What is clinical negligence?
Injury or death caused or contributed to by the breach of a duty of care committed in the course of the provision of clinical or medical services, including dental or nursing services. If you were a private patient, and paid the doctor, either yourself or through your medical insurer, you may also be able to claim for breach of contract if your medical treatment was substandard.
What forms of clinical negligence can I claim for?
- Failed or delayed diagnosis
- Failure to warn of risks in treatment
- Failure to obtain proper consent to treatment
- Medication errors
- Careless surgical procedures
- Delayed referral to specialists
- Retention of organs and tissues following post-mortems
- Use of unsterilised instruments
- Early failure of replacement hips
- Misinterpreted breast screening and cervical smear testing
- Liability for hospital-acquired infections.
Negligence can also arise out of system errors in the hospital where the treatment took place. Similar principles apply to dentists, midwives, nurses, physiotherapists, psychologists and psychiatrists.
How do I claim for clinical negligence?
To succeed in a clinical negligence claim you must prove, through the evidence of medical experts qualified in the speciality concerned, that, on a balance of probabilities (i.e., it was more probable than not):
- That there were serious errors in your medical treatment which no competent doctor would have made
- That those errors caused, or materially contributed to, the injury you are complaining of
How long do I have to make a claim?
Generally English law dictates that a claim must be issued in the court within 3 years of the date of the accident or injury. However, there are some limited exceptions so that if you have a clinical negligence claim, it is 3 years from the date on which you became aware that you had suffered harm as a consequence of your medical treatment.
These time limits do not apply to children (who can proceed at any time before their 21st birthday) and people who are unable because of mental incapacity of managing their legal affairs
How much is my clinical negligence claim likely to be worth?
The amount of compensation you receive will depend on a number on factors, including:
- The seriousness of your injury or illness
- How it has affected your life
- How much money you have lost or will lose as a consequence
- Whether you will need extra support in the future
Expert advice is needed at the earliest possible opportunity. If your life has been impacted by clinical negligence we can help – call to speak with our expert team of personal injury lawyers now on 0800 077 4668.
Bray & Bray have three main offices across Leicestershire, feel free to phone or pop in to talk to our solicitors.