Can I make a claim for clinical negligence? What you need to know…

If you have suffered an injury because of clinical negligence, you may be wondering whether you are eligible to make a claim for compensation. Personal injury claims for clinical negligence can be complicated, involving complex evidence and strict time scales. However, in this blog, I will set out the key requirements which may indicate that your clinical negligence claim has a chance of success.

You must have suffered an injury.

You can only make a claim for clinical negligence if you have suffered an injury as a result of the negligent actions of a medical professional. For example, when a medical professional makes a mistake, but this does not impact your health in any way, it is unlikely you would be able to bring a claim. The exception to this is where a medical professional carries out a course of treatment without proper consent from you.

Your health care professional was in breach of their duty of care towards you.

All healthcare providers have a duty of care towards their patients. In this context, a duty of care means that they must carry out their work to the standard of a competent professional. There are many scenarios which may give rise to a breach of duty of care, including when:

  • Diagnosis is delayed, or the professional does not diagnose you
  • There is a delay in taking appropriate action, care, or investigating symptoms
  • A medical professional does not take account of any test results or investigations
  • A medical professional takes action that does not take into account your medical history
  • A surgeon or other professional does not take adequate care when operating on you
  • There is a communication failure between the medical professionals treating you, or between clinicians and patients or their carers, which results in harmful action being taken
  • You are discharged from hospital care prematurely
  • The clinicians treating you fail to obtain the proper consent from you in relation to treatment

This list is not exhaustive but gives an indication as to the typical types of claims that are brought against medical professionals.

The health care professional’s breach of duty caused your injury.

Unfortunately, establishing that the medical professional breached their duty of care is not enough. You must also prove what is known as ‘causation’ – that the breach of duty actually caused your injury.

Time limits

The time limits for bringing a clinical negligence claim are strict, so it is important to act quickly. Generally, you must bring your claim within three years of the date of your injury. There are exceptions to this rule, but only in very limited circumstances.

To discuss this, or any other related matter, please contact Gerard Sanders and the Clinical Negligence team on 01483 887766 or start a live chat today.

*This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

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Gerard Sanders

Partner, Head of Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence

Gerard qualified with a large regional firm in 1991. Since 1995 he has specialised exclusively on claimant personal injury work. More recently he has focused...

Partner, Head of Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence

Gerard Sanders

Gerard qualified with a large regional firm in 1991. Since 1995 he has specialised exclusively on claimant personal injury work. More recently he has focused on complex higher value clinical negligence and personal injury claims, achieving seven figure settlements in personal injury cases involving amputation, multiple orthopaedic injuries and head injuries.

His greatest success has been winning the high profile case of Delaney-v-The Secretary of State for Transport where after almost 9 years of litigation involving two Court of Appeal hearings and an application to the Supreme Court he was finally able to establish that the Motor Insurers’ Bureau Agreement was incompatible with EEC law. As a direct result of the decision in this case the agreement has had to be amended to the benefit of many future victims of uninsured drivers.

Gerard is a member of the Law Society’s Personal Injury Panel and he appears in the latest Legal 500 rankings in the fields of personal injury and clinical negligence.

Gerard’s other professional qualifications include a Diplome D’Etudes Juridiques Francaises from Strasbourg University.

What do people say about Gerard?

“I have the highest regard for you and your company.” – Dr Philip Steadman , Consultant Psychiatrist.

“He is a pleasure to work with and always gains the absolute best outcome for those who instruct him. He is highly responsive and he has an eye for detail with a sensible overview of the global issues.” – Colin McDevitt, Barrister, 3 Paper Buildings.

“I think that is an excellent outcome!. You have phenomenal negotiation skills. I work with insurers every day and to say the very least they are a challenge!” – client.

“It has been an unbelievably difficult time over the past few years. The decision to have my leg amputated was not particularly easy, nor was the rehabilitation. To do all of that whilst worrying about my case would have quite simply been overwhelming. Having you there meant that I had none of that worry. I have always known as I was in incredibly good hands and that I had nothing to be concerned about… You have made a unfathomably difficult situation immeasurably easier, and I will be forever grateful to you.” – client.