You don’t even need to be the person who has suffered from the treatment though. If you’re the next of kin of someone who has either died as a result of negligent medical treatment or are unable to take legal action themselves because they don’t have the capacity, you can take legal action for compensation on their behalf.
So how do you go about making a clinical negligence claim? This guide by Tilly Bailey & Irvine Law Firm, which can help people when they wish to make a medical negligence claim, lays out the necessary steps you must consider…
First things first, consider your claim
Health service leaders have recently expressed their concern about the sum of the clinical negligence payments which are being made across the UK.
Senior members making up the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the British Medical Association and the NHS Confederation stated in a letter to justice secretary David Gauke that the costs of these payments are now close to double those recorded in 2011. They also calculated that if all claims which are currently in progress were to be paid out, then it would cost £65 billion — a sum which they fear could bankrupt the NHS and so have requested caps on compensation payments to be put into effect.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, NHS Confederation’s chief executive Niall Dickson said: “We fully accept there must be reasonable compensation for patients harmed through clinical negligence. Yet this must be balanced against society’s ability to pay.”
Determine if you’ve suffered from clinical negligence
As Mr Dickson states, there are certainly instances when patients are harmed as a result of clinical negligence and are therefore entitled to a reasonable amount of compensation. Answer yes to any of these questions and you may certainly have a case:
· Did your condition or that of your next of kin not get diagnosed?
· Did you or a next of kin get the wrong diagnosis for a condition?
· Was a mistake made during a medical procedure or operation?
· Were you or your next of kin given the wrong drug for a condition?
· Did you or your next of kin not get informed consent to treatment?
· Did you or your next of kin not get warned about the risks which were related to a certain form of treatment?
Be aware too that injuries suffered due to medical treatment may not strictly mean that your treatment was negligent. A compensation claim will be brought to order if it’s established ‘on the balance of probability’ that both;
1. The treatment you or your next of kin received was performed negligently in the manner that the care provided was below medically acceptable standards, and;
2. The treatment itself directly caused you or your next of kin injury as a result.
What you can get compensation for
If by now you are satisfied that you’ve suffered from clinical negligence yourself or that you have a claim on behalf of your next of kin, here’s some examples of what you can claim for:
· Compensation for psychological damage.
· Compensation related to the pain and suffering you or a next of kin have endured.
· Compensation when you or your next of kin have been unable to perform certain activities or enjoy selected hobbies.
· Loss of earnings.
· Payments that you or a next of kin have had to make for ongoing treatment.
· The costs of adapting your home or the property of your next of kin.
· The costs of any extra care or equipment you or your next of kin may have required.
Be aware of time limits associated with making a clinical negligence claim
There is one more very important factor to note when going about making a clinical negligence claim — the time limits which are attached to them.
In general, a legal claim for clinical negligence must begin within three years of the incident in question occurring. However, this time limit can be extended if any of these parameters apply to the case:
1. The victim was unaware that a negligent act had been committed. In this case, the three-year time limit will begin from the date of knowledge that something went wrong.
2. The victim was a child when the incident occurred. In this case, the three-year time limit will begin on their 18th birthday.
3. The victim has suffered from a mental disability and has been unable to manage their own affairs. In this case, the three-year time limit will begin once they have fully recovered from the disability. Also in this case, a parent or another individual close to the patient can make a claim on their behalf.
4. (Linked to point 3) The victim never recovers from a mental disability and is unable to manage their own affairs. In this case, the victim has a lifetime to begin their claim. Also in this case, a parent or another individual close to the patient can make a claim on their behalf.
If you believe that you have a claim for clinical negligence for yourself or a next of kin after reading this guide, it is recommended that you seek out a solicitor who specialises in such cases. Two recognised panels for these solicitors exist in the UK — those administered by the Action against Medical Accidents charity, and those administered by the Law Society. We wish you the best of luck with your case.
"Health service leaders have recently expressed their concern about the sum of the clinical negligence payments which are being made across the UK. "
Tilly Bailey Irvine Law
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