A claim for medical or clinical negligence may arise when a patient receives treatment from any healthcare provider, whether this is privately or as part of the NHS, which is below a reasonable standard and as result of that treatment suffers injuries, additional symptoms or even dies. A claim may arise following an error, an omission or neglect on the part of those providing the treatment.
It is possible to pursue a claim against anyone providing treatment of an unacceptable or negligent standard including a patient’s GP, emergency healthcare provider, doctors or nurses in hospitals, dentists, physiotherapists, opticians and any other treatment provider.
When something goes wrong with medical treatment, regrettably the consequences can be severe for the injured person and those close to them, including possible life changing injuries requiring ongoing treatment and leading to future financial hardship.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries or symptoms arising from negligent medical treatment, whether provided on the NHS or privately, you may be able to bring a claim. However, an adult must represent any minor under the age of 18 if they wish to pursue a claim.
There are three important aspects of a successful medical negligence claim:
1. Establishing the treatment was negligent
We will investigate if those providing treatment were negligent. Just because something may have gone wrong with the treatment or a mistake made it does not necessarily mean there has been negligence on the part of the treatment provider.
Most treatment carries some risks and unavoidable problems can occur. The treatment provider is only likely to be negligent if they have done something that no reasonably competent practitioner would have done.
This part of the claim often requires considerable investigations, including seeking evidence from an independent medical expert. It is often a difficult area to prove, not least because the test is only one of reasonable competence, not whether the treatment was perfect.
2. Investigating the injuries
Whilst establishing whether the treatment was negligent, we will investigate whether the negligent treatment was the cause of or contributed to any additional injuries or symptoms from which the injured person may be suffering. It may be that the same symptoms would have arisen anyway even if there had been no negligence on the part of the treatment providers.
Again, evidence from an independent medical expert will be required to show that the symptoms arose because of the negligence rather than for any other reason. We will arrange for a suitably qualified expert to prepare a report into those symptoms.
3. Investigating the losses and expenses
We will also investigate all the losses and expenses arising from the negligent treatment. Some examples of potential areas of claim include losses of earnings, treatment costs, medication charges, travelling expenses or even the cost of additional care an injured person may require. These expenses could have already arisen or may arise in the future, so need proper consideration before finalising any claim.