The NHS is one of the most respected healthcare systems in the world, but even it can go wrong sometimes. Nobody wants to make doctors and nurses’ lives even more difficult, but medical negligence can have serious short and long-term consequences. In those cases, making a claim can make a lot of difference to your future. Claiming medical negligence can be quite challenging, and every case will vary, so it can be very difficult even knowing where to start. If you believe that you have suffered unnecessarily due to human error or a lack of suitable treatment, here’s our quick guide to making a medical negligence claim that highlights the best steps to take.
If your case is more about getting an apology than any form of financial compensation, then your first step should always be to write directly to the doctor or the hospital that treated you. However, if you believe that you should be entitled to financial compensation rather than closure, you will need to identify and contact a reliable and experienced medical negligence solicitor.
Who Is The Claim Against?
Medical professionals owe you a medical duty of care. That means that you can claim against:
- Hospital trusts
- Mental health professionals
- Cosmetic surgeons
These can be a part of the NHS, or they can be private medical businesses. Whichever they are, your initial step has to be ensuring that you have a valid claim. That means your solicitor needs to be able to prove that the practitioner caused you harm through negligent treatment that could and should have been avoided. It’s important to remember that there is a time limit for medical negligence cases, usually three years from the date of discovering that harm was caused by the treatment you received. There are exceptions to the three-year limit. If a child was harmed by medical negligence, they have three years starting from their 18th birthday, while those who were suffering from a diagnosed mental illness at the time of their treatment also have three years from the date when they are considered mental capacity. Brain damage and death also affect the period where a claim can be made, and your solicitor will be able to advise you.
Choosing a Solicitor
Always use a solicitor that has experience in dealing with medical negligence claims. Most people are wary of taking the step to contact legal experts simply because they have a reputation for high costs. That’s where no win, no fee solicitors come in. Lots of people ask how does no win no fee work, but the most simple answer is that you don’t have to pay that solicitor out of your own funds. Instead, they will take a percentage of any payment that you receive as the result of your claim. That means that the cost of the solicitor will be paid out of the pay out the court decides you deserve for the medical negligence that you have been subjected to.
Making a medical negligence claim can be a long process, and many people feel guilty about taking health authorities to court. However, if you have been negatively affected by a healthcare professional capacity, then you should not be made to suffer as a result.