Medical Negligence Compensation Claims

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by medical negligence, we can help.

If your injuries were caused by the negligence of a doctor, nurse, midwife or other medical professional, you may be entitled to claim compensation.

Claiming injury compensation with a solicitor

You can make a compensation claim with the help and support of a specialist clinical negligence 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.

In this article

What is clinical negligence?

Clinical negligence (also referred to 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.

How does the NHS define clinical negligence?

The NHS defines clinical negligence as:

'a breach of duty of care by members of the healthcare professions employed by NHS bodies or by others consequent on decisions or judgements made by members of those professions acting in their professional capacity in the course of their employment, and which are admitted as negligent by the employer or are determined as such through the legal process'

(source: nhsla.com)

Do I have an injury claim?

Medical negligence claims differ from personal injury claims as the following will need to be established:

  • there was a breach of duty ("negligence" or "fault"); and
  • the breach of duty was the cause of your injury, damage or loss ("causation" or "avoidable harm").

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.

Causation

To establish causation, it will need to be demonstrated that the injury you suffered resulted from the negligent care rather than the underlying condition.

Check my claim online

Get an impartial opinion

To get impartial advice on whether you have a claim, speak to an injury 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.

Is compensation always payable?

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.

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 complaints 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 complaints procedure for the NHS or private healthcare provider.

See contact details for formal healthcare complaints:

What if the healthcare provider accepts that there has been negligence?

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 much compensation can I claim for an injury?

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.

This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

General damages

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

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

Special damages

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after an injury? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

What is the average injury compensation for an injury claim?

The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.

However, the money you would receive following an injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life and your ability to work, and on the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

Can I claim for physiotherapy and private care costs?

Private treatment can be expensive, but funding towards the cost of this treatment frequently comprises part of a compensation award. Your solicitor may even be able to arrange access to private medical care as soon as your claim is accepted.

Will I have to pay tax on my medical negligence compensation?

If you receive financial compensation following a medical negligence injury, specific legislation ensures that you do not have to pay tax on it. This is the case no matter whether the compensation is received as a lump sum or as staggered payments.

Calculate my injury compensation

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an injury can be complicated.

Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.

Find out what your injury claim could be worth now:

Calculate my claim

How long does a clinical and medical negligence claim take?

The length of time needed to secure compensation for a clinical and medical negligence can vary considerably.

A straightforward liability accepted medical negligence claim could be settled in 12 to 24 months. If liability is denied, it could take considerably longer. Usually, a medical negligence claim should take 12 to 36 months. To read more about how long your claim could take, see: How long will my claim take?

How else can a solicitor help me?

Your solicitor will handle your injury claim from the initial FREE case evaluation, through to the financial settlement.

Your solicitor will work with other specialists to provide caring and sensitive support and help you with:

  • Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
  • Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
  • Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
  • Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. Solicitors settle the vast majority of claims out of court.

Less than 5% of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.

Cases that do ultimately go to court are decided by a judge or magistrate, not a jury.

Even if the claim does go to court, it is very unlikely you will have to attend.

Read more:

Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

No win, no fee, no risk

'No win, no fee' means that if you do not win your injury claim, you won't have to pay any legal fees. Known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA', no win, no fee is a contract between you and your solicitor.

No win, no fee promise

If you have been injured and it was not your fault, we can help you make a no win, no fee injury compensation claim.

What do I pay if I win my injury claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, once your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my injury claim?

If your injury claim is not successful then you will not have to pay any fees. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

What is Legal Aid available for?

In 2000, the government abolished the right to legal aid in medical negligence cases. Depending on an individual's circumstances, Legal Aid may be available for discrimination cases, criminal cases, family mediation and court or tribunal representation.

How we can help you

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 injury claims.

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

  • 8am to 9pm weekdays
  • 9am to 6pm on Saturday
  • 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday

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

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Injury 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.

Read more:

Claiming on behalf of another person.

Will I have to visit a solicitor's office to start a claim?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. Personal injury claims are handled by email, post and phone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more:

Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

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:

How to I get an interim 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.

Read more about A&E negligence claims

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

Read more about cosmetic surgery compensation

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.

Read more about GP negligence claims

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.

Read more about hospital negligence claims

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.

Read more about misdiagnosis claims

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.

Read more about orthopaedic injury claims

Prescription error

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

Read more about prescription error claims

Surgical errors

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

Read more about surgical negligence claims

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

Author:
Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor