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Suffered from medical malpractice?
Any medical professional owes their patients a duty of care. This means that they must provide a standard of care that is acceptable amongst members of their profession. If the standard has dropped beneath what is reasonable, your treatment provider may have breached their duty of care. Any claim in this regard is termed as clinical negligence.
There are many types of clinical negligence. For example:
- Poorly performed surgery
- Delay in diagnosis leading to a less positive prognosis or prolonged recovery
- Failure to diagnose
- Prescribing of the wrong medication
- Incorrect or inappropriate treatment
- Poor assistance during childbirth resulting in either the mother or the baby being injured
- Failing to obtain consent to treatment
- Failing to warn about the risks of a particular treatment
If you think you have suffered from clinical negligence, it is important that you obtain specialist legal advice. Generally the time limit for bringing legal proceedings is three years, although it can be longer under certain circumstances as follows:
- For children, the clock starts ticking from their eighteenth birthday
- For those unable to administer their own affairs due to mental health issues or lack of capacity, the time limit does not start until they regain capacity
- When the negligence results in death, from the date of death or from the date of the deceased’s personal representative’s knowledge, whichever is the later.
If possible, it is always sensible to see a solicitor well in advance of the end of the three year period: memories are fresh, documentation will still be in existence and easy to access, and it gives the solicitor more time to investigate your case and make your claim as strong as possible.
We would advise that first of all you make a complaint in your own name to the healthcare professional. A solicitor can give you advice on the wording and content of the letter. Use of a complaints procedure can be helpful of eliciting further information so you can decide as to whether you should embark on a formal legal claim.
In order to succeed in your claim, you need to provide evidence that there has been a breach of the duty of care, and that secondly that that breach of duty resulted in an injury to you. Such evidence is usually obtained in the form of a medical report obtained from an independent expert who will base their opinion upon your statement, your medical records and any other relevant documentation. The medical report needs to be supportive for your claim to succeed.
You can claim damages for your injuries, both physical and psychological, loss of amenity, and for financial losses, both past and future.
Most cases do settle without the need to end up in a court room. This is beneficial to both parties in terms of time and cost, and can often avoid any adverse publicity for the healthcare professional.