Clinical Negligence - How
What if I think I have a clinical negligence claim?
If you think you have been the victim of clinical negligence, you should get legal advice. You can contact the medical accident charity, Actions Against Medical Accidents (AvMA). They can:
- give you details of clinical negligence solicitors,
- give you advice about your situation, and
- talk to you about how much you might have to pay if your claim is not successful.
AvMA’s contact details are here.
The Law Society can help you find a clinical negligence solicitor. Their contact details are here.
How do make a claim?
There are rules about making a claim for clinical negligence. A solicitor has to do certain things before starting the claim. These rules are set out in the Civil Procedure Rules. You can find their details in the further reading section here.
The Pre-Action Protocol for the Resolution of Clinical Disputes explains these rules. These are summarised below.
- Your solicitor may want look at your medical records. They may ask you to give them a copy of your records or ask for your permission to see them. You can find more information about ‘Access to Medical Records’ here.
- If your solicitor thinks you have a good case they have to send a letter of claim to the NHS trust or healthcare provider. They have to send a copy of this letter to the NHS Litigation Authority. This letter will give information about your case. It will have details of your injuries and explain your financial loss because of the negligent treatment or care.
- The healthcare provider will tell your solicitor they got the letter within 14 days. They will write back within 4 months.
- You will not go to court until 4 months after the letter of claim.
- A lot of clinical negligence cases are settled before you go to court. The healthcare provider, or you and your solicitor, can make an offer to settle. An offer to settle is when you are offered money to end the case.
- If no one makes an offer to settle, or the offer is not accepted, then the case may go to court.
You should keep a record of:
- how the treatment affected you,
- any extra money you have had to spend because of it, or loss of earnings if you are unable to work, and
- any pain and suffering you have experienced.
This can help you work out how much compensation to ask for.
Making a clinical negligence claim can be stressful and can take a long time. You may feel strongly about the poor care you experienced. But you should think about if you feel well enough to make a claim. Sometimes it can be useful to have a friend or family member to support you.
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