How are medical negligence claims different from other compensation claims?

Medical negligence claims differ from other types of claims in a number of ways. Unfortunately, claims of this nature can take longer to reach a conclusion due to the complex nature of the evidence. Expert witnesses may also be required to prove that negligence occurred. Also, the fast track system of settling other types of claims does not apply in cases of clinical negligence.

Being ill to a degree which requires medical intervention is one of the most stressful things that life can throw at you, especially since the side effects of the treatment needed are sometimes worse than the symptoms of the illness itself. Fortunately, nine times out of ten, the people looking after you are dedicated, diligent professionals who go out of their way to ensure that you are treated with respect, care and dignity. Occasionally, however, things can go wrong, and when they do, the effects can be devastating.

If the treatment you are given by a doctor, nurse, dentist or any other medical practitioner fails to meet the standards you might reasonably expect than the ramifications can be massive. At the worst end of the scale negligence such as this could result in otherwise avoidable death, but even less extreme cases can lead to pain, suffering, stress and anguish.

The negligence could take any form – it may be a misdiagnosis, a failure to spot a condition or the prescribing of incorrect medication. It could be something which affects an elderly patient struggling with the privations of ageing or a new born baby injured during delivery. Whatever the precise details of the situation, if you’ve been let down in this manner then you have every right to pursue compensation. As if the physical trauma of medical neglect wasn’t bad enough, the psychological shock of being let down by people in whom you placed absolute trust can be devastating.

As with any other compensation claim, a medical negligence case consists of two basic strands. The first is that you have to demonstrate that you were treated negligently, i.e. that the care you received fell below the standard you might reasonably expect, and secondly that this neglect resulted in you suffering injury.

Medical cases can often be much more complicated than other types of claim, however, with expert witnesses being required to put forward technical medical evidence. For that reason they can often take much longer to pursue, sometimes lasting for years before even reaching court. What all of this means is that it’s vital to have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side. Going up against a body like the NHS, or even a smaller private clinic, can seem daunting to the lay person and so it’s vital to be represented by someone with expertise and experience.

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