Can I claim for Medical or Clinical Negligence?

Medical treatment in the UK is generally of a high standard. But when mistakes happen, the consequences can often be extremely serious.

Medical negligence can range from substandard surgery to a missed diagnosis, whether the treatment was on the NHS or private.

If you require further information or wish to discuss a possible claim, please contact one of our medical negligence solicitors without obligation on 0800 980 9390 or complete our contact form and we’ll be in touch.

To recover damages it’s necessary to prove that the medical treatment or care provided fell below the standard of a reasonably competent medical professional and that it was this treatment that caused the injury or loss.

Medical negligence claims can be complex. A doctor or other healthcare professional may not have been negligent if a responsible body of medical opinion, albeit a minority one, would have provided similar treatment. An unsatisfactory result or errors of judgment may not always, therefore, amount to negligence.

The issue of medical causation in clinical negligence claims is very important and can be notoriously difficult. The situation will often be complicated by the presence of an underlying illness or injury or pre-existing vulnerabilities.  It’s essential that your solicitor has experience in clinical negligence and that the right medical experts are used to support your claim.

We’ve successfully acted for clients in a wide range of clinical negligence claims, recovering many millions of pounds.

We offer free initial advice free of charge and without obligation and will act on a No Win, No Fee basis.

Missed or Undiagnosed Fractures

Sometimes fractures are missed on x-rays or x-rays are not taken and a patient is diagnosed with a soft tissue injury instead and sent home.

Not all missed fractures will result in a clinical negligence claim, particularly if the fracture is picked up at a later appointment and can be properly treated at that stage. However, sometimes a missed fracture can have serious consequences with unnecessary pain and suffering and the need for more complicated treatment and sometimes resulting in long-term disability

Negligent Surgery

Most surgical procedures are carried out to a high standard. Occasionally, however, mistakes are made due to poor technique from the surgeon or other clinicians involved, or the use of inappropriate equipment or components.  Occasionally the risks of surgery are not properly explained or there is a failure to obtain the patient’s consent.

Cerebral Palsy

Most cerebral palsy cases are not due to clinical negligence, but some are due to the mismanagement of a baby’s birth, resulting in oxygen starvation and brain damage. Macks have successfully dealt with several cerebral palsy cases that have resulted in multi-million-pound compensation awards.

Cancer

A failure to diagnose cancer by a medical practitioner can have devastating results. Some forms of cancer require early treatment and a failure or delay in diagnosis can result in considerable pain and suffering, reduced life expectancy or death.

GP Negligence

A GP is usually the first port of call when a patient becomes ill. They are not specialists but are usually able to diagnose and treat basic illnesses, failing which further investigations should be carried out or a referral should be made to a hospital or specialist centre. A GP’s failure to diagnose a condition, or giving an incorrect diagnosis, can have severe consequences, with the patient failing to receive the treatment required in time or at all.

Medication Mistakes

Serious problems can arise when a doctor or a pharmacist makes a mistake with a patient’s medication.  When prescribing or dispensing medication, the wrong amount or the wrong type of medication can result in severe consequences. Medication often requires strict compliance with the manufacturer’s guidelines and it is, therefore, essential that doctors take the greatest of care.

Mistakes can include the wrong medication or dose or combinations of drugs being given that should not be taken at the same time. Patients may also be instructed to stop a course of medication prematurely or be prescribed medication for too long. In many cases, the mistake will be rectified before any damage is done, but some errors can have serious consequences for a patient’s health.

Nerve Injury

The nervous system consists of the central nervous system, which includes the brain and the spinal cord, and the peripheral nervous system, which includes the motor nerves controlling muscles and the sensory nerves that provide information about touch, pain and other sensations.

Significant nerve damage is uncommon during surgery but damage to the spinal cord can have very serious and usually permanent effects. Damage to the peripheral nervous system can result in numbness, tingling, pain and weakness or paralysis of muscles. These symptoms will often go away, but recovery is often slow and sometimes the symptoms can be permanent.

Nerve injuries can occur during surgery when nerves are cut, stretched or compressed, or as a result of an injection or the insertion of cannulas into veins or arteries.

Common nerve injuries are to the ulnar and radial nerves at the elbow, which are close to the skin, and to the common peroneal nerve on the outside of the leg below the knee.

Nerve damage is usually confirmed by tests such as nerve conduction studies, Magnet Residence Imaging (MRI) or Computed Tomography (CT) scanning. Treatment will usually involve physiotherapy, exercise and medication. Occasionally, surgery can be carried out to repair a damaged nerve or relieve pressure on a compressed or stretched nerve.

For further information or to discuss a possible claim, call one of our medical negligence solicitors without obligation on 0800 980 9390 or complete our contact form and we’ll be in touch.


Frequently Asked Questions
  • Am I too late to bring a claim?
  • Most legal claims are subject to strict time limits. In personal injury and clinical negligence claims if you are over 18 you have 3 years from the date of the accident or injury to settle the claim or to issue court proceedings. If you are under 18 you have until the age of 21 i.e. 3 years from your 18th Birthday.

    If a person does not have mental capacity and is deemed to be a protected party, the 3 year limitation period will not apply.

    In clinical negligence claims, the 3 year limitation period will run from the date of the negligence treatment or the date of knowledge of the injury.

    It may still be possible to bring a claim in clinical negligence if you have only just discovered that your injury was a result of clinical negligence even though it was more than 3 years ago. Therefore you are strongly advised to obtain specialist advice on the facts of your case.

    If you require further information or wish to speak to a specialist medical negligence solicitor please contact us without obligation on 0800 980 9390 or complete our contact form and we will be in touch.

  • Do I have to complain about the treatment I received?
  • No but a complaint can often provide useful information which can assist your claim.

    The NHS complaints procedure is designed to provide patients with an explanation of what happened during their treatment. It only applies to NHS treatment whether by hospitals, GPs, Dentists, Opticians or Pharmacists.

    The complaints procedure is not designed to provide compensation to clients even where there has been negligent treatment. The purpose of the procedure is to provide an explanation and may result in an apology.

    A complaint can be made by the person affected by the treatment or by someone acting on their behalf. Most hospitals have a patient advice and liaison service (PALS) which can assist with a complaint.

    If you require further information or wish to speak to a specialist medical negligence solicitor please contact us without obligation on 0800 980 9390 or complete our contact form and we will be in touch.

  • Do you need all of my medical records?
  • It is essential that all of a patient’s medical records are obtained, sorted and carefully considered. It may not be possible to properly assess your case without all of your records and limited disclosure of the records could result in difficulties later on.

    Patients have a right to obtain copies of their medical records under the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Access to Health Records Act 1990. Obtaining the records is a fairly straight forward procedure but the hospitals or GP surgery can charge a fee for providing copies. Macks always obtain a client’s records in any medical negligence case.

    There are limited circumstances where a party can withhold a patient’s medical records. If records are withheld without good reason then an application can be made to the court for an order against the record holder.

    It is essential that all records are obtained and carefully considered. Treatment records from other hospitals or doctors which pre or post date the relevant treatment can sometimes prove to be highly relevant particularly in relation to issues of causation.

    If you require further information or wish to speak to a specialist medical negligence solicitor please contact us without obligation on 0800 980 9390 or complete our contact form and we will be in touch.

  • Can I claim if the victim has died?
  • The Estate of a victim can bring a claim under the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934 and a Dependant of the Deceased can bring an action under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976.

    The Estate can claim for any pain, suffering and loss of amenity (i.e. quality of life) experienced by the Deceased as a result of the negligent treatment to the date of death plus the cost of funeral expenses (if the victim has died as a result of the negligent treatment) and any financial losses incurred to the date of death including:-

    – Loss of income (both past and future)
    – Travel expenses
    – Care
    – Medical treatment
    – Aids & equipment
    – Probate fees

    A claim under the Fatal Accidents Act is brought on or behalf of the Dependants of the victim. The claim is usually brought in the name of the Executor or Administrator and the usual items claimed are for bereavement damages which is a fixed sum and can be claimed by a spouse or the parent of a child under the age of 18, loss of financial dependency which can include earnings and pension and for the loss of support and services provided by the victim. There are limits on who is deemed to be a dependant under the Fatal Accidents Act.

    If you require further information or wish to speak to a specialist medical negligence solicitor please contact us without obligation on 0800 980 9390 or complete our contact form and we will be in touch.