Visiting a hospital can be a worrying event. Whether you’re there in an emergency, for tests or for elective treatment, you have to trust that the doctors and nurses who treat you can do so effectively. While in many cases, hospital patients receive a good level of care, hospital mistakes do happen. Unfortunately, when that happens, the patient can suffer. This article on hospital negligence claims explains when and how you could be compensated if you or a loved one has suffered because of medical negligence in a hospital environment.
We can help by reviewing your claim for free. If you call, an advisor will assess your case with you, consider any supporting proof and explain your options. If the claim is strong enough, you could be partnered with a medical negligence lawyer on our panel. If they agree to represent you, they’ll do so on a No Win, No Fee basis. As a result, no legal fees will need to be paid unless you receive compensation for your suffering.
To learn how to make a hospital negligence claim, please continue reading. Alternatively, please get in touch on 0800 652 1345 if you’d like to talk to us right away.
What is hospital negligence?
The term negligence essentially means that a mistake was made. For example, a doctor may have used the wrong equipment or a nurse may have forgotten to carry out statutory tests during treatment. Other medical professionals in a hospital that could be negligent include surgeons, physiotherapists, anaesthetists, paramedics, ophthalmologists, midwives, pharmacists, oncologists, paediatricians and obstetricians.
Can I claim compensation for hospital negligence?
A hospital negligence claim may be possible if:
- A medical professional in the hospital provided a level of care that fell below the standard that could be reasonably expected. This is negligence.
- As a result of the negligence, a patient is made ill, is injured or their existing condition worsens. This is called causation.
Both negligence and causation must be proven to make a successful hospital negligence claim. For example, if you were made ill following surgery but the surgeon didn’t do anything wrong i.e. they weren’t negligent, you wouldn’t be compensated.
Whether you were being treated for a medical condition in a private or NHS hospital, a solicitor could help you to claim. In most cases, claims will be made against the trust or company operating the hospital rather than the individual medical professional.
Examples of hospital negligence claims
Some examples of the types of hospital negligence that may mean you’re entitled to compensation include the following:
- Prescription errors. If a doctor was negligent at a hospital and prescribed the wrong drug, a pharmacist made a dispensing error or the wrong dosage is administered, serious problems can result for the patient. This can include adverse drug reactions or a failure to treat the patient’s condition.
- Test errors. Testing is an important way of understanding what’s causing a patient’s symptoms. As such, a failure to refer for testing, reading test results incorrectly or conducting the wrong tests could all be forms of negligence that lead to hospital compensation claims.
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. Doctors are trained for years to give them the skills to diagnose and treat patients correctly. Any mistake during the diagnosis stage could result in the wrong condition being treated or a condition worsening because of a delay in treatment.
- Avoidable childbirth injuries. There’s no doubt that childbirth can be a complex procedure. While complications can happen, you could claim compensation if you or your baby were injured avoidably because a nurse, doctor or midwife failed to follow the correct procedures, used the wrong procedures or failed to spot a problem during labour.
- Hospital-acquired infections. Hospitals should always be as hygienic as possible to try and avoid the spread of MRSA and other infections. If you’ve suffered pneumonia, sepsis or any other condition following a hospital-transmitted infection, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
- Surgical errors. Surgeons often have to perform highly-complex procedures when treating patients. Even so, they must try to ensure their patient remains as safe as possible. Avoidable injuries during surgery could therefore lead to hospital negligence claims.
- Anaesthetic mistakes. Mistakes with the administration of anaesthetics can lead to awareness during surgery. This can result in a lot of physical pain and suffering as well as mental trauma.
These are just some reasons why hospital negligence claims might be possible. Remember, as well as negligence occurring, you must be able to prove how the mistake caused you or a loved one to suffer. For free legal advice on your options, please feel free to speak to our team.
Negligence in an Accident & Emergency department
Even in the A&E department, you can expect a reasonable standard of care and treatment. Although emergency department doctors and nurses might work in stressful conditions, they should still try to ensure any treatment you receive is carried out correctly.
This means that you could claim compensation for hospital negligence in A&E if:
- Your condition was diagnosed incorrectly.
- You were not sent for x-rays when needed.
- You were given the wrong medication or one you were known to be allergic to.
- Your treatment was excessively delayed and this made your condition worse.
If you believe that you’ve suffered because of negligence in an A&E department, you can speak to our team if you’d like to check your options.
Wrongful death in a hospital
Unfortunately, some forms of medical negligence in hospitals can be fatal. We know that your thoughts will be elsewhere if you’ve lost a loved one and no amount of compensation will make things any better.
However, if you do decide to claim compensation for wrongful death, at a later time, it could help you to recover any costs you’ve incurred such as funeral expenses. Additionally, a medical negligence solicitor could help you to be compensated if you were financially dependent on the deceased’s salary, pension or benefits.
We will never put you under any pressure to sue a hospital for wrongful death but if you’d like advice on your options, please call one of our friendly advisors.
How much hospital negligence compensation can I claim?
When making a hospital negligence claim, it’s important to seek damages for all aspects of your suffering. As well as any compensation for general damages (pain, suffering etc), you should think about any financial implications (special damages).
If you do decide to claim, you should consider whether you need to calculate compensation for any of the following:
- Physical pain, discomfort and suffering.
- Psychological damage (distress, anxiety, depression).
- Loss of amenity – the impact your injuries or illness has on your normal activities.
- Loss of income.
- The cost of a carer.
- Medical expenses (prescription fees, treatment costs and physiotherapy).
- Travel expenses.
- Future loss of earnings (for longer-term cases).
- Lifts, hoists, ramps and other home modifications to help you cope with any long-term disability. This can be particularly relevant for brain injuries caused at birth.
A hospital compensation claim should be based on how you’ve suffered already and how you might suffer in the future as only one claim is allowed once it has been settled. If you work with a medical negligence solicitor from our panel, they’ll review everything in fine detail to try and make sure you’re compensated fairly.
How will my solicitor know how the hospital’s negligence has affected me?
As part of the claims process, your injuries will need to be independently assessed. As such, your solicitor will arrange for a medical expert to examine you. They’ll also read through your hospital records and discuss the impact of your injuries with you. The expert’s report will be used to determine how much compensation for hospital negligence you’ll be awarded if your claim is successful.
Claiming compensation for a child
As you might expect, a child cannot deal with hospital compensation claims on their own. However, parents and other adults can do so for them. This is because of the litigation friend process.
If you’re approved as a litigation friend, you can discuss the case and make decisions with your child’s solicitor. If the claim is won, the court will review the settlement amount before it is signed off.
In all cases, funds are managed in a court account until the child is 18 years old (or longer for cases causing a lack of mental capacity). However, payments can be made from the fund by the court to cover care costs or your own time if you’ve stopped working to care for your child.
Providing proof for a medical negligence claim
Medical negligence claims against the NHS are usually handled by NHS Resolution whereas, in general, private hospitals will forward claims against them to their insurers. In either case, your solicitor will need to provide proof to the defendant’s representatives to show the extent of your suffering and how your injuries were caused. This could include:
- Medical records. To try and prove what went wrong at the hospital and how you’ve suffered, your solicitor could request medical records including your test results, scan results and x-rays.
- A personal statement. Your solicitor will ask you to explain what happened leading up to your treatment and how you’ve suffered since.
- Photographic proof. If you’ve been left with any visible injuries or scars, photographs will be taken to demonstrate the extent of your injury.
- Witness statements. Your friends and family may be asked to provide a statement about the changes they’ve noticed in you since you were treated in the hospital.
- Complaints. While complaints in hospitals don’t lead to compensation (they can lead to procedural changes and apologies though), responses can help to clarify what went wrong during your treatment.
If your claim is taken on, your solicitor will collect proof to support your hospital negligence claim and refer the case to 3rd party experts for assessment. If you have any correspondence from the hospital about your treatment, please let us know when you call as it could be vital in supporting your claim.
Hospital negligence claims time limits
As with any type of clinical negligence, there is a 3-year time limit for hospital compensation claims. This begins from the date you were injured or from when a problem was identified and linked to negligent hospital treatment.
Where the claim is for a child, the time limit will not apply until their 18th birthday.
Similarly, the time limit will not apply if the claimant doesn’t have the mental capacity to handle the claim themselves. However, it will begin if and when they regain their mental capacity to manage the process themself.
To check how long you have to make a hospital negligence claim, please get in touch today.
No Win, No Fee claims
We know that the thought of losing money on a hospital negligence claim is enough to put many off even contacting a solicitor. However, to minimise your financial risk, our panel of solicitors offer a No Win, No Fee service for all hospital negligence claims they accept. As a result, you will know from the outset that you won’t pay legal fees unless compensation is awarded.
Once you’ve signed your agreement, your solicitor will begin right away by:
- Discussing your claim in full detail with you.
- Writing to the hospital and informing them of the claim.
- Collecting medical reports and other supporting proof.
- Negotiating with the hospital’s representatives on your behalf.
- Keeping you updated about the progress of your claim.
- Attempting to secure the highest possible settlement for your suffering.
Should your claim fail, you won’t need to pay any of your solicitor’s legal fees. If they win the claim, a maximum of 25% of your compensation will be deducted as a success fee to cover the cost of your solicitor’s work. This fee will be listed in your contract so you’ll know exactly how much you’ll pay from the start.
Start a hospital negligence claim today
You can call our team on 0800 652 1345 if you’d like free advice about hospital compensation claims. There’s no pressure or obligation to proceed but we can provide free advice if you want it.
If the claim is strong enough, we’ll refer you to a medical negligence solicitor from our panel. Knowing that they offer a No Win, No Fee service should make the process less stressful if you do decide to proceed.
For more free advice about hospital negligence claims, please feel free to connect with our live chat service.