How does a Clinical Negligence Claim work?
9 August 2017 by Rhian Lowe
Making a claim of any type can be a complex and daunting process, even more so when that claim is against a medical professional or clinical organisation.
By its very nature clinical negligence is one of the most complex fields of personal injury law and for that reason it is strongly recommended that any potential claimant seeks legal advice as soon as possible.
The first thing to note is that there are strict time limits in place for clinical negligence claims. Ordinarily a claim must be brought within three years of the date upon which the claimant realises that he or she may have been injured because of medical/clinical negligence.
With children the three year period does not begin to run until their 18th birthday. For a person who is incapable of managing his or her own affairs the three year period will not begin to run until legal capacity is regained.
It is important to understand that a claim needs to be issued at court within the three year time limit. Before that there is usually a great deal of preparatory work that needs to take place. Therefore, the best course of action is to instruct a solicitor as soon as possible so that he or she can begin to gather evidence straight away.
The next steps are to establish that some negligence or breach in the duty of care owed has occurred and that the negligence or breach of duty has caused damage and loss. In order to do this we will require sight of all relevant medical records before obtaining appropriate expert evidence from medical professionals within the relevant field.
Medical evidence in these matters plays a vital role and once we are in receipt of the experts’ opinion we can then assess whether or not we can proceed with a claim for medical negligence.
The next stage would be to consider the value of the claim, both for the injury itself, which is known as “general” damages and all out of pocket and other expenses known as “special damages”. In many cases the special damages are a significant part of the claim. Full documentary proof will be needed to support these heads of claim.
In cases where there are multiple issues it can be useful to consider the NHS complaints procedure http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/complaints-and-feedback/Pages/nhs-complaints.aspx. This gives you the right to complain and have your complaint investigated. Even if your concerns are not resolved to your satisfaction you should receive a reasoned response which can help us to assess whether legal action is appropriate.
Before pursuing a claim for clinical negligence it will be necessary to discuss your funding options in order to cover the legal costs of bringing a claim. There are many options such as Conditional Fee Agreements (no win no fee) and Legal expenses insurance all of which we can investigate to find the right option for you.
Should you have questions please do not hesitate to contact us on 01206 835269 or at [email protected]