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Medical Negligence

Medical negligence is when medical people fail in their duty of care to you, leading to injury or making an existing condition worse. There are a number of ways that medical negligence can happen, such as misdiagnosis, incorrect treatment or surgical mistakes.

Irwin Mitchell have very kindly helped Sky Badger put these legal guides together. You can find them as well as lots of other organisations and charities specialising in legal advice at the bottom of this page.

medical negligence

Types of Medical Negligence

For example, you may consider these areas:

  • Delay in diagnosis / Wrong diagnosis or misdiagnosis
  • Brain injury either at birth, shortly after birth or acquired brain injury
  • Brain damage and traumatic brain damage
  • Childbirth injuries, traumas and birth trauma effects on a baby
  • Poor surgical treatment/ Poor nursing care
  • Delay in treatment
  • Prescription errors
  • Dental negligence and eye related treatments.
  • Hospital related infections
  • Cosmetic surgery

BIRTH INJURIES

Midwives and Doctors usually provide a high standard of care during childbirth, but if procedures aren’t followed correctly, or there’s a communication error, there can be devastating consequences for your child.

Some of these complications and injuries, either at birth or afterwards, can lead to conditions such as Cerebral Palsy and other neurological issues which may have a life changing impact on your family for the rest of your child’s life.

You may be entitled to bring a claim if you’ve been injured, or suffered an illness because of negligent treatment by an NHS Trust or healthcare professional.

Birth injury claims should be dealt with by a specialist Birth Injury lawyer; also, specialist solicitors can help you seek answers from those responsible and make sure that your child receives the compensation and rehabilitation they need.

So, it’s important to seek legal advice as soon as you can if you think medical negligence may be a factor in the outcome of any treatment.

Where do I start?

The first step to making a medical negligence claim is to contact a solicitor; as soon as you are able to after you believe negligence has happened, whilst the information is still fresh in your mind.

You can make a complaint to the care provider which should be made within 12 months of the treatment in question. Your complaint will be looked into and you should receive a reply to the concerns raised. You may also receive an apology or reassurance that changes have been made to prevent the same problem happening again.

When do I need to Claim by?

Usually you have three years to make a medical negligence claim; this is from the date of the medical error. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

In the case of children, the three year time limit does not apply until their 18th birthday and they can process a claim up to their 21st birthday.  It doesn’t matter about the date that the incident occurred, or you realized they were injured.

Also, if the person bringing the claim lacks mental capacity the time limits may not apply.

How Do I Prove A Medical Negligence Case?

You must be able to prove that you’ve received negligent treatment which caused an injury or contributed to making an existing condition worse.

How Much Can I Claim For Medical Negligence?

The amount of compensation you can claim for medical negligence will vary depending on:

  • The extent of the injury/illness
  • Any expenses you’ve incurred
  • Your future care needs
  • Therapies
  • Accommodation
  • Aids & Equipment
  • Rehabilitation

Will I Need To Go To Court?

Only a very small number of these cases go to court.. However, if your case goes to court, you will get help and support through the process.

How Long Do Cases Take To Settle?

They usually settle claims (i.e. come to an agreement) as quickly as possible to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. This differs depending on what happened in the case.

LEGAL AID

Legal Aid, can I apply for this?

You can usually apply for legal aid if a child has suffered a brain injury during pregnancy/childbirth, or shortly after ( 8 weeks) , which has resulted in a severe disability.

Not all solicitors firms are able to offer Legal Aid, so if you think you might be able to apply for this funding it is important to find a firm who offers Legal Aid.

Will a Medical Examination be needed?

It’s likely that you’ll need to see an expert doctor to assess the extent of any damage/injury you’ve suffered as a result of negligent treatment. It’s important to get the professional opinion of an independent medical expert to help with your claim.

Can I claim on behalf of my child?

Parents can make medical negligence claims on behalf of their children. There are many solicitors who can do this and talk through the timescales, as well as the personal injury compensation guidelines.

Some other useful information...

This film was made my Irwin Mitchell.

When Julian and Rachel went into hospital for the birth of their first child, they expected to be bringing home a healthy baby, however due to complications during his delivery, their son Joseph now suffers from cerebral palsy.

Watch their story here.

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  • Legal aid and access to justice
  • Where do I find a legal aid solicitor?
  • Cases where you can get legal aid
  • How do I find out if I'm eligible for legal aid?

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