Medical negligence and how to claim

If you or someone in your family has suffered from poor care whilst being treated in hospital or at a GP surgery, it can be very upsetting for you, but poor care does not necessarily mean that there has been medical negligence.
Whilst medical negligence claims are rising, the number of claims is still relatively small in comparison to the number of people who utilise the services of the NHS, but that does not lessen the impact of medical negligence on your life.

The consequences of medical negligence can range from unnecessary pain and suffering due to a fracture being missed or potentially have life-threatening consequences if an operation goes wrong or a cancer diagnosis is delayed or missed all together.

There are three legal criteria that you will need to prove in order to claim for medical negligence. They are:

• That you were owed a duty of care by the healthcare professional. This should be easy to prove as you consult a GP or hospital for a medical problem that you cannot solve yourself. Therefore most health care professionals owe you a duty of care.

• That the duty of care was breached. If the care you received was below the standard that a normal person would expect to receive or the health care professional acted differently than another professional would have done in those circumstances, then the duty of care owed to you by that person has been breached.

• That you suffered an injury or a loss as a result of the breach of care. This is the key point in making a successful medical negligence claim. Poor care or treatment does not constitute medical negligence in itself. Unless you suffered an injury as a result of the poor care, you cannot claim.

Whilst it can be difficult for you to identify if there has been a breach of duty of care and loss or injury you suffered as a result of this breach, a specialist solicitor can tell you quickly if you have a claim for compensation.

For more information about this article or any aspect of our disputes and litigation services, please call Chris Jolly in our Westbury office on 01373 865577  or email cjolly@mulaw.co.uk and we will be delighted to help you (there is no charge for initial telephone discussions).