How do I file a claim for medical negligence?
Published Mon, Jan 21, 2013 Updated Tue, Feb 16, 2021
Every year there are thousands of cases of medical negligence in the UK, so if you have received substandard treatment from a doctor, you are certainly not alone. Clinical negligence happens when you receive any kind of medical treatment that actually deteriorates your health rather than improving it. It can be an overwhelming and frustrating experience for many patients, so to help mitigate the circumstances, here’s a checklist of what you should do to file a claim.
1. Seek corrective treatment
The legal matters tied to your negligence claim should be sorted out promptly, but not at the cost of your health. If you have received a detrimental treatment, make sure to see a second doctor so that you can begin the process of recovery, if possible. You can later file a medical negligence claim for special damages to get reimbursed for the money you spend on the treatment. But if you put it off, it may become too late for any possibility of reversing the damage.
2. File a complaint with the hospital and with NHS
You should always file a complaint with the facility where you were subjected to medical negligence. And if you were treated in a public facility, you should also file a complaint with the NHS. Try to do these two things as soon as possible because you will want to remember all of the details of your treatment. Also, if you’re not sure what to do next, the NHS can put you in contact with its branch of Patient Advisory and Liaison Services, which provide counseling to patients who have experienced medical negligence.
3. Obtain a copy of your records from the hospital or clinic
When you decide to file for medical negligence, it will help if you have a written record of the treatments you received as well as a timeline of when you received them. For this reason, one of the most important steps you can take is to obtain these records from your facility. If it is a public hospital or clinic, it is required by law to provide you with a copy.
4. Search for a solicitor to help you with court proceedings
A good solicitor will know the ins and outs of negligence claims, including the different kinds of claims you can file. He or she can advise you on whether your case is eligible to receive compensation in the form of interest payments, special damages or general damages.
5. Make sure you adhere to the deadlines
Patients who are legal adults have up to three years from the time of the incident to file a negligence claim. And for patients who were underage at the time of the negligence, there is a three-year statutory limit starting at the time of his or her 18th birthday. While you have plenty of time to start your claim, it’s important to not wait until the last minute. This will give you time to handle any unexpected obstacles and to find the right solicitor for your case.