Medical Negligence FAQs
Our Medical Negligence department provide answers to the questions we are frequently asked.
When you need advice, we are here to help.
If you require legal help and advice and have a question to ask, please contact Paul Crowley & Co solicitors on 0151 264 7363 and a member of our Medical Negligence team will be happy to assist.
Medical Negligence, and sometimes known as clinical negligence, is when a Doctor, or other healthcare professional, such as Dentist, Optician, Nurse, or GP, provides substandard medical treatment, which results in an injury to a person, or causes an existing condition to get worse.
This may happen when a medical professional fails to diagnose, fails to treat, or provides the wrong treatment to a patient.
Medical negligence can be almost anything which has resulted in a patient coming to harm. Common examples also include misdiagnosis, failed, or unnecessary operations, medication errors, failure to refer a patient to a Consultant and failure to get your informed consent to treatment.
You can only claim compensation, if you can show that your treatment and/or care you received, fell below medically acceptable standards, and this directly caused your injury and/or harm.
There is a Statutory time limit of three years, in which to commence Court Proceedings. This period runs from the date of the negligent act or omission, or from the date that you become aware that the negligence has caused you injury, or harm.
The Limitation Period can be extended in certain circumstances, but only if the Court exercises its discretion to do so.
This can be difficult to obtain, so you should consult a specialist Solicitor as soon as you suspect you may have been a victim of medical negligence.
Different time limits apply to children under the age of 18, and persons who do not have capacity to make their own decisions (see below).
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For initial FREE expert legal advice please call our Medical Negligence department on 0151 264 7363.
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You will need evidence to prove your medical negligence claim. The most important evidence will be experts’ reports from medical experts.
We instruct independent specialist medical experts, who have experience of the litigation process. Their evidence is crucial to the success of your claim.
Without their evidence, your case will fail.
Medical negligence cases can be complex and take a long time to resolve.
It will be necessary to obtain your full medical records, and for them to be reviewed by a medical expert. He/she will report on whether there was negligence in the treatment you received, and whether that negligence, or breach of duty has caused you harm.
If the medical evidence is supportive, a formal Letter of Claim will be sent to the proposed Defendant, setting out your case against them.
The proposed Defendant has four months under the Court Rules to investigate the allegations of negligence, and either admit, or deny liability. If liability is denied, then the proposed Defendant must set out full reasons as to why they say they say they were not negligent or not responsible for the harm that you received.
If liability is admitted, then negotiations for settlement of your claim can take place. If negotiations are unsuccessful, or liability is denied, then it may be necessary to commence Court Proceedings against the proposed Defendant.
As a rough guide, it can take eighteen months to two years for a simple claim that is not contested to be resolved, and three to four years if the denial of liability was maintained and you had to go to Court.
If the Defendant continues to deny liability, and Court Proceedings are commenced, this does not necessarily mean that you have to go to Court.
In fact, very few medical negligence cases will go to Court for Trial. It is only those cases where the Defendant is not prepared to consider Alternative Dispute Resolution to settle a claim which may end up in Court.
We offer a free no obligation discussion of your case.
If we think that there are merits in investigating your claim, then we will enter into a Conditional Fee Agreement with you (No Win, No Fee).
If you win your claim, the other side will pay your legal costs. We can take a maximum of 25% Success Fee from your compensation to cover the risk of losing the case. The 25% success fee is only deducted from any compensation awarded for your personal injuries and past losses.
There is no deduction from your compensation for future losses.
This depends on the severity of your injury and/or losses caused by the negligence. This can include past loss of earnings, expenses, future loss of earnings and future care needs. Compensation can also include an award or the pain and suffering you have experienced and for the costs of aids and appliances, adaptations to your home, and care and therapies that will improve your daily life.
The three year time limit for children who are victims of Medical negligence does not start to run until their 18th Birthday, ie Court Proceedings must be issued before their 21st Birthday.
For people who do not have Capacity to deal with their own affairs, the time limit only starts when they regain their Capacity to do so.
You need to instruct a specialist Solicitor as soon as possible. Leaving it close to the end three-year period is risky.
If you were to do so, your Solicitor may not have sufficient time to investigate your claim and prepare your case before Court Proceedings were issued. This may mean that you will find it difficult to be able to instruct a Solicitor who would accept your case when that time limit was approaching.
Furthermore, investigations should be commenced as soon as possible, to ensure that relevant documents and medical notes are not mislaid, lost or destroyed, and those persons involved are more likely to be able to remember exactly what happened.
It depends on the amount you are awarded.
If it is in excess of £16,000 it could do, but we would be able to advise you on setting up a Personal Injury Trust to protect your entitlement to your State Benefits now and into the future.
If you have a legal question and are unsure about what you need to do, please call us on 0151 264 7363 and our head of department Mike Sexton will be able to provide you with expert legal advice and guidance.
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