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Medical Negligence Claims Explained

Feb 7, 2008
Making a claim for medical negligence is the kind of thing that everyone imagines will be complicated. Day time TV adverts may well offer 'no win, no fee,' but few seem to mention 'no fuss.' But the process is not as horrific as you may envisage. Claims solicitors are very experienced at dealing with clients who have little idea of the practicalities of making a claim.

Following an initial consultation, it is often necessary to meet with your solicitor only occasionally. Most queries can be dealt with over the phone, or by post, allowing you to sit back and get on with your recovery. Appearances in court may seem intimidating but your solicitor will help to put you at ease. In any case, many claims do not actually make it to court because insurance companies agree to a settlement beforehand.

Many people who are victims of medical negligence need extra care, or suffer a loss of earnings from time missed at work. These costs mount up, and it is important that they are recovered. Do not miss out on compensation that can help your recovery because you are uninformed, or nervous about the system.

So what do you need to prove to be able to make a claim of medical negligence? There are three basic requirements for the claimant in all compensation claims.

Firstly, you need to have someone to claim from. This will not always be the doctor who treated you, but often the trust they were working for or another organization responsible for them. Your solicitor will be able to advise you of the most appropriate body. Health care providers have liability insurance, and in many instances the end result of a medical negligence claim is a settlement with the insurance company.

Secondly, you need to have medical documentation of your injuries. Obviously, in the cases of clinical injuries this is usually more straight-forward to obtain. Compensation is awarded according to the degree of injury and the treatment required. It is not a punishment for the person at fault but reparation for the costs you have incurred. So, serious injuries that require extensive treatment and recovery time receive the most compensation.

Thirdly, you need evidence that the injury actually occurred. This is hardly ever an issue with medical negligence claims where official reports are submitted at the time of the incident. But it is far easier to investigate claims when evidence is still fresh, so try to consult a solicitor as soon as possible.

In the case of medical negligence claims it is also necessary to prove that the standard of care fell below what would be expected, and that it was this negligence that caused the injuries. This is usually done by assessing the natural development of the illness, and the expected results if the correct treatment had been given. This is then compared to your situation to determine the extent of your suffering.

Making a medical negligence claim is a simple as ticking the four boxes above, and solicitors will help to make the process as straight-forward as possible. Many practices offer free consultations, and is well worth talking to somebody if your medical care has fallen below the standards you expected.
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