Introduction to Accident and Emergency (A&E) claims
In the UK, over 1.75 million people a month attend Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments with serious, or life-threatening, illnesses and injuries.
In the majority of cases, the care and treatment of emergency patients in A&E is exemplary. However, the often frenetic A&E environment can sometimes result in errors, and delays in urgently needed treatment.
Errors and delays in A&E care can be the cause of personal injury to patients, and can result in a medical negligence compensation claim.
Causes of A&E personal injury
Personal injury to patients in Accident and Emergency departments can be caused by a number of factors, including:
- Missed fractures and tendon injuries
- Misdiagnosis of hearts attacks, meningitis and sepsis
- Failures in the management of treatment for back injuries and head injuries
A&E negligence investigations have found the most frequent causes of A&E patient injury result from:
- Failure to obtain a patient's full medical history (where feasible)
- Inadequate patient examination and medical investigation (such as, x-rays, blood tests)
- Inaccuracies in reporting of test results
- Failure to refer on to a specialist consultant or department
- Delays in receiving treatment
- Injuries sustained while being moved or transported within the A&E department
- Sending patients home inappropriately early or with inadequate advice (such as, what to do if symptoms continue)
Failures in standards of A&E care are a breach of the legal duty of care owed to patients. A personal injury compensation claim may be made if injury has been sustained by a patient during A&E care or treatment.
A&E department negligence injuries
The impact of injuries caused to A&E patients by delays, errors and accidents within the A&E department can be severe. A&E claim injuries have included:
- Failure to diagnose the onset of cauda equine syndrome in spinal injury patients, resulting in lower body paralysis and impaired lower body functions
- Failure to identify and remove foreign bodies in the eye, resulting in total loss of sight
The Claimant's solicitor must prove that the Claimant's injury was a direct result of the negligence of relevant A&E medical staff, or inadequate A&E procedures.
Making an A&E compensation claim
Your A&E claim must be made within the statutory three year time limit.
For immediately obvious injury, the time limit is three years from the date of the A&E error or accident. For injuries which do not present symptoms immediately, the time limit is three years from the date the Claimant has knowledge of the injury.
A&E claim compensation settlements
Your solicitor will assess the settlement value of your claim, based on the severity of your injuries, and any permanent or on-going impairment.
The Court can award personal injury compensation for:
- Costs of medical treatment
- Personal pain and suffering
- Loss of amenity - meaning personal and social adjustments resulting from the injury
- Loss of earnings, including future earnings
- Expenses associated with the injury, such as hiring taxis to hospital, or making home alterations to accommodate the injury
In cases of acute injury, such as severe spinal injury, the Court may award an interim payment, prior to the final settlement amount being agreed.
No Win, No Fee arrangements with A&E negligence compensation claims
No Win, No Fee agreements, also called Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs), comprise a key part of most personal injury claims.
The CFA details the service your solicitor will deliver, and crucially, the "success fee". The "success fee" will be the percentage to be taken from your damages once your claim is won.
You can prioritise your recovery, with the knowledge that that there is nothing to pay at the outset. You have no hidden charges when choosing a a Quittance injury-specialist solicitor.
How to proceed
Before you choose to instruct your solicitor, arm yourself with information about the process. The right information helps you make the best decision for your future.
If you need more information before phoning, see our FAQ pages.
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Ready to start?
Call an injury claims expert on 0800 612 7456 or 0333 344 6575 to make a claim, or you can begin the claim for compensation online.
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Talk to a member of our team to discuss your claim. Request a no-obligation callback or call 0800 612 7456.