Having to visit A&E can be a very stressful experience, especially following a serious accident involving you or a loved one. While you’ll hope for and expect a positive outcome from your treatment, you wouldn’t expect to suffer a further injury or be made ill in an Accident and Emergency department. However, mistakes do sometimes happen and they can, unfortunately, make matters worse. In this article about Accident and Emergency claims, we’ll show you when you could be compensated following negligence in A&E and the types of negligence that might lead to a claim.
We can help you overcome the complexity of starting a medical negligence claim. By calling our team of advisors, you’ll receive a free consultation to assess whether an Accident and Emergency compensation claim might be possible. If the claim looks to be feasible, we could refer you to a medical negligence solicitor on our panel. They handle accepted A&E claims on a No Win, No Fee basis which means there are no legal fees at all unless you receive a compensation payout.
To talk with a specialist right away, please contact us on 0800 652 1345 today. Alternatively, read on to learn more about A&E hospital compensation claims.
What is Accident and Emergency negligence?
All medical professionals have a duty of care towards the welfare of their patients. Even when working in emergency departments, doctors, nurses, surgeons and other professionals must do all they can to overcome the fast-paced and pressurised environment to try and ensure patients receive the best care possible. Usually, that’s exactly what happens.
However, if mistakes are made in A&E the patient could suffer a new injury or illness and that could be due to medical negligence. In these circumstances, Accident and Emergency compensation claims might be possible.
What might be classed as negligence in Accident And Emergency?
A&E staff are trained to try and diagnose your medical problem as accurately and efficiently as possible. After doing so, their next job is to treat the injury or illness effectively or to stabilise you until further treatment can be performed.
The types of negligence that could occur in an Accident and Emergency department include:
- Mistakes made when conducting an examination leading to a misdiagnosis or delayed treatment.
- Failure to request blood tests, x-rays or scans.
- Failure to check a patient’s medical history.
- Incorrect interpretation of test results.
- Failing to admit a patient because their condition was misdiagnosed.
- Delaying surgery or other medical procedures.
- Failure to refer a patient to a specialist for further tests.
- Prescribing the wrong medication or treatment.
- Avoidable surgical errors.
- Poor aftercare treatment or advice.
- Failure to spot deterioration of the patient’s condition.
- Discharging a patient before their condition has been properly assessed.
Any of the above that caused a patient to suffer, could lead to an Accident and Emergency claim. If you or a loved one has been affected by negligence in A&E, why not speak with our specialists to review your claim?
Can I claim compensation for negligence in A&E?
Realistically the medical negligence lawyers on our panel can only take on medical negligence claims with a good chance of being won.
When assessing an Accident and Emergency claim, your solicitor will check for:
- Medical negligence. This is where the medical professional’s actions or lack of action led to a standard of care that was below what you might reasonably expect.
- Causation. Here, the solicitor will assess whether the negligence in A&E caused you to suffer i.e. you became ill, sustained a new injury or your existing condition got worse.
Negligence alone will not enable you to start an Accident and Emergency claim – you must have suffered in some way as a result. Proving medical negligence can be complex and before your claim can proceed, the events that led to your suffering will need to be independently reviewed. If a suitably qualified medical expert agrees that the defendant in your claim was negligent i.e. they should’ve done things differently, then you may be entitled to compensation for your suffering.
Common issues caused by negligence in Accident and Emergency departments
Errors in an Accident and Emergency department can lead to several different injuries or illnesses. While medical professionals will always try to treat you effectively, there are times when mistakes happen. Some of the common injuries or illnesses in Accident and Emergency claims include:
- Missed fractures.
- Misdiagnosed heart attacks.
- Failure to spot meningitis.
- Failure to diagnose sepsis.
- Misdiagnosed head and brain injuries.
- Missed tendon tears or muscle tears.
This is just a sample of the types of negligence that could cause a patient to suffer in A&E. If you’ve been injured or made ill because a member of A&E staff was negligent, please call and we’ll review your claim for free.
Should I complain about negligence in an A&E department?
The NHS has a formal complaints procedure if you wish to raise concerns about the treatment you received. You could also report any concerns about hospital treatment to the Care Quality Commission (CQC). In either case, if your complaint is investigated, you should receive a response to explain what happened and why. While this may be useful information and you might receive an apology, a formal complaint will not result in you being compensated.
The only way you’ll receive compensation for suffering caused by negligent treatment is file a compensation claim. If you have complained, you should forward the response you received to your solicitor as it could be used as supporting proof.
Making an Accident and Emergency claim for someone else
If your child is injured or made ill because of A&E negligence, you could become their litigation friend and claim compensation on their behalf. The same is true if a loved one who lacks the mental capacity to claim for themselves has suffered.
Once approved as a litigation friend, you’ll be able to discuss the case with solicitors and the claim will proceed as normal. If the claim is successful, any compensation agreement will be reviewed by a court to ensure it’s fair. Then the funds will be managed by the court until the claimant turns 18 (or regains their mental capacity). As a litigation friend, you’ll be able to ask the court in writing to release funds when necessary.
How much compensation for an Accident and Emergency claim?
Health problems caused by medical negligence can be both painful and costly. As such, when seeking damages for suffering caused by A&E negligence, you should carefully consider how you’ve been affected and how you might be affected in the future.
If you win an Accident and Emergency claim, it could include compensation to cover:
- Any physical suffering and pain.
- Any form of psychiatric harm such as distress, depression or anxiety.
- Loss of enjoyment of your normal hobbies, social activities and family events.
- Care costs. This could simply cover the time a loved one spent caring for you or, in more serious cases, the cost of professional care.
- Medical expenses such as prescription costs, physiotherapy or private medical treatment.
- Fuel, public transport or parking costs related to your treatment or claim.
- Loss of earnings.
- Future loss of income where there is a negative impact on your ability to earn.
- Installation of lifts, ramps, hoists or other aids in your home or vehicle to improve your quality of life if you have suffered a permanent disability.
Everything you claim will be checked and will need to be verified. This alone is quite a complex task and is one of the reasons we believe having a specialist medical negligence solicitor on your side is important. To check if one on our panel could support your claim, please contact us today.
Proving that medical negligence in A&E caused you to suffer
NHS Resolution is the body that handles medical negligence claims on behalf of most hospitals in England and Wales. Before compensating victims of Accident and Emergency negligence, they will always want to see proof of what happened and how the claimant has been affected.
Your solicitor will therefore spend some time collecting information to try and improve your chances of being compensated including:
- Medical records. This is a vital piece of proof for any medical negligence claim. They will be used to assess your medical history before your trip to A&E and how you suffered as a result of your treatment.
- Personal statements. You will be asked to describe how you’ve felt since your treatment and how your daily life has been affected.
- Witness statements. Family and friends may also be asked to explain the changes they’ve witnessed since your hospital treatment.
- Photographic evidence. Any visible injuries should be photographed. This process should continue regularly while you are still injured.
- Financial evidence. To claim back any costs or financial losses, you will need to provide bank statements, wage slips and receipts.
- Independent medical reports. As mentioned earlier, the extent of your injuries will be assessed independently by a medical expert.
Your solicitor will try to do as much proof gathering on your behalf as part of their service. If you already have some (such as complaint responses), please let us know when you call.
No Win, No Fee claims
You shouldn’t worry about the cost of using a medical negligence solicitor if you decide to start your claim with us because those on our panel work on a No Win, No Fee basis.
If your A&E claim is taken on, your solicitor won’t ask for legal fees to be paid upfront and you won’t pay any if the claim fails either.
During your claim, your solicitor will:
- Manage all aspects of the claim for you and communicate on your behalf so you don’t face any complex medical or legal questions.
- Arrange for an independent medical assessment of your condition.
- File the claim with the hospital in question.
- Deal with any objections or arguments raised by supplying additional proof where possible.
- Try to negotiate a settlement that covers all aspects of your suffering.
You’ll only pay for that work if your claim is won and compensation is paid out. If that happens, a success fee will be deducted from the settlement before it’s paid to you.
Time Limits for Accident and Emergency claims
Most medical negligence compensation claims have a 3-year time limit. This will either start on the date you were treated or later if your injury or illness was not diagnosed until a later date.
However, if the claim is on behalf of your child, their time limit does not begin until their 18th birthday. As such, you could claim at any time before that date. Similarly, if you’re claiming on behalf of somebody else because they haven’t the mental capacity to manage a claim, there is no time limit (unless that capacity is regained).
Because of the complexity of some Accident and Emergency claims, we would suggest starting the claims process sooner rather than later. This should make it easier for your solicitor to collect the necessary proof to support the claim.
If the claim is for any injury or illness that is ongoing, it is possible that you could receive interim payments before the claim is settled. This might happen in cases where liability for your suffering has been accepted by the hospital. The payments could cover lost earnings, care costs or medical treatment costs.
Start an Accident and Emergency claim today
Please contact our specialists on 0800 652 1345 if you’d like us to review your claim. By doing so, you’ll receive free legal advice after your claim has been reviewed.
If your claim is accepted and you agree to proceed a solicitor on our panel will manage it on a No Win, No Fee basis.
Our live chat advisors are on hand if you have any additional questions about Accident and Emergency claims.