If you’ve sustained injuries while receiving hospital treatment, because of someone else’s negligence, you could be eligible to claim compensation.
Getting medical treatment in a hospital is worrying and stressful for everyone – even if there’s nothing to worry about. To begin with, of course, you’re ill, and on top of this, there’s the fact that the treatment and any side effects may well be as unpleasant as the symptoms of the illness itself.
Fortunately, in the vast majority of cases, the staff at both NHS and private premises usually provide the highest possible levels of treatment, behaving in a caring, competent and conscientious manner.
Unfortunately, however, things can sometimes go wrong. Doctors, nurses, dentists and other medical professionals are all human, and when you add this fallibility to the fact that the systems employed can be flawed, it’s a sad truth that mistakes will happen.
Statistics from the NHS Resolution website show that there were 10,678 medical negligence claims in 2018/19, which highlights a real issue with the treatment some patients receive.
You don’t have to suffer alone, you could submit a compensation claim and recoup costs that will help you get back on with your life.
If you’d like to find out more about whether you’re eligible to make a hospital negligence claim, call a free legal advice service on 0800 234 6438, or use the form to request a free callback.
For many people, going to a hospital is a big deal. It’s often a necessity due to an illness or the need for an operation. We all expect doctors are nurses to provide the best possible care and support, but this isn’t always a given.
If you’ve been mistreated or neglected by a hospital, then it may go on to have a drastic effect on the quality of your life. In technical terms, ‘neglect’ consists of the treatment you receive falling below the standard you might reasonably expect. In human terms, it means you’ve been let down by the very people you depend on the most.
Medical neglect can take many forms. Let’s take a look at the most common negligence cases:
Infection negligence usually occurs when hospitals fail to maintain a germ-free space. While some patients might catch an infection due to being near other patients, it’s also common for surgical errors to occur.
Equipment that doesn’t go through proper sterilisation can cause problems for a patient’s health and even be fatal in some circumstances.
There are numerous infections that people are susceptible to when staying in hospital. Clostridium Difficile, MRSA, and MSSA occur when hospitals fail to maintain a safe environment, and these infections can spread quickly.
Complications can include an increased risk of pneumonia, meningitis, and other serious condition. In some cases, these infections can also prove fatal, so patients – and family members should claim compensation.
All healthcare professionals are meant to provide their patients with a thorough investigation into their symptoms and perform necessary tests to identify conditions. While many people receive a proper examination, misdiagnoses still happen and can be costly mistakes.
Failing to identify cancer, a severe infection, or internal injuries for example, can compromise a patient’s life expectancy.
Some injuries and infections will need urgent treatment from a hospital – but sometimes doctors fail to treat a condition in time. For example, head injuries, infections such as sepsis, and internal injuries that aren’t treated in time can have serious consequences.
Amputations often fall under this category, too – especially if a lawyer can prove that the patient wouldn’t have lost their limb had they received immediate treatment.
Accident & Emergency is often the first port of call for patients seeking hospital treatment, and doctors and nurses have to assess which cases are urgent. There’s a lot of stress; sometimes, a healthcare provider can get it wrong.
If a patient requires emergency treatment and the medical team fails to notice it, the condition could worsen or leave the patient requiring long-term care.
Luckily, surgical errors are pretty rare – but they do happen. Common mistakes include:
Find out more about claiming surgical error compensation.
Medication errors can occur due to doctors failing to provide proper medication or emergency procedures. However, they also happen when doctors and nurses fail to notice allergies that certain medicines could cause.
All medical professionals have a duty of care to their patients, which spans beyond identifying and treating a condition. It’s also the hospital’s responsibility to monitor the patient’s condition and progress.
Medical and hospital negligence is the same in many ways because both involve inadequate treatment by a healthcare provider. However, medical negligence doesn’t have to occur within a hospital’s confines.
It could occur within a dental clinic, a pharmacy, a small clinic or a GP’s surgery. Anywhere, in short, where the treatment has come up short.
So, if the negligence occurs in an inpatient or outpatient hospital setting, you’ll sue the hospital for your injuries.
If you feel you’ve been the victim of medical neglect, then it’s only fair that you should be able to make a claim for compensation both as recognition of your suffering and as a means of helping you to get back on your feet, physically, psychologically and financially.
Taking on people who are experts in their fields will seem daunting, as well as facing up to a monolithic structure such as the NHS. However, there are procedures in place to ensure that patients can claim compensation and highlight the issues of hospital negligence.
The NHS has a complaints procedure for patients who feel they have been poorly treated in the hospital. In most cases, you should go through this procedure before you make a compensation claim. Under the NHS constitution, your rights when making a complaint are:
If you think you’ve been let down in this way, then call a trained legal adviser on 0800 234 6438.
They’ll listen to your situation, which is why you must bring them as much information as possible since they’ll use these facts to decide whether there’s a case to answer.
If the legal adviser thinks there is, they’ll pass you on to an expert personal injury solicitor, who will fight as long as it takes to win you the maximum compensation you deserve so you can start putting your life back together.
Most injury solicitors provide a no win no fee service, which is beneficial if you’re worried about the costs of claiming compensation. No win no fee solicitors don’t receive any upfront fees, which means you won’t have to pay any money unless they win your claim successfully.
If a lawyer agrees to take on your hospital negligence compensation claim, you can have peace of mind that they think you’ll win. Having no financial risks also means you can wait for your claim to develop, as no win no fee medical negligence claims can be lengthy.
Any medical negligence claim can be complex, and it can take time to resolve. However, a specialist medical negligence lawyer will be by your side throughout the process and has your best interests at heart.
Remember, the lawyer only gets paid if you win, so you can rest assured that you’ll receive the right compensation at the end of the process.
Some cases might go to court, but most no win no fee hospital negligence claims are settled out of court, as it’s in the interests of both parties.
Once your lawyer agrees on compensation for the hospital negligence claim, you’ll receive the money, and they’ll take a success fee out of it. Then, you can use the cash to get back on with your life and recover financially.
If you’d like to explore your options for claiming compensation, call a free legal advice service on 0800 234 6438 – or request a callback by using the online form.
If you are eligible, you’ll receive access to hospital negligence solicitors and get the ball rolling on your compensation application.
Clinical negligence in any form is never acceptable, and by taking the brave steps to highlight an issue with your hospital, you can prevent it from happening to others in the future.
It ultimately depends on how receptive the hospital is to your claim and whether it’s a private organisation or through the NHS. Expert hospital negligence solicitors understand how the claims process works and will go out of their way to ensure you receive the maximum compensation.
Private hospitals will have a team of lawyers, while NHS hospitals usually fall under the NHS Litigation Authority, which handles the process and negotiations.
The duration of your claim depends on whether you want the maximum compensation or are willing to negotiate to avoid court proceedings.
Your lawyer will liaise with you through the process, ensuring you have a say in the negotiations.
Hospital injury claims depend on numerous factors, so there’s no set payment. One consideration is whether you’re claiming compensation from the NHS or private hospitals, as the process will differ.
Your lawyer will also take the general and special damages into account:
General damages refer to any physical and mental injuries caused by negligent treatment. These could be anything from post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and physical injuries, including complications from surgery and infections.
Your clinical negligence solicitor will also factor in all of the special damages related to the negligence, including:
If you’d like to get a general estimate of how much you could claim, a compensation calculator can help.
Here are some of the common payments for injuries caused by hospital negligence:
Of course, these figures are just guidelines, as it entirely depends on how severe your injuries are and their complications.
A lawyer specialising in hospital negligence claims is the best way to determine how much compensation you’ll receive.
Successful medical negligence cases depend on how much evidence you can gather to prove your claim. The medical negligence team working on your behalf will gather evidence, including looking at your medical records and the consequences of your injury.
You’ll also probably attend a medical assessment for both your legal team and the negligent parties team. This will help verify your injuries and move your medical negligence case forward.
Photographs are also beneficial – especially if you take them when the injury initially occurs, as they can ensure you have evidence of their severity – even if the claim takes a while to settle.
For most claims, you have three years from when the incident occurred to make a claim. However, there are exceptions for children and families of vulnerable individuals. Children have three years from the day they turn 18 to make a claim, which gives them plenty of time.
However, as hospital negligence claims can be complicated, it’s best to file for compensation as soon as possible.
As mentioned above, experienced medical negligence solicitors often work on a no win no fee basis because it’s the best solution for all parties. Whether they’re negotiating with a private healthcare provider or working on hospital negligence cases, you won’t pay a thing unless you win the claim.
People choose this route instead of paying upfront fees because there’s no financial risk, and you can be confident that the solicitor will work hard to win your no win no fee claim.
Some people receive one large payment, while others might get interim payments yearly. Of course, this depends on how much compensation you receive and its impact on your life.
A minor mistake with medical equipment or a treatable hospital infection will result in less compensation than a person with a life-changing injury such as paralysis or brain damage.
Your lawyer will inform you of the negotiations, and some people choose to receive their compensation over time because it ensures they can budget properly.
If you’d like to explore your options for making a hospital injury claim, call a free legal advice service on 0800 234 6438 – or request a callback by using the online form.
Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.
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