Medical Negligence Solicitors
We are often at our most vulnerable when undergoing medical treatment, and medical professionals are there to help us back onto the road to recovery. In some instances, however, negligence on the part of a healthcare professional may result in things not going to plan, causing injury to the patient involved.
If you have suffered an injury as a result of medical negligence, you may be entitled to pursue financial compensation. The team at Smith Partnership offer many years' worth of practical experience guiding medical negligence claims towards success, helping you secure the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to see what we can do for you.
What is medical negligence?
Medical negligence – also referred to as clinical negligence – is the legal term used to describe cases in which a healthcare professional makes a mistake that causes them to breach the duty of care they owe to you, causing avoidable injury or worsening an existing condition in the process.
In practice, medical negligence may occur in any healthcare setting, whether it be due to negligent behaviour on the part of a surgeon, GP, dentist, nurse, clinician or any other type of medical professional. Environments in which malpractice may occur include GP practices, NHS hospitals, private clinics, care homes, dental practices and pharmacies, and the consequences of these incidents can often have a significant impact on those affected.
What are the Different Types of Medical Negligence?
Medical negligence comes in many different forms, and no case is ever exactly the same. Below, we have listed a variety of different examples of medical negligence that may occur:
Delayed diagnosis or treatment, whereby a better outcome would have been reached if treatment had begun earlier
Incorrect medical diagnosis
Wrongful birth - this includes cases of a mother giving birth to a child after being deprived of the opportunity to terminate the pregnancy or where a baby has been born with a birth defect that could have been corrected if proper diagnostic tests had been carried out
Hospital or care home neglect
Inadequate after-care, for example following weight loss surgery. This may include too few or no follow-up visits, no access to the surgeon who performed the surgery or to a dietician
Sudden and unexpected death
If you've been affected by medical negligence relating to any of the areas above, or if you've experienced negligent treatment in any other healthcare setting, get in touch with our dedicated clinical negligence lawyers.
How to Make a Medical Negligence Claim
A successful medical negligence claim will ensure you are fairly compensated for the negligent medical treatment you have received. In order for your claim to be successful, we need to prove that:
- The healthcare professional in question failed to adequately carry out their duties by providing you with an acceptable standard of care and;
- You have suffered avoidable harm as a result of their negligence
Claims of this kind are usually subject to a three-year time limit that starts from the moment you first knew you received negligent medical care. Different time limits apply to cases that involve children or individuals that lack the mental capacity to pursue compensation. Our team can advise you on the specific requirements that apply to your case.
What is the Medical Negligence Claims Process?
Typically, the medical negligence claims process is broken down into the following steps:
- Initial contact with a medical negligence solicitor with a brief summary explaining why you think you have a claim
- Next, we obtain records that are reviewed inhouse by a nurse and specialist medical negligence solicitors to determine whether your case is likely to be successful or unsuccessful
- Next, experts are instructed to first show that the treatment, or lack of treatment, was unreasonable (breach of duty) and then prove that harm as incurred as a result (causation)
- From here, we will review the documentation and begin to value your claim, taking into consideration any pain and suffering you have experienced
- Once all supportive evidence has been gathered, we can then present the claim to the defendant(s)
- Should the defendant(s) admit liability, we will proceed with settlement. Should they deny, medical experts must consider whether or not they are still in support of your claim
- Finally, if a settlement cannot be reached or the defendant(s) is continuing to deny the claim, we will begin court proceedings
How do I Prove Medical Negligence?
As mentioned above, it is necessary to have all documentation relating to your treatment or lack ok of treatment.
This can include doctors' letters, test results, appointment cards or any other relevant correspondence from the practice, including any receipts relating either to the treatment, or instances where you have had to purchase items to deal with symptoms as a result of the medical negligence, for example painkillers or other over the counter medications.
Can I Claim for Medical Negligence Against a Private Healthcare Provider?
Yes, just as you can bring a medical negligence claim against the NHS, you are also well within your rights to bring a claim against a private healthcare provider for a variety of reasons such as those mentioned above.
Is There a Time Limit for Medical Negligence Claims?
The time limit to lodge your medical negligence claim, also known as a limitation period, is three years from the date the medical negligence occurred, or from the date you first became aware that you had suffered as a result of medical negligence.
Symptoms and signs of medical negligence may take time to show and do not appear straight away, and this is always taken into consideration during the limitation period.
How Long do Medical Negligence Claims Take?
The length it will take to complete your medical negligence claim will entirely depend on your individual circumstances and the variables surrounding your claim.
For example, your claim may be settled sooner if your medical provider admits liability, however, should they deny the claim and the matter is taken to court, this can lengthen the time it takes to reach closure.
However, based on average medical negligence cases, it could take anywhere from one year and six months to two years or more.
How Much Compensation for Medical Negligence?
The amount of compensation awarded in medical negligence cases is dependent on many different factors, including the severity of your injury and the unique circumstances leading up to the incident. Whilst a minor personal injury resulting from clinical negligence may receive compensation worth a few thousand pounds, life-changing injuries may in turn be awarded compensation that runs into seven figures.
The team at Smith Partnership offers significant experience dealing with medical negligence cases of all kinds – no matter the cause or extent of the injury. Our proactive approach means we will keep you informed throughout every stage of the process, which includes advising you on the amount of compensation you may expect to receive.
How much Compensation for Death by Medical Negligence?
In instances where a loved one has died as a result of medical negligence, you may be eligible to claim for compensation.
The team at Smith Partnership understands the sensitivity around this area, and will work closely with you to ensure compensation is achieved with as little stress to you as possible while striving to get the best possible outcome for you and your family.
Recognised Legal Expertise
Enlisting the right legal support from law firms dealing with medical negligence can play a crucial role in determining the success of clinical negligence claims. Our medical negligence solicitors' specialist knowledge is recognised by the Legal 500 – an independent guide to excellence within the legal sector. It describes our team as follows:
Extremely easy to work with and communication with expert and client is excellent. Extremely thorough. Highly recommend them to all.
Unique is a strong word, but the Smith Partnership ranks high among the firms of solicitors. Their instructions are always clear and to the point. Unlike some other firms that I have had dealings with, they are easily accessible by telephone and they acknowledge correspondence by return.
Martin Bradbury provides precise instructions and invariably grasps the main points of the case. I have found him to be outstanding among medicolegal solicitors.
A sensitive and personalised approach
Medical malpractice can have far-reaching consequences for your physical, mental and financial wellbeing. With this in mind, our team goes beyond providing legal expertise alone. We take a sensitive and personalised approach to your case, taking the time to understand your unique needs and objectives. We will talk to you in a jargon-free way as we guide you through the claims process and make sure your relationship with us is stress-free.
Our team can arrange a consultation at a time and place that suits you. Whether you're looking to receive actionable legal advice via telephone, email or face-to-face in one of our offices across Leicester, Derby, Burton upon Trent, Swadlincote or Stoke-on-Trent, our firm ensures specialist support is always close at hand.
No Win No Fee Medical Negligence Solicitors
If your claim enjoys good prospects of success, then we can pursue your case on a No Win, No Fee basis - we can help you secure compensation whilst minimising any financial risk to you.