For many people, making a GP negligence claim for compensation goes against the grain but unfortunately, there are instances where a general practitioner’s negligence can make a condition worse, and in some circumstances cause premature death. If this happens, and a GP is found to have been negligent, they could be sued for compensation for the suffering they’ve caused.
A medical negligence solicitor may be able to help if you’re thinking about suing a GP for negligence. Our advisors will review your claim without obligation during an initial consultation and provide free legal advice about your options. If we can, we’ll connect you with a medical negligence solicitor on our panel to review your claim in more detail. If they’re happy to represent you because your claim is strong enough, you’ll benefit from their legal skills on a No Win, No Fee basis.
To find out more about claiming compensation for suffering caused by GP negligence, please continue reading. Alternatively, to speak to a specialist advisor right away, please call our team on 0800 652 1345 today.
What is GP negligence?
Like other medical professionals, GP’s train for a very long time so that they are suitably qualified to treat their patients. While they can’t possibly remember everything they’ve learnt, they must be able to use the tools available to them to try and ensure the welfare of any patient within their care.
Before a medical negligence lawyer takes on a GP negligence claim, they’ll check for:
- Negligence: Whether the standard of care offered by the general practitioner fell below what could be reasonably expected of a fully qualified GP; and
- Causation: That it can be shown that as a result of the GP’s negligence, you have become ill or injured or an existing condition was made worse.
Because lawyers are not experts in medical practices, they must rely on independent experts to check for negligence. If your claim is taken on, a suitably skilled specialist will assess how you were treated by your GP. They will perform the ‘Bolam test’ to see if they’d have done things differently. If they would’ve done, and your GP is found to have been negligent, you could have the grounds to claim compensation for any suffering.
What types of GP negligence compensation could be claimed for?
In general, GPs have a very short amount of time to spend with each of their patients. However, during a 10-minute appointment, they can usually examine their patient, offer a diagnosis and prescribe a course of treatment to manage the patient’s condition. In some cases though, mistakes by GPs do happen. Over the next few sections of this guide, we’ll look at some of the mistakes that could lead to GP negligence claims.
If a GP misreads your symptoms and determines that your condition is something other than it really is, this is called a misdiagnosis. If they fail to find that there’s anything wrong with you when you are ill, this is called a missed diagnosis. In either case, if the doctor’s error causes additional suffering, you could be compensated. See our page on medical misdiagnosis claims.
Delayed diagnosis / Delayed treatment
Where a doctor fails to identify why you’re ill on the first occasion but does during a subsequent appointment, the delay in diagnosis and proper treatment can cause your condition to worsen. In some cases, such as delayed cancer diagnosis, this can reduce your treatment options and cause you to suffer a lot more than you might’ve done if treatment had begun on time.
Medication is often used to manage pain or to help your body fight off disease. However, GPs must be careful when prescribing drugs and check they don’t issue medicines that you are known to be allergic to or that will reduce the impact of other medicines that you’ve already been prescribed. Other forms of negligence associated with medication are where the wrong dosage is prescribed or the wrong instructions on when to take the medication are given. See our page on prescription error claims.
Failure to refer
Sometimes, your GP will not be able to diagnose the cause of your illness without the aid of specialist tests. As such, they should refer you to a test centre if that will help with their diagnosis. If your doctor failed to refer you to a specialist for testing and that led to additional suffering, you could be eligible to start a GP negligence claim.
Misread test results
If your doctor misinterprets blood tests (or other tests), it could lead to unnecessary suffering because you will not receive the correct treatment. If your doctor failed to act correctly after receiving your tests back from a lab, you could sue the NHS for any additional suffering that resulted.
As you can see, there are a number of ways that a GP’s negligence could cause you to suffer. If you are upset with the treatment you have received from your GP, you have the option to raise a formal NHS complaint. While this process will mean you’ll get a formal response and that changes might be made and you might receive an apology, the one thing it won’t do is compensate you for your suffering. The only way that will happen is if you make a medical negligence claim against your GP (or the relevant NHS trust).
How much compensation can I claim for GP negligence?
If you make a successful GP negligence claim, the amount of compensation claimed could cover:
- Any physical pain caused by your GP’s negligence.
- The mental impact of your illness such as distress and anxiety.
- Any negative effect your illness had on your usual activities (loss of amenity).
- Lost earnings or future loss of earnings for longer-term conditions.
- Care costs if your illness meant somebody else needed to support you for a while.
- Private medical costs.
- Travel costs such as fuel or parking fees associated with hospital appointments.
- Modifications to your home or vehicle to improve your quality of life if needed.
As you can only make a single GP negligence claim for a specific case, it’s really important to consider all aspects of your suffering. We believe you have a better chance of being properly compensated if you have legal representation when suing a GP. To see if a medical negligence lawyer on our panel could help you claim compensation for GP negligence, call our team today on 0800 652 1345.
Providing proof for a GP negligence claim
You could sue NHS doctors or those working for private healthcare companies if their negligence has caused you to suffer. In either case, you will need to provide proof to show how their mistake has caused you to suffer. This isn’t always easy which is another reason we believe it’s best to have a specialist solicitor on your side.
If your claim is taken on by a solicitor on our panel, they could use any of the following to try and improve your chances of being compensated:
- Medical notes – Your solicitor will request copies of any relevant medical records as part of your GP negligence claim. A medical expert could use these to see what was discussed during your appointment and what course of action was taken to check for negligence.
- Medication boxes and prescriptions – Your solicitor could use any copies of your prescriptions along with any medication packaging to check for medication errors.
- Complaint responses – These can help to prove whether your GP was negligent or not. If you’ve not yet lodged a formal complaint, it’s probably a good idea to speak with your solicitor to see if doing so would help your claim.
- Witness statements – If necessary, your solicitor may ask family or friends to provide a statement about how you’ve changed as a result of your GP’s negligence.
- Financial records – If you’re claiming for any costs associated with your GP’s mistake, it’s a good idea to provide any relevant receipts or invoices.
- Independent medical reports – As part of your claim, you’ll need to see an independent medical expert. They’ll discuss the impact of your illness and examine you. Their report will provide a prognosis and explain how you’ve suffered.
Additionally, your solicitor will prepare a statement on your behalf. For this reason, it’s a good idea to write everything down before you speak to them. This could include the dates your illness stopped you from working and any other activities that you couldn’t participate in.
GP negligence claims time limits
If you have decided to claim damages for suffering caused by your GP’s negligence, you’ll need to do so within a 3-year time limit. For most claims of this type, the limitation period will start from the date you were made aware of your GP’s mistake.
We believe that it’s easier to claim the sooner you start. That’s because it will be a lot easier for your solicitor to collect proof and you’ll also find it easier to remember how you were affected. Additionally, if liability for your claim is accepted by your GP, your solicitor could request an interim payment for you to receive private medical treatment before your claim is finalised.
Importantly, if your child has suffered because of their GP’s negligence, the 3-year time limit does not apply. You can seek compensation on their behalf at any time before your child’s 18th birthday.
Claiming compensation for GP negligence on behalf of somebody else
If a loved one does not have the mental capacity to file a GP negligence claim themselves, we could still help. In these cases, a representative can deal with us on the claimant’s behalf after becoming their litigation friend. If this is something you’d like to discuss, please get in touch.
No Win, No Fee GP negligence claims
We understand that many people worry about the cost of legal fees when making a medical negligence claim. However, if your claim is taken on by a solicitor on our panel, you’ll only pay for their work if you are awarded compensation. That’s because all accepted GP negligence claims are handled on a No Win, No Fee basis.
If a solicitor agrees to work for you, they’ll supply you with a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) that will explain:
- That no legal fees need to be paid in advance.
- You won’t pay any legal fees if the claim fails.
- A success fee will be deducted from any compensation awarded to cover your legal fees.
Legally, when using a CFA to fund your claim, the maximum deduction for a success fee is 25% of your settlement.
If a solicitor on our panel represents you on a No Win, No Fee basis, they will aim to:
- Manage your GP negligence claim from start to finish.
- Discuss your claim in detail with you to fully understand how you have suffered.
- Collect evidence and medical reports.
- File the claim with NHS Resolution (or an insurance company).
- Deal with all communication so you won’t need to deal with any technical legal or medical questions.
- Assess any settlement offers with you to check that they are fair.
- Try to secure the maximum amount of damages possible to cover all of your sufferings.
Start a GP negligence claim today
If you would like to talk with us about a potential GP negligence claim, please call our team on 0800 652 1345 today. An advisor will explain everything after reviewing your options with you. If a solicitor from our panel accepts your claim, you won’t have to worry about paying any legal fees unless you are awarded a compensation settlement.
If you have any additional questions about GP negligence claims please use our live chat service, call our free advice line, or arrange a free consultation here.