Do I qualify for a Medical Negligence Claim?

In the UK, the vast majority of people who undergo medical treatment get the help that they need, and are free to go on with their lives without any complications. In a minority of cases, however, this doesn’t happen. Instead, the treatment is substandard, and the patient suffers. This could be caused by anything from a misdiagnosis to a foreign object left inside the body of a surgical patient.

If you find yourself in this situation, then you might be considering a medical negligence claim. But exactly what criteria do you need to fulfil for such a claim to be successful.

What constitutes medical negligence?

The test for whether medical negligence occurred is threefold. You’ll need to demonstrate that you were owed a duty of care, that the duty was violated, and that you suffered harm as a result.

The second part of this is usually the trickiest. According to a precedent set by Bolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee [1957], the onus is on the claimant to demonstrate that the standard of care falls below that which would be provided by an individual or organisation that’s competent.

Getting Professional Advice

It’s difficult to determine via Google searches whether your claim has merit. The best approach is often to instead get in touch with professional medical negligence solicitors. They will be able to examine the specifics of your case, and determine whether you have a chance of getting compensation.

Most solicitors in this field will act on your behalf, using a no-win, no-fee arrangement (or a Conditional Fee Agreement, as it’s technically known). This means that you won’t pay anything unless the case is successful, and that you don’t need to worry about being saddled with a massive bill and no reward.

Solicitors who operate this way make their money by picking out the sure-fire winners. You can therefore be reasonably certain that you’ll be successful, particularly if the solicitor you’ve chosen enjoys a good reputation. In most cases, you won’t need to attend court in person – though your solicitor will be able to provide you with more specific feedback.

A solicitor who specialises in medical negligence will have specialist contacts in a range of medical niches, which means that they’ll be able to more easily demonstrate where the actions taken by the defendant are not in keeping with accepted practice.

What evidence do I need?

The more evidence you can provide, the better. Track down records of phone calls, and what was said at particular consultations. Most of the time, you’ll be able to obtain the paperwork associated with your case from the NHS (or whichever private organisation you’re acting against).