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Clinical negligence expert Catherine Pinnegar looks at the frequently asked questions.

In summary Clinical Negligence is treatment or care from a health care professional such as a doctor, nurse, consultant or dentist is so poor that it falls below the standard of care expected of them and that the negligent treatment causes harm.

Q1 – What kind of things amount to medical negligence?

Delayed or misdiagnosis diagnosis of diseases or health conditions, such as a GP failing or delaying in referring you to the required specialist resulting in poor recovery or even death.

Consent – where the consent process is inadequate and certain risks or complications are not explained properly.

Infections – where an infection is acquired in a hospital or other care setting due to poor hygiene or wound care, or when there is failure to diagnose an infection or a delay in diagnosis, such as sepsis or necrotising fasciitis.

Surgical errors such as injury to other organs other than those being operated on or that further surgeries are required to put a mistake right.

Q2 – Can I claim for a family member who has died as a result of clinical negligence?

Yes, we are experienced in supporting the family of the deceased at a difficult time and can assist in the process of investigating and bringing a claim when these circumstances arise.

Q3 – Can I claim for medical negligence on behalf of my child?

Yes, where someone is under the age of 18 then someone, usually a parent can be appointed on the child’s behalf.

Q 4 – What do I have to prove?

There are 3 things that need to be proved to have a successful claim:

  1. That the health care professional owed you a duty of care;
  2. That the healthcare professional has breached that duty of care; i.e. they have made a mistake that no competent professional in their position would make;
  3. That the mistake they made has caused harm or injury

Q 5 – If I sue will it affect my ongoing medical treatment?

There should be no impact whatsoever on the medical treatment that you receive.

Q6 – Is there a time limit on when I make my claim?

Yes; the general rule is that claims for clinical negligence need to be formally filed with the Court within 3 years of the negligence treatment or within 3 years of finding out that previous treatment was negligent. If the patient was a child when the negligent treatment took place, the deadline is their 21st birthday.

Q 7 – Do I have to pay fees up front to start a claim?

No, if we believe that you have reasonable prospects of bringing a claim of clinical negligence, we will enter in to a Conditional Fee Agreement, popularly known as a ‘no win no fee’ agreement.

Call one of our experienced lawyers today and we can discuss how we can assess the prospects of your claim and funding options to give peace of mind from the outset.

Contact the team at Wollens on [email protected] 

Clinical negligence