Last updated on August 8th, 2022 at 10:34 am
If you have a medical problem, a 10-minute appointment with your doctor can be all it takes to have your ailment diagnosed and treated successfully. While this happens in the majority of cases, doctors can make mistakes. Importantly, if you suffer as a result of your doctor’s negligence, you could be entitled to compensation. This article on doctor negligence claims explains how the process works and what you could be compensated for.
If you would like to claim for suffering caused by your doctor’s negligence, our team can help you to get started. They’ll review your claim with you and explain your legal options during a free consultation. If your claim has sufficient grounds, we’ll ask a medical negligence solicitor to step in. They’ll guide you through the claims process on a No Win, No Fee basis meaning you won’t have to pay for their representation unless you are awarded compensation.
Please continue reading the rest of our article to find out more or give us a call on 0800 652 1345 if you would prefer to talk to us right away.
Can I claim compensation for doctor negligence?
In medical malpractice claims, you need to prove that your doctor’s actions (or lack of action) resulted in an injury or illness. This could include both physical and emotional injuries. One test that’s used to check whether you’re eligible to claim is the ‘4 D’s of medical negligence’. These are:
- Duty – did your doctor fail to meet their duty of care towards you?
- Dereliction – did your doctor fail to provide a level of care that should be reasonably expected of a competent medical professional?
- Direct causation – can you prove that a direct link exists between the doctor’s negligence and your illness or injuries?
- Damage – did the doctor’s mistakes cause you to suffer. As well as your injuries, this could include any financial impact such as loss of earnings.
If you’ve suffered because your GP was negligent, we could help you to begin a doctor negligence claim. Similarly, we could help you to claim on behalf of a loved one who’s suffered because of their doctor’s negligence.
What types of doctor negligence could I claim compensation or?
Doctors are given guidelines by organisations such as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). If your doctor failed to adhere to these guidelines, and you’ve suffered as a result, your doctor may have been negligent and you could be eligible to seek damages. Some of the most common examples of negligence by doctors include:
- Misdiagnosis or late diagnosis.
If your doctor failed to spot that your symptoms were linked to a specific illness, your condition may have got worse because of a delay in treatment. In some cases, a delayed diagnosis can have a dramatic effect on your health. For example, if cancer is not diagnosed at the first opportunity, you may face lengthier and more intrusive treatment or the cancer may become inoperable – See our medical misdiagnosis claims page.
- Failure to refer to a specialist or request further tests
Some symptoms can be linked to a variety of different conditions. In some cases, specialist tests may be required to rule out certain conditions like many cancers. If your doctor failed to refer you for this testing and a misdiagnosis occurred as a result, you may be able to claim for any additional suffering caused.
- Misreading of test results leading to a misdiagnosis.
Even when you are referred for tests, it’s important that they are interpreted correctly. If you suffered a misdiagnosis as a result of a testing error or because the results were not interpreted correctly, you could be entitled to compensation for any suffering.
- Failure to consider your medical history.
Some people are at higher risk of certain conditions like diabetes or cancers. As such, your medical and family history may be important when making a diagnosis. If your medical history was not discussed during an appointment and this led to a misdiagnosis, you could be eligible to begin a claim.
- Medication errors (wrong medication, wrong dosage etc).
Drugs are often used to reduce symptoms or to manage the pain caused by an illness. Medication errors can result in allergic reactions and unnecessary side effects. If your doctor has prescribed the wrong medication and you’ve been made ill as a result, you may be entitled to compensation – See our medication allergic reaction claims page.
Our team provide a free consultation for potential doctor negligence claims. If you’d like to find out your chances of being compensated, please get in touch today.
How much compensation for GP negligence can I claim?
When claiming compensation for GP negligence, two heads of loss are used:
- General damages are to compensate claimants for any pain and suffering caused by your doctor’s negligence.
- Special damages are used to claim back any expenses or costs incurred.
What you could claim will be dependent on how you’ve suffered but could include damages to cover:
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Any mental harm caused by your illness such anguish, distress or depression.
- Any impact your symptoms have on your social life, family activities or hobbies.
- Reduction in earnings if you were forced to take time off from work.
- Medical expenses including treatment at a private hospital if necessary.
- Care costs if somebody else (relatives or carers) needed to look after you while you were ill.
- Travel expenses.
- Home adaptations to improve your quality of life if you’ve been left with long-term symptoms.
- Future loss of earnings if your ability to work will be reduced.
Importantly, any compensation is based on the severity of your injuries. As such, you’ll need an independent medical assessment as part of a doctor negligence claim. This will result in a report from a medical expert to explain your prognosis.
For more complex claims, the full extent of your suffering might take many months or years to be assessed. In this situation, your solicitor may be able to secure interim compensation payments to help you before your claim is finalised if the defendant admits liability for your suffering.
Our panel of medical negligence lawyers can help to assess your doctor negligence claim in detail to try and ensure all aspects of your suffering are considered. If your case is taken on, they’ll do all they can to try and secure the maximum level of compensation possible.
Providing proof for doctor negligence claims
Any medical negligence claim will need proof on top of the medical reports described previously. The aim is to help prove how you’ve been affected by your doctor’s negligence. The types of proof you could use include:
- Medical notes. Your solicitor can use any test results, medical notes and x-rays to help show how the doctor’s negligence happened. These reports can be requested at any time during the claims process.
- Witness statements. To help prove how you’ve been affected, your solicitor might ask friends, family or colleagues to provide a statement.
- A diary. Your own statement could also be used as proof in your claim. You should therefore write down how you’ve suffered and any impact your injuries have had on your normal activities.
- Financial documents. If you’ve incurred costs because of your injuries, receipts, bank statements and payslips could all be used as proof to support your claim.
We are happy to review any proof you might have collected already as part of our free consultation.
Doctor negligence claims time limits
As with any type of compensation claim, doctor negligence claims have a time limit. In most cases, a 3-year limitation period will begin from:
- The date you were injured by your doctor’s negligence; or
- The date your injuries or illness were diagnosed and linked to your doctor’s actions.
We suggest that it’s best to start your claim as soon as possible so that there is plenty of time for your solicitor to gather proof and for a medical assessment to be arranged.
Claiming compensation against a doctor on behalf of a loved one
If a loved one has passed away because of negligence by their doctor or if they are unable to claim compensation for themselves, the solicitors on our panel could help you to take action on their behalf.
Compensation could be sought to cover your loved one’s loss as well as to help you cope if you were financially dependent on their income or benefits.
If you do decide to act, we’ll work with you compassionately and at a speed that suits you wherever possible.
Start a doctor negligence claim today
If you’d like to begin a medical negligence claim, please call us on 0800 652 1345 today. Whatever you decide to do, we’ll review your case with you for free and provide legal advice on your options.
If your claim is accepted by a medical negligence solicitor on our panel, you won’t pay any legal fees unless you receive a compensation payment.
Please connect to live chat if you have any further questions on doctor negligence claims, or arrange your free consultation here.