While the NHS is one of the best-known healthcare systems in the world, unfortunately, mistakes sometimes happen that can cause patients to suffer. While we’d rather avoid suing the NHS, sometimes NHS negligence claims are required to help us get back on our feet. Compensation can help you to recover from physical problems caused by negligent treatment as well as mental trauma as well. If you’re thinking of claiming compensation following NHS negligence, this article will explain your options.
Our team are ready to help you begin your claim. They’ll start by reviewing your claim with you during an initial consultation. During your call, free legal advice will be given and your options will be explained. If your claim appears strong enough to proceed, we’ll ask a medical negligence solicitor on our panel to talk to you. If they decide to take on your claim, they’ll act as your legal representative on a No Win, No Fee basis. That means your risks will be lowered as you will only pay legal fees if your claim is won and compensation is paid.
If you or a loved one have suffered as a result of NHS negligence, please call our team on 0800 652 1345 to discuss your options. Alternatively, please read on to find out more before contacting us.
NHS negligence statistics
Many NHS organisations are represented by NHS Resolution during medical negligence claims. Recent statistics show that in 2020/21:
- 12,041 claims against the NHS were settled.
- 12,629 claims were registered against the NHS.
- The specialities most claims against were Emergency Medicine (1,366 claims) and Orthopaedic Surgery (1,325 claims).
- 3,578 claims were valued between £1,001 and £25,000 while 138 were valued at over £3 million pounds.
As you can see, NHS resolution processes a lot of NHS negligence claims each year. When settling these negligence claims, the NHS tries to adopt new procedures and practices to prevent similar mistakes from happening in the future.
Can I claim compensation for NHS negligence?
Medical negligence claims are slightly different to normal personal injury claims. If you are to be compensated you will need to prove:
- That the medical professional who treated you failed to provide a standard of care that could be reasonably expected (negligence); and
- The negligence led to avoidable suffering (causation).
Claims can be based on negligence by a range of NHS medical professionals including nurses, physiotherapists, surgeons, doctors and paediatricians. They can also be made for negligence in various environments including hospitals, GP surgeries and care homes.
Importantly, you must have suffered in some way to make an NHS negligence claim i.e. if a doctor made a massive mistake during your treatment but it did not cause you any problems at all, a claim would not be possible.
Shouldn’t I just complain to the NHS directly?
The NHS complaints procedure is one path you can follow if you feel you’ve been let down during your treatment. It provides an opportunity for you to raise concerns about the care you were given and to ask for an investigation into what happened.
However, even if you escalate your case as high as possible, the only possible outcomes of an NHS complaint presently are:
- An apology.
- Changes in procedures to prevent similar mistakes from happening again.
Put simply, a complaint will not result in you being compensated for your suffering. The only way that will happen is if you file an NHS negligence claim yourself. However, if you do go on to make a claim, your solicitor may suggest you raise a complaint as any response can be a good way of finding out what mistakes were made during your treatment.
We believe you stand the best chance of being compensated for NHS negligence is if you have a medical negligence lawyer on your side. If you’d like to see if one from our panel could represent you, please contact our claims advisors.
Types of NHS negligence compensation might be claimed for
We could help you start a compensation claim for avoidable suffering caused by an NHS mistake. Some common forms of negligence that can lead to compensation claims include:
- Misdiagnosis of illnesses such as cancer that causes a delay in treatment.
- Anaesthetic errors causing unnecessary pain and awareness during surgery.
- Prescription errors i.e. wrong dosage, wrong medication or being given somebody else’s prescription.
- Failure to inform of the risks associated with treatment or surgery.
- Hospital-acquired infections such as MRSA or pneumonia.
- Failure to refer for specialist tests where needed.
- Avoidable birth injuries to mother or baby.
- Misinterpretation of test results.
- Incorrect medical advice.
- Surgical errors.
These types of mistakes can cause you to suffer in many ways. You could suffer a new injury or illness following NHS negligence or your condition might get worse due to a lack of treatment. In the very worst cases, such as delayed cancer treatment, your life expectancy could be shortened.
If you believe you’ve suffered as a result of NHS negligence and would like to sue for compensation, why not call our specialists today for free legal advice?
NHS never events
The term ‘never event’ describes something that simply should not happen if NHS procedures are followed correctly. Examples include wrong site surgery, foreign bodies being retained inside your body following surgery, severe pressure sores and mismatched blood transfusions. As well as any physical injuries, never events can lead to serious mental trauma which you could also be compensated for.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of an NHS never event, we can check whether you could claim compensation for your suffering so please get in touch today.
How much compensation for NHS negligence can I claim?
If you claim compensation against the NHS for negligence, the amount your medical negligence solicitor would ask for as a settlement would be based on how your injuries or ill health affected you (general damages) and any costs you endured (special damages).
If you go on to make a successful claim against the NHS, it could include compensation to cover:
- The physical pain and suffering you suffered.
- Any mental harm caused by conditions like emotional distress or PTSD.
- The impact of your illness or injuries on your pastimes or other normal activities.
- Care costs that could cover the time of a loved one or a professional care team in more serious cases.
- Medical expenses including physiotherapy or private treatment.
- Travel expenses such as fuel, parking or public transport fees.
- Loss of income and also predicted future loss of earnings for longer-term injuries.
- Home adaptations such as the cost of installing lifts, hoists, rails or ramps to improve your quality of life if NHS negligence has led to a disability.
As you can see, there is plenty to consider before filing an NHS negligence claim if you’re going to be compensated appropriately.[table “1” not found /]
NHS negligence payouts examples
In theory, NHS negligence could revolve around any type of injury or medical condition which could include paralysis or injuries of a relatively minor nature as a consequence of misdiagnosis/delays in receiving treatment.
Some examples of what compensation might be paid out for injuries from medical negligence are as follows:
Compensation for paralysis
- Relatively short-duration illnesses involving paralysis and ultimately leading to death within two years tend to attract compensation of around £49,340.
- Conditions such as paraplegia which lead to excruciating pain, psychological issues, immobility and an impact upon everyday living and life expectancy can lead to compensation anywhere between £219,070 and £284,260.
- Tetraplegic (also known as quadriplegia) where life expectancy is a minimum of 25 years with significant disabilities, assistance required for everyday bodily functions, physical pain and suffering yet full awareness of their condition and surroundings, will attract the highest level of compensation. Payments of between £324,600 and £403,990 are advised for this particular condition.
Compensation for minor injuries
- Minor injuries where there is full recovery within seven days will likely attract compensation up to a maximum of £690.
- Where the recovery period, leading to a full recovery, is no more than 28 days the claimant may receive compensation from £690 up to £1,370.
- Injuries, where a full recovery is expected within three months, can attract compensation from £1,370 up to £2,450.
NHS negligence claims on behalf of children
The fact that children are not legally allowed to represent themselves does not stop them from being compensated for NHS negligence. That’s because, if you become their litigation friend, you could act on their behalf.
Once the paperwork has been completed, the process will proceed much the same as any other claim except that you’ll discuss the claim with your solicitor rather than your child. If the claim is successful, any compensation awarded will be checked for fairness by a court.
Until your child turns 18 years old, any compensation will be held in a court account but as their litigation friend, you can ask for funds to be released for care costs, treatment or anything else that will benefit your child by writing to the court.
Providing proof for an NHS negligence claim
It is important to point out that the solicitors on our panel are not medically trained so cannot prove that you were treated negligently alone. Instead, they will seek out the opinion of an independent medical expert as part of proving negligence by the NHS.
After they’ve been provided with the facts, they will try to determine if they’d have acted differently to the medical professional you’re claiming against. If they agree that the defendant acted negligently, you could be entitled to compensation.
Other proof your solicitor may use to support your claim includes:
- Medical records. These can be obtained from the medical facility where you were treated.
- Witness statements. Family members and friends might be asked to explain any changes to your life or personality they’ve noticed since you were treated negligently.
- Photographs of any visible injuries.
- Medication packaging if your claim relates to a prescription or medication error.
- Financial records. Receipts, invoices and bank statements could help you to recover any costs related to your claim.
Additionally, you’ll be asked to describe how you’ve been affected since you were treated by the NHS. As such, it’s a good idea to write everything down in the days, weeks and months after your treatment so it’s easier to recall when talking with your solicitor.
NHS negligence claims time limits
When making a medical negligence claim against the NHS, a 3-year time limit will apply. This will begin from either:
- The date you were treated negligently if your injuries are immediately obvious; or
- The date your condition was diagnosed (your date of knowledge).
Claims on behalf of children do not have the same time limit so long as you start their claim before their 18th birthday.
We believe that the claims process is easier if you start your claim earlier rather than later. That’s because your solicitor will have more time to secure proof to support the claim and sort the arrangements for medical reports.
While straightforward claims can be completed in around 6 to 9 months, more complex cases can take many years. However, if the NHS has accepted liability for your claim but needs more time to fully understand how you’ll be affected, your solicitor could ask for interim payments to be paid to cover care or medical costs as well as lost earnings if you’re struggling financially.
No Win, No Fee NHS negligence claims
The solicitors on our panel realise that the thought of racking up legal bills and then losing your claim would probably stop you from claiming compensation. For this reason, to remove your financial risks, they’ll handle your claim on a No Win, No Fee basis if it is accepted. That means:
- There are no upfront legal fees to pay.
- You don’t pay legal fees if your claim is lost.
- A success fee will be deducted from any settlement if compensation is awarded.
You’ll be sent a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) if you agree to work with your solicitor that will confirm all of the above. It will also show you what percentage of your compensation will be deducted as a success fee if the claim is won. When using a CFA to fund your claim, the maximum percentage that can be deducted is 25%.
To check if you could be represented on a No Win, No Fee basis, please call our team today.
Start an NHS negligence claim today
Hopefully, this guide has explained how NHS negligence claims work. If you would like a free initial consultation to check your options, simply give us a call on 0800 652 1345 today.
If your claim is taken on by a medical negligence solicitor on our panel, they will look to:
- Review everything in detail with you to fully understand how you have suffered.
- Collect supporting proof to clearly paint a picture of what happened.
- File the claim on your behalf.
- Deal with NHS Resolution on your behalf.
- Provide extra proof where possible if any objections are raised regarding liability for your injuries or illness.
- Try to win the maximum compensation possible on your behalf.
To find out more about NHS negligence claims, please feel free to connect to our live chat service to ask any extra questions or arrange a free consultation here.