It should come as no surprise that the NHS has been under increased pressure through the coronavirus pandemic, while this may have also led to some clinical mistakes.
This is borne out by the numbers, with NHS England facing the prospect of paying out £4.3 billion in legal fees to settle outstanding claims of medical negligence.
But if you’ve been affected by medical negligence, do you even know how to make a claim? Here are some considerations to keep in mind.
What is the Medical Negligence Claim?
Let’s start with the basics; making a medical negligence claim can be daunting (especially in instances where you’ve been personally affected or seen damage caused to a loved one).
However, a medical negligence claim describes a legal or compensation claim that arises following an instance of clinical or surgical malpractice.
So, if you’ve incurred injury after a qualified healthcare professional has failed in their duty of care or made a demonstrable administration or prescription error, you may have the opportunity to make a viable claim for compensation.
What Are the Three Stages of a Claim?
Before you consider making a medical negligence claim, you’ll need to understand the three key stages of this challenging legal process. We’ve broken these down a little more detail below:
- Determining Liability: This is your first port of call, as you cannot make a successful medical negligence claim without first determining liability at the hands of a qualified medical professional. After all, injuries can occur accidentally rather than as a result of reckless error, and proving liability is central to demonstrating your case in court.
- Demonstrating Causation: The second stage focuses on the issue of caution, as the onus is on patients to demonstrate that their physical or mental injuries have been incurred directly as a result of a practitioner’s negligence. Without this, a court is unlikely to find in your favour while a settlement is also highly unlikely.
- Calculating Compensation: If you achieve the first two objectives, your solicitor will help you to calculate the compensation due as a result of your medical negligence claim. This will be based on various factors, from the nature of the error and the scope of negligence to its physical or mental impact, including the effect that it has on dependents and loved ones. Lost earnings will also be taken into consideration, which is why the biggest medical negligence claims are often settled in the millions.
By understanding these stages and liaising closely with a legal expert, you can focus on the emotional impact of medical negligence claims and hopefully begin to move forward once again with your lives.