Having access to free medical care in the UK is something that most of the population holds dear. The NHS is there when you need them without the worry and stress of receiving bills for thousands of pounds following treatment.
However, there are times when things go wrong. Negligence by clinicians could result in the advancement of medical conditions and, in the worst-case scenario, unnecessary loss of life. In this article, we will help you through the moral minefield that many experience when they have to decide whether to make a medical negligence claim against the NHS.
Why is Compensation Needed?
The NHS does a fantastic job of providing healthcare to all who need it. However, as with any organization made up of human beings, mistakes can happen. These range from the minor, such as a missed diagnosis that is later rectified, to the more serious, where patients are left with life-changing injuries or worse.
In some cases, it may be challenging to prove that negligence was the cause of an injury or death. It might be down to an error in judgment or a simple mistake that could have been avoided, but this does not change the fact that the consequences can be devastating for those involved.
Claiming medical negligence compensation is not about making money; it’s about securing justice and obtaining answers when things have gone wrong.
What is Medical Negligence?
Medical negligence, or clinical negligence as it’s also known, is when a medical professional provides substandard care that leads to injury or death. This might be down to errors in diagnosis, treatment, or aftercare and can happen in any type of healthcare setting, including hospitals, GPs’ surgeries, dental practices, and care homes.
Making a Claim
If you’re considering making a claim for medical negligence compensation, it’s essential to get advice from a specialist solicitor as soon as possible. There are strict time limits in place, so you’ll need to act quickly. Your solicitor will assess your case, and if they believe you have grounds for a claim, they’ll help you to gather the evidence you need to support your case.
This might involve obtaining your medical records, getting expert opinions, and speaking to witnesses. If your case is successful, you could receive compensation for the physical, psychological, and financial effects of your injuries, as well as any loss of earnings.
Making a claim can be a complex process, so it’s vital to get expert help and advice.
Are There Too Many Claims Against the NHS?
There is a common misconception that there are too many medical negligence claims being made against the NHS. In reality, the number of successful claims is very small compared to the millions of treatments and procedures carried out every year.
Many of the solicitors who take on cases for medical negligence against the NHS do so on a ‘no win-no fee’ basis. That means if the case is unsuccessful, the solicitor will not receive any payment. So, you can see that the likelihood of a frivolous claim being taken on by a legal team is very unlikely.
Why Would You Make a Claim Against the NHS?
There are several reasons why someone might choose to make a claim against the NHS. In some cases, it’s simply about getting answers and an apology, and money is often secondary. For others, it could be that they need financial support to help with their recovery or to adapt their home following a life-changing injury.
Claiming against the NHS should not be seen as ‘attacking’ the organization. The NHS does incredible work and saves lives every day. Claims are only brought when something has gone wrong, and people have been left with no other choice but to seek justice.
When you make a claim, any compensation you receive will come from the NHS Litigation Authority and not from frontline services when you make a claim. This means that your claim will not have a negative impact on the care and treatment available to others.
What Can You Claim For?
When you make a claim for medical negligence, you can claim for the physical, psychological, and financial effects of your injuries. This might include:
- Loss of earnings – if you’re unable to work because of your injuries
- Medical treatment – including the cost of private treatment if this is recommended
- Therapies and rehabilitation – to help you recover from your injuries
- Care and support – if you need help with everyday tasks
- Home adaptations – if your injuries mean you’re unable to live independently
- Travel costs – if you need to travel further for treatment or appointments
It’s often recommended to keep a diary to help you note when expenses were incurred and for what reason.
Medical negligence claims can be very complex, so it is crucial to seek expert help and advice if you think you might have a case. A specialist solicitor will be able to assess your case and provide guidance on the best course of action.
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