Medical negligence – also known as clinical negligence – happens when care is below normal standard and leads to physical, emotional, or mental harm. This can be things like misdiagnosis, wrongly prescribed medication, surgical errors, and neglect.
No one deserves to suffer from medical negligence, and the results can be life-changing. Whether the practitioner is part of the NHS or a private healthcare provider, you can make a medical negligence claim for yourself, or your next of kin if they are under 18, incapacitated, or deceased.
Filing for medical negligence can be complex, and we cover each step in detail below, but the basics are:
- Gather all information
- Contact a solicitor
- Build a medical and legal case
- Send a Letter of Claim
- Reach a settlement
First4Lawyers are experts in medical negligence law, with experienced solicitors available who understand the trauma you and loved ones might be going through.
It’s always recommended you speak to an expert before taking a claim to court, as they can explain your options and act on your behalf when necessary.
You can request a callback at the top of the screen and we’ll look at whether you can file a medical negligence claim on a No Win No Fee basis. Or you can fill out our claim form.
1. Gather all important information
The information you give about the medical negligence case is the most vital part of a claim. When you realise you’ve been a victim of clinical negligence, you should write a record of how you’ve been affected.
Include times, dates and names of anyone involved. Try to remain impartial and stick to the facts. If there are any supporting or relevant documents, like letters or transcripts, collect them and keep them together.
2. Contact a solicitor
Because it’s a complex legal process, it’s unlikely you can file a medical negligence case on your own. Once you’ve gathered all the information, you may want to contact a solicitor who can investigate your case.
They will review the information and explain whether they think you can file for a medical negligence claim. They may also access your medical records for a full overview of the issue you’re facing.
At First4Lawyers, our solicitors operate medical negligence cases on a No Win No Fee basis. This means if you lose the claim, you won’t have to pay a penny. We’ll also tell you honestly if we don’t believe you have a viable case.
3. Medical and legal case building
Once you’ve started a claim, your solicitor will build your case with help from a medical expert who can impartially review your situation.
They’ll look at the treatment you were given before and after the incident, at whether the medical negligence directly caused any illness or injury, and explore what your recovery is expected to be, including ongoing treatment, support and equipment you may require.
The legal team may gather witness statements from relevant parties, including members of your family.
4. Letter of claim
Once the medical expert and your solicitor have enough information, your solicitor will write a Letter of Claim.
This letter is designed to outline the claim, and will include details about the allegations that form the basis of the claim and indicate how much value the claim should cover. It will be sent to the defendant who will then have two options:
- Accept the claim and arrange a settlement
- Refuse to accept the claim, and go to court
5. Reaching a settlement
If your claim is accepted – A settlement will be arranged. The defendant has up to four months to make a decision, and they will either agree to the amount outlined in the Letter of Claim, or negotiate with your solicitor for an alternative agreement.
This route means you can avoid the stress of going to court. Your solicitor will advise you on the best claim to settle for, though the ultimate decision is up to you.
If your claim is refused – You have the option of going to court. This can happen when the defendant either refuses to agree there was medical negligence, or when they refuse to reach a settlement.
Each court case is unique, and if your case goes to court your solicitor will advise you every step of the way.
Is there a time limit on making medical negligence claims?
There are legal time limits for claiming for medical negligence. In most cases, claims must be filed within three years of the incident taking place, or when you realised there was an issue. There are some exceptions:
- Children – People under the age of 18 aren’t subject to the time limit until they reach their 18th birthday.
- Incapacitated person – If the person who you’re claiming for is mentally disabled, the time limit doesn’t apply unless they recover from the disability.
If you feel you or someone you love has been a victim of medical negligence, First4Lawyers can provide you with expert legal advice to assess your claim on a No Win No Fee basis in many cases. Contact us today or request a free call back to discuss your case with a professional.
Note: First4Lawyers offers this information as guidance, not advice. Before taking any action, you should seek professional assistance tailored to your personal circumstances and not rely on First4Lawyers’ online information alone.