Are You Considering Taking NHS to Court? This Is Our Comprehensive Guide

Ian Lewis[1]

Ian Lewis

Money Savings Advice Taking the NHS to court

Are you one of a growing number of people who have suffered negligent treatment at the hands of the NHS? Are you wrestling with the moral dilemma as to whether you should take the NHS to a court or not?

If you have been injured/suffered illness as a consequence of negligent treatment, then you are well within your rights to pursue compensation. This may have impacted your working life, family life and limited your activity in the short, medium or long term.

While many people struggle with the moral dilemma as to whether it is “right” to take the NHS to court for negligence, there are other factors to consider. For example, unless negligent third parties are held to account nothing will change across the NHS or the medical profession.

The same injuries and illnesses will still occur as a consequence of negligence which could, in some cases, result in death.

So, while the short-term goal of your case is to secure compensation, in the longer term, you could quite literally be changing procedures and saving lives.

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Who Insures the NHS?

The NHS is a huge medical institution, and as a consequence, it is a self-insured body which effectively means that all expenses/compensation will come out of NHS funds. The area of the NHS which looks after compensation claims is known as the NHS Litigation Authority.

The authority publishes regular reports detailing recent compensation payments and potential liabilities. All NHS related negligence/compensation claims will be administered through the authority.

How Many Compensation Claims Are Outstanding in the NHS?

If we look back to the financial tax year 2016/7, we know from an NHS Litigation Authority report that compensation totalling £1.76 billion was paid out. It also confirmed that there is a staggering £65 billion of potential claims on the NHS books.

Over the same period, the NHS also spent £428 million on claimant/defence legal costs. As a consequence, it will be no surprise to learn that many NHS compensation claims are agreed out of court - thereby avoiding potentially significant legal expenses.

How Do I Prove Negligence?

Medical negligence claims are among some of the most complicated in the personal injury claims sector. However, the measure of whether the claimant had received injury/illness as a consequence of negligence is fairly straightforward in principle.

The treatment received will be compared and contrasted against that reasonably expected from an unconnected medical professional in a similar position with similar experience/training. If the level of treatment received was deemed to be below this level, then there may be a case for negligence.

Do I Need to Prove Negligence Before Applying for Compensation?

Yes. You do need to prove negligence before you are able to claim compensation. There will be some scenarios where the courts will deem negligence to be split between parties. This would likely lead to a similar split in compensation. Sometimes it would be the claimant who was partially responsible which would, therefore, reduce their compensation award.

Is There a Time Limit on Making a Claim for Compensation?

The traditional time limit on making a claim for compensation is three years from the date of diagnosis. In the vast majority of cases, the diagnosis date will be the same as the incident date. However, there are numerous examples of claimants being diagnosed weeks, months or even years down the line.

As a consequence, the three-year window of opportunity would begin on the date of diagnosis, whenever that may be. It is also possible to extend the claims timeframe in the event that the claimant is mentally incapacitated or a minor.

What Evidence Do I Need to Make a Claim?

In simple terms, you need to provide as much evidence as possible to support your claim. This will include the likes of:-

  • Details of your treatment
  • A summary of your concerns
  • Witness statements
  • Photographic evidence
  • Copies of correspondence with the NHS
  • Timeline of events
  • Copy of your medical records

Once you have collated as much evidence as possible, it is time to approach a claims management company to discuss your chances of success.

Do I Need to Employ the Services of a Claims Management Company?

While there is always the option of pursuing any compensation claim yourself, the services of claims management companies are often priceless. What appears to be a relatively straightforward procedure can suddenly become more complicated when you dig below the surface.

Even relatively strong cases would collapse in the event that you missed timelines or failed to provide the information requested. In the event that your case is relatively strong, you may be offered a “no win no fee” arrangement.

How Does a “No Win No Fee” Arrangement Work?

When reviewing your evidence and details of your claim, a claims management company will estimate your chances of success. If they believe you have a minimum 60% chance of success, then they will likely offer you a “no win no fee” arrangement.

In the event that you are successful, your claims management company will be able to claim expenses from the defendant. However, if your case fails, they will need to take the financial hit for expenses.

As a consequence of this perceived risk, your claims management company will open discussions regarding a “success fee”. This tends to be a minimum 25% of any compensation received, although with more complicated cases it could be higher. The details of the “success fee” will be agreed prior to the appointment of the claims management company to represent you.

Is My Compensation Tax-Free?

Any compensation that you receive will be tax-free. You may have the option to take a lump-sum payment or regular payments going forward.

Will I Need to Appear in Court?

While this article is focused on taking the NHS to court as a consequence of injury/illness received due to negligence, the vast majority of claims never make it to the courtroom. Where negligence has been proven and accepted, all parties would simply get together to thrash out compensation.

In the event that they were unable to agree on a compensation figure, even though negligence had been accepted, it would be up to the courts to make a ruling.


The NHS has tens of billions of pounds of potential liability in the shape of lodged compensation claims. While many people may wrestle with the moral dilemma of whether or not to take the NHS to court, if you have suffered as a consequence of negligence, then you have every right to pursue compensation.

It is also worth noting that unless negligent third parties are held to account very little will change, and the same injuries will happen time and time again in the future.

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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