Six reasons to seek specialist expertise for your medical negligence claim
Making a medical negligence claim may seem a daunting task to those with little or no knowledge of how the law in this area works. Seeking help from a specialist will allow you to be seamlessly guided through the claim process whilst ensuring that your best interests are protected. Below are six reasons as to why it may help you to seek specialist medical negligence expertise when making a claim.
A medical negligence claim occurs when a patient sues their medical practitioner and/or hospital for compensation due to an act(s) of negligence incurred during their medical care. In order to be successful, the person making a claim needs to prove both breach of duty and causation. In other words, you must be able to prove that the medical professional not only failed to carry out their responsibilities, but also that the harm that occurred as a result would have been avoided, had you received the correct care. The process of making a claim often involves a substantial amount of legal jargon – a specialist will be able to advise you on whether there is a claim worth pursuing, how to prove these elements and will ensure that you fully understand every aspect of the process.
If you choose to represent yourself, the process can become extremely expensive if you do not have private funds. Legal aid is no longer widely available to those wishing to pursue medical negligence claims and is only available to those who have suffered a brain injury as a result of negligence within the first 6 weeks of life. The main funding option is to enter into a conditional fee agreement (a “no win, no fee”), which is only available for those who seek legal representation.
It is unlikely that a case will succeed unless there is physical evidence. The evidence that is required includes medical records, notes, correspondence and expert medical opinions. A medical negligence lawyer will help to collate this evidence. Expert evidence is required to establish whether there has been negligence, the causal link between the act of negligence and the damage obtained and the long-term impact it will have on your life. In complex cases, more than one expert might be required which can be expensive if you do not have private funds or a conditional fee agreement with a lawyer. A medical negligence lawyer will also have connections to the best experts in the field which will help to prove the negligence, and subsequently win your case.
In most instances, you have three years to start a claim from the time you became aware of the negligence. There are exceptions to this rule – such as if the individual involved is under the age of 18 or if the individual lacks mental capacity. A medical negligence lawyer will be able to accurately calculate the last date that the claim can be issued and ensure that deadlines and important dates are not missed which will also help to keep down the costs of the claim.
The majority of medical negligence claims are settled before they have to go to trial. Nonetheless, having specialist legal representation with the necessary expertise can boost prospects of a successful claim. It can be extremely daunting to stand up in court against the opponent who would undoubtedly have a full team of experienced lawyers defending the claim, and therefore your lawyers will always try and ensure that a claim settles without it having to go to court.
Emotional support and stress relief
Taking legal action can be expensive, stressful and time-consuming. You will likely have to recall the series of events a number of times which can be traumatic and upsetting. A medical negligence lawyer can help provide support to you and/or the family by taking the stress of litigation away.
The lawyers can also be your voice during an often complex process and can get you the answers you deserve. They can also put you in touch with other professionals who can provide any services or support that you may need as a result of the negligence endured.
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