Last updated on May 14th, 2022 at 09:40 am
Many people might feel uncomfortable when making a claim against the NHS for negligence. However, it is only by holding negligent third parties to account that systems change, procedures are updated and cases of negligence can be controlled and improved. So, if you believe NHS medical negligence has contributed to you suffering further illness or injury then you may have a case to start an NHS negligence claim for compensation.
Common Medical Negligence Cases
In theory, any medical treatment on the NHS could lead to a claim for compensation if negligence is involved. Here are just a few examples of common medical negligence cases where a claim for compensation might be started:
- Misdiagnosis of cancer and other life-threatening conditions
- The administration of incorrect medication/incorrect dosage
- Mishandling of test results
- Substandard surgery
- Potentially life-threatening delays for treatment
There will be situations where there has been a degree of negligence with regards to treatment received/not received but no compensation is forthcoming. In these instances, if it can be proven that action taken/not taken had no material impact upon the underlying medical condition, and did not lead to greater pain and suffering, then negligence may not necessarily lead to a financial settlement.
Can You Claim Compensation For NHS Negligence?
As with any medical negligence claim, the acid test is to compare and contrast what standard of treatment/care a patient could reasonably expect from a similarly qualified/experienced medical practitioner compared to the treatment they received. If the treatment received fell short of expectations then this potentially leaves the door open to an NHS negligence claim.
NHS Resolution handles compensation claims and figures show that the vast majority are settled without formal court proceedings. There are a number of procedures to go through before the last stage, a court hearing. These include:
- A direct complaint to the hospital involved leading to an investigation through the NHS complaints procedure
- If the claimant has issues with the response received then the next port of call is the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
These procedures can often be cumbersome and time-consuming but if you have suffered as a consequence of NHS negligence it can certainly be worthwhile attempting some kind of mediation. It is also worth noting that during the various stages of the complaints procedure the option of court action for personal injury claims remains open. As the vast majority of medical negligence claims can be complicated, and legally challenging, it is advisable to seek the advice of a personal injury solicitor.
Proving Medical Negligence
As with all medical negligence claims, there is a need to prove negligence by one or more third parties which led to a claimant’s injuries. In cases of medical negligence, the “Bolam test” comes into play, whereby the treatment received is compared to that which could fairly have been expected from other healthcare practitioners. If the treatment received was below the standard expected then this opens the door for claims of negligence and compensation.
It is useful to provide evidence such as witness statements, details of treatment received/not received, confirmation of resulting injuries and impact on the claimant’s life. Unfortunately, some cases of medical negligence will result in fatalities although it is worth noting that surviving partners, family and legal representatives of the victim could still pursue an NHS negligence claim for compensation.
Starting An NHS Negligence Claim
If you are considering starting an NHS negligence claim then obtaining legal advice is advised. For a free consultation, you can call us on 0800 652 1345 or head over to this page to arrange a consultation at a suitable time.
The vast majority of personal injury companies will have specialist contacts in various medical fields who will advise them of the strength of each case. Where they believe your claim has a good chance of success they will likely take on your case on a No Win No Fee basis. In exchange for absorbing legal expenses built up pursuing the claim, they will agree a “success fee” with the claimant.
Once a personal injury solicitor has been appointed, your NHS negligence claim will be lodged with the courts and the defendant given the opportunity to accept negligence and discuss an out-of-court settlement. While the majority of NHS negligence claims are settled one way or another without ending up in court, on occasion, there will be disputes over negligence. After reviewing all of the evidence a judge will make a ruling on negligence and a level of compensation where appropriate.
NHS Compensation Payouts
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 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 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.