Taking Action Against Medical Negligence
Medical or clinical negligence is defined by the failure of a healthcare professional to carry out their responsibilities towards you, directly leading to a negative situation or compromised position for the victim.
Once this is established in court, a claim for compensation can be begin where the victim can be compensated for loss of earnings and for enduring pain and suffering.
Who Can Take Action?
A claim will need to be brought by the victim themselves or, in the case of death, by the next of kin of the deceased family member. If the victim is still alive but has reduced mental capacity, a claim can be brought on their behalf.
What Is the ClaimsProcedure?
Whist not necessary, it is a good idea to engage with the official NHS complaints procedure if the incident occurred under NHS practice. This will give you the opportunity to find out more about what has happened and why. This may provide you with the knowledge to then make a more informed decision on whether you should take further legal action. At this point, specialist legal advice should be sought.
It is important to remember that a medical or clinical negligence case is only suitable for claiming compensation. It is not possible for a court to discipline a healthcare professional or force an apology to the victim, even if the court rules in your favour.
Who Acts on Behalf of the Medical Professional?
This will depend on whether the medical professional is a member of the NHS or a private practitioner.
In the case of the NHS, most claims will be presented by the NHS Litigation Authority. Less than 2% of all cases handled by them end up in court with out of court settlements common. Some cases are also dropped by the claimant.
In the case of a private practitioner, they will usually hire a solicitor.
There are compensation schemes available in some cases where you will not be required to go to court. Instead, the Government is able to pay compensation if certain criteria is met.
Claims can be brought about for any injuries or losses suffered which were the direct result of negligent medical treatment received. These include but are not limited to the following:
- Compensation for psychological distress
- Loss of earnings
- The cost of adapting your home
- The payment of ongoing medical treatment
The Time Limit
A claim must be brought within 3 years of the incident taking place. If the claim refers to a patient who cannot conduct their own affairs due to mental deficiency, there is no time limit. In the case of children, the 3 year time limit doesn’t start until the child is 18 years of age.
Consider getting in touch with a solicitor as soon as possible. There are many medical negligence solicitors in Yorkshire who will be able to provide advice. This advice will often come with no obligation or pressure to pursue the claim.
Your suffering should not go uncompensated so consider taking legal advice as soon as possible. Some cases are more complex than others so give yourself the best chance of succeeding.