The consequences of personal injury arising from medical negligence can have a huge impact on your life as well as being very stressful. You need to be 100% confident of having the right lawyer looking after your interests and any possible medical negligence compensation claim – someone with the skills and experience to make sure your claim is handled quickly and efficiently, and with the best outcome.
Medical Negligence Claims
Unfortunately, not all medical treatment is successful and, in some cases, clinical errors can result in long-term damage to your health or even death in the most serious cases. If this is due to treatment falling below the required standard and you or a loved one came to harm, you may be able to pursue a claim for medical negligence compensation.
We are a leading firm of medical negligence solicitors in Kent with decades of experience supporting clients under the most difficult circumstances. Our expertise has been recognised by leading client guide Chambers & Partners and our solicitors are on the panel of Action Against Medical Accidents, a leading charity in the field of medical negligence.
Our team understands how upsetting and confusing dealing with the fallout of medical negligence can be. We are here to provide clear, practical legal advice and representation, as well as sympathetic personal support to help guide you through this difficult time, while giving you the best chance of securing fair compensation.
We offer conditional fee agreements (‘no win, no fee’) and an initial, no obligation consultation, so you can find out more about whether you are likely to have grounds for a successful claim and how the claims process works.
Looking for quick answers to questions such as “am I eligible to make a personal injury claim?”, “how is my injury claim pursued?”, “how long will my personal injury claim take?” and “how much compensation will I receive from my negligence claim?" Please take a look at our FAQs.
To find out more about starting a claim, please get in touch.
Our expertise with all types of medical negligence claims
We are able to deal with ALL medical negligence claims including:
- Dental Claims
- Eye Related Claims
- Fatal Claims/Inquests
- GP/Community Health Claims
- General Medical Problems
- Pregnancy, Birth and Gynaecology Injury Claims
- Surgery Claims
Our medical negligence team is headed by David Greenhalgh, a partner in the firm and solicitor with decades of experience supporting a wide range of clients through all types of medical negligence claims. David is ranked band 2 by Chambers & Partners for clinical negligence and is a member of the Law Society’s Personal Injury Clinical Negligence panels, the Action against Victims of Medical Accidents (AVMA), Headway (the charity for victims of head injuries) and the Spinal Injuries Association.
Alex Wormald is a partner specialising in catastrophic personal injury and clinical negligence litigation. Alex originally qualified as a barrister before cross qualifying as a solicitor, giving him exceptional litigation experience. Alex has a track record for achieving substantial compensation for clients under even the most difficult circumstances and is very actively involved with the UK’s largest medical negligence charity – AvMA.
Clarkson Wright and Jakes is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), providing assurance that we continue to meet the highest standards of legal practice.
Medical negligence claims explained
What counts as medical negligence?
Medical negligence (also referred to as ‘clinical negligence’) is where the care provided by a GP, hospital or other healthcare professional fell below medically acceptable standards, resulting in a worse outcome than could have been achieved with proper treatment.
Examples of negligent medical treatment can include:
- Failure to diagnose a serious medical condition e.g. as a result of clinical staff not properly observing or recording symptoms, not ordering appropriate diagnostic tests or not properly interpreting test results etc.
- Prescription errors e.g. the wrong medication or wrong dose being prescribed, failure to account for a patient’s allergy to a specific medicine, pharmacy errors in filling a prescription etc.
- Treatment errors e.g. errors in the way treatment is carried out, carrying out an incorrect procedure, failure to obtain informed consent from the patient or their next of kin etc.
How do you know if you have a claim?
Establishing whether you have grounds for a claim is one of the first tasks we will need to get to grips with. Our medical negligence team have the experience to quickly identify the key factors involved in your case and then work to gather all of the necessary evidence to support your claim.
Your case will typically rely on various types of evidence, including medical records, assessment by independent medical experts and witness testimony. By working with you to build the strongest possible case, we can give you a better chance of securing a positive outcome and can generally help you win compensation without the need for court proceedings.
Putting a value on medical negligence compensation
The value of your claim (often referred to as ‘quantum’) is, of course, a key consideration when thinking about pursuing compensation. What level of damages you may be entitled to will depend on the circumstances and we will aim to give a realistic estimate of the potential compensation available as soon as possible.
In general, compensation for medical negligence falls into two broad types:
Special damages – Covering specific financial losses, such as the need to pay for private treatment, specialist equipment and home adaptations, as well as lost income. Special damages can cover both losses you have already experienced and losses you expect to experience in future as a result of your injuries.
General damages – Covering non-financial losses, such as pain and suffering, and changes to your lifestyle e.g. loss of independence, no longer being able to carry out activities you previously enjoyed etc.
How to start a medical negligence claim
The first step is to arrange an initial consultation with our team. This gives you the opportunity to talk through your situation with our trained experts, who can then advise you of whether your claim justifies further investigation and how the claims process works. This will include advice on funding options, including conditional fee agreements (‘no win, no fee’) and the likely timescales involved in pursuing a claim.
The process for resolving medical negligence claims
There are several stages to the claims process:
Investigating your claim – The first step is to gather evidence to establish whether you have a claim and, if so, to make sure your claim is as strong as possible. This will typically involve requesting medical records, having your/your loved one’s injuries assessed by an independent medical expert and contacting witnesses to record their testimony.
Assessing quantum – This is where your claim will be valued, based on the impact of your injuries, both financial and non-financial.
Seeking an out-of-court settlement – We will always attempt to seek a voluntary settlement with the defendant first as this can allow you to get fair compensation much faster, as well as usually involving lower legal costs and less stress. The vast majority of claims can be resolved this way, making the process much easier for you.
Initiating court proceedings – In those rare cases where an out-of-court settlement cannot be achieved, court proceedings may be required. We will support you through every stage of proceedings, making sure your case is presented effectively and that you have the sympathetic personal support you need every step of the way.
Funding a medical negligence claim
There are various options for funding a medical negligence claim, including:
Conditional Fee Arrangements (CFA) – Commonly referred to as ‘no win, no fee’ medical negligence claims, this approach means you pay nothing upfront and will only be liable for our fees if we secure compensation for you. This is the most common way of funding medical negligence claims.
Legal expenses insurance – Sometimes offered as an optional extra with home insurance and car insurance policies, this may cover some or all of your legal fees if you have the appropriate cover.
In some cases, some or all of your legal fees may be recoverable from the defendant, which can help to significantly reduce your costs.
Time limits for medical negligence claims
You will normally have three years to make a claim for medical negligence compensation, starting from the date the negligence occurred or the date when you first became aware of it (known as the ‘date of knowledge’).
However, there are exceptions where you may have longer to claim, including:
If the claimant is under 18 – Their parents or guardians will have until the claimant turns 18 to bring a claim for them. The claimant can then pursue their own claim up until their 21st birthday.
If the claimant lacks mental capacity – There is no time limit for someone else to pursue a claim on their behalf. If the claimant later regains mental capacity (e.g. they awake from a coma) then they will have three years from the date when they regained capacity to make a claim.
If you need to claim for someone who has died – You will usually have three years from their date of death to claim.
Time limits for medical negligence claims can be very complicated to understand, so it is important to take specialist legal advice as soon as possible to make sure you do not risk missing your opportunity to claim.
Managing your compensation
Where you receive compensation for medical negligence, it is important to take the right steps to manage that compensation so you can be sure your needs will continue to be met long term.
We can advise you on your options, including placing your compensation into a personal injury trust to make sure your access to means-tested benefits is not affected.
Speak to our medical negligence solicitors in Orpington today
If you have suffered from medical negligence in the last three years call us today on 01689 887801 to speak to one of our medical negligence solicitors. Or simply submit your details on our brief online claim form and we will contact you shortly.