A legal guide for patients dealing with the impact of medical negligence

by LinderMyers on November 14, 2013

Medical negligence can cause serious damage to a patient’s physical or mental health, and even result in death in the most severe circumstances.

For people harmed by substandard medical care or a medical error, there is financial and medical support available to help with rehabilitation and recovery, providing victims with the opportunity to live comfortably and independently once again.

Medical negligence sufferers can gain access to this support with the help of a specialist legal team. When taking legal action, your solicitor will typically help you to pursue a compensation claim and achieve a settlement that fully recompenses you for the impact the negligence has had on your life.

What counts as medical negligence?

If your physical or psychological damage has been directly caused by negligent medical treatment, you are entitled to take legal action against the medical profession or institution.

Examples of negligence include:

  • Errors in medication and prescription
  • Hasty or careless procedures
  • Delayed diagnosis
  • Misdiagnosis (moreover the psychological damage it causes)
  • Delayed referral
  • Failure to inform the patient of the treatment’s risks
  • Failure to obtain the patient’s proper consent for risky treatment

It is recommended that you get in touch with a solicitor if you believe that you have suffered from poor medical treatment. They will be able to confirm whether you have been a victim of medical negligence and if you are entitled to claim compensation.

Choose your solicitor carefully

Select a specialist medical negligence solicitor who has a strong understanding of your particular injury or health problem, as they should be able to manage your claim competently.

Being highly experienced in handling similar claims, they will understand the best way to handle your case and achieve the financial or medical support you require. Their strong legal skills and knowledge will also help you to feel comfortable and trusting in their capabilities, keeping you from any additional stress or worry.

What should you expect from the claims process?

Your solicitor will be responsible for handling the compensation claim for you. Therefore, while you may need to tell them about the injury, how it happened and the impact it has had, and you may have to attend a medical assessment, the claim will be built and negotiated on your behalf, giving you the opportunity to rest properly and continue with your life.

The contact you have with your solicitor will also depend on how frequently you want to be updated on the process.

Claims limitations: time limits in the UK

An adult victim of medical negligence has exactly three years from the date of the incident, or the date from which they discovered they were negligently treated, to make a claim. In cases where the neglected adult is without mental capacity, there is no deadline for when a claim has to be made. Children have until their 21st birthday to make a claim. In fatal cases, the victim’s family or loved ones have three years from the victim’s date of death to make a claim.

The outcome: what compensation are you entitled to?

There are several factors that solicitors take into consideration when calculating compensation amounts for medical negligence victims.

  • Physical or psychological pain and suffering and its severity
  • Income the victim has lost as a result of the negligence
  • Future income losses
  • Further medical costs incurred
  • Costs of equipment that the victim has had to buy to aid them (a stair lift, for example)

A reputable legal department will always make sure that the compensation for negligence awarded allows you to deal with any present or future setbacks to your health or finances caused by the medical malpractice, giving you a real opportunity to get your life back on track and obtain justice for the unfortunate ordeal.

Linder Myers is a law firm based in the UK with specialist departments in almost every sector of law. Our team of law experts take pride in offering high quality, efficient legal services for our clients.

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