Medical negligence compensation claims have received greater publicity in recent years due to a number of high profile cases and the increase in the so-called hospital superbugs such as MRSA and C.Diff. If you are unfortunate to suffer an injury due to medical or clinical negligence, whether it is caused by an NHS hospital, a private hospital, your GP, a nurse or any other medical professional, you could be entitled to make a medical negligence compensation claim (also referred to as a clinical negligence compensation claim).
Most people have to put their trust in medical professionals at one time or another for some form of medical treatment. Whilst this treatment is usually beneficial and performed to a very high standard, mistakes do happen, which can result in unexpected pain and suffering.
All medical treatment carries some risk, which patients should usually be warned about before the treatment is carried out. Therefore not all of the unexpected or disappointing outcomes to medical treatment are the fault of the healthcare professionals and give rise to a medical negligence claim.
However, if you have suffered unexpected pain and suffering which you believe was caused by the negligence of a healthcare professional, you may be entitled to make a medical negligence compensation claim.
What is medical negligence?
Medical negligence, also referred to as clinical negligence, describes the situation when a healthcare professional breaches the duty of care that all healthcare professionals owe to each and every patient that they treat. In order to have a claim for medical negligence, this breach of duty must have caused some form of injury, whether temporary or permanent.
A breach of the duty of care occurs when the care provided by a healthcare professional falls short of what a person is reasonably entitled to expect. The care provided is judged against the skill of competent professional in the particular field of healthcare. To make a medical negligence claim it is essential to be able to prove that the error made would not have been made by a reasonable and competent member of the medical profession.
What should I do if I feel I have a medical negligence claim?
Medical or clinical negligence is a very complex area of personal injury law. If you feel that you have suffered an injury as a result of the negligence of a medical professional, it is important to seek assistance from a specialist medical negligence claims solicitor. As with all personal injury claims, there are time limits within which a clinical negligence claim must be made. It is therefore important to contact a specialist medical negligence claims solicitor as soon as possible, who will be able to help you make your claim and gain the compensation you are entitled to.
How long do I have to make medical negligence claim?
In order to make a successful medical negligence compensation claim, you must start your claim within three years from the actual date of the negligent act which caused your injury. Due to the complexity of medical negligence cases, your injury may not be discovered for some time after the negligent act which caused the injury. Also in some cases there may be a delay in confirming that your injury was cased by medical negligence. In such cases, the three year limitation period begins on that date that injury was diagnosed, or the medical negligence was confirmed.
If you were under the age of 18 at the time when the medical negligence occurred, the three year limitation period within which to make a medical negligence claim only starts on your 18th birthday. As with any personal injury claim, judges have a discretion to extend the three year limitation period. However this discretion is normally only exercised in very exceptional circumstance so should not be relied upon if you wish to make a medical negligence claim against a hospital, GP or any other NHS or private medical practitioner.
For further information about making a medical negligence compensation claim, or if you would like to know if you have a potential medical negligence claim, please complete our call back request form at the top of this page .