Medical malpractice is something that can have devastating consequences, ranging from injury or disfigurement through to long-term impairment or even death. Because it is such a serious matter, as you might expect, there are specialist lawyers who deal with medical negligence claims and help people who have been the victim of sub-standard medical care and have suffered as a result get the compensation they need or deserve.
But just what kind of cases do medical negligence solicitors UK usually deal with, and how should you proceed if you believe you may be entitled to compensation for something that has happened to you or a loved one as a result of medical negligence?
What Is The Definition of A Medical Negligence Claim?
For a medical negligence claim to be successful, it has to be shown that the claimant has suffered some form of ill effect or injury and that this was as a result of treatment that was below the accepted standards. This, as you might imagine, is quite vague, and so a lot of things can count as medical negligence, though for a case to be a success in terms of winning compensation, it will have to be shown that the medical practitioner the claim is raised against – which can be an individual, a clinic or practice, or even the NHS – was at fault.
What Are Some of The Common Reasons For Medical Negligence Claims in the UK?
There are a lot of different things people claim for, and some cases that medical negligence solicitors see are completely unique. For this reason, approaching firms like The Medical Negligence Experts who provide free over the phone advice could help you come to a conclusion as to whether you have a claim, if you are struggling to fit your situation into a specific category.
However, there are some especially common types of malpractice or medical negligence claims which include:
- Missed or incorrect diagnoses. While not all diagnoses made by doctors can be accurate due to the nature of medicine itself, if a diagnosis was missed during tests that would normally spot it, or someone is diagnosed incorrectly as a result of not being tested according to the usual protocols, this can be a source of claims. Another situation could be where someone had a false positive for a condition and was given treatment without further testing being done.
- Mistakes during surgery. Some of the most serious medical malpractice claims are from people who have had surgery that has been botched, or where errors lead to things like surgical tools being left inside their bodies, requiring further surgery to remove them, or even in some rare cases, the wrong surgery being performed on the wrong patient.
- Pregnancy-related negligence. Some issues arising during pregnancy or childbirth that could have been avoided if the mother had been given the expected standard of care can lead to negligence claims. This usually happens if the child is affected negatively (for instance, with conditions like cerebral palsy), if there is a wrongful birth, or the mother suffers a significant injury.
- Prescription errors. Another common source of medical negligence claims is where someone has been prescribed the wrong medicine, an incorrect dosage, or a medicine that they are known to be allergic to.
This list doesn’t cover every type of situation medical negligence lawyers work with, but it gives you a good idea of the most frequent types of claim.
What Steps Should You Take If You Think You Might Have A Claim?
If you believe you have a medical malpractice claim, then the most important thing you can do is keep records of everything that has happened in relation to your treatment. You will need to be able to show the dates that things happened, the people involved, and the results of any assessments you have had since the effects of the negligence manifested themselves. You will also need to have copies of things like prescriptions where relevant. The more information you can give to your medical negligence solicitors from the start, the better.
With regard to talking to medical malpractice lawyers, most good firms offer a free consultation where they can talk about your case with you and give you an idea of whether or not you have what seems to be a good claim for compensation. In a lot of cases, they will be able to tell you if they are willing to represent you straight away, but sometimes they may need to go away and do some investigation first. In either case, you can, of course, talk to other solicitors if you are not happy with the answer you get.
Many of the best medical negligence solicitors are available to represent strong claims on a no win, no fee basis, which can be the preferable option if you can’t afford to pay for legal costs at the start of your claim.
If you believe you have a case you want to pursue, then the first step is to contact lawyers in your area as soon as possible.