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Medical procedures and hospital treatments sometimes go wrong and when they do, the consequences can be devastating. Although many cases can be settled out of court, some medical negligence claims can be extremely complex.
That’s why it is vital to find a specialist medical negligence law firm that deals exclusively with these kinds of claims. Novum Law director Darren O’Sullivan outlines five things you should know about medical negligence claims:
1. Get expert legal advice
You should contact an experienced medical negligence solicitor and give them the details of your case as soon as possible. You’ll need to provide details of the medical treatment you received and the injuries you sustained. Based on the information you provide, an experienced medical negligence solicitor will decide whether to proceed with the claim.
2. Timing is essential
Under normal circumstances, you must bring a claim within three years of the date of your injury or from when you realised that your injury was due to a medical error. This time limit does not apply to children up until their 21st birthday or to adults who lack mental capacity.
3. Proving your claim
Your solicitor will collect and review all the available information. This includes: obtaining your medical records, preparing a statement detailing your recollection of what happened and getting a medical expert to review your case and provide an opinion on the standard of care you received. It must be proved there was a ‘breach of duty’ and your healthcare provider did something (or failed to do something) which no other medical professional would have done, causing your injury or worsening your condition.
4. Settling the claim
If your case has reasonable prospects, your solicitor will send a letter of claim to the defendant (usually a hospital trust or GP practice) setting out full details of your claim, the circumstances and the allegations of negligence. There will be a window of time for them to accept or deny liability. Most cases are agreed and settled out of court, but if liability is denied or the amount of compensation cannot be agreed, court proceedings will start.
5. Going to court
The chances are that your case won’t have to go to court. However, in high value, complex cases where liability is in dispute, there may be a trial to establish if the defendant is at fault. If it is found your healthcare provider was negligent, your case will continue and the level of compensation can be agreed without any further trial. On rare occasions when agreement can’t be reached, a second trial will be arranged to decide on the amount of compensation you’re entitled to.
If you or a loved one has received negligent medical care, you should contact our expert team of solicitors. We have many years of experience helping people with a wide range of medical negligence claims.