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Medical Negligence

Can I sue the NHS?

Estimated read time: 4 mins

Carrie Tennick, October 25, 2019

The NHS is a well-loved and respected institution in the UK. It works to help us when we’re unwell and generally does a good job of it.

However, there are times when the cracks show and certain people don’t receive the treatment they should. If this sort of medical negligence has happened to you, you will likely be wondering whether you can sue the NHS.

How do I know whether I can sue the NHS?

You’ll need to know whether you have enough grounds for a medical negligence claim against the NHS or just enough to make a complaint.

According to NHS Resolution: “If the treatment you received fell below a minimum standard of competence and you suffered an injury as a result, and it is more likely than not that the injury could have been avoided or less severe with proper treatment, then you may be able to take legal action for compensation.”

The body, which is responsible for managing claims against the NHS, also advises that “you will need to show both ‘breach of duty of care’ and ‘causation’ has taken place”. In other words, if you can prove that negligence was shown in your treatment, you could be able to make a claim against the NHS.

What is medical negligence?

If a medical professional makes an avoidable mistake and causes harm to you, this is medical negligence. If they have breached their duty of care to you, injuring you or worsening your original medical condition, this can be considered medical negligence. The healthcare provider must have acted in a way that did not meet acceptable professional standards.

Medical negligence can take multiple forms, including:

  • Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
  • Hospital negligence
  • Birth injury compensation claims
  • Nerve damage
  • Needlestick injuries

How can I sue the NHS?

When you want to make a claim against the NHS, it’s vital to collect your evidence. This will help you to present the strongest case possible. Collate your medical records and any other information that may be relevant to your claim.

Once you have your evidence together, you will need a solicitor to help you proceed. First4Lawyers can help by putting you in touch with one of our experienced specialist solicitors. They will then take on the management of your claim.

It is then up to them to communicate with the defendant, working to secure you a settlement that will help you get back on your feet.

See our guide to how to sue the NHS for more information on making a claim.

Can I sue the NHS for dental claims?

Yes, if you have visited an NHS dentist who has caused you harm, you could be able to make a dental claim for compensation.

You may have suffered from damage to your teeth, dental nerve damage, misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis and substandard work. If this has affected you, you should take legal advice as you may be able to claim compensation, which could help you overcome the distress of poor dental treatment.

Can I sue the NHS after the medical negligence claim time limit?

In the majority of medical negligence cases, there a three-year time limit from the date of the negligence or the date you discovered it. However, there are some exceptions to the rule.

For example, if a child suffered from medical negligence, they will have three years from their 18th birthday to make a claim. Meanwhile, if you are claiming on behalf of someone who lacks the mental capacity to make a claim for themselves, there is usually no time limit.

Despite these exceptions, it is advisable to start the claims process as soon as possible when you find out what has happened to you.

Beginning as soon as possible will help you submit your claim within the time limit. It also means that the details of what happened are clearer in your mind – as well as in the minds of any witnesses or other people involved.

What should I do next?

If you’ve been affected by NHS negligence, the first thing to do is make sure you are looking after your health. This is the most important thing so it is vital you find the care you need to get yourself back on the right track.

You should then contact First4Lawyers. Our team of friendly and compassionate advisors will help you work out what the best course of action for you is. To get in touch, just give us a call, request a call back or start your claim online.

Medical negligence is a traumatic experience, but you don’t have to go through it alone.