Many people who suffer medical negligence aren’t really aware of the law surrounding it. In fact, the vast majority of those who are injured by negligent medical practice don’t even know that they are eligible to make a claim for compensation. However, medical negligence is similar to any other personal injury claim, in that if a medical professional has made a mistake or did not meet their duty of care, they may have caused your injury. Here are six things you need to know about medical negligence if you’re thinking of making a claim.
Medical negligence can cover a broad variety of things
If you feel that you have suffered due to a form of clinical negligence it’s worth knowing that the legal term can actually for a huge range of circumstances. Some of the most common forms of medical negligence include failure to diagnose a condition, failure to choose the correct form of treatment, mistakes made during surgery, over medication as well as negligence related to counselling or psychological therapy. Medical negligence can even cover areas such as dentistry and cosmetic surgery. So no matter the reason that you have suffer an injury or illness, if there was any form of medical negligence, you could be entitled to make a compensation claim.
You need to establish three separate facts
To make a successful claim of clinical negligence you will have to prove three separate things are true. Firstly, you need to show that the doctor or medical professional owed you a duty of care. This is generally a given and by far the easiest part of the process. Next you need to show that the practitioner broke this duty of care and was negligent in either their analysis or treatment of you. Finally you need to show that this negligence caused you injury or illness.
You need proof if you’re going to make a claim
If you’re going to make a claim then you will need to gather evidence. Certain aspects of this will be easy because medical professionals keep full records, but this may also mean getting alternative medical opinions in order to show that an aspect of your care was negligent. If you cannot present proof it is unlikely that the case will be able to progress. So make sure you keep hold of any records and notes that you have from your doctor.
You should get legal advice as soon as possible
If you think you have suffered as a result of medical negligence then it’s important that you should seek expert medical advice as soon as possible. Seek out a solicitor who has specific experience in dealing with clinical negligence cases and they will be able to let you know both whether your experiences count as negligence and whether or not you are likely to win a compensation claim. It’s best to work with a solicitor who offers a no-win, no-fee basis for the work they carry out; this means there is no risk of you losing out financially.
Your case probably won’t go to trial
You shouldn’t be concerned that you will have to face a trial situation as a result of trying to get the compensation you should be owed as the vast majority of medical negligence cases are settled before the trial can commence. This means that generally you can leave your case in the hands of your solicitors rather than having to do a lot of work or prepare for the process of going to court.
Medical negligence cases take time
Typically medical negligence cases take a long time to sort out. Before the case even gets to the stage where it could potentially go to trial there is usually between two and three years and sometimes this can last even longer depending on the level of complexity involved in the case. If the medical professional involved remains steadfast that they have done nothing wrong this can tend to elongate the matter. Once again, it’s unlikely the case will ever go to court, but if it does this can take even more time.