What is clinical negligence?
A clinical negligence claim is one involving your treatment by a healthcare professional. If you are not looked after to the best of the abilities of the professional, you may wish to make a claim for damages.
As part of your clinical negligence claim you will be able to seek compensation, referred to as damages, which comes in two forms:
1- General Damages
This head of damages compensates you for your pain, suffering and loss of amenity. The level of general damages depends on the severity of your injuries. For a guide as to the levels of general damages which can be awarded for an injury please click here.
2- Special Damages
This head of damages compensates you for the financial losses you have suffered as a result of your injuries. You should keep a record of your expenses and any receipts so that you can prove these in due course. Typical financial losses include the following:
- Loss of earnings
- Cost of medical treatment
- Cost of carer support
As a general rule, the time limit to bring a claim for clinical negligence is 3 years from the date of the incident or 3 years from the date you become aware or should reasonably have become aware that you suffered some harm as a result of the incident. If you suffered as a result of clinical negligence as a child, you will generally have until the age of 21 to bring a claim. Time limits do not run while a person lacks mental capacity. While these limits are strict, they are not always conclusive, so if you believe you have suffered and are outside the time limits, please still get in touch to discuss your claim.
We would need access to copies of all relevant medical records before obtaining a medical report. This is one of the most important pieces of evidence that will be needed if you are to be successful with your claim. The medical report will document the nature and extent of your injuries, your recovery, any ongoing or permanent health problems and the effect the injuries have had on your life.
Will my GP be able to prepare a report?
To ensure your opponent’s insurance company and the Court (in the unlikely event your case goes to trial) consider that the medical report is unbiased, the report cannot be prepared by your GP or anyone else who may have treated you.
Our solicitors will arrange for you to see a medical specialist. The specialist will want to know how well you have recovered from the injury and if there are any permanent injuries. Depending on the extent and severity of your injuries, your medical appointment will probably last between 20 minutes to 1 hour. You will not usually need to undress but the specialist may wish to examine you. Once you have had the medical appointment the specialist will prepare a written report and send it to us. We will then forward a copy of the report to you and discuss the next steps to be taken.
Sometimes if the injury is substantial, it is necessary to obtain reports from different types of specialists. For example, it might be necessary to instruct a Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon and a Consultant Psychiatrist if you have suffered a debilitating whiplash injury that has brought about a period of depression.
Procedure after medical report is obtained
Often once the medical report is obtained it is possible to assess your likely claim for general damages and special damages. At this point it is probable that both parties (you and the Defendant’s insurer) will want to make offers of settlement to try to compromise the claim. If a settlement cannot be agreed at this point then it possible that court proceedings will be commenced. For further details please see our guide on the overview of a court claim
Please follow the links below for further information regarding specific negligence claims:
Nobody wants to have to claim compensation. The need to seek damages always arises from difficult circumstances. You want to know where you stand.