Negligence is the breach of a legal duty owed to one person by another which results in damage being caused to that person. Clinical negligence, sometimes referred to as medical negligence, is concerned with claims against doctors and other healthcare professionals and their employers.
If you or someone you know has suffered from a preventable illness or pain as a result of substandard medical care then that person is a victim of clinical negligence and may be entitled to compensation.
Examples of clinical negligence are:
- Delayed diagnosis -where a doctor fails to notice an infection or serious disease when treating a patient
- Incorrect diagnosis- where doctor or medical professional makes the wrong diagnosis
- Failing to obtain consent
- Delay in treatment
- Careless surgical procedures
- Wrongful amputation
- Medication errors
- Brain damage
- Birth injury resulting from a delay in delivery, inappropriate method of delivery
- Falls whilst in hospital
With clinical negligence the person bringing the claim needs to prove 2 things:-
Breach of duty simply means that, for the type of treatment you received, your care fell below the standard expected of a reasonably competent and skilful specialist. In other words, they failed to treat you in the way you could reasonably hope to have been treated.
Causation means that you need to show that the negligent care (rather than the underlying condition) caused your harm. This may sound relatively easy but it can be difficult, particularly when someone was already ill.
You are usually required to issue court proceedings within 3 years of the date of your injury or the date when you first discovered that your injury was the result of the clinical negligence. There are exceptions to this rule however, for example, in the case of a child, the 3 years only start to run from the child’s 18th birthday even if the negligence occurred when the child was only young. Where the person who suffered the negligence is not capable of managing their affairs the 3 years only starts to run from the time when they are so capable. In some cases, this could mean the 3 years never starts to run if the victim is not ever capable of managing their affairs.
It is crucial to obtain expert legal advice as soon as possible after the negligence takes place. This will mean the necessary steps can be taken to investigate your case properly and fully at the earliest opportunity. Some evidence relies on memory and it is always best to record those details when they are fresh.
When someone has been affected by substandard treatment it is not always compensation that they want. They may be looking for an apology from the treating doctor or from their hospital. Each hospital has a complaints procedure, the aim of which is to ensure that poor treatment is identified and improved and that dissatisfied patients receive an assurance of this, an apology or an explanation of what happened in their case. Generally, a complaint must be made within 6 months of the incident.
The complaints procedure will not, however, award you financial compensation for your injuries although sometimes small voluntary payments may be offered. There is nothing to stop you making a formal complaint first to find out a bit more about what happened and whether anyone was probably at fault before consulting a solicitor.
Compensation obtained through the use of a solicitor not only covers pain and suffering but also includes any loss of finances suffered as a result of an inability to work whilst you recover. The compensation also includes the cost of any medical bills and long term treatments that may be deemed necessary to help you recover.
It is important that we fully understand the impact that the negligence has had on your life and to make sure that any compensation you receive will cover all of your future needs. If you believe that you have suffered from clinical negligence then do not hesitate to give us a call on 01942 409154 for a free 30 minute consultation.
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RJT solicitors is a Wigan based law firm headed up by Director Rachel Jane Taylor.
- Fully qualified with over 20 years specialist legal experience
- Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority
- Your own dedicated solicitor from start to finish
- Membership of Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL)
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