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Medical Negligence Solicitors in 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.
Our 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.
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 medical negligence solicitors deal with a range of cases, including:
How to bring a medical negligence claim
- Contact specialist solicitors
Once we have been made aware of your medical negligence complaint our team of specialist experts will gather information about your case.
- Review your case
A partner in the team will then review this information and if there is a case we will start the claim process.
- Gathering medical records
We would need to get your medical records in order for us to assess the negligence and any issues which have arisen.
- Medical evidence
We will then appoint an independent medical expert to look at the issue to get a diagnosis of what the injuries are, and how this may affect you in the short and longer term.
- Start negotiations
With all the evidence we will then make representations on your behalf to the negligent organisation or individual. This will include the cost of recovery, additional treatment or rehabilitation and further compensation to ensure you are not at a loss following the negligence.
Once we have finalised negotiations either, with a settlement or through the courts, you will receive your compensation.
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
No Win No Fee Medical Negligence Claims
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 choose Hodge Jones & Allen?
Leaders in the Field
We are independently recognised as leaders in this field by a number of different sources including the leading Legal Directories.
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).
Proven Track Record
We have a proven track record of successfully bringing claims against the NHS, including hospitals and GPs as well as against private practitioners.
Frequently asked questions
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Case Study: 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.
Outcome: £550,000 in damages awarded
Case Study: 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, 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. He suffered sensory and motor deficiencies, leaving him weak, unable to walk without crutches and requiring the use of a wheelchair.
Outcome: £237,500 in damages awarded