The NHS has an established process in place for complaints and for medical negligence claims. Your first step to making a claim for negligence should be to determine that you have a case. If you merely intend to make a complaint about poor treatment, then this will require a very different set of steps. However, for making claims of medical negligence, you need to have suffered from an injury, suffered from unnecessary pain, or missed out financially as a result of your NHS care. Whether this is due to a single individual or the overall level of care that you received will depend on your personal case. Getting legal help as early as possible is vital.
Medical Negligence in the NHS
In order to verify the validity of your claim, your solicitor will be looking for two things. They are:
- Fault: Was a doctor or nurse responsible for your ineffective or damaging care? This will be dependant on the expectation of care in similar medical procedures. If your medical care varied for some reason and that variation resulted in poor quality care, then this is an indication that your claim will be successful.
- Harm Caused: Your solicitor will then evaluate the harm, injury, or potential losses that you have suffered as a result of your poor treatment. The important thing here is that any harm that you suffer from is very clearly defined.
There are time limits for making a claim of medical negligence against the NHS. This is normally three years (36 months) from the date that harm occurred. While there are exceptions to this rule, you should always seek legal help as early as possible. Your solicitor will be able to advise you on time constraints. If you have waited for more than three years to make your claim, there may be additional avenues to explore.
When you contact an NHS medical negligence solicitor, they will ask you to provide evidence backing up your claim. They will evaluate your claim and ensure that the right conditions are going to be met. If they agree to take on your case, then they will then sue the NHS on your behalf. It’s important to find a medical negligence solicitor that specializes in medical cases. These can often be very complex in terms of the medical language used, so experience is essential.
The compensation that you receive from an NHS medical negligence claim will vary. Factors such as the harm you received, any financial losses, or a drop in your quality of life will all be taken into account. Knowing what you can claim for in terms of compensation is the only way to ensure that you get the financial remuneration needed to return to normality after medical negligence.
We all have a right to healthcare, and the NHS is designed to meet that need. However, mistakes and errors do happen. If you suffer as a result of medical negligence, then you should get legal advice as early as possible. That will ensure that you get the right advice and help, and will make it more likely that you get the financial compensation that you need.