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Can I claim clinical negligence?

Friday April 12, 2024


When we seek medical advice or treatment, we entrust our health and wellbeing to professionals, expecting a certain standard of care. Unfortunately, there are instances where the care provided falls below this expected standard, leading to what is known as clinical negligence

For those residing in Devon, understanding your rights and the process of making a claim for clinical negligence is crucial, as it may provide a pathway to obtaining the compensation you deserve.

What is Clinical Negligence?

Clinical negligence, also known as medical negligence, occurs when healthcare professionals provide treatment that falls below the accepted standard of practice, causing injury or worsening an existing condition. This can happen in various healthcare settings, including GP surgeries, hospitals, and private clinics, encompassing actions taken by doctors, nurses, surgeons, and other healthcare staff.

Do You Have a Claim?

Identifying whether you have a legitimate claim for clinical negligence involves establishing two key elements:

1. Breach of Duty

Demonstrating that the care you received was below the expected standard. This requires showing that what happened to you would not have occurred had another professional been in the same situation.

2. Causation

Proving that this breach of duty directly caused your injury or worsened your condition. Essentially, it must be demonstrated that the harm you suffered was a direct result of the negligence, not an underlying medical condition. It’s important to note that experiencing a poor outcome from medical treatment does not automatically qualify as clinical negligence. Medicine is complex and often involves inherent risks.

The Process of Making a Claim

The procedure for making a clinical negligence claim can be intricate and involves several steps:

1. Initial Consultation

This initial phase involves discussing your situation with a solicitor who specialises in clinical negligence.

2. Gathering Evidence

Should you decide to proceed, the next step involves compiling all relevant medical records and evidence. This often includes obtaining a professional medical opinion to support your claim.

3. Notice of Claim

Your solicitor will then send a “Letter of Claim” to the healthcare provider, outlining the allegations of negligence and the harm it caused.

4. Investigation

The healthcare provider, typically represented by their legal team or insurance company, will conduct an investigation into the claim. They will either accept responsibility and make a settlement offer or dispute the claims necessitating further action.

5. Resolution

Many clinical negligence cases are settled before going to trial. However, if a settlement cannot be reached, the case may proceed to court, where a judge will make a final decision.

Time Limits for Claims

In England, the general rule is that you have three years from the date of the incident or from when you first became aware of the negligence to make a claim. There are exceptions, particularly for children and individuals with limited capacity to understand their situation.

Why Seek Professional Advice?

Navigating the landscape of clinical negligence claims can be daunting. Professional legal advice can significantly enhance the likelihood of a successful outcome. CWC Solicitors have expertise in litigation and clinical negligence and can guide you through the process, offering support and ensuring that your claim is as strong as possible. Contact us to discuss your case and explore how we can assist you.

Navigating the landscape of clinical negligence claims can be daunting. Professional legal advice can significantly enhance the likelihood of a successful outcome.