Being let down by a medical professional and then having to explain often very personal details to a solicitor you have probably not met before can be really tough. Our team understand that. That’s why our Medical Negligence Solicitors ensure that clients wishing to make a compensation claim for clinical negligence (also known as medical negligence) are always handled sympathetically.
We can represent you wherever you live, nationwide. Because these claims are so complex, requiring expert knowledge of the law and medical matters, our Solicitors handle Medical Negligence Compensation Claims not only locally in Wiltshire, Hampshire, Somerset, Dorset but throughout England and Wales from our offices in Salisbury, Fordingbridge, Amesbury and Andover.
And as you will see below, having a really specialist solicitor on your side is so important with this kind of negligence claims.
Call or Email Us Now for Your FREE Specialist Medical Negligence Advice – free phone advice and a free first appointment. Call FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 or locally on (01722) 422300
Do I really need a Specialist Solicitor?
We think so – and we are not the only ones.
Unfortunately, far too many claimants just don’t instruct the right solicitor. That’s why in 2016/17 just 9675 claims were successful – that’s about 55%. In the last 10 years, our medical negligence experts have won compensation for our clients in 75% of cases. That’s the difference in using a genuine specialist for your claim.
Put your mind at rest about a possible claim with our specialist FREE advice
When it comes to medical negligence claims, there’s no need to worry or suffer in silence if you’re concerned about running up sizeable legal costs. We offer:
- FREE phone advice
- FREE first interviews for all possible medical negligence claims – when our experts can give you an initial opinion whether you have a claim, and if so the likely level of compensation
Medical Claims – Home and hospital visits are available
If you are still in hospital or if you are so unwell that you can’t travel, then we can come to see you – at home or in hospital, or in a rehabilitation unit.
If you are able to travel, our solicitors can see you in our Salisbury, Andover, Fordingbridge or Amesbury offices.
What is medical negligence?
Medical negligence is substandard care by a medical professional (including doctors, dentists, midwives, nurses, radiographers and other health workers) i.e. medical treatment that has gone wrong. We will just refer to “doctor” as the majority of medical negligence claims are against doctors.
The legal test when making a medical negligence claim is whether or not the clinical treatment given to a patient was of the standard that a reasonably competent doctor practising in that particular field of medicine should have given.
How do I prove my doctor was negligent?
To decide whether your treatment was negligent, our solicitors obtain your full medical records and send them to an independent doctor. This doctor reviews your notes, and if necessary your statement, and indicates whether the medical treatment was reasonable. If the independent doctor agrees that your treatment was substandard, your case moves to the next stage.
Causation of medical negligence claims
In medical negligence compensation claims, it is often not difficult to prove that the standard of medical care was substandard.
It is sometimes much harder to prove that substandard care affected the final outcome.
Most people who go to a doctor or a hospital have a pre-existing medical condition. Some complications which arise are just genuine complications of the original condition. For example, if a person admitted to the hospital with a finger injury following a work accident has their finger amputated, they may think that better treatment may have allowed them to keep the finger. However, finger injuries are very difficult to treat and amputation is often necessary, regardless of the medical care.
To prove your injuries were caused by substandard medical care, we need an independent doctor’s opinion.
Doctors stick together – will the independent doctor really help my claim?
Our solicitors are very careful in choosing doctors to act as experts. We have a large database of specialist independent doctors and other experts who help victims of medical accidents. We always check that your expert does not know the doctors who treated you.
Will the independent doctor need to examine me?
This will depend on the nature of your injury. Many independent doctors prepare a report just from your medical records first – as we are asking the doctor to look back at the treatment you had, and the best record of this is in your medical records. Some doctors need to examine you at this early stage of your compensation claim. If your case proceeds and you end up bringing a Court action, you will definitely need a medical examination.
If the independent doctor says I have a claim, what happens next?
First, our solicitors write to the hospital or doctor concerned saying why we think you have a claim. They must reply within 3 months saying whether they admit responsibility for your injury or not.
If they do not accept responsibility for your medical injury, we may need to start Court action. Our medical negligence solicitors will explain if your compensation claim is likely to be successful and how your case will proceed.
Fortunately, very few medical negligence claims ended up fully contested in court – nationwide in 2016/17, just 121 cases were fought in this way – that’s just 0.7%
Specialist Medical Negligence Claims
Although our experienced Solicitors deal with all types of Medical Injury, we have particular experience in the following Negligence Claims:
- Birth injury
Click here to find out more about Birth Injury Compensation Claims
- Cerebral palsy
- Delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis
- Cancer misdiagnosis/treatment
Click here to read more about Cancer Misdiagnosis Compensation Claims
- Erbs palsy
- Failed vasectomies and sterilisations
Click here to read more about Failed Vasectomy Compensation Claims
- GP errors
Click here to read more about GP Negligence Compensation Claims
- Head /brain injury
- Clinical negligence compensation for military personnel (including Army, Navy, RAF and claims against the MOD).
Click here to read more about making a Military Medical Negligence Claim
- MRSA/C-Difficile/hospital infection/superbug
- Nursing and care home.
Click here to read more about making a Nursing Home Negligence Claim
- Orthopaedics, trauma and amputation
- Surgical mistakes – claims for negligence in general surgery accounts for around 50% of successful compensation awards.
Click to find out more about making a Surgical Negligence Compensation Claim
- Female medical negligence (gynaecology and obstetrics).
Click to find out more about Women’s Medical Negligence Claims
Instructing the right expert
When you come to claim compensation, having the right expert is essential; in short, getting the right reports from the right specialist and independent medical expert can make or break your compensation claim.
Getting that specialist on board from early on in your case is another reason why you need a solicitor who specialises in medical negligence work.
When it comes to appointing an expert, your solicitor needs to think about whether they are right for your particular situation. Do they have the right level of experience to deal with the level of difficulty in your case? Do they specialise in the niche area of medicine or surgery on which your case hinges? What is their experience in preparing medico-legal reports?
Your solicitor also needs to consider whether you should be using a single joint expert [ ie one also instructed by the other side] or instructing your own; and to make sure that your potential expert has plenty of experience in acting for the claimant patients.
Your solicitor will need to know how to deal with appointing experts. They can either rely on their own experience of the expert in question, and they will have access to specialist organisations with panels of experts.
Funding for your compensation claim – No Win No Fee available
Bringing a negligence claim can be very expensive. Sadly the NHS and other medical bodies remain remarkably reluctant to admit any mistake – though they are regularly encouraged by the government to do so. As a direct result, these claims go on far too long and legal bills are, in our opinion, far too high.
However that should not put you off making a claim – because almost all of our medical negligence cases are run using no win no fee agreements – so you don’t need to worry about paying your legal costs and can concentrate on your recovery.
Click here to read more about “No Win No Fee Claims“.
NB Legal Aid Funding is now extremely limited. Even if you are financially eligible, it’s only available for clinical negligence claims involving a brain injury at birth or within 8 weeks of birth
Thinking of Making a Claim Following a Medical Error? Don’t Delay
It’s important to get legal advice from our solicitors as soon as possible after you become aware of your injuries.
Why? There are two main reasons
- Firstly there are strictly enforced time limitation periods. In general terms, this means you will need to start your claim within three years of the negligence that caused your injuries – or if you only found out about the negligence later, within three years of your discovery of that negligence. There are also extended limitation periods for children and those with mental disabilities. Failing to start a medical negligence claim within the limitation period means you’re likely to miss out on your right to compensation completely.
- Secondly, it is often much easier to investigate your Compensation Claim if you instruct a solicitor as soon as possible. Things will still be fresh in your mind and evidence will sometimes be more easily obtained.
Remember – your initial phone call and a first face-to-face interview with us is FREE, and our Solicitors can then tell you whether your compensation claim is worth pursuing. As a result, we recommend you make notes about the circumstances of your Medical Injury as soon as possible and that you keep a written diary of events.
Making your medical negligence claim – you are not alone
Contrary to claims companies’ advertising, getting Medical Negligence Compensation is not easy. So it is essential that you have a specialist Medical Negligence Solicitor who will listen to you and clearly explain how your claim is progressing.
If you have suffered an injury due to clinical negligence, sadly you are not alone. There are far too many Medical Accidents in UK hospitals annually, half of which, it is believed, were avoidable. Sadly countless patients, despite suffering from injuries due to negligent care, prefer not to claim at all, regardless of how strong their case for making a claim can be.
Our Solicitors understand how traumatic a Medical Accident is for you and your family when after trusting clinical professionals, you end up a victim of clinical negligence. Whilst no money can ever fully compensate victims, we believe bringing these claims forward helps improve clinical standards and raise patient awareness. Winning compensation also helps to stamp out bad practices by making GPs and hospitals learn from their mistakes.
Our Solicitors will do their utmost to ensure you receive fair compensation.
How long will my compensation claim take?
You do however need to be aware that your medical claim can be a lengthy and challenging process, and, and you need to understand that it is likely to take years to conclude.
It’s not an easy process – however fast our solicitors drive the case, it’s still going to take a while and some people do understandably get anxious and worried. That’s another reason why you need a specialist solicitor – to guide you through this difficult process.
Your Medical Negligence Claim – The Process
Medical Negligence cases can be quite lengthy and the claims process will need to begin with firstly gathering all the available evidence to prove your claim.
This will of course focus on your medical records, including the names of the doctors, the name of the clinic or hospital, the types of treatments used, the type of surgery performed, the medication given, the tests taken etc. All these are vital for the lawyer to be able to prove a case of negligence.
All the facts of the claim will be sent over to independent medical experts for an opinion as to the extent of the error. Their expertise will be used to advise our solicitors if there was negligent care or treatment on the part of the offending medical practitioner.
If there is sufficient evidence, then a settlement figure will be proposed which the medical professional’s insurance company may or may not accept.
If the professional disputes the claim or the amount of the settlement figure then the result of the claim will be decided by a court.
The legal process will be a long one and there are very rarely any shortcuts that can be taken. Even if all parties agree that medical malpractice took place then there will still be plenty of bargaining needed before a final settlement figure is reached which is acceptable to all involved.
Don’t delay any longer, get in touch with us today for FREE no-obligation phone advice and a FREE first appointment.
Click to find out more about Making a Medical Negligence Claim
The possibility of claiming interim payments
If the NHS Litigation Authority (or the other party’s insurance company if your claim is against a private hospital or clinic)admits responsibility for your accident then our solicitors should be able to obtain an interim payment. We routinely try to obtain interim payments as soon as possible to repay your out-of-pocket expenses and to buy equipment to make you as independent as possible on leaving the hospital.
What are Provisional Damages?
If you have a medical condition that may worsen in future, you may be able to claim provisional damages. Usually, medical negligence compensation claims are settled on a ‘once and for all’ basis and you cannot go back to the Court and get more money, even if your condition becomes much worse. However, with certain medical conditions, you can re-open your case – for a common example if you suffered a head injury and later develop epilepsy.
If your doctor has told you that you may get worse in the future, please tell our Solicitors so we can consider a claim for provisional damages.
Can I claim compensation for negligent private medical treatment?
According to research by the independent health charity, the King’s Fund, it’s believed that approximately 11% of people in the UK have private healthcare insurance. And they often expect to receive a higher standard of service from private health providers than they would from the NHS. Unfortunately though, patients still suffer as a result of medical negligence in the nation’s private hospitals.
Generally speaking, the claims process for NHS and private medical negligence compensation claims is similar. However, there are various differences to bear in mind.
Firstly, in private cases, a contract or guarantee is often agreed between the doctor and patient, so when this is breached it may provide grounds for a compensation claim. If the patient was not made fully aware of risks or side effects before being sold treatment this may also justify a claim. Identifying who exactly was negligent is not straightforward because many professionals could be responsible for administering your healthcare. Bringing your claim against the right organisation or professional is essential.
Medical negligence compensation – how can I avoid losing my state benefits?
Investing your compensation payout in a trust can be a great way to both manage compensation funds from medical negligence and allow you to keep your state benefits. What is known as a ‘Personal Injury Trust’ is a legal document that protects your compensation money and, if run properly, means it won’t affect your benefits.
Two trustees will be appointed who will administer the trust fund. Technically it’s the trustees rather than you who the assets – that’s why, when you want to withdraw money from it, both trustees must provide consent. This is often straightforward as it is your choice to choose the trustees when setting up the trust. It is also worth noting that you can appoint yourself as one of the trustees, if desired.
It is important not to use the trust to withdraw regular monthly payments – as this could be considered as an income which could put an end to your entitlement for benefits.
Our private client team regularly draft a variety of trusts, and we also regularly act as professional trustees to manage and administer assets held under trusts.
Click here to find out more about how our Trust Solicitors could help you safeguard your compensation, and how our Professional Trustee Solicitors Management Service works