People working in the medical and healthcare professions are trained to a very high standard in order to provide the best level of care to their patients. Most doctors, nurses and other professionals will be able to provide care without issue and ensure that their patients are appropriately advised of the risks involved in medical practice. However, unfortunately, situations can and do arise where something that they do, or fail to have done, falls below the standard expected in their particular field. Owing to its nature, medically related injuries can have drastic consequences for the people involved and may result in a complete change to their way of life. It is in these situations that the law can be used in an attempt to address the situation.
What is medical negligence?
Medical negligence law is a specialised branch of the UK personal injury framework that specifically relates to the actions of medical professionals and institutional organisations, e.g. healthcare trusts. Medical negligence can cover a variety of different situations ranging from being prescribed the wrong or incorrect dosage of medication through to a surgery or cosmetic medical procedure that is not completed to the necessary standard that would otherwise be expected. Furthermore, it can also be the result of a failure to provide a patient with sufficient information to understand the consequences of agreeing to, or refusing, a particular kind of treatment.
If I am alleging clinical negligence, what needs to be proved?
An allegation of having suffered medical negligence by a practitioner is a serious allegation. It is important to understand that medicine, particularly owing to new developments in cosmetic and medical practices, is becoming far less rigid and defined than it used to be. In order words, there is more creativity in what has traditionally been understood to be a very rigid and scientific practice.
In order for there to be any strength to an allegation for medical negligence, your claim will need to satisfy certain legal criteria. Medical professionals owe those in their care an important legal duty known as a ‘duty of care’. This is a responsibility not to do anything, either by act or omission, that will expose you to harm. In order for your claim alleging negligence to succeed, you will need to be able to:
Establish that a medical professional breached the duty that they owed to you as their patient. This is really concerned with your being able to evidence that the standard of care you were given fell below that which would reasonable be expected; and
Evidence that the breach of the duty of care caused you to suffer the injuries that are the basis of your complaint.
Why are medical negligence claims so complex?
Medical negligence claims can be particularly challenging to pursue because the practice of medicine, or rather medical opinion, tends to differ among professionals. The law appreciates this fact and permits a valid defence to an allegation of negligence if there is evidence that the treatment complained of was in accordance with a responsible body of medical opinion.
Another important dimension to your allegation of negligence is that you will need to prove that your injuries are the direct result of the treatment that you claim to be negligent. This can also be a very difficult criterion to meet as there may be an argument that your injuries could have come about for a number of other reasons not connected to the treatment you underwent.
How can a claim for negligence be supported?
If you are considering making a claim for medical negligence against a healthcare professional, then it is important that you take steps to find evidence that supports your claim. The courts, being the body that will ultimately rule on the merit of your claim, will need to listen to expert testimony from medical professionals on the arguments that you are making. You and the party that you allege to have been negligent towards you are both entitled to seek our medical experts to speak to the body of established medical opinion on the nature of the treatment that you underwent, and whether or not this bore a direct link to your injuries.
You should understand that the court will give equal opportunity to both you and the defending party to plead their case. In many cases, the quality of expert testimony and the strength of the supporting legal argument and evidence is ultimately what will determine the success of your claim for medical negligence. It is for this reason that the choice of solicitor can also play a huge role in the management, and likely success, of your claim. Medical Negligence claims are highly specialist in nature, and are subject to rules of procedure and evidence that are distinct from the law as it generally applies to personal injury. All of these components are important in your presenting a convincing claim to the courts.
How can I find a specialist medical negligence lawyer to handle my claim?
Medical negligence, when suffered, can have a tremendous impact on peoples’ lives. The law is designed to attempt to correct this when it happens, by allowing for compensation to be awarded where negligence is proved.
Contact our No Win No Fee, Clinical Negligence Solicitors
HDP Solicitors are a specialist provider of advice and representation for medical negligence claims. Our team is made up of lawyers who have many years of experience of meeting the exacting legal requirements that need to be met for a claim for medical negligence to succeed. Our team will review your case in its entirety, and secure the assistance of specialist medical professionals to review your claim. We understand that if you have had a medically related injury, you may often feel alone and isolated with many questions that need answering. Our team will be happy to answer any and all questions that you have, and will ensure that you are fully advised on the steps that need to be taken in order to build a strong case for compensation. Contact our team today and learn more about how we can help you.
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0800 387 815