If you believe you have suffered as a result of clinical negligence, it is important to gain as much knowledge as possible before contacting us to submit a claim for compensation on your behalf. Here we answer frequently asked questions, such as “is there a time limit to making a clinical negligence claim?” and “how do you take legal action for clinical negligence?”
What is Clinical Negligence?
‘Clinical Negligence’ is the term given to describe the suffering or injury caused by the insufficient care of a health professional or provider. This covers a number of actions, including:
• A failed or wrong diagnosis
• A mistake during a procedure or operation
• Prescription of the wrong medicine
• Not receiving informed consent before treatment
• Not informing the patient of the risk associated with the recommended treatment
However, just because you have suffered repercussions of medical treatment, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have been a patient of neglect. A claim can only be submitted for compensation if it can be shown that the care received was below the accepted medical standards and this directly caused injury.
For example; if a doctor fails to properly examine and test a person who is later diagnosed with cancer, the patient or their family can submit a claim seeking compensation. With an earlier diagnosis of a condition like this treatment would not have to be as extreme, therefore the distress would be less and loss of earnings would not be as significant. The case is likely to be won, as long as it can be proved that an earlier diagnosis was possible and could have saved the patient from serious harm and unnecessary suffering.
Is There a Time Limit to Making a Clinical Negligence Claim?
A claim for compensation can be made for any injuries or losses suffered as a result of this negligence. This can include compensation for:
• Pain and suffering
• Psychological damage
• The inability to complete activities previously possible e.g. sports or hobbies
• Payment of ongoing treatment, extra care or equipment
• Loss of earnings
• Payment of any home adaptations required
The claim can be submitted by the patient or by a next of kin if the victim has died or no longer has the capacity to do so. This can be done up until 3 years after the incident occurred or the realisation of suffering as a result of the incident.
For children or a mentally disabled person, the 3 year limit does not apply.
What is a Compensation Scheme?
For certain circumstances there are existing special compensation schemes available. A claim may be made under one of these schemes without going to court.
For example, the MacFarlane Trust helps provide compensation for those who contract HIV as a result of treatment for haemophilia and the Vaccine Damage Payment Unit for those who have suffered damage as a result of a vaccination. In both cases, the government will provide compensation payment.
Taking Legal Action for Clinical Negligence with Howells’ Help
If you have suffered an injury as a result of clinical negligence, speak to one of our trained, friendly clinical negligence solicitors by giving us a call on 0808 178 2773.
Read more: Making a Personal Injury Claim - Do I Need a Solicitor?
You don’t have to have made an NHS complaint to the Litigation Authority before starting your proceedings, but it would be useful to request a copy of your medical records to ensure a thorough understanding of what happened. Alternatively, you may do both without either interrupting or affecting the other.
Please note: A clinical negligence claim is only about gaining the compensation you deserve. The court cannot and will not discipline any health professionals, force any changes upon the healthcare provider or make the guilty apologise.