Medical negligence claims are part of an area of law known as tort, which is the law governing ‘private wrongs’. Most personal injury claims fall [...]
Medical Negligence Claims
When dealing with injuries or illness brought about by poor medical treatment, it is vital to understand that the issues to be proved in medical negligence claims are not always the same as in other types of personal injury law. Here, we provide simple guides to the main areas with which you should be familiar before bringing a claim. Click on the headings below to learn more.
Knowing If You Have A Claim
In other areas of the law, you can almost always claim if you have suffered illness or injury due to someone else’s negligence. Medical claims are not so simple, due to the need to protect doctors and other medical professionals. The injury you suffered must not only have been caused by a breach of a duty of care owed to you, but that breach must have been the kind of mistake that no competent doctor would have made. Your claim must also be made within the ‘limitation period’, which is normally no more than three years.
Funding Your Claim
Medical negligence claims can be particularly expensive to litigate, due to the special requirements for proof mentioned above. You will almost always need to obtain the opinion of a medical expert, as well as retaining the services of a legal professional. If your claim is unsuccessful, you will have to fund not only your own costs, but those of the defendant also. For that reason, you will need either to obtain legal aid, sign a ‘no win, no fee’ agreement, or be very confident of your chances of winning.
Medical Negligence Compensation
As you would expect from the variety of medical procedures now available, the types of injuries susceptible to negligence claims are numerous. You can claim not only for the ‘general damage’ done by the negligence, but also for any knock on effect it may have had to your career and your ability to effectively live your life. This can often amount to more than the general damages themselves. Go to this section to learn more about Medical Negligence Compensation.
Choosing A Solicitor
Given the complexity of many medical negligence claims, it is usually wise to retain the services of a legal professional to manage your claim. This is particularly the case if your claim proceeds to trial. However, it is vitally important that you ensure the competence and trustworthiness of any solicitor you employ. You should seek to employ a firm with proven expertise in the area of clinical negligence, and who are recommended by the various professional bodies in this area of the law.
Understanding The Claims Process
Even if you have obtained the services of a professional, it is worth understanding the claims process for yourself. Your solicitor will not only be obtaining expert medical evidence, but also writing to the defendants, potentially receiving offers of settlement from them, and eventually retaining the services of a barrister to litigate in court. Make sure that you understand the different stages you can expect your claim to go through, and the obstacles and opportunities which may be encountered along the way.
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