GP Negligence Compensation Claims Explained

Mark Benson

Mark Benson

Money Savings Advice GP negligence compensation

Are you one of the many people who have suffered injury/illness as a consequence of GP negligence? While some people will wrestle with the moral dilemma as to whether it is right to pursue a GP for compensation, let’s not forget you suffered as a consequence of negligence.

You are therefore well within your rights to pursue compensation, and this will also ensure that similar issues are less likely to occur in the future.

Unfortunately, money talks, and it is often only by bringing negligent parties to account that things change. So as you are wrestling with the moral dilemma, why not try to think forward to those who might have suffered similar illness/injuries before your intervention.

We have seen situations where GPs are quite literally not fit for their post; therefore pursuing compensation for negligence is often the only way for them to be held to account.

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How Does the Legal Profession Measure Negligence?

We know that medical negligence is one of the more complicated areas of the personal injury claims market. However, the medical profession and the courts use a relatively simple method to measure negligence, known as the Bolam test.

This relates to a case back in 1957, where a patient was injured while receiving medical treatment. The patient sued for compensation, suggesting that other medical practitioners would have taken additional measures to avoid injury.

The court ruling stated that at the time, other medical practitioners in a similar role would not have acted any differently. This was because the additional safety measures available were not used in general practice at the time. This is, in effect, a peer test.

Who Will Pay Compensation as a Consequence of GP Negligence?

While the NHS will cover compensation awards for those working under the NHS umbrella, the situation is very different for GPs. All GPs have their own medical insurance which will cover them for negligence and any compensation awards.

The problem is that with compensation claims continuing to rise, many insurance companies are demanding huge premiums. As a GP is not able to practice without the relevant cover, they are quite literally at the beck and call of the insurance industry. Hence the reason why there is a shortage of GPs in many areas of the country.

What Are the More Common Examples of GP Negligence?

The following list will give you an idea of the more common forms of GP negligence which includes:-

  • Failure to refer a patient to a specialist/consultant
  • Incorrect administration of medicine
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Failure to fully examine the patient

Life expectancy in the UK is rising, individuals are extending their working life, and the percentage of the UK population over 50 continues to grow. This has created long-term challenges for GPs and the medical profession as a whole.

Is There a Timescale to Make a Claim of GP Negligence?

Under normal circumstances, you would need to make a compensation claim within three years of your initial diagnosis. Remember, this is the date of diagnosis, not the date of the initial negligent treatment. We have seen some cases involving miner were health issues which have been settled decades down the line - after new medical tests were brought in.

In the event that someone under the age of 18 suffers as a consequence of negligence, then a claim can be brought on their behalf either by a parent/legal guardian or the victim when they turn 18. If they decide to pursue compensation when they turn 18, then the three-year window of opportunity will begin on their 18th birthday.

Does My GP Have a Duty of Care?

Yes. All GPs and medical practitioners have a duty of care to their patients to ensure their physical and mental well-being. This is also extended to providing treatment of appropriate quality comparable to that reasonably expected from a similarly experienced individual in a similar situation. This is the Bolam peer test, as covered above.

How Do I Begin a Compensation Claim?

The first thing to do is gather as much evidence as possible for your claim in order to prove negligence. Evidence will generally include:-

  • Witness statements
  • Copies of medical records
  • Corrective diagnosis
  • Actions are taken by your GP
  • Photographic evidence
  • Details of similar complaints against your GP
  • Correspondence to and from your GP

Once you have gathered evidence, it is time to approach a claims management company to see where you stand.

Why Do I Need to Approach a Claims Management Company?

The process of pursuing compensation is often more complicated in practice than it is in theory. It is fair to say that medical negligence is the most complex form of compensation; therefore, it is sensible to take professional advice.

Upon receipt of your evidence, the claims management company will review your case and estimate your chances of success. If they believe you have a minimum 60% chance of success, they would likely offer you a “no win no fee” arrangement.

In the event that they estimate your chances of success at less than 60%, you could still pursue compensation, but you would need to finance your own legal costs. These would likely be recoverable in the event of a successful prosecution, but there are risks even with the most “obvious” of cases.

What Level of Compensation Might I Expect?

If you managed to secure a successful prosecution, you would likely come across two different types of compensation known as general damages and special damages. General damages relate to financial compensation as a consequence of the pain and suffering attributed to the negligent party.

Special damages are effectively financial recompense for associated costs to date and expenses going forward, which would include the potential loss of earnings.

How Long Do Medical Negligence Claims Take to Payout?

There is no hard and fast rule, but some people estimate the average length of a medical claim to be anywhere from 12 months to 18 months. On occasion we have seen claims continue for years, often accumulating significant costs.

In the event of an early out-of-court settlement, you might be talking a matter of days/weeks before you receive your compensation. There is no hard and fast rule, as each case will be different.

Summary

There is huge pressure on GPs and medical practitioners in general across the UK. This has led to many GPs being pushed to the limit, often resulting in an increase in negligence claims. In many cases, these can lead to the award of compensation.

Medical claims can be the most complicated to prove, and it is advisable to seek the assistance of a claims management company and experienced adviser.

How Can Money Savings Advice Help You With Making a Medical Negligence Compensation Claim?

Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Medical Negligence Claims management companies. They have already helped thousands of people claim compensation for the negligence they have incurred, and they can do the same for you.

Choosing an independent claims management company means they won’t proceed with a claim unless they are sure it is in your best interests. They are also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.

If you would like to speak to one of these claim management companies who can help you make a compensation claim, then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.

Money Savings Advice Author Mark Benson

Mark Benson

Mark has been writing professionally for over ten years for the financial sector. Having started in the financial world as a stock-broker in central London and then moving to equities trader Mark is one of our senior financial writers who has a vast knowledge of multiple financial sectors.

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Consumer Credit Justice Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Reference 834486. We are regulated by the FCA in respect to claims management activities.

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