A short guide to making a medical negligence claim

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1 A short guide to making a medica negigence caim

2 Introduction Suffering from an incident of medica negigence is traumatic and can have a serious ong-term impact on both the physica and menta heath of affected patients. Those who sady find themseves in this unfortunate position may experience significant financia hardship if their abiity to return to work has been reduced or has become impossibe, due to the avoidabe injury. An injury suffered due to the negigence of medica staff in a hospita, a GP or even a pharmacist, can sady change ives forever. However, it is worth remembering that compensation is avaiabe for victims to not ony go some way in compensating for the trauma of the incident, but aso to cover the cost of essentias such as necessary home adaptations, oss of earnings, rehabiitation and care. This guide has been created to expain the compensation that may be avaiabe and the process invoved to secure a much-needed and deserved award.

3 What is medica negigence? Medica negigence is defined as: any act or omission which fas short of a standard to be expected of a reasonabe doctor in that particuar fied of medicine. A caim for compensation can be brought against the responsibe medica professiona or institution if: Pursuing a caim If you are ooking to pursue a medica negigence caim, it s important to seek experienced, speciaist ega support. Medica negigence caims are known to be compex. Having a good medica negigence speciaist soicitor representing you shoud make the crucia difference between winning or osing your caim, and in securing the right compensation to meet your post-injury needs. a medica professiona or heathcare provider had a ega duty of care and was responsibe for a patient s care. the medica professiona did not conform to the appropriate standards and faied in their duty. We hope that this guide heps to highight the key points to consider, if you beieve that you have a caim of negigence against a medica professiona. a physica or psychoogica injury, iness or condition was caused, or worsened by, such a breach of duty. In short, if you have suffered from a deayed referra, a deayed or wrongfu diagnosis, an error in prescribed medication, a careess medica procedure, or you or a oved one s heath has suffered as a resut of being subjected to an unacceptabe eve of medica care, we may be abe to pursue a medica negigence caim on your behaf.

4 The medica negigence caim process Typicay, medica negigence caims foow a simiar process. We have broken this down into the key stages beow and wi detai each. Screening to see if you have a caim If you think you have a caim, it s important that you have as much information about the incident as possibe. Detais such as names, dates of treatment or appointments and times can a be very important. Speak to a speciaist soicitor. Many can be put off by the thought of having to tak about something so persona. Remember, a soicitor is on your side. Your soicitor wi need to know a ot about the background to your caim in order to best advise you. They wi want to know a the times and dates as we as your medica background. They wi then need to ook over your medica records to hep decide if pursuing a caim is the best thing to do and advise on the chances of winning the caim. Funding There are a number of funding options avaiabe to you. These incude Conditiona Fee Agreements where your soicitor recovers the costs of his or her time from the individua or institution you are caiming against. With a Conditiona Fee Agreement, your soicitor wi aso receive part of the compensation awarded. This wi be expained to you in detai by your soicitor. Investigating your caim Your soicitor wi have to get hep from a number of peope. These may incude

5 independent expert barristers and medica professionas. This wi a be part of the review of your caim. This wi aso hep to identify the extent of the damage to your heath, your expected recovery time and any medica treatment or support you wi need both now, and in the future. Obtain records, independent medica expert opinions and vaue the caim Your soicitor wi obtain the medica records hed in reation to the incident. Advice wi be sought from a number of independent experts, incuding medica speciaists. This information wi be used to hep vaue your caim to ensure fair and appropriate compensation is sought. Your soicitor wi present a the findings obtained from both the medica and other experts invoved in order to correcty highight both the significance of your injury, and the ong-term expected impact on your heath and webeing to ensure you are awarded the appropriate eve of compensation. At this point, your caim is known as being setted. This means each party has agreed and a the various costs have to be paid. Sometimes even when a case is going to court, the defendants wi decide to sette. This means the case does not go to court. Soicitor issues Letter of Caim Once your soicitor has reviewed your case fuy, they wi issue what is caed a Letter of Caim. This is basicay your soicitor etting those you are caiming against know that you have started ega proceedings against them. They then have four months to respond and wi either admit iabiity, at which point your soicitor wi start discussions about the appropriate eve of compensation, or deny iabiity which means your caim wi have to go to court. Possibe court case Sometimes defendants wi not admit iabiity for the avoidabe injury caused as a resut of negigence. When this happens, your caim has to go to court. Going to court is a very costy business for everyone invoved. Your soicitor wi make sure that the case gets to court and is heard as quicky as possibe for you, but this can take up to two years or more depending on the compexity of the case. Your caim is setted In some cases, the defendants may sette after your soicitor issues a Letter of Caim.

6 How is compensation cacuated? Compensation is cacuated based on a number of factors that wi take a past, present and future setbacks and changes to your ife into consideration. The main aim of any compensation is to pace the individua who has suffered the avoidabe injury back in the same position they woud have been in had the negigence not occurred. The diagram beow shows the main factors considered when agreeing the appropriate eve of compensation. No amount of compensation can restore any oss of quaity of ife or make up for the pain and suffering caused, but what your soicitor wi do is to ensure you are compensated at the appropriate eve to hep make ife easier foowing an avoidabe injury. Loss of earnings Your compensation wi take into account any past and future oss of earnings or effect on pensions caused by the negigence. Pain and Suffering Past and future financia oss ** Loss of Amenity * Loss of Earnings and a Pension Future Financia oss offer You can aso be compensated for any future financia oss suffered as a resut of the negigence. This woud consider past and future treatment, aids and equipment, housing needs and transport and take infation into account. You may be awarded this either in a ump sum, in a series of periodic payments or both. * The way your ife has changed. ** Aso incudes treatment costs, aids and equipment, transport for famiy or professiona care and any housing needs. Pain, suffering and oss of amenity The eve of pain and suffering experienced as a resut of any medica negigence wi be taken into account when compensation is being considered. This may incude any periods of time spent in hospita as a resut of the injury and in particuar, the detrimenta impact the injury has inficted on the quaity of ife enjoyed prior to the incident.

7 Things you need to know about a medica negigence caim 1. Time imits and exceptions You wi typicay have a three-year imit in which to make a caim for medica negigence. This starts from the date you know or think that your iness or condition has been caused or worsened by medica negigence. This wi usuay be the date of the incident, or the date you became aware that medica negigence had resuted in an avoidabe and significant injury. This wi incude recognising any of the foowing: That you are injured or in some way suffering from a condition. That you beieve medica negigence has caused your iness, injury or condition. That you became aware of the identity of the negigent hospita or other medica professiona. The date of knowedge can sometimes be much ater than the date of the incident. For instance, someone who has been misdiagnosed or has been the victim of a prescription error, is much more ikey to recognise that medica negigence has occurred once a period of time has passed. The three-year imit does not run straight away in certain specia circumstances. These are: For chidren, the three-year time imit starts from when they turn 18. For individuas with a permanent menta disabiity there is no time imit, whie the three-year imitation appies from the time an individua recovers from their menta disabiity. Famiy members of deceased reatives aso have three years from the date of death in which to bring a caim in certain circumstances. 2. What if I have to go to court? For everyone invoved in a medica negigence caim, going to court is very much seen as a ast resort. It is aways hoped that a settement wi be reached in advance of this. If your matter does go to court, your soicitor wi appreciate that this is ikey to be a daunting prospect for you and wi make sure you fuy understand the reasons why the matter is going to court and what you can expect. Your soicitor wi aso be on hand to provide support to make sure the process is kept as simpe, straightforward and, most importanty, as stress-free as possibe. 3. Further support and assistance There is a weath of guidance and support avaiabe to you if you are deaing with the impact of medica negigence. You wi need to consider whether you need to appy for things such as disabiity or other state benefits. Government Benefits Department Citizens Advice Bureau Where the person caiming was under the age of 18 at the time of the incident. Where the person caiming had a menta disabiity at the time of the incident.

8 Lega jargon expained Key ega terms and phrases Listed beow are some ega terms and phrases that you may hear as you progress your caim. We understand that whist these may be everyday words in our word, they are not in yours, so we hope this heps. Caimant The person making the actua caim for compensation - which wi be you if you are the person who was injured through no faut of your own. Conditiona Fee Agreement An agreement covering the payment of the ega and other associated costs incurred during your caim. Under this agreement your soicitor agrees not to charge you any costs if you do not win your caim. A no win no fee agreement is aso known as a Conditiona Fee Agreement. Defendant The person or entity who you make a compensation caim against. Technicay this person or entity is known as the defendant once your caim is issued in court. Letter of Caim A forma etter to the person or entity you hod responsibe for the negigence which starts your compensation caim process. Litigation Friend The adut, such as a father or a mother, who makes a compensation caim on behaf of their chid or the individua representing an adut who has ost menta capacity. In Engish aw you must be over 18 to make a caim - if under 18 years of age, a Litigation Friend must be appointed. Medica Expert Independent medica experts are asked to advise on a caim. This heps to identify both the extent of the injury and to prove it was caused as a resut of negigence. Part 36 Offer A forma offer of settement typicay for a fixed sum of money in compensation caims. It is made in accordance with Part 36 of the Civi Procedure Rues 1998, hence its name. Setted When a matter is fuy resoved it wi be considered as setted. This means both parties then have to make any payments agreed and the caim becomes cosed. Specia Damages Past financia expenses aready incurred as a resut of the negigence incuding: ost income up to the date your caim settes known as past ost income, medica expenses, the cost of a hire vehice, trave expenses etc.

9 Your medica negigence checkist If you think you may have a medica negigence caim, it is important to gather as much information as possibe. We have provided you with a checkist beow. Date of incident: Name of doctor / medica professiona: Name of the medica organisation (hospita, surgery or pace) where the negigence occurred:? Do you have records of any correspondence since the incident? Phone cas Letters Emais 4 7? Have you made a direct compaint to the organisation or individua you beieve was responsibe? This can hep with your caim further down the ine and your soicitor can assist you with this. 4 7? Do you have a written expanation from the medica professiona who treated you? 4 7? Do you have a note of any further medica treatment undertaken as a resut of your injury? 4 7

10 About Linder Myers Linder Myers has one of the argest speciaist medica negigence teams in Engand and Waes. Trevor Ward eads the team boasting more than 30 years experience in this compex area of aw. He is recognised by his industry peers as a eading medica negigence expert. The Linder Myers Medica Negigence team incudes a number of quaified nurses and highy experienced soicitors who coectivey secure miions of pounds of compensation for injured patients every year. We wi work with you in a transparent way, making sure you are aware of any and a costs at the start of your caim. If you think that you, or someone you know, has a medica negigence caim and woud ike expert advice, get in touch with a member of our team on Aternativey, pease emai a summary of your potentia caim and contact detais to Every member of the team is committed to providing not ony a high eve of service, but aso a high degree of both empathy and understanding to make the ega process ess daunting. When you choose Linder Myers you can be sure you are in safe hands. Why Linder Myers? Your matter wi be deat with by the same quaified soicitor from start to finish. We wi ensure you are fuy informed every step of the way. We work with you in a way that suits you best. We are committed to progressing your caim in the most cost-effective way possibe.

11 Linder Myers Soicitors has speciaist divisions covering private cient, bodiy injury and commercia issues. We aim aways to provide expert ega advice in a straightforward, friendy and efficient manner. We genuiney beieve in the vision that our soicitors have to be peope first, awyers second, in their approach to working with cients. We operate from a number of offices: LANCASHIRE MANCHESTER CHESHIRE SHROPSHIRE Park Street, Lytham, FY8 5LU 45 Cross Street, Manchester, M2 4JF Windsor House, Pepper Street, Chester, CH1 1DF Market Street, Shrewsbury, SY1 1LG. Unit 5 Abert Edward House, Preston, PR2 2YB 19 Spring Gardens, Manchester, M2 1FB. Our abiity to provide a unique bend of ega services to both individuas and businesses is what we beieve truy sets us apart. That and an unwavering commitment to making sure that cients have the best possibe cient experience from beginning to end. Our services incude: Services for you Services for business Trusts and Estates Empoyment Conveyancing Commercia Litigation Famiy Law Corporate & Commercia Dispute Resoution Commercia Property Court of Protection Costs Management Persona Injury Franchising Medica Negigence Empoyment Occupationa Disease Disputed Wis and Probate Crimina Defence and Reguatory

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