NHS Medical Neligence Claims
Hospitals should be a safe place to be when you are receiving treatment. If the quality of care falls below the level that you would expect you may have experienced medical negligence.
Suing the NHS for negligence
The National Health Service (NHS) is Europe’s biggest employer – and one of the biggest in the world. All medical staff under the NHS have a duty of care to their patients. Occasionally, medical staff may breach that duty of care which may result to avoidable harm and therefore their actions will be deemed as medical negligence.
If this happens to you or a loved one, the impact can be very devastating and even life-changing. At Been Let Down, our medical negligence solicitors have an established track record of supporting medical negligence claims. We provide trusted advice and ongoing support to people who have suffered as result of clinical negligence.
What is NHS negligence?
In order for a clinical negligence claim to be successful, we must show that the treatment provided was negligent. The treatment must have fallen below the standard expected by a reasonable body of medical practitioners, of the same qualification and level of experience’. In addition, that the breach of duty/ negligent treatment caused additional injury, harm or financial loss for which you can claim compensation for.
NHS Resolution is currently responsible for handling all NHS claims in England. In 2019-20, NHS Resolution reported that more than £1.4bn was paid out and that this is increasing every year by 10 percent. if you think you might have a potential medical negligence claim we are here to help you.
Are there different types of NHS clinical negligence claims?
You can make a claim for clinical negligence for a number of circumstances that leave either you or a loved one with a new (or worse) illness or injury. Some acts that count as negligent include:
- Medical misdiagnosis (or delayed diagnosis)
- Surgical errors due to negligence
- Injury due to medical negligence
- Incorrect amputation
How can I pursue a medical negligence claim?
The NHS treat many of us on a regular basis and never do we experience anything other than superb medical treatment and care. However, things can and do go wrong. If this happens to you, Been Let Down’s legal experts can support you to help you make a medical negligence claim.
It is important to know that you do not need to be admitted to hospital to pursue a medical negligence claim. It could be that a mistake by a GP or a mistake during an outpatient appointment is the reason for you or your loved one’s pain and suffering.
However, it is important to know that you could be able to claim compensation for medical negligence when and wherever you suffer because your treatment fell below the expected NHS standards.
Our medical negligence solicitors have extensive knowledge and have accumulated many years of experience. With this, we are able to put the most robust case forward for you which means providing you with the best possible chance of getting the amount of compensation that reflects your pain and suffering.
Why trust Been Let Down with your medical negligence claim?
Just as each patient is different, so is every medical negligence claim.
Negligent care can take many different forms therefore we deal with a wide range of cases. From straightforward cases through to the most complex cases, our skilled team of clinical negligence experts are ready to help.
It also means that settlement times can vary. No matter how long it takes – we will try to do everything possible to settle your case as soon as possible.
As an independent law firm, you can trust that we will only ever act in your best interests. We will keep you fully informed at every stage of the process. It is all part of our promise to you – we won’t let you down.
For extra peace of mind, you can be sure that all our solicitors are members of the Law Society which governs the independent professional body for solicitors in England and Wales. In addition, we are fully authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
How much does suing the NHS for negligence cost?
If we believe that your medical negligence claim has a good chance of success, we will consider various methods to fund your claim. The majority of our cases are taken on a ‘No Win No Fee’ basis through what’s called a Conditional Fee Agreement. This is also known as ‘No Win No Fee’ which effectively means that we do not charge you in the event that your claim proves unsuccessful, unless it is deemed to be fraudulent, or you have failed to comply with our reasonable requests to pursue the case. Not only will this show that we believe you have a strong case for NHS compensation – it also protects you and your family financially too.
If you wish to know more about how we can help you, you can talk with one of our friendly and experienced team of clinical negligence solicitors. Call us on 0800 234 3234 or request a call back at a more suitable time. You can also complete our online claims form if you prefer.
Why should I make an NHS compensation claim?
We would all agree the NHS is a tremendous force for good. So, the idea of pursuing a claim against the NHS for negligence can feel unsettling and uncomfortable. However, at the same time, we think there are some valid reasons to make a claim.
First, your claim is about receiving recognition for your pain and suffering – as well as the long-term effect it will have on your life. Any illness or injury caused by the negligent treatment can lead to loss earnings, treatment costs or any changes you have to make.
By making a claim for NHS compensation, the amount you receive can help with this.
It is also about making sure that something similar does not happen to anyone else. If incorrect procedures and practices are the reason for your claim, it can help to bring about changes in the way things are done. Hopefully, that means no-one else goes through the same experience.
Of course, the thing that matters most when you or a loved one suffer an injury or illness due to poor and sub-standard care is your health and wellbeing. Only when the time is right should you think about making an NHS compensation claim.
How do I begin an NHS negligence claim?
To start a claim for NHS negligence with us, the first step is an initial, no-obligation consultation. This allows us to learn more about your NHS compensation claim and how likely it is to succeed.
If we believe you did suffer as the result of negligent care or treatment and there is enough time left within the three-year limit for medical negligence claims, we will advise that you have a valid claim for compensation.
The next stage if you wish to move forward with an NHS compensation claim will be (with your consent) to request and review your medical records to prove that negligence occurred.
What does a successful claim need to prove?
A successful NHS compensation claim must show the professional who cared for or treated you failed to act as a competent medical professional would have in the same situation.
Our specialist medical negligence solicitors also need to prove that action or inaction was a direct cause of avoidable pain and suffering. This can be challenging in cases when you or a loved one had a pre-existing condition, as we must prove that the negligence made the situation worse.
To do this, however, we will seek an expert medical opinion to prove this is the case.
Most importantly, we look at the NHS standard of care you should receive – and compare it to what actually occurred. We do this with the guidance of a panel of expert health professionals. And, in doing so, we will look in depth at how a doctor or consultant responsible for your care may have made mistakes that caused the damage or injury you or a loved one sustained.
What is PALS and the NHS complaints procedure?
In the NHS, the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) exists to offer support and advice to patients on health-related matters. You can access PALS through all NHS trusts for help with a range of issues – including any complaints of poor care or treatment.
A member of PALS will try to help resolve your complaint informally first. This includes keeping you up to date with proceedings, issuing an apology and ultimately ensuring such a lapse does not happen again. PALS can be especially helpful in cases where urgent action is needed.
But the complaints procedure charter does not allow a medical professional to be disciplined or dismissed. It may, however, lead to recommendations being made to the medical professional on how they can improve their skills or patient care.
PALS will also consider the processes in place for providing care and treatment. If poor practice is identified (e.g. lack of equipment or inadequate training) that contributes to the medical professional’s mistake, PALS may intervene and recommend how the problems can be avoided.
There are cases where PALS uncovered fundamental errors in NHS practices, which can lead to wider investigations. In turn, these investigations can also lead to a medical professional going before their regulatory body – such as the General Medical Council – for breach of conduct.
What are the aims of the PALS procedure?
The main aims of the PALS process are to provide:
- Confidential advice and support to patients, families and their carers
- Information on the NHS and health-related matters
- Confidential assistance in resolving problems and concerns quickly
- Information on and how to get more involved in their own healthcare
- A focal point for feedback from patients to inform service departments
- An early warning system for NHS trusts, primary care trusts, and Patient and Public Involvement forums by monitoring trends and gaps in services
Should I contact PALS if I suffer due to NHS clinical negligence?
While PALS can help with your complaint, it does not award compensation. You should be aware that, if you decide to start an NHS compensation claim, you cannot then ask PALS to investigate.
It can be a good idea to think about making a complaint to PALS before starting an NHS clinical negligence claim. But, at Been Let Down, our view is that you should do this with the help of our legal experts. That way, you can be sure you do not take any steps that may harm any claim.
We do not act in a complaints forum on behalf of our clients. We can, however, work with you to protect your interests if you do lodge a complaint. The result of any investigation could also help you discover what happened and if anyone is at fault.
Once the investigation is complete, you can then start a medical negligence claim.
How long do I have to make a claim?
We recommend that you start an NHS compensation claim as soon as possible. This ensures the details are still fresh in your mind and gives your claim the strongest chance of success.
If this is not possible, the time limit for adults is three years – either from the time of treatment or when you first become aware of your injury or illness.
For children, the time limit is different from that of adults. The three-year limitation period only starts when the child reaches their 18th birthday. Therefore, a child can pursue an NHS claim up to their 21st birthday.
You may also be able to claim on behalf of an adult if they cannot do so themselves under the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
Will my NHS compensation claim go to court?
It is rare for an NHS compensation claim to go to court. According to data for 2019-20, just 0.6% of all NHS claims ended up in court. More than 70%, however, were resolved without the need for any formal proceedings.
No matter what course your claim takes, our solicitors will guide you every step of the way.
How much compensation could I receive?
The amount of NHS compensation you could receive will depend on the circumstances of your case. In the first instance, the amount will take into account your pain and suffering. But it also looks at the impact it has had on your life – such as extra transport costs, care needs or lost earnings.
Contact us today
Get in touch now and find out how we can help with your case for NHS compensation.
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