The Law Explained
Medical Negligence Law
Britain has a number of medical negligence law statutes in place designed to protect those hurt by mistakes made by medical professionals such as doctors and nurses. Medical negligence is serious and can leave victims with life-long health issues and in need of extensive care.
The crux of all medical negligence cases is showing liability – the person liable for your injuries could be a specific doctor, nurse, or other health professional, or in cases where a medical institution has well documented issues with standards you may find that liability lies with the health trust itself.
In order to successfully bring a claim for medical negligence to court, you must prove two fundamental principles:
- medical professional breached their professional duty of care,
- this mistake caused you (or a dependant) harm.
What is medical negligence?
Medical negligence is defined as a failure on the part of a health care provider to give a certain standard of care. It is a very broad term that can be used to describe anything from incorrect administration of antibiotics to a swab left behind during surgery.
The performance of all medical professionals is measured against that of their peers, and if it can be demonstrated that under the same circumstances someone’s colleagues would have acted significantly differently – prescribed different drugs, run different tests – then it is possible to demonstrate that negligence occurred.
Rules relating to the proper standard of medical care apply to all medical professionals, regardless of whether they are employed by the NHS or a private care provider.
UK medical negligence law is technical and detailed, and it is vital to proceed with any claim with the help of a specialist solicitor with extensive experience in this area of legislation.
The definition of medical negligence that is currently used is set out in the decision of the case of Bolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee (1957). In this case a voluntary patient at a psychiatric facility sued the hospital’s management committee after he suffered serious injuries during a routine procedure. Whilst undergoing electro-convulsive therapy he was not restrained or given muscle relaxant, resulting in severe injuries.
The subsequent Bolam test states that if it can be shown that a doctor “reaches the standard of a responsible body of medical opinion, he is not negligent”.
Medical negligence law states that there is a three year limit on claiming compensation – this time limit is sometimes a little more flexible under special circumstances, for instance if the negligence involved a newborn and it has taken time for its impact to be seen.
In claims involving minors aged 18 or under this three year time limit begins on their 18th birthday. In cases involving mentally incapacitated individuals a set time limit is often not appropriate and judges have the power to use their own discretion to extend the claim window.
How we can help you
Read more about our services below:
We have dealt with every possible type of medical negligence claim, including:
- Anaesthetic awareness
- Blood transfusions
- Brain injuries
- Cancer misdiagnosis
- Cauda equina syndrome
- Delayed Diagnosis
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Ectopic Pregnancies
- General practice errors
- Obstetric cholestasis
- Orthopaedic Errors
- Neonatal conditions
- Screening negligence
- Serious injuries
- Scaphoid fractures
- Spinal injuries
- Stillbirths and neonatal deaths
We can also help if you have suffered because of surgical negligence, during procedures such as:
- Cosmetic and plastic surgery
- Excessive scarring or burns
- Keyhole surgery
- Objects left in the body
- Testicular torsion
Making a claim
HospitalNegligence.co.uk has specialist solicitors with varied and extensive experience in making claims for medical negligence. If you have been hurt due to the poor practice of a medical professional, or you want to make a claim on behalf of a loved one, get in touch with us now on 0800 014 7481 or fill out the enquiry form on this page.