When you visit a hospital, whether it is for a routine appointment or an operation, you expect to receive a certain level of treatment and professionalism. For some individuals, this is not the case. Hospital negligence claims can arise from a multitude of causes, with the seriousness of injuries ranging from temporary to lifelong effects. It is commonly known that NHS trusts are under a large amount of pressure; however, this is no explanation for negligent behaviour.
We place a large amount of trust in medical professionals at the hospital and we expect to be treated by knowledgeable individuals who will work in our best interests. If this has not been the case when you have visited hospital, you should read on and assess whether you have a possible claim.
What are the common causes of hospital negligence claims?
Hospitals tend to have many departments and large numbers of staff, therefore there are many opportunities for hospital negligence to take place. Below are the most common claims which are made in relation to hospitals.
Surgical negligence– This is when a surgeon has completed a surgery and has made an error. The error may have then resulted in further damage and caused further medical treatment to be necessary. This type of error can also include errors with anaesthetic or faulty implants.
Accident and Emergency negligence claims –These types of claims can consist of misdiagnosed bone fractures, incorrect treatment, delayed treatment or an inadequate patient examination.
Prescription errors –Individuals may have been provided with a prescription in hospital to seek the medication they require when they leave. Alternatively, they may have been prescribed a medication for use whilst in hospital. If the incorrect dosage or wrong medication is prescribed, it can result in allergic reactions, accidental overdoses, or unnecessary pain and suffering.
Hospital acquired infections – When visiting a hospital, you expect rigorous cleaning routines to be upheld. If the sterilisation of a hospital is allowed to deteriorate, it can lead to patients catching MRSA, C.Difficile infections, Enterococcal infections and Acinetobacter infections. As people in hospital may already have weakened immune systems, errors like this can have serious consequences.
Birth injuries – Women place their trust in hospitals and their staff during childbirth. In some cases, mother and baby do not receive the treatment that they require. If a serious condition with the mother’s or baby’s health is left to go unnoticed, it can lead to injury, illness and medical issues later in life.
Further to these specific causes, many claims may arise from general hospital negligence such as dental negligence, delays in treatment or pressure sores.
Although many hospital negligence claims arise from physical injuries, the stress and anxiety caused by negligence can result in longer lasting mental health issues. As individuals’ lives can be taken away by an injury, they can seem to mourn the life and happiness that they once had prior to their injury. Therefore, we believe it is extremely important to propose a claim if you have experienced hospital negligence. Making claims for compensation allows people to place the power back in their hands and take their lives back.
What is the claim process for a hospital negligence claim?
If you have experienced negligent medical care and suffered an illness or injury as a result, and would like to commence a claim, it is vital to start building a case. In order to strengthen the case, evidence will be necessary. The evidence that you collect may come in the form of:
– Medical records
– Medical reports
– Photographs of the injury caused by the hospital negligence
– Evidence of financial losses caused by the injury
– A statement from the Claimant
– Witness statements
When seeking the evidence, you will need to request access to your medical records. Within the request, you will need to highlight which records you would like access to and any further information which may be required. If your solicitor believes that you have a valid claim, they will send a letter to the NHS Litigation Authority. Within this letter, the solicitor will state your injuries and detail the losses that have been caused by the hospital negligence.
Following this letter, the healthcare provider will have four months to notify your solicitor. No one will be required to attend Court until 4 months after your solicitor has sent the letter to the healthcare provider. In many cases, parties never need to attend Court for their hospital negligence claim, as the matter settles prior to Court proceedings. However, in some cases a Court attendance will be required.
A three-part test is utilized when assessing whether a claim can be made for hospital negligence. Firstly, it will be considered whether the doctor in the hospital owed a duty of care to the patient, whether that duty of care in the hospital was breached and whether the patient has suffered as a direct result of this.
Moreover, it is important to consider the time limits for injury claims prior to the commencement of the case. The general rule is that you have three years from the date of the injury to have either settled the case or began Court proceedings, if it is an accident at work. However, this rule does not apply to children. Their three-year time limit will commence when they reach their 18th birthday. If someone is incapable of bringing a claim on their own due to their lack of mental capacity, they do not have a time limit and someone can make a claim on their behalf.
Following consideration of time limits, your legal representative will provide relevant advice for your claim and advise you on how to proceed. The Defendant will be notified of the claim and they will have time to investigate your claims. Once they have completed their investigations, they may propose an acceptable damages offer.
However, in most cases, negotiations are required. Hopefully, following negotiations, an agreeable damages figure will be accepted, and the matter will be settled. In cases when this does not occur, possibly due to the Defendant’s inability to propose a reasonable offer, the matter will be passed to the Court. The Court will then assess the matter and decide the amount of damages to be awarded to the Claimant. If you disagree with the amount awarded by the Court, it is possible to appeal.
How is compensation for hospital negligence claims calculated?
Damages for injury claims are separated into two types, general damages and special damages.
Firstly, general damages cover the damages for your injury. This figure will be calculated by assessing the severity of your injury, length of your recovery and the impact it has on your daily life. There is no maximum that can be awarded for hospital negligence damages and so it is considered on a case-by-case basis.
Special damages relate to the financial impact that the hospital negligence has had on an individuals’ life. Therefore, your loss of past earnings will be covered. If an individuals’ injury is likely to be long term, their earnings for the future will be assessed. For example, if they were likely to be promoted or had not had chance to commence their career yet, their future losses would be incorporated into the special damages figure. Special damages may also cover any medical treatment that you require.
In matters where the Defendant accepts liability, you may receive an interim payment. This can be useful when funding care assistance or urgent medical treatment, prior to the settlement of the official damages figure.
In devastating circumstances where loved ones die due to hospital negligence, family members can make a claim for bereavement damages or for loss of dependency if you were financially dependent on the person who has died. During difficult times like these, legal advice and aid can be very valuable.
Throughout the claim process, we believe that it is very important to keep you updated and have complete clarity. So, we will consistently update you on the various items that we will aim to recover, and how much you are likely to receive. The figure for your compensation will adapt throughout the process due to development of the medical evidence and the recovery process.
How much do hospital negligence claims cost to pursue?
When commencing a claim, we will always be extremely clear on our fees and discuss these with you prior to completing any work. In most cases, we use ‘no win, no fee’ agreements to fund our work. Due to our ‘no win, no fee’ basis, you will not have to pay any fees if you do not win. If we do win the case, we will take a small pre-agreed percentage of the compensation to cover our costs.
We will also take out legal expenses insurance on your behalf to cover uncertain risks. This policy will cover disbursements such as Court fees or expert witness fees, if your claim fails. Through the use of an insurance policy, a large amount of money can be saved. If your claim is successful, a percentage of your compensation will be needed to pay for this insurance.
Following successful conclusion of the matter, all your outgoings will be deducted from the compensation. Therefore, you will never need to pay any money upfront.
Prior to the commencement of the matter, we are always extremely happy to discuss all details until you are 100% comfortable with the information.
How can Wildwood Legal assist with hospital negligence claims?
From conducting many medical negligence claims, we have witnessed how they can affect individuals’ lives. If you have been affected by a hospital negligence incident and have faced an injury that was not your fault, we believe that it is vital to make a claim and receive your deserved compensation.
As a law firm regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, we can be trusted to provide an outstanding service. The regulating board insists on high standards that our medical negligence solicitors are very proud to uphold.
Our key aim is to ensure that our clients are returned to the financial position that they were in prior to the accident. No one should be left to face financial struggles due to an injury that was not their fault. Furthermore, through the process of preparing a claim for compensation, Claimants can regain their confidence and move forward with their lives.
We understand that having to discuss and analyse incidents that have been traumatic in your life can be very upsetting. That is why we are here to provide support and advice through every step of the process. If you think that you have a claim for hospital negligence or a general clinical negligence claim, please contact us on 01423 209 046 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org From there, we can provide tailored advice for your situation and guide you through the next steps to take.
Wildwood Legal are a law form registered in England and Wales. We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
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