What is Medical Negligence?

Thompsons Solicitors is proud to work with UK health unions to campaign for safe staffing levels, proper training, and effective health and safety measures, to ensure our health services are able to deliver world-class treatment and care.

Despite the best efforts of all involved, the risk to patients of increased demand and ever-tighter budgets cannot always be offset, and medical negligence or medical accidents can and do occur.

If you think you’ve been injured as a result of medical treatment or were given a misdiagnosis in the last three years, contact our specialist medical negligence lawyers for advice.

When it comes to making medical negligence claims, it’s important to act quickly due to strict time limits imposed. Thompsons Solicitors’ clinical negligence lawyers always recommend that you speak to the medical practitioner in question before taking legal action against them. It may be possible to resolve the situation without starting legal proceedings. 

Should that prove unsuccessful, we recommend you consider making a formal complaint – particularly if you’d like an apology or to see changes to the way things are done. Who you write to varies according to the situation. You should address complaints about a GP to the practice manager, while hospital complaints should be addressed to the hospital’s complaints manager. Learn more about how Thompsons Solicitors can help you make a medical negligence complaint

Thompsons Solicitors’ medical negligence solicitors are recognised by the Law Society’s Clinical Negligence Accreditation Scheme and deal with the full range of clinical negligence claims, from prescription errors through to medical injuries and medical accidents of the upmost severity.

If you’re concerned you’ve been the victim of medical negligence, trust Thompsons Solicitors to secure you the right level of compensation to give you financial security, both now and in the future.

An initial assessment is free of charge, so get in touch to see how we can help you or learn more about your trade union legal service’s medical negligence scheme.

The national practice lead of our clinical negligence team talks through the process of making a medical negligence claim, and how we can help you.

“We’re grateful to my union and Thompsons for helping us to shine a light on what happened and identifying where mistakes were made by the Trust. We hope they will learn serious lessons.”

Alexander Rennie, medical negligence union client

COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE CLAIMS

1. What does ‘medical negligence’, or ‘clinical negligence’, mean?

If you have been harmed, injured, misdiagnosed or undiagnosed because of a failing by a healthcare professional, you may be able to make a medical negligence claim, otherwise known as clinical negligence. For the best chance of success, Thompsons Solicitors recommends that you enlist a personal injury lawyer who specialises in medical negligence law, as clinical negligence claims are complex and the practitioner or authority involved will almost certainly be aggressively defended by specialists. Your solicitor will need to prove the standard of care provided by that practitioner fell below what was reasonably expected of them. 

2. What happens during a clinical negligence compensation claim with Thompsons Solicitors? 

Firstly, our medical negligence lawyers will need to review your medical records. Then they’ll seek the expertise of medical specialists, who will be instructed to look at whether your treatment was negligent and, if so, whether they feel negligence resulted in your injury. 

If our clinical negligence lawyers feel there is sufficient evidence to proceed with a clinical negligence compensation claim, they will recommend that you start court proceedings without delay. This doesn’t mean you will need to go to court - most clinical negligence claims are settled outside of court, save for the most complex or where liability cannot be decided. If your case was one of the few that needed to go to court, you would be consulted beforehand and receive our full support. 

3. How do I prove medical negligence occurred? 

To successfully prove you have been the victim of clinical or medical negligence, your lawyer will need to show that, on “the balance of probabilities”, the standard of care you received was not to the level “reasonably expected” and the practitioner was therefore negligent.  It is not unusual for medical practitioners to have different opinions on how to treat certain conditions. If the practitioner or authority can show that the way they treated you was in line with “a responsible body of medical opinion”, then that would be deemed a suitable defence. 

After medical negligence has been proved, you’ll also need to demonstrate that it was this negligence that led to your injury. This can be the most challenging aspect of a medical negligence claim, because the practitioner or authority could suggest your injury was caused by your illness or that it would have happened regardless of the treatment they provided.  Your appointed medical negligence solicitor will need to provide detailed medical evidence that will be scrutinised by experts acting for both sides.

4. What are the different types of medical negligence compensation claims?

Examples of medical negligence compensation claims include, but are not limited to, brain and head injuries claimscerebral palsy claims, birth injury claims, medical amputation claimsspinal cord injury claimsfatality claimsmisdiagnosis claimsscaphoid fracture claimsprescription error claims, and faulty product claims, such as metal-on-metal hip implants, medicines or equipment.

5. What happens in a clinical negligence claim process with Thompsons Solicitors?

Firstly, our medical negligence lawyers will need to review your medical records; this is something we can arrange on your behalf, at no cost to you. Then they’ll seek the expertise of medical specialists, who will be instructed to look at whether your treatment was negligent and, if so, whether they feel negligence resulted in your injury.

If we feel we have sufficient evidence to proceed with a clinical negligence compensation claim, we will recommend that you start court proceedings without delay. This doesn’t mean you will need to go to court - most clinical negligence cases are settled outside of court, save for the most complex or where liability cannot be decided. If your case was one of the few that needed to go to court, you would be consulted beforehand and receive our full support.

6. Can I make a medical negligence claim through my trade union?

Yes. If you believe you have been misdiagnosed or harmed by medical treatment in the last three years, contact Thompsons Solicitors’ specialist medical negligence lawyers for advice on how you can make a medical negligence compensation claim. Thompsons Solicitors’ medical negligence solicitors provide union members with a free initial consultation and offer special rates for those who pursue a claim with us.

7. Can I make a medical negligence compensation claim if I was treated in a private hospital?

Yes. Whether you were treated in a private or NHS facility, Thompsons Solicitors will fully support you in making a clinical negligence compensation claim. We know some private healthcare facilities exploit loopholes in the justice system to avoid being held accountable for those working on their premises, but we are determined to expose this. That is why we have launched our Patients Before Profits campaign, to champion greater responsibility in the private healthcare sector and ensure all patients are afforded the same protection wherever they may be treated.

8. Can I make a medical negligence compensation claim for a family member through my trade union?

Yes. You can instruct a clinical negligence solicitor to investigate a medical negligence compensation claim for a family member or relative who lacks the mental capacity to do so themselves. As these cases are complex, contact Thompsons Solicitors’ experienced medical negligence solicitors on 0800 0 224 224 for no obligation advice, as soon as possible.

9. Are there time limits on making a medical negligence claim through my union?

Yes. There is a standard three-year limit for all personal injury claims, which include medical negligence claims. This starts from the date of injury or diagnosis, but for clinical negligence compensation cases this limit applies from the date you could realistically have been expected to associate your symptoms with the treatment you received.

For example, if the wrong leg was operated on during surgery, leading to obvious and immediate harm, then you would have three years from the date of the surgery to start a claim. But if you discovered years after treatment that you hadn’t needed the treatment you received, or that surgery was inappropriate for your condition, then you can make a claim within three years from identifying that negligence had occurred.

10. I saw a negative news report about a doctor who has previously treated me. What should I do?

Anyone who is concerned about the care or treatment they have received from a medical professional, or who may have received a recall letter from their local healthcare provider, should seek medical advice and then contact our medical negligence solicitors on 0800 0 224 224 to investigate whether or not they have a case to make a medical negligence compensation claim.

Thompsons Solicitors has decades of experience in bringing negligent medical practitioners to justice after causing harm and suffering to people across the UK, securing hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation in the process.

In 2009, our specialist medical negligence solicitors uncovered the shocking medical negligence of former breast cancer surgeon, Ian Paterson, spanning over a decade and causing thousands of people harm and suffering. Thompsons Solicitors is currently representing over 500 ex-patients with medical negligence claims who were unnecessarily operated on by Mr Paterson, and stands ready to help others if they believe they have been affected.

11. How much money do I have to pay to make a medical negligence compensation claim?

Trade union members and their immediate family can benefit from a free initial consultation with one of our specialist clinical negligence lawyers, and will receive special terms thereafter. Visit your union hub for more information.