim added to the overall value of their estate.
What do medical negligence solicitors do?
Medical negligence solicitors will assess your claim to determine whether or not it is a true case of clinical negligence. They will be unlikely to want to take on your case if they do not think you have a reasonable chance of success. You should provide your solicitors with all the information relating to your claim as is possible, as well as all correspondence you have had with the hospital or other relevant organisations. It is also useful for you to keep a record of any lost earnings or other expenses you have incurred.
When you begin pursuing a case with your medical negligence solicitors, they will be likely to give you a reasonable assessment of how much it is worth and should provide you with an honest assessment of your likelihood of success. They will also speak to you about the different options you have for funding your claim and should advise you in which options they believe are right for your particular circumstances.
Bethany Janick has spent years looking into medical negligence compensation cases and other forms of mistreatment and poor service in the healthcare setting for a team of Clearwater Solicitors. When she’s not working, she likes playing with her pet rats and listening to hip hop. She’s also a keen fan of Rugby League.