Elements of a Successful Medical Negligence Claim
Many different types of negligence can result in a compensation claim.
This article will focus on Medical Negligence Claims. In cases where the medical advice or treatment given falls below an acceptable standard then a claim for medical negligence compensation could arise.
What Is Medical Negligence?
As explained in our article ‘7 Things You Need to Know About Making a Medical Negligence Claim’, in order to make a successful medical negligence claim you need to establish three core elements which relate to the Medical Practitioner that provided the advice or care:
- Was a duty of care owed?
- If so, was there a breach of duty?
- Did breach cause the injury?
1. Duty of Care
All doctors and healthcare professionals owe a duty of care to their patients which means that they must exercise their legal obligation to carry out reasonable care when carrying out their professional duties.
2. Breach of Duty of Care
The second element in making a successful medical negligence claim is to establish a breach of the duty of care.
Expert evidence is obtained to establish that the medical treatment given to you fell below an acceptable standard. This means that the standard of care provided fell below a level normally expected of a doctor or other healthcare professional.
If it can be proved that the doctor or healthcare professional was in breach of his or her duty of care, the third element is to prove that it is likely that the medical practitioner’s breach of duty caused your injury or significantly contributed to it.
While it may be easy to prove that a doctor breached his duty of care, it can be more difficult to show that the actions or advice actually caused your injuries and even more difficult to establish the extent of those injuries. You must remember that you will probably have been receiving treatment for a pre-existing illness or injury.
Other Elements of a Successful Medical Negligence Claim
If breach of duty and causation is established, the next stage is to quantify the claim for compensation (damages). This will include compensation arising from your injury such as compensation for pain, suffering and loss of amenity as well as past and future financial losses such as earnings, the cost of past and future care, home adaptations and specialist equipment.
There is a statutory time limit of three years for bringing a medical negligence claim, this will commence either:
- From the date of breach of duty
- From the ‘date of knowledge” when you reasonably should have realised you suffered an injury as a result of the breach of duty
- Where the Claimant is under 18 years old at the time of the breach of duty, the three year period starts on the Claimant’s 18th birthday which means proceedings must be issued on or before their 21st
- If the Claimant lacks mental capacity there is no limitation on bringing a claim
Osborne Morris & Morgan are a nationally recognised leading medical negligence firm, having successfully recovered more than £143 million in medical negligence damages since 2001.
If you have suffered as a result of medical negligence, and would like to investigate making a claim for compensation, call us now on 01525 887565.
This service is free and you are under no obligation to claim with us.