NHS negligence claims

Most of the time, the NHS's care is of a high standard, but sometimes there are problems. If you have suffered injury or illness due to negligence by an NHS professional, our specialist solicitors can help you take legal action and claim compensation.

What is NHS negligence?

When a medical professional fails in their duty of care to you and has not followed the NHS Constitution, this is negligence. The NHS Constitution is a document that sets out the rights of patients, the public and staff. All NHS bodies and services have a legal requirement to take account of the Constitution as they look after patients.

NHS negligence can worsen an existing condition or cause injury, death, or illness. Here are some examples of negligence:

  • Being prescribed the wrong medication
  • Failing to diagnose a condition or delay in diagnosing a condition
  • Misdiagnosing a condition
  • Surgical errors
  • An infection in a hospital such as MRSA
  • Poor dental treatment

Receiving substandard treatment can affect both your physical and mental health and have a negative impact on the quality of your daily life.

How do you prove negligence?

To take legal action and claim compensation for you, our solicitors need to demonstrate ‘breach of duty of care’ and ‘direct causation’.

Breach of duty of care is when a medical professional fails to make the decisions and take the actions that a substantial body of reasonably skilled similar professionals would have taken in the same situation.

To prove breach of care, we instruct medical experts to examine your case and to decide whether the care you received fell below an acceptable standard.

If a medical expert says that the treatment you received demonstrates a breach of duty, we will ask them to decide whether that breach caused avoidable harm. This is known as ‘causation’.

If it is likely that the health professional caused the harm or injury you suffered, then you should be entitled to receive compensation from the NHS.

Will I have to be seen by a medical professional?

Initially, a medical expert report is obtained to assess whether there has been negligence or breach of duty based on a review of the medical records only.

Your solicitor will need to gather as much evidence as possible to support your case. If liability is supported by an independent medical opinion, which is a vital part of the evidence, it is likely you will then need to be seen by a medical expert.

Appointments are usually between 30 minutes and an hour. Following the appointment, your solicitor will receive a report from the medical professional. The report will detail the extent of your injuries, how long it is likely to take you to recover and your medical needs.

The amount of compensation you receive depends upon the extent of your injuries and the impact they have on your life now and in the future.

Who can claim against the NHS?

Medical negligence claims can be made by anybody who has been injured as a result of NHS malpractice in a clinic, hospital or dental practice.

Legal action for medical negligence compensation can also be taken by the next of kin. This applies when an injured person does not have the capacity to bring a claim or by the Personal Representative of the Estate when they have sadly died due to negligence.

Why claim compensation?

We know claiming compensation from the NHS cannot change what has happened to you.

For many people claiming compensation is also a way of seeking justice. Claimants may also want to know why things went wrong and to receive an apology and ensure there is less chance another person will suffer similar negligence in the future.

Have a question or need some help?

Why choose Davisons for your NHS compensation claim?

Our sympathetic solicitors will gather strong evidence to support your case.

We have many years of experience with NHS compensation claims for injuries and mostly pursue claims on a No Win No Fee basis in conjunction with Insurance, subject to the approval of the Insurer, to cover expenses such as medical expert reports.

We will guide you throughout the claims process, answering all your queries and questions.

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NHS negligence FAQs

What can I expect if I make a claim?

When your solicitor has evidence that negligence has taken place, they will send a Letter of Claim in accordance with the Pre-action Protocol for Clinical Negligence Claims to the Defendant.

The Defendant has 14 days to acknowledge the Letter of Claim and 4 months to investigate and serve a Letter of Response to confirm if they accept or deny liability or request further evidence.

It may be the case further medical expert evidence is required to determine the cause or extent of the injuries.

A settlement may be agreed upon through negotiation by correspondence, meetings between parties, or formal mediation.

If a settlement is not agreed the case may be determined in court. Even during court proceedings, negotiations may continue to settle the Claim.

Our solicitors at Davisons are committed to resolving cases quickly and effectively. We aim to minimise stress and help you move on with your life as soon as possible.

Will a claim affect my right to treatment?

No. Under the Equality Act 2010, you cannot be treated differently because you have made a complaint or claimed compensation. Your right to receive a reasonable standard of treatment remain the same. This is a worry that is often raised, but fortunately, it rarely happens.

Will my compensation come out of the NHS budget?

Your compensation will not come from the NHS budget and affect the healthcare anybody else receives. NHS Resolution is the NHS’ insurer, and they manage compensation claims that patients make against NHS Trusts.

Every NHS Trust pays an annual premium to the insurance company, which means that compensation claims do not impact the healthcare budget.

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