Medical Negligence Claims
Medical negligence is when a doctor or healthcare professional provides substandard care which results in an injury or causes an existing condition to get worse. Negligence can happen at any stage in the care process, from diagnosis to treatment and surgery.
For the last 30 years, Bolt Burdon Kemp’s specialist medical solicitors have consistently achieved outstanding results for adults and children who have suffered serious injury due to medical negligence.
Bolt Burdon Kemp is a national firm covering the whole of England and Wales, and our solicitors will come and see you wherever you are. We act for clients anywhere in the world who have been injured in England and Wales.
We offer exceptional direct access to our highly-motivated and committed medical lawyers who work closely with claimants and their families to guide them sensitively through the litigation process whilst proactively progressing their compensation claims.
We understand that no amount of money can ever undo the devastation caused by serious injury. However, we are experts in handling medical negligence cases and know how compensation can make a huge difference when managing the consequences of negligence, and so improve quality of life.
We will ensure that you receive not only the very best legal advice but also much needed practical support to help you to adapt and cope with the consequences of medical negligence. Whether you require financial assistance to fund medical treatment, care, therapy, essential equipment, adaptations to your home or to alleviate financial hardship where you have had to stop work, we will seek interim payments for you as soon as is practicably possible.
Our focus is on facilitating specialist rehabilitation at the earliest possibly opportunity (rather than following the conclusion of the claim) as we appreciate that this has greater potential to improve your outcome. We have arrangements with high quality providers of medical and other rehabilitation services to swiftly provide you with the vital support you need.
What are the different types of medical negligence claims?
Medical negligence claims can cover the following areas:
- Birth injuries
- Brain damage
- Cerebral palsy
- Spinal injuries
- Orthopaedic injuries and amputations
- General surgery
- Pressure sores
- Meningitis and other infectious diseases
- Misdiagnosis and late diagnosis of cancer
- Eye injuries and visual impairment
- Hearing loss
- Inappropriate treatment or failure to provide treatment
Do I have a medical negligence claim?
If you consider that you or anyone in your family have suffered injury as a result of sub-standard medical treatment, you could be entitled to make a compensation claim for the injuries and financial losses arising from sub-standard treatment.
To successfully bring a claim we will need to obtain medical evidence to demonstrate that:
- The medical professionals who treated you owed a duty of care and which was breached by following a course of action not supported by a reasonable body of medical opinion
- That as a result of the breach of duty, you have suffered injury and financial loss
Subject to proving the above, we will proceed with your compensation claim. Read more about the medical negligence compensation claims process here.
Your compensation will comprise of:
- General damages
- Special damages
General damages is the part of the compensation attributable to the injury, pain and suffering you have experienced as a result of sub-standard treatment received. This is assessed with reference to expert medical evidence that we will arrange on your behalf.
Special damages are essentially all of your financial losses and expenses arising from the sub-standard treatment, both past and future. These include loss of earnings, cost of any care and assistance, past and future medication costs, rehabilitation and treatment costs.
How much compensation will I receive?
If you are successful with your medical negligence claim, you will receive compensation for both the injuries and the financial losses you have suffered as a result of the substandard treatment you have received.
The amount of compensation you can expect to receive will depend on the seriousness of your injuries and the extent of financial losses incurred.
General damages: Compensation for pain, suffering and loss of amenity
If you are able to prove you have been the victim of substandard medical treatment, you will be able to recover a sum of compensation for your injuries, pain, suffering and loss of amenity as a result of the substandard treatment (not injuries you would have suffered in any event). This element of the compensation is known as “general damages”. The amount you recover will depend on how serious your injuries are and how long you take to recover. How the injuries affect you now. The amount of compensation will also take in to account how the injuries may affect you in the future, the limitations they may impose upon you in your daily life (work and personal) and whether the injuries prevent you doing activities you enjoyed before.
Special damages: Financial losses
The principle behind compensation is to put you in the position you would have been in had you not received substandard treatment. You are entitled to claim for all financial losses that flow from the injuries you have sustained as a result of the substandard treatment (not injuries you would have suffered in any event). This element of compensation is known as “special damages”.
Who will pay my legal costs?
We would be delighted to provide you a free, no obligation initial telephone consultation to discuss your potential compensation claim. If we think you have a strong medical negligence claim, we will find the most appropriate funding solution for you.
The main options are:
- ‘No win no fee’ agreement otherwise known as a Conditional Fee Agreement
- Legal Expenses Insurance
- Legal Aid
- Private paying
Click here to read more about the funding options available to you.
What are the time limits for medical negligence claims?
Strict time limits apply to making a claim, which if missed, could result in losing the right to claim compensation. It is important to contact a solicitor as soon as possible if you suspect you have suffered injury and loss due to sub-standard treatment.
For these claims, you must issue proceedings in the high court or the county court against the defendant(s) within 3 years of your “date of knowledge”. This is the date when a reasonable person in your situation would first have had knowledge that:
- That your injury was significant
- That your injury was either totally or partly caused by an act (or a failure to act) which you believe was negligent
- Of the identity of the person (or organisation) who you believe was negligent
Failure to issue court proceedings within this deadline could result in your claim being time-barred and you could lose the right to claim compensation.
If, as an adult you did not have the mental capacity to instruct a solicitor to make a claim, the clock doesn’t start ticking until you have regained capacity.
If the claim concerns a child, then court proceedings must be issued by your 21st birthday to protect your right to make a claim. Failure to take this step could result in your claim being time-barred and you could lose the right to claim compensation.
What happens after my claim is won?
Protecting your means-tested benefits
Your financial circumstances change when you receive personal injury compensation. This means your means tested benefits may be at risk. You can however protect your entitlement to your benefits and benefit from your compensation by setting up a personal injury trust. Our specialist medical negligence solicitors will be happy to advise you if this is applicable.
The costs process
The legal costs associated with your claim include solicitor fees, barrister fees, experts’ fees, court fees and fees charged for obtaining records for your case.
When you win your claim, it is usual for the Defendant to pay most, if not all of your legal costs. Deciding how much the Defendant must pay can be a lengthy process. If we are unable to agree how much they must pay the court will decide. If the court has to decide the process can take in excess of 6 months. We have a specialist team who work independently of medical negligence solicitors to ensure the costs process is dealt with speedily and to your advantage.
Investing your personal injury compensation requires careful thought and often specialist advice. We can make a personal recommendation to an appropriate adviser on request.
In many claims for medical negligence compensation, your current medical situation and future prospects may be improved by appropriate medical treatment including surgery, physiotherapy, counselling or care (given at the earliest opportunity, rather than waiting until the claim has been settled). We have arrangements with providers of medical and other rehabilitation services to get you back on your feet as soon as possible.
Other Medical Negligence
Bolt Burdon Kemp are highly recommended by the independent Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500 guides. Over the last 25 years, our specialist medical negligence solicitors have successfully represented clients who have sustained injury as a result of sub-standard medical treatment.
Examples of medical negligence claims include:
- Negligent medical treatment in Accident & Emergency departments
- Negligent medical treatment resulting in an amputation injury
- Negligent medical treatment relating to orthopaedic injuries
- Negligent care of elderly patients
- Negligent medical treatment relating to cosmetic surgery procedures
- Negligent medical treatment resulting in eye injury & visual impairment
- Negligent medical treatment from General Practitioners (GPs)
If you or a member of your family have been unfortunate enough to have suffered an injury as a result of substandard medical treatment, our specialist medical negligence solicitors can assist you in bringing a medical negligence case against the people and/or organisations responsible.
Please contact our specialist medical negligence team on 020 7288 4800 or complete our online medical negligence enquiry form.