A&E Negligence Compensation Claims

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by A&E 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

Introduction

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 result in avoidable harm, leading to 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.

Can I make an a&e negligence claim right up to the three-year limit?

Technically, yes. However, in practice, not always. Many solicitors will not take on an a&e negligence claim that only has a few months (sometimes even a year) left before the time limit expires. The panel of solicitors will take a claim on as late as possible where it is felt that the claim could be successful.

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

Author:
Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor