A Guide to Understanding When Medical Negligence has Occurred
Medical negligence can be a difficult process to navigate, that is why we have put together a brief guide so that you can understand how to make the best decisions for your situation.
Understanding medical negligence in the UK
Here in the UK we are fortunate in having one of the finest and best respected Health Services in the entire world. However as with any field of endeavour sometimes things do go wrong. Of course, when things do go awry with health matters it can be one of the most devastating things that can happen to any of us. The effects can be severe and far reaching, and not just physically but also emotionally and financially.
The good news is that there are a great many services, procedures and professional advisors out there to help you get recompense and justice if you have experienced medical negligence. However, the very most important first step is determining whether or not your experience is one of actual negligence, or might fall into a lesser category of grievance such as a complaint or just general bad service.
What is medical negligence?
Defining medical negligence is a tricky area of law and of medicine. It’s vitally important that you accurately ascertain whether your experience actually falls into the category of negligence, or simply constitutes a matter for complaint. It’s also important to know that medical negligence claims are very different from personal injury claims.
The defining factor of medical negligence is determining first of all that a medical practitioner, whether they be a Doctor, Nurse, consultant or other medical professional has been at fault. Furthermore you must also prove that the fault in question has directly led to you experiencing harm or loss.
A solicitor specialising in dealing with medical negligence claims will help you to determine whether your experience satisfies the above criteria. If your Solicitor advises that you have a valid claim for negligence then they may well offer to pursue your claim for you (this can usually be done on a No Win No Fee basis — more on that later).
Are there time limitations for medical negligence claims?
It’s also important to know that there is a legal time limit during which any claim for medical negligence must be made. Usually this time limit means that any claim for medical negligence must be commenced within 3 years of the incident of negligence having occurred (although there are exceptions made for certain cases involving children or people with certain medical conditions).
Even if I think I have a claim for negligence, what about financing?
One of the biggest reasons for people being put off from bringing legal claims is worries over finance. This is particularly an issue now as many people are aware of the UK Government’s recent changes to the provision of legal aid. Legal aid has been withdrawn for medical negligence except in some very exceptional cases.
The good news is that there is a viable and virtually risk free alternative to legal aid, in the form of a CFA. The CFA, or Conditional Fee Agreement basically works in a similar way to the No Win No Fee arrangements that have become popular for personal injury claims.
Under a CFA a Solicitor will agree to take on your case on the basis that no fee will be charged if their claim on your behalf is unsuccessful. If the case is successful then a fee will be charged. The fee will be in the form of a previously agreed upon percentage of any damages or compensation awarded.
Remember we said virtually risk free? It is possible in some cases that a claimant may be liable for the defendant’s costs in the event of an unsuccessful claim. In this instance your solicitor should offer you ATE, or After The Event insurance. ATE insurance covers you for any costs you may be liable for in the event of an unsuccessful claim.
We are expert medical negligence solicitors
After reading the above, if you think you may have a valid claim for negligence you should waste no time in getting in contact with the right people to help. At Been Let Down we have many years’ experience successfully winning medical negligence claims for our clients.
We’ll listen sympathetically to your story and if we think you have a valid and winnable claim we’ll offer to take it on for you under a CFA. As mentioned above, time is a crucial consideration with such cases, so get in touch today and let us help you get the best result possible and the compensation you deserve.
We are here to help with your medical negligence claim
Our experts are on hand to help you get the compensation you deserve. If you’re searching for advice about how to start a medical negligence claim, get in touch now and find out how we can help with your case.