Claims for medical negligence can be some of the more difficult to pursue on a moral basis. Many people feel concerned and sometimes slightly embarrassed to pursue compensation against the NHS for medical negligence.
However, remember, this may well have a huge impact on your life, and where there is negligence, these parties need to be held to account.
If you’re pursuing medical negligence, you will likely have many questions to ask. Some of them may seem relatively simple, while others may be a little more complex.
We have gathered together some of the more frequently asked questions with regards to medical negligence claims. If you have any others, please feel free to contact us.
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In simple terms, medical negligence is a treatment that has fallen below the standards of those expected from one or more third parties. There needs to be a degree of suffering, whether mentally or physically, in order to pursue negligence and, as a consequence, compensation.
This type of legal action tends to relate to nurses, carers, doctors, pharmacists, and others in the medical profession - although this list is not exclusive.
In the vast majority of cases, it is obvious there has been a degree of medical negligence leading to some degree of ill-health. Proving medical negligence can be slightly more challenging. Aside from the array of evidence, you can collate, the strongest type of evidence is a comparison with similarly experienced medical practitioners.
If you can prove that a medical practitioner with the same experience/skills would have acted differently to the defendant, this often goes a long way to proving negligence.
Yes. Generally there is a three-year timeframe in which you must lodge a claim for compensation. Medical negligence is often very different from straightforward accidents, where the diagnosis is often immediate. The three-year window of opportunity in which to claim compensation would begin on the day that you were officially diagnosed. This may be some weeks, months, or even years down the line.
If the alleged victim of medical negligence is under the age of 18, they can either have a parent/guardian pursue a compensation claim on their behalf or wait until they are 18. If they wait until they are 18 years of age, this would be day one of the three-year window of opportunity.
There is no hard and fast rule regarding successful prosecutions for compensation. Many experts would suggest a relatively straightforward medical negligence claim could take up to 2 years to conclude.
Those which are perhaps more complex may take longer, although others may have a much shorter timescale. Thankfully, where medical negligence is proved, and it is simply a case of negotiating compensation, there may be the opportunity to request an interim payment.
An interim payment can be very useful for those who have already incurred costs as a consequence of the negligence and are expected to incur further costs going forward. Interim payments will only be available where negligence has been accepted or proven, and it is simply a case of negotiating compensation.
All claimants have the option of pursuing compensation in their own right. However, even the strongest of cases may fall by the wayside without at least a basic understanding of the UK legal system. As a consequence, more and more people are now using the services of personal injury claims management companies.
They are fully aware of the UK legal system, guidelines, timetables, and information required. There may also be the option to negotiate a “no-win, no fee” arrangement where you have a relatively strong case.
This is very simple. After collating your evidence and presenting this to a personal injury claims management company, they will review your case in detail and forecast your chances of success. If they believe you have a minimum 60% chance of success, the likelihood is they will offer a “no win no fee” arrangement.
In effect, the claims management company will indemnify you from any costs they incur when pursuing your case. In exchange, they will look to negotiate a “success fee,” which is a share of any compensation awarded.
While nothing is set in stone, the average success fee tends to be around 25% of any compensation awarded. There may also be the opportunity for the claims management company to reclaim expenses from the defendant in a successful prosecution.
Research suggests that claims management companies are able to negotiate a much better rate of compensation compared to individuals acting in isolation.
Before claiming the compensation, you will need to prove negligence. Once this has been proven, your claims management company would look to negotiate both general damages and special damages.
General damages are financial compensation for pain and suffering as a direct consequence of, in this case, medical negligence. The level of general damages is dictated by industry guidance, but there is a degree of discretion. It is worth noting that general damages are limited.
Special damages relate to recompense for costs incurred, future expenses, and even loss of earnings. In cases of serious medical negligence, where the claimant’s standard of living has been significantly reduced, medical expenses, structural changes to the home, and loss of earnings can culminate in a significant award. There is no limit on special damages.
Research suggests that just 1% of personal injury claims end up in the courts, but there is no hard and fast rule. If the defendant accepts negligence, then all parties will gather around the table to negotiate an out-of-court settlement.
In the event that no compensation can be agreed upon, it would be left to the courts to make an award. If the defendant refuses to accept negligence, then there would be a full-court case. If there was a court case, you would be expected to attend and may be called to give evidence. However, remember that you are not the one on trial!
The no-win, no fee arrangement used by many claims management companies today has been a revelation. Without this, we can only estimate how many negligent parties would not have been held to account and, therefore, not have changed their practices/procedures going forward. This is an area of personal injury claims which is often overlooked, the knock-on effect to future actions, and the potential saving of lives.
Medical negligence cases can be relatively complex, and action will sometimes take longer than traditional personal injury claims. However, if you have strong evidence and your claims management company believes you have a strong case, there is no reason why you should not pursue compensation.
Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Personal Injury Claims management companies. They have already helped thousands of people claim compensation for injuries 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.
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