The UK healthcare system is highly regulated but unfortunately cases of clinical or medical negligence do arise. Pursuing a claim is a complicated business, but with the right legal help you can succeed.
You can bring a claim for medical negligence against any healthcare professional or organisation, whether in the NHS or private sectors. This includes nurses, midwives, pharmacists, dentists and doctors.
For a case to be upheld your legal team must prove that there were serious errors in your treatment that ‘materially’ contributed to or caused your injuries and other losses.
This is not straightforward and relies on expert witnesses appointed to review your case. No two expert opinions are ever the same, so cases are decided on the balance of probability.
That is if, after very stringent reviews, it is held more than 50% likely that negligence occurred, your claim will be upheld.
What sort of cases can you bring?
It is normally the very serious clinical negligence cases that make the news, but you are entitled to bring a claim for less serious injuries where negligence led to loss.
Typical grounds include late or missed diagnosis, prescribing or administering the wrong drugs, poor quality surgery, supplying faulty implants, poor infection control or system breakdowns.
You cannot bring a case simply because you did not get better or there were complications. Medicine is not an exact science, so you would need to prove there were professional failings in your care.
This is where a specialist clinical negligence solicitor can help. They will look at your circumstances and can, with your permission, obtain your medical notes for an expert to review.
Having done this, they should have a reasonable idea as to whether you have a case that could succeed in Court.
What to do if you think you have a case
- Write down as much as you can, as soon as you can, about what happened, which organisation / professional treated you and the names of any witnesses (ask them to do the same).
- Keep a file of any correspondence you send or receive.
- Act promptly. If you are aged over 18 there is a strict 3-year time limit on bringing all but the most serious cases.
- Consult a Solicitor who specialises in Clinical Negligence.