Leading personal injury and medical negligence solicitors
Make a medical negligence claim
To succeed in a successful medical negligence claim we must show both that the standard of medical care you received was unacceptable and also that as a result of any failings in care you have been injured.
Over 40 years combined medical negligence claim experience
Susan Brown and Richard Money-Kyrle, leading medical negligence solicitors, have over 40 years experience of medical negligence claims between them and can give you a very good idea of whether your case is likely to succeed right at the outset.
Time limits on making a claim
There are strict time limits that apply to when you need to commence court proceedings by in medical negligence claims.
The usual time limit is three years from the date you were injured or the date you first should have known that your injury was the result of medical negligence.
Special rules regarding time limits apply to children. Time does not begin to run against a child until they turn 18 so they have until their 21st birthday to start court proceedings.
There are also special rules for people who cannot manage their own affairs.
Why make a medical negligence claim?
There has been much talk of a growing "compensation culture" in the papers and on the radio and TV but there is little evidence to show that this is actually the case. The truth is that the number of claims brought against the NHS continues to fall year on year as have the number of medical negligence claims in the UK generally.
We firmly believe that it is wrong and indeed immoral to bring a claim against the NHS that is not genuine. However, there is little evidence to suggest that is happening and our review and screening procedures ensure that once the facts are properly known only those cases that are genuine are brought forward as claims.
Bringing a claim will help other patients and their families
A major failing of the current system and the reason why many patients and their families come to us is that they have been unable to get to the facts of what caused their injury. Compensation is not always mentioned as the main reason for making a claim other than in the most serious cases.
Following a detailed investigation we will explain exactly what has happened and the surrounding events. Where a mistake can be proved a decision can then be taken about whether or not a claim can be made and its likelihood of success.
Bringing a claim will ensure accountability of the medical agency responsible for the error. This will help prevent the same mistake from happening again. It will also secure the payment of compensation. This is important especially in more complex cases and where long term specialist care and assistance is required. This can be expensive and establishing a claim means that individuals and their families will not have to struggle financially to cope with the resulting disability.
Making a claim will also encourage medical authorities to re-train their staff to prevent the occurrence of a similar mistake. This in turn will help prevent other patients and their families having the same experience.
The NHS is financially resilient
We are all proud of the NHS and the work that it does. Its reputation as one of the best run healthcare organisations in the world is well known. However, as with all professions the medical profession has a duty of care to the people it provides its services to. It also has financial provision in place to compensate them where it makes mistakes and the cost of claims is spread among all NHS agencies under the Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts set up in 2005. The cost of claims therefore does not have to be met directly by the hospital or medical agency itself.
As a rule of thumb, most professional businesses set aside three percent of their turnover to cover negligence claims. The compensation paid by the NHS is considerably lower than this. The total NHS budget currently exceeds £100 billion. However, in 2007 it paid out just £600 million which amounts to just half of one per cent of that total or a fifth of the average for all professions.
This means that the total compensation paid by the NHS is a very small fraction of its budget and considerably less than would be expected given the number of potential claims and the media attention it receives. The fact is that bringing a claim against the NHS will not damage its financial position or ability to continue to provide what should be a first rate service.
How to make a claim
To bring a successful medical negligence compensation claim it has to be shown firstly that mistakes were made that in law amount to medical negligence and secondly, that, as a result of those mistakes, you have suffered an injury.
Making a successful negligence claim
For your claim to succeed your case for medical negligence needs to be supported by independent medical experts and we have close connections with experts in all medical disciplines and one of the largest databases of medical experts in the country.
We will take witness statements from you and others connected to the negligence and obtain your medical records. We will then go through all the issues again in greater detail and arrange for an independent medical assessment. In complex medical negligence cases we may need to involve doctors from many disciplines.
Working to get you the compensation you deserve
We will work with you to fully assess the consequences of your injury. This may involve as well as doctors experts in the areas such as accountancy, care, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, architecture, prosthetics, speech and language therapy, education, etc.
We will then put your case to the defendants and if possible seek to negotiate a settlement. If this is not possible we will arrange for court proceedings to be prepared and your case driven through the courts to the best settlement possible or very occasionally to trial.
Don’t be worried about the trial
Over 95% of all medical negligence cases we deal with settle without the need for trial.
The length of time your case will take depends on the complexity of the issues and most importantly how long we need to wait before we can fully assess your future needs. Some negligence cases settle in a matter of a few months if the hospital are prepared to negotiate an early settlement. Some may take up to three years should we need to go all the way through to trial. In exceptional cases the time scale may be longer than three years. We will be able to tell you how long your case is likely to take when we first speak to you.
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For more information or to speak to one of our experts, please call 0800 029 4802