Bringing A Clinical Negligence Case Is Not A Quick Decision

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Clinical negligence is distressing for anyone who knows what it means first hand; the standard of care given by a medical professional has fallen below that reasonably expected. Making a compensation claim can be stressful, too. This article aims to clarify what it means and how to start your claim.

Legal Proceedings

As the Court is unable to force a hospital or other medical establishment to alter their standard working practices, nor can it discipline individuals, the only successful outcome in these cases for the claimant is a damages payout. If you are looking for an apology for your treatment, there are other avenues to pursue.

Proving negligence can be difficult because treatment is often subjective with several accepted methods. Just because another doctor might have done something differently does not necessarily prove negligence, although clinical negligence law firms will be able to advise.

Speak To An Expert

As with all aspects of law, there are specialist in clinical negligence law firms that will offer advice and, if appropriate, take on your claim for compensation. The Law Society has a list of experts in your area and many firms now offer a free initial consultation to give you an idea of whether or not you have a claim.

Information You Will Need To Provide

There are four things you will need to prove:

  • Duty of Care. Perhaps the easiest to prove, that the doctor or healthcare professional looking after you as the patient had a duty of care whilst you were undergoing treatment.
  • Breach of Duty. It must be demonstrated that the doctor failed in his duty of care and that treatment fell below the standard reasonably expected. It is also required to demonstrate that any medical opinion used to support a defendant doctor is itself reasonable.
  • Causation of Injury. A claimant must be able to prove that the injuries sustained were as a result of the professional’snegligence. It can be difficult to prove without doubt because even if there is enough evidence that a doctor did something wrong, there might not be enough to show beyond doubt that this caused the claimant’s injury. On occasion, there might be an admission of breach of duty, but that alone does not prove that this is what caused the injury.
  • Burden of Proof. In negligence cases, this means that the patient, (or by now the claimant) must prove that negligenceoccurred, rather than the defendant having to prove their innocence.

A Claim Is Not Always Possible

There will be instances when a claim is not possible, such as:
1. More than three years after the event
2. Negligence did not cause the damage
3. Another professional would have acted the same way
4. If you are just unhappy with the treatment, a formal complaint is required
5. Your own actions were the cause of the injury

Do not enter into a claim lightly. It will be complicated, stressful, costly and lengthy. You will probably have to go over the incident time and again, which could be very upsetting. If you do decide to pursue, make sure you get an expert clinical negligence solicitor on your case as soon as possible.

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