If you or a loved one has been injured as a direct result of a medical surgery or treatment, filing a clinical negligence claim may be warranted. Prior to filing a claim, it is essential to have a brief understanding of the definition of clinical negligence, the various types, and a general overview of the process. Having a basic understanding of clinical negligence will enable you to make informed decisions about how to proceed.
What is Clinical Negligence?
Clinical negligence, also known as medical negligence is a classification for situations in which a doctor or health care provider acted irresponsibly, resulting in unnecessary harm or injury. Put simply, an unreasonable action carried out by a doctor caused significant harm to a patient. After clinical negligence has been established, a claim can be filed to hold the health care provider liable for their actions and to get compensation.
Compensation can cover general damages and special damages. The compensation for general damages is a calculation of how much the patient has suffered due to the negligence. The calculation includes the severity of the injury as well as how it has impacted their life. Special damages are related to out of pocket expenses due to the injury. They may include medications, medical treatment expenses, and loss of earnings. In order for claims to be properly supported, there are certain criteria that must be met.
In clinical negligence cases, it is the duty of the party filing the claim to prove two points. First, they have to show without a doubt that the provider acted irresponsibly and inconsistent with how a reasonable provider would have responded. Second, they have to show that the harm or injury is a direct result of the doctor’s action. It’s important to understand that both points of the case have to be shown. A common misconception is that one point is sufficient to win a clinical negligence case. Contrary to popular belief, the two points are directly related to each other, therefore, showing that the injury would not have occurred without the doctor’s unreasonable actions is essential.
What Are the Different Types of Clinical Negligence?
As you can imagine, there are many different types of clinical negligence and such cases are not just limited to doctors or medical providers. Dentists can also be held liable. The different types of cases depend on the specific injury or treatment being utilised at the time of the incident.
A common claim is for birth injuries. Birth injuries can happen during or after labour and delivery. Such injuries can result in lifelong problems. One of the most common birth injuries is delayed birth or labour that lasts for an extended time period, causing significant risk to the baby’s well-being. There are other birth injuries including equipment-related birth injuries related to the use of forceps and vacuum extraction.
Similarly, there are claims for cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a brain injury that significantly impacts a patient’s fine and gross motor skills and use of limbs. Cerebral palsy may also influence a patient’s intellectual capacity as well. There is a wide range of outcomes in patients with cerebral palsy but upon diagnosis, some parents recognise that the cause may have been due to negligence. If so, a reputable attorney can provide the necessary assistance needed to file a claim.
Different types of medical negligence claims have different rules. For most medical negligence cases, claims need to be filed no later than three years after the date of the incident. Once three years has passed, the case cannot be filed. On the other hand, for medical negligence cases involving children, the three-year restriction does not apply. The only restriction with cases involving children is that they must be filed by the time youth are eighteen years of age.
There are many other types of clinical negligence cases related to medical treatments including misdiagnosis, gynaecological, and meningitis. Cases related to surgeries are also applicable.
Of note, not all clinical negligence cases are medically related. For example, clinical negligence cases can also be filed against dentists as well. Dentists who provide unnecessary treatments that have caused damage can also be held liable for their actions. Specifically, improper or unnecessary extractions and other dental procedures that resulted in injury can be claimed.
In sum, there is a type of clinical negligence claim for various treatments and procedures. Clinical negligence is not limited to medical providers. As long as the two main points can be shown, a claim is warranted. Upon gaining an understanding of the definition of clinical negligence and the different types of cases, it’s helpful to have an overview of the process.
What is the Process for Clinical Negligence Claims?
The first step is consulting with reputable clinical negligence compensation solicitors. Typically, a free consultation is offered as an opportunity to receive guidance and advice on how to proceed. During the consultation, funding may be discussed to determine how the claim will be covered. Depending on the type of claim, there are different options available. For example, for certain brain injuries, clients can be represented by a Legal Aid Certificate. There are also conditional fee agreements in which claimants do not have to pay for legal expenses if the case is not won. Insurance may also take care of the expense if the policy was active during the time of the incident.
After it has been decided that a claim will be filed, the solicitors will begin collecting evidence to support the case. Evidence may include medical records and expert statements. Fortunately, there is plenty of guidance offered during this process.
Once the claim has been made, the next step is to wait patiently and see what happens. Some claims go to court whilst others are settled outside of court. Being in the hands of reputable professionals helps make the process easier and smoother.
Ultimately, if an injury has occurred due to negligent acts by a health care provider, compensation may be warranted. Consulting with a firm can help determine the next steps moving forward.