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.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered A&E negligence and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.
In our guide to claiming
A&E negligence compensation:
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.
Do I have an A&E negligence 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.
To establish causation, it will need to be demonstrated that the injury you suffered resulted from the negligent care rather than the underlying condition.
Get an impartial opinion
To get impartial advice on whether you have a claim, speak to an A&E negligence 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.
No win, no fee, no risk
No win, no fee removes the risk from making an A&E negligence claim. If your claim is unsuccessful, you won't have to pay your solicitor any legal fees.
Our no win, no fee promise
If you have been injured and someone else was to blame (even partially), our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of making an A&E negligence injury compensation claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my A&E negligence 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 A&E negligence claim?
If your A&E negligence claim is not successful then you won't have to pay your solicitor any fees. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.
Can I get Legal Aid?
Legal aid is no longer available when making a personal injury claim, but a Conditional Fee Agreement (No Win, No Fee) can reduce the financial risks of making a claim.
How can Quittance help?
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.
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, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.
Call us FREE 0800 376 1001 or arrange a callback:
if you can claim
to start a claim
A&E 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.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.
Only a very small percentage (approx. 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 held in front of a judge, not a jury.
Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?
No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.
Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.
Can I get an early compensation payment?
If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.
An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.
Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor
About the author
Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.