Common Medical Negligence Questions
At Jackson Lees, we know how daunting Medical Negligence claims can be for a client. We appreciate that you may still be suffering from the effects of your ordeal, and our aim is to make your claim as efficient and stress-free as possible.
We work hard to find out the true facts behind your case, helping you do the right thing, the right way. Jackson Lees has over 25 years of experience in Medical Negligence cases, and our services are accredited by the Law Society and Action Against Medical Accidents (AvMA).
To help ease any of your initial concerns, we have provided answers to some of the most common questions we receive from potential Medical Negligence clients.
What is Clinical / Medical Negligence?
Medical Negligence occurs when a healthcare professional or doctor fails to meet the standards expected of them, resulting in a patient being harmed, or in the most severe cases, death.
Jackson Lees has over 25 years of experience in a wide range of Medical Negligence cases. If you feel you suffered as a result of Medical Negligence, call us on 0151 282 1700 for a free consultation.
How Do We Go About Investigating a Claim?
First we go through an investigation stage to see whether your claim is viable – does it have reasonable prospects of success? Does the likely value of the claim make it worth pursuing?
This investigation involves compiling evidence of the facts of what happened as well as the initial expert reports and includes:
- Taking a statement from you and go through your case history.
- Notifying the defendant doctor/hospital/NHS Trust that a claim is being considered.
- Gaining copies of medical records and review them.
- Instructing medical experts to prepare a report and provide their opinion on the care you have received.
- Obtaining Counsel’s opinion (advice of specialist barrister) if appropriate
From this information we should be able to form a good idea of what the fundamental issues are, the strengths and weaknesses of your claim and whether the claim has prospects of success.
What Are The Next Steps After The Investigation?
After the investigation, we will consider the viability of the Medical Negligence claim and whether to go ahead, we will also talk you about the cost of doing so.
If in light of the evidence, we advise you not to proceed further with your claim, we hope that you will have achieved a better understanding of what happened to you or a loved one and why.
If you decide to proceed with your claim, before we can issue proceedings in the County Court or High Court it is likely to be necessary to give full details of your allegations to the Defendant(s) in a Letter of Claim and then give them 4 months within which to make a full, reasoned reply in their Letter of Response.
This is a requirement of the Pre-Action Protocol. If we do not follow Protocol, the Court may penalise you in costs.
The procedure from that point to trial will be carefully explained to you.
Will My Case Be Successful?
This is naturally the key question in any Medical Negligence claim. At Jackson Lees, we only take cases that we believe have a strong chance of succeeding based on the initial facts you present to us.
We will constantly monitor the likely success of your case, and this often depends on new information that comes to light throughout the process. For example, the evidence provided by our independent medical experts will be crucial to the outcome, and we will ensure you are kept fully informed at every stage.
How Long Will My Claim Take?
Medical Negligence claims usually take between two and three years to reach a conclusion, although it can be longer in more complex cases.
Much will depend on the defendant. For example, we may need to wait for them to provide the necessary medical records for us to assess, and most crucially, they will need to decide whether to admit liability or challenge your version of events. Cases that proceed to a trial can take twice as long as claims where responsibility is accepted.
At Jackson Lees, we will explore your case thoroughly to ensure that the consequences of the Medical Negligence are fully understood. Our approach provides our clients with the peace of mind that both the short and long term consequences of an injury are known. In doing so we avoid the risk of a case being under settled, and clients being left without the compensation they are entitled to.
Whatever the circumstances, we always aim to conclude your case successfully, as quickly as possible and hope to ensure those responsible take steps to help prevent similar issues in future.
Is There a Time Limit For Making a Claim?
Yes – there are time limits for making a Medical Negligence claim, we explain this in a separate section.
Should I Use The NHS Complaints Procedure?
It is often advisable to use the NHS Complaints Procedure before or at the same time as investigating a claim.
You must start a complaint within 6 weeks of the event complained of or the date when you found out about it (up to a maximum of 12 months from the date of the event).
We are able to help you with your complaint but you can also get help through your local Community Health Council (CHC) in Wales or local ICAS Office in England. We can put you in touch with your local CHC or ICAS.
Will I Have To Go To Court?
Only a small number of Medical Negligence claims get that far, but of course it can’t be ruled out. Once again, this will largely depend on whether or not the medical professional or facility admits liability, and if the value can be agreed.
How Much Is My Claim Worth?
The practical financial support awarded in successful Medical Negligence claims is designed to help you return to a position that is as close as possible to how your life was before your injury or illness, so it will depend on the individual case.
Jackson Lees can handle a wide range of Medical Negligence claims and we will ensure all factors are taken into account, such as your pain and suffering, ongoing medical care, expenses and any practical changes required to your home or lifestyle.
Who Pays The Damages If My Claim Is Successful?
NHS Trusts are responsible for the actions of their employees and will pay any damages awarded in accordance with agreements with the Department of Health.
For private health treatment, doctors are generally members of the medical defence organisations or personally insured. GP’s are also usually covered by their medical defence organisation.
For further information about funding or any other matter relating to your Medical Negligence claim, call us on 0151 282 1700 or complete our online enquiry form.
How Are Medical Negligence Cases Funded?
Funding can also be found via legal expenses insurance, or we may be able to act for you under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). Legal Aid may be available in some limited circumstances.
Who Will See My Medical Records?
As you are making a claim relating to your health, the Defendants (including their solicitors and experts) will be entitled to see all your medical records, probably including all your GP records – as will the court if you go to trial.
Will I Need To Go For a Medical Examination?
Yes – you will probably have to be examined by an expert/s whom we instruct. This is an essential part of building a case.
If the case goes to Court, it is very likely that the Defendant’s solicitors will ask you to be examined by their medical expert as well.
If we allege that you have suffered psychological damage, both sides may require a psychological or psychiatric assessment.
Have More Questions?
If you can’t find the answer to your question in the information above, you can call Jackson Lees on 0151 282 1700 or fill in an enquiry form and we will be happy to advise you.