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Medical Negligence Solicitors London
When you receive medical treatment or have a procedure and things do not go to plan, the outcome can be life-changing. Getting legal advice from a specialist medical negligence solicitor if this happens to you can be invaluable.
Our team of expert medical negligence solicitors in London are leaders in the field. They will give you clear, practical advice, guidance and support to ensure you get answers as to what went wrong and the financial compensation you deserve.
If you would like to speak to one of our specialist team in confidence call 0800 437 0322 or request a call back online.
Introduction to our Specialist Medical Negligence team
What is medical negligence?
Doctors, nurses, dentists and all other healthcare professionals have a duty to look after you and treat you to an accepted medical standard. If medical professionals fail to provide you with appropriate treatment and care, and you suffer an injury as a result, you may be entitled to make a claim for medical negligence compensation.
Our specialist solicitors regularly deal with cases of medical or clinical negligence involving:
- Accident and Emergency
- Birth Injuries
- Brain injuries
- Cosmetic surgery
- Delays in diagnosis
- Child Injuries
- Surgical Errors
- Dental Negligence
- GP Negligence
- Obstetrics and Gynaecology
- Hospital Acquired Infections
- Prescription Errors
- Surgical Errors
- Mental Health
- Spinal Injuries & Cauda Equina
How to bring a medical negligence claim
- When you contact us, we will take a history of your complaint, details of the injury you have sustained and of the impact this has had on you. We will then assess your options and provide you with advice on the way forward based on the information provided, including your funding options.
- Your solicitor will guide you through the legal process to make it as easy for you as possible, and we will seek to obtain the best possible outcome for you, including an explanation for what went wrong, and amount of compensation you deserve.
- Most medical negligence claims have to be made within three years of the date of your injury or within three years of when you discovered that your injury may have been negligently caused. This time limit applies to issuing your claim in Court, not just speaking to a lawyer. However, there are special rules for children (who have until their 21st birthday to issue their claim) and for people not capable of managing their own affairs. We will be able to provide specialist advice on a case by case basis but it’s important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible.
Medical negligence claims and compensation
The amount of medical negligence compensation you may be entitled to will depend on the nature and extent of your injuries. When calculating the medical negligence compensation amount you might receive, our specialist solicitors will take into account:
- the severity of your injury
- the impact it has on you and your family
- expenses or losses incurred
- future expenses and treatment costs
Medical negligence Claims – No Win No Fee
The majority of our medical negligence claims are funded by ‘Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs) – also known as “No win, no fee” agreements.
This means that you will not have to pay anything at the outset, and there is no financial risk or obligation to you if your claim is unsuccessful. Your solicitor will provide clear information on what this means and answer any questions you may have.
If you are bringing a claim for a child who has suffered a brain injury at birth, you may be entitled to Legal Aid. Again, our specialist team of solicitors will be able to advise you on your options.
Why you need a medical negligence solicitor from Hodge Jones & Allen
Our award-winning team has a proven track record of successfully bringing claims against the NHS, including hospitals and GPs as well as against private practitioners. We have several former healthcare professionals such as doctors and nurses who have the benefit of extensive medical knowledge, as well as being trained lawyers.
We are committed to achieving the best result for all our clients, supporting them through the process and working tirelessly to get justice for you.
We deal with any type of medical negligence claim, from the most catastrophic to more modest injuries. We have specialists with vast experience dealing with brain, spinal or neurological injuries.
Accredited Specialists and Leaders in the Field
We are independently recognised as leaders in this field by a number of different sources including the leading Legal Directories.
“Dedicated team undertaking claims of high value and complexity. Offers notable expertise acting for clients at inquests. Experienced in handling claims involving cerebral palsy as well as serious birth and obstetric injuries among others.” Chambers & Partners UK, A Client’s Guide to the Legal Profession 2019.
Many of our solicitors are members of the Law Society’s and AvMA’s (Action Against Medical Negligence) Specialist Clinical Negligence Panel and are accredited by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).
The firm is also a member of Headway and the Spinal Injuries Association. Our London-based lawyers represent clients nationwide.
Contact us today to start your claim
Medical negligence case studies
Negligent treatment of breast cancer
A woman in her 30s, who suffered from breast cancer, died after doctors failed to follow up after the mastectomy of her right breast. If doctors had followed up on the operation, which they failed to do, she would have had chemotherapy and hormone therapy and possibly survived. The defendant accepted the claimant’s offer to settle the claim for £550,000.
Group B Streptococcal infection
A baby girl suffered catastrophic brain injuries when doctors failed to spot she had developed meningitis caused by a Group B Streptococcal infection. Her meningitis was not suspected until she was three days old and there was a short delay in administering antibiotics once she was diagnosed. By that stage, the claimant had sustained catastrophic, irreversible brain damage.
The claimant sadly has no independent mobility, limited head control, has not developed speech, has no useful visual function, is not toilet trained, continues to have epilepsy and has developmental delay. She was awarded £2.9 million plus annual payments for the rest of her life.
Failure to diagnose and treat peripheral neuropathy
The claimant was diagnosed with hepatitis C and referred to hospital where he was given the standard treatment. Within a short time, side effects were reported including facial numbness, weakness and drowsiness. Later, he began suffering from pain in legs, bones, pins and needles in his face, together with weakness and tiredness.
As treatment continued, he felt weaker and when his condition was investigated there was evidence of nerve damage or a severe acquired demyelinating polyneuropathy. As a result, he suffered sensory and motor deficiencies, leaving him weak, unable to walk without crutches and requiring the use of a wheelchair. The defendant admitted liability and a settlement of £237,500 was agreed between the parties.
Medical negligence claims: FAQs
How long does it take to bring a medical negligence claim?
The length of time your case will take depends on a number of factors. These include the extent and nature of the injury suffered, and whether your opponent denies liability.
We try to progress your case as quickly as possible, but you should be aware that your case could take a number of years.
If liability is admitted, it may be possible to obtain a payment on account of your compensation before the conclusion of your case, which can take time.
We can give you a better idea about the timescale once we know more about your case and your opponent’s approach to it. We will ensure that you are regularly updated throughout your case.
Who can I make a claim against?
Doctors, nurses, dentists and all other healthcare professionals have a duty to look after you and treat you to an accepted medical standard. If they fail to provide you with appropriate treatment and you suffer an injury as a result, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation.
What do I need to prove to win my case?
Just because a medical professional has made a mistake, it does not mean you will automatically be entitled to compensation. To bring a successful claim for medical negligence, you will need to satisfy two legal tests known as ‘breach of duty’ and ‘causation’.
- Breach of Duty – to establish there has been a breach of duty, you will need to show that the medical treatment you received fell below a reasonable standard. A ‘reasonable’ standard of treatment is considered to be what you would expect to receive from a reasonably competent medical professional in the specific area of medicine concerned at the time of the care.
- Causation – to establish causation you will need to show that the breach of duty directly caused you to suffer a physical or psychological injury that would not have otherwise happened.
It is essential to establish this link otherwise your claim will not succeed. You will then have to prove the extent of your losses and damage.
Causation can be a very complex issue as it may be difficult to know whether the mistake caused the injury, or whether the injury was caused by some other underlying problem and would have occurred irrespective of the mistake.
What can be achieved by bringing a claim?
Taking legal action cannot speed up any ongoing medical treatment, or make available any other types of treatment from a doctor or hospital. The focus of a claim is to seek financial compensation for any injury or loss arising directly out of the negligence. Occasionally, you may receive a formal apology from the hospital.
Our team will work closely with you and your family to advise and achieve a satisfactory outcome.
How will my case be funded?
If you believe your case should be investigated, then we will explore all funding options with you in an open and transparent manner. There are four funding types available for medical negligence cases. These are:
- Conditional Fee Agreements (“No win, no fee”)
- Public funding (legal aid)
- Legal Expenses Insurance (BTE)
- Private funding
No win, no fee – The vast majority of our cases are pursued under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), also known as ‘No Win, No Fee agreement’. This means that we would not charge you any legal fees unless you win your case, and would seek to recover our costs from your opponent in the first instance. The agreement permits a maximum deduction from your damages of 25%.
ATE insurance – When we are acting on a no win no fee basis we may also advise our clients to take out a specialist type of insurance called After the Event Insurance Policy (ATE insurance). This is to protect you in the event your claim does not succeed. Your solicitor will explain this in more detail if you instruct us.
Legal Aid funding – Legal aid or public funding from the Legal Aid Agency is still available for some cases. However, Legal Aid is now limited to cases where a child has suffered a brain injury during pregnancy, birth, or shortly after birth, which has resulted in severe physical or mental disability. Legal Aid is means tested but it is the child’s assets who are assessed, not the parents. Consequently, virtually all new born children will be eligible for legal aid.
Before the event legal expenses insurance – also known as BTE insurance. Many people have this type of insurance but are unaware of it. Please carefully check any insurance policies you have, including motor and household insurance, and credit card agreements. You should also check any union membership as this may include a form of BTE insurance. It is important to check these things as ‘no win, no fee’ arrangements may result in some deductions to any compensation you recover. BTE insurers can sometimes quite restrictive in terms of who you can instruct and how they can pursue the case for you.
Private funding – If we are not able to act for you on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis then it may be possible to instruct us to act on a private retainer.
If you would like to discuss any of these funding methods further you can speak with your solicitor.
Who pays the compensation?
This will depend on who the Defendant is.
- NHS Claims – all NHS Trusts in England pay into a scheme called the Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts which is managed by NHS Resolution (NHSR) All compensation payments made by an NHS Defendant are paid from this fund. NHSR employs a panel of approved solicitors who represent NHS Trusts.
- Claims against, GPs, private doctors or dentists –They arrange their own insurance with specialist private insurance companies. These organisations are funded by premiums paid by their members.
What can I claim compensation for?
In a clinical negligence case you would be entitled to claim for two types of compensation:
- General Damages: for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity caused by the injury itself.
- Special Damages: Special Damages are the damages awarded for any past or future financial loss. These are individually calculated for each case. Special damages claims can comprise:
- Loss of earnings / loss of promotion prospects – for unpaid time off work in the past or for loss of promotion prospects in the future.
- Past care and future care needs – a claim can be made for the unpaid (gratuitous) care provided by family members. We will take details of who has looked after you and calculate how many hours care has been provided. In significant cases, we will obtain expert evidence on the care required.
- Aids and equipment – if aids and equipment are required this will be assessed by an expert Occupational Therapist that we will arrange to meet with you.
- Future medical treatment –if further treatment is needed as a result of the medical injury, you are entitled to claim for this on a private paying basis.
- Prosthetics – amputees are entitled to claim for the costs of prosthetic in the private sector. It is generally accepted that it is not reasonable to expect a claimant to rely on NHS prosthetics only.
- Pension loss – if a medical accident has forced you to leave your job then it will be necessary to calculate your pension loss. This can sometimes be quite complex and may require an accountancy expert.
- Past/Future DIY and gardening – if your injuries prevent you from undertaking household tasks then a claim can be made for employing people to carry out those tasks.
- Interest – interest is also claimed on all past losses
It can be difficult to advise at the outset as to the amount of compensation you may obtain if your case is successful as this will depend on the particular circumstances of your case, and expert evidence may be required. As your case progresses your solicitor will be able to give you a more accurate estimate of what your case is likely to be worth.
Will I need to go to court?
The vast majority of cases settle through negotiation, with there being no need to take the matter to a full trial (i.e. argue your case in court, before a judge). If your case does go to trial, it will inevitably take longer to conclude than if it were to settle outside of court through negotiation. Although it is rare for cases to go to trial. Statistics show that just 0.5% of all clinical negligence cases go to trial.
If your case reaches the trial stage, then you will be called as a witness to give evidence in front of a judge. Your experts and other witnesses will also give evidence – as will the defence witnesses. If your claim gets to this stage, we can advise you about it in more detail.
Can I bring a claim on behalf of my child?
Any injured person under 18 is considered to be a child. They are considered unable to have ‘capacity’ to conduct the claim themselves and deal directly with solicitors.
A claim involving a child is therefore conducted by a litigation friend, who acts on the child’s behalf. A litigation friend is often one of the child’s parents or a guardian, however anyone that the Court deems suitable can be a litigation friend, for example a relative or family friend, a solicitor or someone who has a lasting power of attorney.
Your solicitor will be able to guide through the process of being appointed as your child’s litigation friend.
Can I bring a claim on behalf of a deceased relative?
When someone dies it may be possible for you to bring a claim on behalf of their estate, as long as you have standing to do so.
You will need obtain a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration in order to instruct us to act in such a case.
Can I request a copy of my medical records?
The General Data Protection Regulations and the Data Protection Act 2018 replaced the Data Protection Act 1998 on 25 May 2018.
Since 25 May, patients must be given access to their medical records as a Subject Access Request (SAR) including when a patient authorises access by a third party such as a solicitor. Rights of access are not limited to health records held by NHS bodies and apply to private health sector and health professionals’ private practice records.
Are there time limits which apply?
Once the request has been received and verified, the patient must be provided with a copy of their data without delay and within 28 days from the date of the request.
This time limit can be extended for 2 months where the request is complex or where the data controller needs more time to collate and supply the data however, the patient must be informed of this extension within 28 days and be provided with an explanation as to why this is necessary.
What are the costs involved in requesting medical records?
The medical records that already exist will be accessible for free, however the Trust or GP is entitled to charge extra for the cost of making copies and posting the records to you if the request is found to be excessive although these circumstances are likely to be rare. Instances where a request may be deemed “excessive” include if an individual makes a SAR and then makes a second request for the same information within a short period of time.
Who should I write to?
- You can request your GP records from to the Practice Manager at the GP surgery. If your records are no longer held at the practice, they will advise you where to obtain these from.
- To request NHS hospital records, apply to the Medical Records Manager/Access to Health Records Team at the NHS Trust which you attended. The NHS Trust may have information on their website that provides the precise address details. If you cannot find this information it can be helpful to call the Trust’s Access to Medical Records Team to ensure that you are applying to the correct department and address.
- To request private hospital records, apply to the private hospital involved, addressing your letter to the Medical Records Manager/Access to Health Records Team.
Requesting medical records after a death
The rules relating to the disclosure of a deceased person’s medical records differs significantly from the general rules about release of medical records. The GDPR does not apply to data concerning deceased patients.
Who can request medical records after a death?
Under the Access to Health Records Act 1990 only certain people have the right to access the medical records of someone who has died. Disclosure is allowed to:
- The Personal Representative of the person who has died. If the deceased person has a will, the Personal Representative is the Executor of the will. If there is no will, the Personal Representative is known as the Administrator. These claims are covered by the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions Act) 1934;
- Anyone who may have a claim resulting from the person’s death. Essentially, this means the deceased person’s estate, (again, the Executor or the Administrator) or the “dependants” of the deceased. There are strict criteria as to who is considered a “dependant”; very generally, this includes spouses, civil partners, children, parents and people living in the same household for at least 2 years before the death and immediately before the death as husband/wife/civil partner. These claims are covered by the Fatal Accidents Act 1976.
You may need to provide evidence that you fall under one of these two categories. This is fairly straightforward if you are looking after the estate and are in possession of a copy of the Grant of Probate (if you are the Executor of the will), or a copy of the Grant of Letters of Administration (if you are the Administrator).
The situation may require further explanation on your part if you are not the Personal Representative but believe you may have a claim resulting from the person’s death.
The same procedures apply as when requesting Medical Records of a person who is alive.
The cost of requesting a deceased person’s medical records
Changes to the Data Protection Act 2018 have also amended the Access to Health Records Act 1990 which now states access to records of deceased patients and any copies, must be provided free of charge.
What is the duty of Candour?
The professional duty of candour is a statutory duty imposed on all healthcare professionals.
Every healthcare professional must be open and honest with patients when something that goes wrong with their treatment causes, or has the potential to cause, harm or distress. This means that healthcare professionals must:
- tell the patient (or, where appropriate, the patient’s advocate, carer or family) when something has gone wrong
- offer an appropriate remedy or support to put matters right if possible
- explain fully the short and long term effects of what has happened.
Healthcare professionals must also be open and honest with their colleagues, employers and relevant organisations, to take part in reviews and investigations when requested, and encourage a learning culture by reporting adverse incidents that lead to harm, as well as near misses.
They must also be open and honest with their regulators, raising concerns where appropriate. They must support and encourage each other to be open and honest, and not stop someone from raising concerns.
How do I make a complaint against a hospital?
Click here to access our quick guide on how to make a complaint, and a template complaint letter.
The NHS Complaints Procedure does not offer compensation. It can only offer an explanation of your treatment. Complaints usually have to be made within one year of the alleged negligent treatment.
If you are making a complaint against an NHS hospital they will usually have a Patient Advice Liaison Service (known as PALS). Click here to find your local PALS.
Complaints will be investigated internally by the hospital – they are not obliged to call in external investigators.
It may take some weeks for your complaint to be investigated. You may be invited to attend meeting to explain your side of the complaint. It may be that you would prefer to deal with matters just by letter or email. There is no set process that must be followed.
At the end of the investigation you will receive a letter setting out the NHS response to your complaint.
I don’t think my complaint has been properly dealt with.
If you are not happy with the response to your complaint, you are entitled to request an Independent Review by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.
The independent review will be undertaken by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO). The PHSO will make a final decision on your complaint and will look at it afresh. There is no charge for this service.
How do I make a complaint against my GP?
Click here to access our quick guide on how to make a complaint, and a template complaint letter.
Making a formal complaint to your GP will not lead to compensation. A GP’s complaint service can only offer an explanation of your treatment. Complaints will be investigated internally by the GP practice – they are not obliged to call in external investigators.
It may take some weeks for your complaint to be investigated. You may be invited to attend a meeting to explain your side of the complaint. It may be that you would prefer to deal with matters just by letter or email. There is no set process that must be followed.
At the end of the investigation you will receive a letter setting out the response to your complaint.
Alternatively, if you do not wish to complain directly to your GP then you can complain to the local Clinical Commissioning Group. A full list of all of the CCGs can be found here.