Without great knowledge of the law, pursuing a medical or clinical negligence claim can be an overwhelming idea. How would you navigate it? What would it cost? Do you have a case? These questions are all hard to answer, but with the proper advice from a trained professional, you can look into the idea with confidence.
Read on to find out the basics of understanding a medical negligence claim before you get started.
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The legal definitions
A medical negligence claim is when a patient takes their medical practitioner, hospital, or both to court. The point is to obtain compensation due to an act of negligence that occurred throughout their medical care.
But it isn’t as simple as pointing a finger to a less than stellar doctor. To win, the claimant must prove three things. 1. That the care provided fell below the standard of a competent medical professional. 2. That this caused damage to the claimant’s health, and 3. That it would not have otherwise occurred.
You can hold any medical practitioner accountable, be that a doctor, dentist, cosmetic surgeon, private clinician, or optometrist.
And there are other things to consider.
The time limits
Time limits are one of these things. Typically, a claim should be lodged at court within three years of the patient becoming aware of the problem, which is often, but not always, when the negligence occurred. It means that the time limit is there, but it can vary from patient to patient.
Plus, there are exceptions, like if the patient is underage, or lacks mental capacity.
Finding a solicitor
If you think everything adds up so far, and you have a case, then now would be a good time to go looking for a solicitor. It is important to find a solicitor that is experienced and knowledgeable in the field of medical negligence you are looking at.
A solicitor will confirm if you have a case and discuss next steps for you to take. Make sure they also keep you fully informed on your legal options with every step.
You can find specialists in medical negligence here if you believe you may have a potential claim for negligence.
Make sure to keep records of absolutely every little thing that is to do with your case. Without it, or any physical evidence, it’s very unlikely that your case will go through. You will need notes, records, correspondence, and, most importantly, expert medical opinions. Your solicitor will initially get in touch with your medical practitioner to request this evidence when they are hired.
Medical witnesses will often be called upon for their professional opinion on cases. This expert evidence will help establish whether the act against the patient is considered negligent or not, the causal link between the act and the damage, and the long-term impact for the client.
Going to trial
It is unlikely that a case will reach trial, since most are settled before they get that far. Usually, the defense will offer a financial settlement. Whether your case goes to trial comes down to the facts of the case.