Clinical Negligence Fact Sheet 

Medical professionals provide an essential service, and patients generally receive excellent care when treated by doctors and nurses. However, mistakes can happen and treatment can sometimes go wrong. When it does, the consequences for the patient can be devastating. It is therefore important that they or their family are able to claim compensation for any pain and suffering caused. 

But, how do we define clinical negligence? And what is needed in order for a claim to be made? How much might you expect to receive from such a claim? These are all questions we will attempt to answer here.

 

What is clinical negligence? 

Clinical negligence, also known as medical negligence, is the breach of a legal duty of care owed by a medical professional to a patient that leads to the patient suffering damage. Claims of this type can relate to doctors, other healthcare professionals and their employers. 

Typically, clinical negligence will take one of two forms:

  • Medical accidents, such as:
    • Incorrect diagnosis
    • Incorrect medication prescription
    • Surgical errors
    • Something not being carried out that should have been, such as:
      • The risks of a treatment not being explained
      • Consent for treatment not being received
      • The required treatment not being administered 

There are many different forms of clinical negligence, and among the more common are:

  • Birth injuries
  • Cerebral palsy claims
  • Brain injuries
  • Surgical negligence
  • Pharmaceutical negligence
  • Problems with cosmetic surgery
  • Accident and emergency negligence 

 

What do you need to prove as part of your clinical negligence claim? 

There are a number of things that a claimant needs to prove in order for their claim to be successful. These are:

  • You were treated by a medical professional who owed you a duty of care
  • This duty of care was breached
  • You sustained harm because of this breach 

The harm sustained may be that you suffered pain for an extended period of time or that an operation was carried out incorrectly, resulting in harm or requiring you to have a further operation or a missed/delayed diagnosis, which could be catastrophic.

 

What happens next? 

In order to bring legal proceedings, you will need to seek expert help from solicitors who specialise in this area of law. Your solicitor will obtain your medical notes and then, after a review and if appropriate, instruct an independent medical expert of the discipline of medical failure that is being alleged to report on the matter. If the expert is supportive, a detailed letter outlining the allegations of negligence and the damages suffered will be sent to the defendants in accordance with court procedure rules. 

Legal proceedings for clinical negligence leading to physical or psychiatric injury must be brought within three years. However, in certain circumstances, there is a possibility this can be extended.

 

How much can I expect to claim for my personal injury? 

All compensation amounts will vary depending on the circumstances of each case. However, clinical negligence claims have been known to settle for thousands of pounds up to many millions of pounds. Visit our case studies section to find examples of some of our recent wins for clients. 

We are an Association of Personal Injuries (APIL) Accredited Practice - one of only 171 firms nationally recognised by the country's leading organisation in bringing claims for injured persons - and we are confident we are the right choice to achieve for you the best award possible.

 

More information 

If you would like to find out more about the work we do in this area, visit our clinical negligence section

To speak to a member of our team about your personal situation, or to find out if you may be able to make a claim with us, call 0161 928 3848 or allow us to contact you by completing our online enquiry form