Medical Negligence - Two Minute Guide
To claim compensation for clinical negligence a claimant must prove that the doctor or other healthcare provider made a serious error which was the result of negligence and that the medical error(s) made a material contribution to the injury. A claim must normally be made within three years of the incident or within three years of the eighteenth birthday of someone injured as a child. Claims against the HNS are dealt with by the NHS’s own litigation authority.
To establish sufficient causation for a successful claim, the general standard is that on the ‘balance of probabilities’ the negligence was a material cause of the harm. If there was only a ‘loss of a chance’ (i.e. correct treatment of the claimant’s condition would only have had a small chance of success anyway), it is unlikely there will be sufficient causation. If the claimant was particularly vulnerable to a certain disease or illness due to a pre-existing condition, it will be difficult to establish causation if their condition was likely to deteriorate in any event.
Medical negligence claims are particularly complex due to the scientific issues involved – experts frequently disagree about material causation, so there is often little certainty in this area of law. In addition, the long-term effects of injuries due to medical negligence are often not ascertainable for several years. For these reasons claims tend to take a long time to settle and often settlements are made on an interim basis with subsequent revisions..
If you think you have suffered injury from medical negligence you should seek professional advice.