Hospital Negligence Compensation Claims Explained

Ian Lewis[1]

Ian Lewis

Money Savings Advice Hospital negligence compensation

Have you suffered injury/illness as a consequence of negligence by a hospital? Are you considering seeking personal injury compensation but not quite sure where to start? Without advice, it can look daunting seeking compensation. Traditionally, medical negligence claims can be very complex, and you may need professional advice.

There are numerous areas in which you may suffer negligence in a hospital such as outpatient treatment, inpatient treatment or in the accident and emergency department. When being treated in a hospital, all employees and practitioners have a legal obligation to maintain your health and well-being.

There are specific levels of care associated with hospital treatment which need to be respected.

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What Is the Difference Between Negligence and a Simple Mistake?

It is perhaps more helpful to focus on the level of care you should expect when entering the hospital as opposed to whether it was just a “simple mistake”. Negligence in the medical profession tends to be measured by the Bolam test - a claim for hospital negligence dating back to 1957.

In basic terms, this compares and contrasts the treatment received by an individual, against that which they could reasonably expect from others in a similar position with similar experience/training. It is to all intents and purposes a peer test.

How Long Do I Have to Claim Compensation for Negligence?

The traditional window of opportunity is three years from the date of diagnosis, which in the majority of cases is the date of treatment. However, if for example, a medical professional missed signs of illness during a scan, then it may be some weeks, months or even years later before it is correctly diagnosed.

Therefore, there will be situations where the window of opportunity can be many weeks, months or years after the date of the treatment, scan, etc. This is very important because there is a misconception that the window of opportunity is backdated to the date of the incident.

Do I Need to Prove Negligence?

Before you can pursue the compensation, you need to prove that the individual/parties were negligent when administering your treatment. This requires evidence which can take many forms such as:-

  • Alternative medical opinion
  • Medical records
  • Witness statements
  • Photographs
  • Copies of communication
  • Timeline of treatment
  • Information provided
  • Historic patterns of negligence

Although this list of evidence will give you an idea of the kind of information required, it is by no means exclusive. Different types of hospital negligence claims will require different types of evidence.

Do I Need Professional Advice to Pursue a Medical Negligence Claim?

Even the most straightforward personal injury compensation claims tend to be a little more difficult when you look under the surface. For example, as we touched on above, there is a relatively rigid window of opportunity in which to stake a claim, but this is based on the date of diagnosis, NOT the date of treatment.

There are many personal injury claims companies in the UK able to offer advice across the whole range of medical negligence matters. It is, therefore, advisable to contact one of these parties as soon as you consider pursuing a claim.

How Do I Know if I Have a Valid Claim?

The ultimate test of a compensation claim is how the defendant reacts to your evidence or the court ruling – if it does go to court. Until then there are no certainties even for those which look relatively straightforward.

When approaching a personal injury claims company, they will assess your evidence, seek additional advice where required, and if they believe you have a minimum 60% chance of success they will likely take on your claim.

How Do I Pay the Costs Associated With My Compensation Claim?

If your claims management company believe there is a minimum 60% chance of success, they will likely offer you a “no win no fee” deal. In exchange for taking on your claim (and the potential risk of failure/associated costs), they will negotiate a “success fee” with you which will be a percentage of any compensation awarded – on average this tends to be around 25%.

Can I Finance My Own Compensation Claim?

The 60% cut-off point relates to “no win no fee” arrangements although you are perfectly entitled to finance your own compensation claim via a personal injury claims company. How they will manage payment of expenses will be a matter of discussion, but there is nothing stopping you from proceeding with a claim even if your personal injury claims advisor suggests there is a limited chance of success.

How Do I Lodge a Claim?

When pursuing a compensation claim, a copy will be lodged with the courts, and a copy passed to the defendant. They will be given a reasonable time to consider your arguments and evidence before deciding whether to pursue an out-of-court settlement or challenge the claim.

The vast majority of personal injury compensation claims are settled out of court - often as a consequence of the 60% success bar on the initial review.

Will I Need to Go to Court?

As we touched on above, by far and away the vast majority of personal compensation claims are settled out of court, directly between the claimant’s and defendant’s representatives. Even if your claim goes before the courts, your personal injury claims advisor will guide you through the process and how to present your evidence if called.

Your adviser obviously believes your claim is valid and realistic; therefore, all you need to do is be truthful and honest when giving your evidence.

What Happens if I Lose My Claim?

If you lose your claim for hospital negligence, then, under the “no win no fee” arrangement, you won’t have any additional financial liabilities. Due to recent changes in the law, in the majority of cases, you would not even be liable for any costs incurred by the defendant.

This can be different in some scenarios such as for example you may have refused an earlier out-of-court settlement prior to the defeat.

What Level of Compensation Can I Expect?

Each individual personal injury claim is considered on its own merits. While there is guidance available for compensation amounts for various injuries, nothing is set in stone.

You will, however, come across two different types of compensation, general damages, which cover financial compensation for pain and suffering, as well as special damages, financial redress for costs incurred as a consequence of the illness/injury and any further costs going forward – including loss of earnings.

Summary

Hospital negligence claims are among some of the most complicated personal injury claims you can pursue, and it is important to take advice. Even scenarios that seem fairly cut and dry can end up being relatively complicated and require additional evidence from third-party medical practitioners.

These are situations that any personal injury claims company would be used to and able to resolve.

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 Ian Lewis

Ian Lewis

Ian Lewis is one of our specialist financial writers. Ian has over 15 years of financial writing experience, having worked for some of the largest financial publications in the UK covering topics from mortgages, equity release, loans and financial claims, to name a few.

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