Can I make a claim for Medical Negligence? Some basic facts
If you have suffered an injury because of medical negligence, you may be wondering whether you are eligible to make a claim for compensation.
Personal injury claims for medical negligence, also known as medical negligence or medical injury, can be complicated, involving complex evidence and strict time scales. However, in this article, we set out the key requirements, which may indicate that your clinical negligence claim has a chance of success.
You must have suffered an injury.
You can only make a claim for medical negligence if you have suffered an injury as a result of the negligent actions of a medical professional. For example, when a medical professional makes a mistake, but this does not impact your health in any way, it is unlikely you would be able to bring a claim.
Your health care professional was in breach of their duty of care towards you.
All healthcare providers have a duty of care towards their patients. In this context, a duty of care means that they must carry out their work to the standard of a reasonably competent professional. There are many scenarios which may give rise to a breach of duty of care, including when:
- Diagnosis is delayed, or you are misdiagnosed
- There is a delay in taking appropriate action, care, or investigating symptoms
- A medical professional does not take account of any test results or investigations
- A medical profession takes action that does not take into account your medical history
- A surgeon or other professional does not take adequate care when operating
- There is a communication failure between the medical professionals treating you, or between clinicians and patients or their carers, which results in harmful action being taken
- You are discharged from hospital care prematurely
- The clinicians treating you fail to obtain the proper consent from you in relation to treatment.
This list is not exhaustive but gives an indication as to the typical types of claims that are brought against medical professionals.
The health care professional’s breach of duty caused your injury.
Unfortunately, establishing that the medical professional breached their duty of care is not enough. You must also prove what is known as ‘causation’ – that the breach of duty actually caused your injury.
The time limits for bringing a medical negligence claim are strict, so it is important to act quickly. Generally, you must bring your claim within three years of the date of your injury. There are exceptions to this rule, but only in very limited circumstances, usually relating to the injured person not having mental capacity.
At Ashton’s, our specialist medical negligence team handles a wide variety of claims every year. Some of these are for people who are seeking financial compensation to fund their future care. Others are for families who have lost the main breadwinner and need to replace that financial support. For some, the money is not the main reason for bringing a claim and the goal instead is to get a hospital to acknowledge a mistake or change a system so that the same thing doesn’t happen to someone else.
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