Medical Negligence Claims

Medical negligence is the term used to describe a situation when a healthcare professional has made an error, or not taken sufficient care. When medical negligence occurs, this can cause both physical and psychological harm to the patient.

Examples of medical negligence can include surgical error, misdiagnosis or incorrect medication. In order for an error to be considered negligence, it would have to be established that it was an error that a competent professional would not have made.

Making a claim

Those who have been injured as a result of medical negligence may wish to make a claim for compensation. Before taking legal action, it is recommended that the patient sends a letter of complaint to the establishment responsible. This will not normally lead to a compensation payment, but it is important that the error is brought to the attention of those in charge. In order to pursue a claim, the patient will need to prove that the harm was caused by negligence. A medical negligence claim can involve a large amount of work, but there are specialist solicitors who are experienced in dealing with this type of claim. Legal proceedings will need to start within three years of the incident.

How to find a medical negligence specialist

An easy way to find a medical negligence solicitor is to perform an internet search. This will bring up many different companies who deal with medical negligence claims, as well as independent websites who offer advice. Independent websites can be useful for obtaining advice before consulting a solicitor. They may also have a search facility that can be used to locate a medical negligence solicitor in the relevant area. When selecting a solicitor, the accreditation should be checked. Medical negligence is a highly specialist field, so it is recommended that a solicitor with accreditation from AvMA, (a medical accidents charity), or The Law Society is used. This can usually be checked easily on their website, as logos are often displayed showing the relevant accrediting body. During the first conversation with a potential solicitor, there are certain questions that should be asked, such as how long the initial consultation will be. Most solicitors provide an initial consultation for free, but it is a good idea to check how long this initial consultation will last. This consultation will be used to assess the case, so it will need to be long enough to discuss the relevant information. It may also be beneficial to find out how much experience the solicitor has in this type of case, the level of compensation to expect and how long the case is expected to take. It is also important the check the fees charged, as well as the funding options. Some solicitors offer no win, no fee arrangements.

Medical negligence specialists

Many medical negligence solicitors operate a nationwide service, so the choice does not necessarily need to be made based on location. Irwin Mitchell has a large team of specialist medical negligence solicitors. They can offer a no win, no fee arrangement, so no payment will be needed if the claim is unsuccessful. Langley’s Solicitors are specialists in the field of medical negligence. The head of the medical law team is a member of both the Law Society’s Specialist Clinical Negligence Panel and the AvMA Specialist Clinical Negligence Panel. Another accredited company is Thompson’s Solicitors. Their team includes members of the AvMA referral panel. A call back can be requested via their website, or the freephone number can be used. Trethowan’s Solicitors also have a team of medical negligence specialists. They can offer conditional fee arrangements for their clients.

Nationwide No win, no fee AvMA accredited
Irwin Mitchell Yes Yes Yes
Langley's Solicitors Yes Yes Yes
Thompson's Solicitors Yes No Yes
Trethowan's Solicitors Yes Yes Yes

Getting advice

If you believe that you may have a valid medical negligence claim, you can receive advice before consulting a solicitor. The AvMA have medically and legally trained advisors that will provide free advice and guidance. Should you decide to proceed with a claim, they should also be able to provide you with details of specialist solicitors. You can also find many medical negligence solicitors who offer a free consultation, so you can find out if you may have a valid claim before starting the process. As many companies offer services nationwide, you should be able to get advice without the need to travel to a solicitor’s office. When you have discussed the case and received advice, you can decide whether or not to proceed with