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Clinical Negligence

Being the victim of medical negligence can have profound physical and psychological consequences. Depending on the injury incurred, it’s possible to make a full recovery, but in some cases clinical negligence can last a lifetime.

While the role of doctors and health care professionals is vital, they often have hugely demanding jobs that are stressful and subject to making crucial decisions in time critical situations. As a result, unfortunately, accidents sometimes happen.

Suffering an injury isn’t just about your physical state, it can be an emotional time too. The process of making a claim for compensation can take a long time and you're certain to have lots of questions. These are the ones we get asked the most:

How is clinical negligence defined?

Clinical negligence is described as a breach in a medical or healthcare professional’s of duty of care. In other words; when the standard of care falls below that which is expected of a competent practitioner.

Who can I bring a claim against?

You can bring a compensation claim against private hospitals, cosmetic clinics, the NHS, dentists, GPs, nurses and other providers of medical treatment and care.

What can I make a claim for?

Whether you’ve experienced a clinical procedure that went wrong, received sub-standard care or been misdiagnosed, making a compensation claim for medical negligence can be a complicated process, so it’s important to get expert legal advice. The list below is a selection of the types of medical negligence compensation claims we deal with: 

  • Injuries relating to pregnancy or childbirth 
  • Cosmetic surgery 
  • Accident and Emergency claims 
  • Dental procedures 
  • Errors in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiac illnesses 
  • Mistakes made during an operation 
  • Nursing and midwifery claims 
  • Being prescribed the wrong medication 
  • Ophthalmic errors 
  • Anaesthetic claims 
  • Claims against your GP 
  • Wrong diagnosis 
  • Gynaecological claims 
  • Elderly medicine and care

Do you have experience with medical negligence claims?

In order to make a medical negligence claim, it must be proved that the doctor or healthcare professional was negligent. At Russell and Russell, we have legal experts who are experienced in dealing with these types of claims, so we’ll be able to advise you of the prospects of making a compensation claim. Our work is carried out on a no win, no fee basis so you can rest assure that you won’t be required to pay vast sums of money for fighting your case.

How much will it cost?

Subject to a satisfactory Risk Assessment in respect of your case, we’ll enter into a No Win No Fee Agreement. This is also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement.

If we enter into a no win no fee arrangement (Conditional Fee Agreement), we’ll finance the case on your behalf. If your claim is won, we’ll restrict our fees payable by you, inclusive of vat, to a maximum of 25% of the compensation you’re awarded. We’ll guarantee that you’ll receive at least 75% of the compensation awarded, subject to the following deductions:

  • After the Event Insurance Premium
  • Unrecovered disbursements
  • Any fees incurred because of your breach of the Agreement

Further information in respect of the Conditional Fee Agreement will be provided within our client care documentation.

How long will it take?

Every case is unique so it’s difficult to give a precise time frame as it depends on a number of factors. If liability is admitted during our investigation into the cause of your injury, the case will be settled significantly quicker than if it’s disputed. Another factor that can speed up a claim is if you return any documentation we send you as soon as possible and respond quickly to any questions we may have.

The extent of your injury also has a huge bearing on your case. Generally, the more serious the injury and the long-term implications of it, the longer it may take to fully calculate your claim’s value. We’re also bound by Civil Procedure rules, which allow the defendant’s solicitors time to investigate the circumstances around your injury before they have to respond to us.

Will I have to go to court?

We can never say a case won’t go to trial or final hearing, but it’s unlikely. It’s often better if your case doesn’t go to trial as the issue of court proceedings, and the amount of work that goes into preparing and arguing your case, can considerably extend the time it takes to settle your claim. Whether it goes to trial or final hearing depends on your case’s prospects and the stance that the defendant takes.

How much compensation will I get?

It’s difficult to value a case at an early stage as you may have suffered injuries that take time to manifest or have a long-term impact on your health and wellbeing. Every case is individual so to fully evaluate your claim, we need a medical report. This gives us an insight into the extent of your injury and identifies whether you can expect to make a full recovery. 

Once we know this we can assess the value of your case. In addition to your general damages (the money you receive for your injury), we also take into account your out of pocket expenses (what we term ‘special damages’). When these are clear, we can add them to the value of your claim. If you’re contacted by an insurance company it’s important not to accept any offers of settlement or compensation without seeking or obtaining legal advice.

How long do I have to make a claim?

Generally, you can make a claim for compensation up to three years from the date of your injury. This is what we call the limitation period. There are, however, some circumstances where the limitation period is two years. To find out more, call us.

What should I do if I want to make a claim?

Starting your claim is easy; just call us on the number above or fill out the contact form and we’ll call you back.

What's after the event insurance?

In certain circumstances we may recommend that you take out an insurance policy which is known as After the Event Insurance (ATE). After The Event Insurance is insurance which covers the legal costs and expenses involved in litigation.

The fees relating to After The Event insurance can vary and are deductible from the damages awarded should your claim be successful. Further information in respect of After The Event Insurance will be provided in our client care information.

What's a risk assessment?

Upon receipt of your instructions, in relation to your accident claim, we’ll advise what, if any, documentation/information is required from you to enable us to complete the risk assessment.

Assessing the risks involved in litigation is a key element of a Conditional Fee Agreement. It's a crucial step when trying to determine the likelihood of success in any particular case and will involve consideration of all the available evidence. We’ll complete a risk assessment within two working days of receiving the required documentation/information and advise you of the outcome.

You won't be charged for us to carry out a risk assessment, but if your claim is successful, we’ll look to recover the costs incurred on your behalf from the negligent third party.

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