Medical Negligence Claims
Medical negligence and malpractice are when a patient has endured substandard care by a medical professional, which has directly caused the patient’s condition(s) to worsen. Medical negligence can happen in several ways, including:
- Delayed diagnosis
- Incorrect treatment
- Surgical mistakes
Medical mistakes do happen. Doctors, dentists and other medical professionals are only human and are insured if anything goes wrong. Some professionals do fall short of the standard expected from them, which can lead to suffering and, in worst-case scenarios, the death of a patient.
If you have suffered medical negligence, talk to our Liverpool solicitors to start your claim.
You can make a compensation claim if you suffer a personal injury due to medical negligence. This is a specialist area, and we will put you in touch with experts and dedicated clinical negligence solicitors in Liverpool.
The Process of Making a Negligence Claim
Medical negligence claims can be a long and complex process, so you should appoint a specialist to handle the case. We will take care of every stage of the claim journey to reduce the hassle and ensure your time is better spent elsewhere. The process of making a claim often involves the following steps.
1. Consult a Solicitor
Stage one of making a negligence claim is to contact a solicitor firm for advice. They play a significant role in helping you win your claim and get the maximum compensation available, so it’s essential to seek a company with expertise in medical negligence, proven accreditations, clear communication and a strong reputation. You should arrange a no-obligation consultation where they will be interested to hear the case details, including why you think you might have a claim and how the incident has affected your life. The medical negligence solicitors will advise whether or not you have a case, covering points such as time limitations and eligibility. They will also explain the process and what funding and support is available to you. Professional firms, such as ourselves, will only charge solicitor fees if your case is successful by working on a no-win, no-fee basis. If you are happy to proceed, you can appoint the solicitors to manage the claim
2. Gathering Evidence
With the solicitors on board, they will start building a strong case. This stage involves collecting valuable evidence proving the other party was liable while bolstering your chances of achieving the maximum compensation. The solicitors will obtain medical records, witness statements, evidence of injuries and how they have affected your life. You have a right to access medical records; if they are not immediately available, the solicitors can go through the legal process of receiving them. Records can help see what providers were involved in your healthcare and evidence of negligence, such as a missed diagnosis or incorrect treatment. The evidence must show that there was a breach of duty with the care you received, which resulted in harm to yourself. The solicitors will usually have you examined by an independent medical expert to provide a neutral viewpoint on your treatment and how it may have contributed to your harm.
3. Valuing the Claim
Having thoroughly analysed the case, the medical negligence solicitors will value your claim based on the evidence collected and how the incident has affected you. The valuation will consider the pain and suffering you endured alongside expenses like loss of earnings, medical care and travel costs. The compensation valuation is affected by the severity of injuries, the impact on your quality of life, age and life expectancy, and financial losses. The solicitors will provide you with an estimate of how much you may receive, and this will be used as the baseline for settlement negotiations.
4. Taking the Case to the Defendant
When the solicitors have gathered evidence, determined the liability percentage, and valued the claim, they will submit a formal Letter of Claim to the defendant. This document outlines details of the alleged negligence, injuries, supporting evidence and the compensation valuation. The other party must then outline their position via a Letter of Response, stating whether they admit or deny liability and providing evidence based on their own investigations. If they accept liability, representatives for both parties will negotiate a fair payout based on the evidence. If liability or the proposed settlement is disputed, the case may go to the court, where a judge will make the final decisions. Most claims are settled without the need for court interference. If a claim goes to court, your solicitors will help you prepare and remain at ease with the process.
5. Receive Your Compensation
If you win your medical negligence claim, you can now relax and begin to prepare to move on with your life. The solicitors will advise how your compensation will be paid and when you can expect to receive it. In most cases, we expect that compensation will be delivered within a month. Compensation is usually paid for by the provider’s insurance company or the NHS Resolution, so you don’t have to worry about potentially not receiving the money or how it will affect individuals or local institutions.
Types of Damages You Can Claim
An exact number cannot be placed on the payout for a successful medical negligence claim for compensation. This is due to how claims are given, based on damages. A payout is intended to get you back to the quality of life you had previously before the incident occurred. The payout is to compensate for the suffering you’ve endured.
Two types of damages are calculated when making a medical negligence claim:
- General Damages – Compensates you for the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of what you have been through. Damages here typically fall into the fixed ranges, the worse the case the higher the amount will be.
- Special Damages – Covers financial losses you’ve experienced as a direct result of what you have been through. These are entirely circumstantial, depending on the type of impact the injury has had on your life. The types of losses covered include loss of earnings due to inability to work, medical expenses and travel to and from medical appointments.
3 Most Common Types of Medical Negligence
1. Delayed Diagnosis – Primarily Cancer
A delay in cancer treatment or late diagnosis can in worse cases prove fatal or result in greater harm to the patient. It is absolutely vital that early detection and treatment are undertaken by medical professionals to provide the best possible outcomes. With any undue delay, the outlook may amount to unnecessary stress and possible greater harm to the patient. If an unreasonable delay occurs in a diagnosis or treatment of Cancer that delays the diagnosis, you can make a claim for compensation.
2. Incorrect Treatment
Closely linked with delayed cancer treatment, as discussed in the previous point, medical negligence can also occur when professionals have failed in their duty of care to patients when treating them for any illness or injury. For example, if you were diagnosed with pancreatic Cancer and you were issued treatments for stomach cancer and your condition worsened, you would be able to make a claim via medical negligence solicitors. Incorrect treatments can be when medical professionals from either the NHS or private healthcare incorrectly treat you which has directly caused you to suffer further.
3. Surgical Mistakes
Medical professionals are only human and mistakes can happen. Unfortunately, in their profession, a mistake can be proven to have significant consequences on their patients. Surgical mistakes are also referred to as ‘surgical negligence’ and these refer to preventable errors or negligent actions taken by medical professionals either before, during or after surgery. This applies to both NHS and private practices. The key factor with these cases is to recognise that following most operations, patients will likely experience some pain, discomfort and distress whilst they recover. Some swelling, fluid leakage and limited mobility in the area that has been operated on is expected and would have been disclosed in the consent form signed by the patient prior to the surgery. However, if the patient is experiencing symptoms more severe than those disclosed, or other symptoms, then the patient may be entitled to make a claim for medical negligence. When searching for advanced aesthetic treatment to better their appearance, a lot of people turn to private skin clinics. While most procedures go without a hitch, it’s not uncommon for mistakes to happen. Before agreeing to treatment, whether undergoing HydraFacial, Botox or something else, it’s recommended that you seek a trusted and experienced clinic.Contact Us Now To Claim
Examples of Clinical Negligence Cases
Injury following a visit to the dentist
The claimant, a 34-year-old woman, received £21,115 for the injuries to her teeth. The dentist proposed to crown several of the claimant’s teeth, but when the crowns became loose, she sustained an injury during treatment. She had 20 teeth removed, had to have many teeth re-cemented and wore dentures. The claimant’s top lip also “sunk in” as a result of the tooth extractions.
Laser eye treatment went wrong
The claimant, a 43-year-old man, received £500,000 for the severe vision impairment sustained during laser eye treatment in1998. The claimant was unable to drive or return to his employment and required assistance from others in his day-to-day activities. He could see very little and his vision was variable on a day-to-day basis. The claimant had always suffered from a lazy eye and myopia and required remedial treatment. The claimant underwent laser treatment for both eyes.
Hip replacement went wrong
The claimant, a 66-year-old man, received £10,000 for right leg and hip injuries when the hip prosthesis had not been straightly inserted following total hip replacement surgery in November 2000. The claimant suffered from ongoing pain in his back and hips, his mobility was impaired and he was unable to dress unaided. He was told that he was suffering from fractures that had been caused by the replacement shifting and the cracking of his right femur. The claimant was re-admitted to the hospital and he underwent a second hip replacement with a longer prosthesis.
Misdiagnosis of a psychiatric illness
Medical negligence solicitors helped the claimant, a 32-year-old man, receive £17,200 in respect of additional time spent in psychiatric units during 1998. The claimant had suffered an acute relapse in his psychiatric condition following the discontinuance of medication on the basis of misdiagnosis in his condition.
Baby injured at birth
The claimant, a 3-year-old girl, received £75,000 for the arm and shoulder injuries sustained during birth in 1998. During delivery, the claimant’s arm and shoulder became trapped in her mother’s cervix for approximately 17 minutes. Staff at the defendant’s hospital had to break the claimant’s collar bone in order for the birth to continue, causing the claimant injury. The claimant was permanently disabled and she was severely restricted in her choice of employment in the future.
Injury to ureter following hysterectomy
A 45-year-old woman, received £40,000 by way of an out-of-court settlement for the severe damage sustained to her left ureter following a hysterectomy operation in 1997. She suffered from regular bouts of pyelonephritis and was unable to continue working full-time.
A heart operation went wrong
The claimant, a 21-year-old woman, received £450,000 for the internal injuries sustained during a heart repair operation (when she was 6 years old) in May 1986. The claimant underwent a heart repair operation at the hospital and during surgery, the claimant’s aorta was ruptured, causing injuries which worsened her condition.
A plate-sized surgical tool left in a woman’s abdomen for 18 months
In another alarming example of a surgical mistake, a surgical tool was left in a woman’s abdomen for 18 months. As reported by the BBC, a New Zealand doctor left an object inside a woman after she gave birth. The woman was having a Caesarean section to deliver her baby, which required the use of an Alexis wound retractor. This tool is the size of a plate and is used to hold open wounds during surgery. The retractor should have been removed after surgery, but this was not the case, and it was left in the woman’s abdomen for 18 months. Following the procedure, she experienced severe pains and made several trips to her GP and A&E until the object was identified and removed.
The three cases below provide further examples of medical cases that have gone to court and have won in favour of the claimant. These cases can give you an idea of the successful types of claims when claiming medical negligence.
|Darnley v Croydon Health Services NHS Trust 2018||Darnley v Croydon Health Services NHS Trust , the claimant, Mr Darnley, had sustained a head injury and attended A&E with a friend. He was told by one of the receptionists in the A&E department that he would have to wait up to four or five hours before being seen.|
|Khan v MNX 2018||Mother, M, had expressed her concerns with her GP that she wanted to avoid having a child with haemophilia and sought advice due to the presence of haemophilia in her family medical history. Blood tests were carried out to determine if M had haemophilia, but the tests were unable to detect if she was a carrier of the condition.|
|ABC v St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust and others 2017||In ABC v St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust and others , the courts were asked to consider difficult questions concerning the conflict between patient confidentiality and avoiding risks to others.|
Make a Claim for Medical Negligence
If you believe you have suffered due to the malpractice of your medical professional, get in contact with us, R. James Hutcheon Solicitors, the clinical negligence solicitors in Liverpool. You can reach us on 0151 724 7121 or complete our contact form, and we will be in touch within the hour or whatever time is preferable for you.
We carry over 20 years of experience in dealing with medical negligence claims; we pride ourselves on our ability to constantly deliver for our clients. Please get in contact with our leading Liverpool medical negligence solicitors today.Contact Us Now To Claim
Frequently Asked Questions
What is medical negligence?
Medical negligence is substandard care carried out by a medical professional (either by the NHS or private healthcare) that has directly lead to the patient’s suffering in terms of directly causing an injury, or causing a pre-existing one to worsen.
Will I have to go to court?
Claims rarely go to court; only the extremely complicated cases will make it to court. If your case ends up in court, we will help you through the process. Our expert medical negligence solicitors carry 20+ years of experience in this field and guarantee you the very best representation.
Can I make a delayed diagnosis claim?
Delayed diagnosis and delayed screening claims cover the whole range of professional healthcare practices and are not just limited to hospital or medical treatment. For example, claims can be made in respect of treatment provided by doctors, nurses, opticians, dentists most commonly where there was an incorrect or missed diagnosis of Cancer because of, for example, radiology, filing or GP error, resulting in a delayed diagnosis.
NHS guidelines currently recommend certain cancer pathways from initial consultation to treatment, including a specified time frame for a referral. If this was not adhered to then you may have a claim.
Can you sue the NHS?
Yes, and private healthcare professionals as well. There is no doubt that healthcare professionals, whether private or nationa, do a fantastic service to millions of patients every year. However, medical professionals are only human and mistakes can happen, often resulting in life-changing injuries.
What is the average payout for a NHS claim?
The variations are extremely broad when it comes to medical negligence and the amount of compensation being received is entirely dependent on the suffering of the patient. This means that payouts can range from £1000 up to millions in the most extreme cases. For example, in an extreme case a woman was awarded £24 million after a mistake in the operating theatre left her brain damaged.
That being said, a statistic provided by the National Health Service Litigation Authority indicated that the average compensation payout was estimated to be around £50,000.
What are the most misdiagnosed types of Cancer?
With our knowledge and experience we have put together what we believe are the 5 most common types of cancers that are detected late or misdiagnosed:
- Breast Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
- Lung Cancer
- Pancreatic Cancer
- Cervical Cancer
Other common cancers that are often delayed or misdiagnosed by the medical professionals are:
- Colorectal Cancer
- Stomach cancer
This list is not exhaustive and there are many other cancers that are detected late or misdiagnosed.
Why is a late cancer diagnosis so damaging?
Cancer remains the leading cause of death for both men and women in England and Wales. Being diagnosed with Cancer is devastating for you and your family. But if you’ve been given a delayed cancer diagnosis or a misdiagnosis of Cancer, you may be eligible for a medical negligence claim.
Recent years have seen several published articles which suggest that cancer survival in the UK is among the worst anywhere in Europe and that late diagnosis of cancers in the UK may explain the poor survival rates compared with other countries. It is not surprising against this background that delayed cancer diagnosis claims are on the rise in the UK.