If a medical negligence injury has set you back, we'll help you move forward

Recovering from a medical negligence injury can be a long and difficult road, with challenges beyond physical healing. If your life or the life of a loved one has been set back by such an experience, we can help you make a No Win, No Fee claim and receive the compensation you need.

What is clinical negligence?

Clinical negligence (also known as 'medical negligence') is when there has been a 'breach of duty' on the part of a healthcare professional.

A breach of duty means that the standard of care you received was below the standard that could reasonably be expected of a competent healthcare professional.

If the breach of duty causes an injury (physical or psychological), or worsens a pre-existing condition, it may be possible to claim financial compensation.

According to NHS Resolution:

'If the treatment you received fell below a minimum standard of competence and you suffered an injury as a result and it is more likely than not that the injury could have been avoided or less severe with proper treatment then you may be able to take legal action for compensation'

How common is clinical negligence?

The number of clinical negligence claims in the UK is increasing year on year. Most claims are made against the NHS, with over 15,000 medical negligence claims being made against the NHS in 2022/22.

The following table shows an overall 32% increase on the rolling 5-year average in 2021/22:

Sce: NHS Resolution
Type of claim Annual
No. Claims
(5-year avg.)
No. Claims
(2021/22)
% increase/decrease
Obstetrics 1,090 1,243 +14%
Emergency Medicine 1,333 1,233 -7%
Orthopaedic Surgery 1,308 1,203 -8%
General surgery 898 755 -16%
Gynaecology 689 751 +9%
General medicine 497 500 +1%
Radiology 390 397 +2%
Psychiatry/ Mental Health 314 326 v4%
Urology 328 308 -6%
Gastroenterology 270 293 +8%
Ophthalmology 257 225 -12%
Cardiology 219 210 -4%
Paediatrics 233 180 -23%
Ambulance 162 162 0%
Neurosurgery 181 158 -13%
Neurology 120 128 +6%
Other 3,123 7,006 +124%
Total 11,413 15,078 +32%

It is estimated that clinical negligence costs the NHS nearly £14 billion per year.

Most claims made against the NHS lead to a successful financial settlement without the need for court proceedings.

Clinical negligence claims against private hospitals, GP practices and other medical service providers are also common, although this data is not centrally compiled.

What is a breach of duty?

A breach of duty means that the standard of care you received was below the standard that could reasonably be expected of a competent healthcare professional.

What is causation?

To establish causation, it will need to be proved that your injury resulted from the negligent care or treatment, rather than from the underlying condition.

Get an impartial opinion

To get an initial expert opinion on whether you are eligible to make a clinical negligence claim, speak to a claim expert on 0800 376 1001.

A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. There is no obligation to start a claim.

How much compensation can I claim for a medical negligence?

The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:

  • the seriousness of your injury, and
  • any financial losses or costs you have incurred.

At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.

Medical negligence compensation calculator

Get an accurate compensation estimate (including for multiple injuries), confirm your legal position, and check if you have a No Win, No Fee claim.

Updated April 2024 Compensation Calculator v3.04

General damages

General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).

Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College (judiciary.uk) and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.

How is compensation calculated if I have multiple injuries?

Special damages

Special damages are awarded to compensate you for any costs or losses you've incurred or might incur as a result of your accident. These costs might include loss of earnings, including lost overtime, holiday pay, benefits and pension contributions, or any other out of pocket expenses.

Special damages may also be awarded for medical treatments or procedures that you might need to treat your injury, including corrective treatment and psychological support.

Read more:

A complete list of recoverable losses in a personal injury claim

Understanding your rights and options

Medical negligence, or clinical negligence, can have life-altering consequences for patients and their families. When a patient entrusts their care to a doctor, nurse, midwife or other healthcare professional or institution, they have a right to expect that they will be provided with the highest standard of care. Unfortunately, in some cases, this expectation is not met and patients may suffer harm as a result.

If you or a loved one has been harmed as a result of medical negligence, it is important to understand the legal options available to you.

Medical negligence compensation claims allow patients and their families to hold healthcare professionals and institutions accountable for their actions and seek financial compensation for any harm suffered. These claims can help cover costs such as medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.

Navigating the legal process can be complex and emotionally challenging, which is why it's important to work with an experienced medical negligence solicitor. A compassionate and professional legal representative can:

  • Help you understand your rights
  • Guide you through the medical negligence claims process
  • Ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.

Time limits for making a medical negligence claim depend on a range of factors, so if you or someone you know has been the victim of medical negligence, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as you reasonably can.

Should I make a complaint before starting a claim?

You may be unsure whether you have been a victim of medical negligence.

Using the formal complaint's procedure of the hospital or healthcare provider will help you and your solicitor to understand more about the circumstances surrounding your injury.

You don't need to make a complaint on your own. Your solicitor will assist you with the formal complaint's procedure for the NHS or private healthcare provider.

See contact details for formal healthcare complaints:

  • National Health Service (NHS) - The official channel for complaints about NHS GP's, dentists, hospitals or pharmacists.
  • General Medical Council (GMC) - Handles serious complaints about hospital doctors and GPs.
  • Health Service Ombudsman - Investigate the NHS and health authorities if the formal complaints process has not resolved the complaint

What if the healthcare provider admits liability?

Your solicitor may arrange for you to see an independent medical expert to assess the medical facts. You would not be expected to pay for the medical, as the cost would be covered by your 'No Win No Fee' agreement.

Your solicitor will work with the medical experts to establish what level of compensation will be required to cover the pain and suffering you have experienced.

Your solicitor will also calculate the cost of care and treatment you may require as well as any other costs or losses you have incurred.

Should I use NHS Resolution?

Some claimants choose to use the independent mediation service known as NHS Resolution (formerly NHS Litigation Authority). This service can offer an alternative route to legal action. Approaching NHS Resolution does not prevent you from taking subsequent legal action if you are unhappy with the NHS Resolution outcome.

How can a medical negligence solicitor help you?

Your solicitor will handle your case from the free initial consultation, through to the settlement of your claim. Your solicitor will negotiate the best possible compensation settlement with the NHS trust, GP, or private hospital responsible for your injury.

In addition to getting you the compensation you need, a solicitor can help you:

  • get interim payments in advance of your final compensation settlement
  • secure funding for your treatment and other costs
  • obtain financial support while you are unable to work.
  • access treatments and therapies not always available on the NHS
  • co-ordinate with rehabilitation providers, occupational therapists and physiotherapists
  • access personal injury trust, tax and welfare benefits advice

How long does a clinical and medical negligence claim take?

The length of time needed to secure compensation for a medical negligence claim will vary.

A straightforward liability accepted medical negligence claim could be settled in 12 to 24 months. If liability is denied, a claim could take considerably longer.

Claiming medical negligence compensation with a solicitor

Your solicitor will ask you about what happened, and they will collect evidence to prove the negligence happened. Your solicitor will also work out how much money you can claim, based on your injuries, lost earnings and other expenses.

We can help you make a medical negligence claim on a No Win No Fee basis.

No win, no fee medical negligence compensation claims

With no win, no fee, you can claim medical negligence compensation without financial risk. If your claim isn't successful, you pay nothing. If you win, you only pay a pre-agreed percentage of your compensation.

Find out more about how no win, no fee claims work

How we can help you with your medical negligence claim

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning medical negligence claims.

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If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee medical negligence claim, we are open:

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Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:

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Case study

Rakhi Chauhan secures £80,000 following a road collision with a lorry

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Clinical negligence FAQ's

Can I claim for someone else?

Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.

If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.

The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.

What if my injury was an 'undesirable outcome'?

If an error occurred during treatment and the patient was harmed as a result, this may be referred to as an "undesirable outcome".

Not all treatment that results in an undesirable outcome will result in the payment of compensation.

Sometimes an undesirable outcome is due to a known risk associated with the treatment, or due to a mistake that a doctor could reasonably have made in the circumstances.

Will I need to go into a solicitor's office?

Claims for medical negligence are conducted remotely. This means you won't have to travel to your solicitor's office when making a claim.

On a quick phone call with a friendly advisor, you can explain what happened and find out if you may have a claim. There is no obligation to start a claim.

Whenever you are ready, you can speak to a solicitor. They will address any questions you have, and will take care of each stage of the medical negligence claims process until you recieve your compensation.

I need the money now - what are my options?

If you are unable to work and have bills to pay, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is an advance on your compensation payment. Any amount you receive in interim payments would be deducted from your final compensation payment.

Read more about specific types of clinical negligence:

Accident and Emergency (A&E)

Common A&E errors include not checking medical history and examination errors - both of which can lead to a failure to admit the patient to a hospital. You may also be able to claim if you have been harmed as the result of investigation failures following scans, blood tests and X-rays.

If you have experienced A&E negligence, a compensation claim may be possible.

Birth injuries

Birth injuries affecting children - Claims may be possible in cases of cerebral palsy resulting from cardiotocography (TCG) errors, errors or delays in using items meant to assist in childbirth such as forceps or ventouse, and delays in performing caesarean sections.

Fractures to legs, arms, shoulders, collarbone, and the skull as well as brain injuries, cuts and scars from incorrectly used medical implements can also lead to claims.

Birth injuries affecting mothers - Badly managed pre-eclampsia, caesarean and anaesthesia complications and injury to internal organs can all lead to a claim. Claims can also be made in regard to negligently-treated perineal tears, fissures, mistakes made in suturing and wrongly-performed episiotomies.

Cosmetic and plastic surgery

Negligence claims are increasingly common for:

  • breast enhancement or reduction
  • rhinoplasty ('nose jobs')
  • liposuction and fat transfer operations
  • tummy tucks
  • face, neck lifts and brow lifts
  • ear corrections
  • eyelid surgery
  • Botox injections

GP negligence

You may be able to claim if a GP has negligently failed to refer you for further tests (in particular cancer diagnosis), or made out an incorrect prescription.

Hospital neglect

Typical hospital neglect claims include where a patient has been dehydrated or malnourished, or has been injured as the result of an untreated blood clot or pressure sore.

Claims can also arise in cases of hospital-contracted infections such as MRSA.

Misdiagnosis

If you have been harmed as the result of a negligent misdiagnosis, a compensation claim may be possible. You may also claim compensation if symptoms or injuries have worsened as the result of a misdiagnosis.

Orthopaedic negligence

If a doctor has failed to recommend necessary surgery following a fracture or broken bone, or misinterpreted an X-ray leading to incorrect treatment, you may be able to claim compensation.

You could also claim for injuries arising from hip or knee replacements, surgery to the arms and hands, or surgery to the legs and feet.

Prescription error

You may be able to claim following a negligent prescription error that causes a harmful reaction, allergic response, or other adverse effects.

Surgical errors

Negligence during surgery involving surgeons, anaesthetists or other medical professionals can lead to a claim.

Citations

Source: (reviewed: 11/12/2023)

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

Author:
Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor