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Medical Negligence FAQs

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Medical Negligence FAQs

What is Medical Negligence?

When you receive treatment from a medical profession you are owed a duty of care.  In other words whoever is treating you has a duty to ensure that you receive a reasonable standard of care and treatment.  When that level of care falls below what can be considered a reasonable level then the injured party may have grounds to claim compensation. 

Some examples of when medical negligence may occur;

•    Failure to diagnose a condition which results in a worse condition or outcome for the person concerned.  
•    Failure to warn a person of the risks of a procedure which would have resulted in that person not undergoing the procedure if they had known of the risks.
•    Wrongly prescribed medication.
•    Delay in diagnosing a condition.

What can I claim for?

You can claim for compensation in respect of your pain, suffering and loss of quality of life. This will depend on the type of injury you have suffered as a result of medical negligence. You may also claim for any financial losses and expenses you have suffered because of your injury. This may include loss of earnings, private medical expenses, travelling expenses, value of care provided by family members and friends and costs of any aids and equipment.

If you have suffered long term injuries then you may be entitled to compensation for future losses and expenses. This includes loss of earnings, costs of care and accommodation, loss of pension rights, therapeutic expenses, extra transport costs.

How much will it cost?

We offer a first free interview where we discuss with you all the options and whether your medical negligence claim should be investigated further. If you decide to go ahead with a medical negligence claim then we will advise you in detail of all the possible funding options open to you.  These may include Legal Aid, conditional fees (“no win, no fee”), legal expenses insurance or you paying privately.

It is worth remembering that if you are successful in your medical negligence claim and receive damages, the majority of your legal costs should be recoverable from the opponent.

How long will it take?

It is difficult to answer this question on a website.

How long it will take to conclude your case will depend on the circumstances and what you want to achieve. Every medical negligence case is different. We will discuss this with you in detail when we meet and when we have had an opportunity of reviewing the issues with you.

Is there a time limit for claiming?

The usual rule is three years from either the date of the incident or the date you were first aware that the symptoms you are suffering were as a result of negligent treatment. This can be complex and it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible to find out when time started to run. If you are outside the three year time limit then you may be prevented from bringing a claim by the Court. There are some exceptions to the three year rule, for example, if you were under 18 years of age at the time of the incident, then the three year time period will not start to run until your 18th birthday. It is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible.

What if my claim is worth a significant sum of money?

A large number of the clients we act for have life affecting injuries.  It is not unusual for such cases to be worth a significant amount of money. This money is used to compensate the client for the injury caused, but more importantly to try and provide a better quality of life in the future.  Such compensation can be used to obtain additional care and make adaptations to the family home, for example. In these cases we also offer a Court of Protection service to ensure that any money awarded in the most serious of cases is managed appropriately.  

Visit the medical negligence blogs or  medical negligence fact sheets page for more information on some of these topics.

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Who to contact

Angela Curran profile photo

Angela Curran

Angela Curran is a Partner and Head of Burnetts' Medical Negligence and Serious Injury.