Have you been the victim of medical negligence and are looking to pursue compensation? Are you unclear exactly how you go about claiming compensation and whether there is a time limit? Thankfully, there are numerous personal injury claims companies available to assist you every step of the way.
They will help you gather evidence, consider your chances of success, lodge your claim where applicable and hopefully negotiate compensation on your behalf.
The details surrounding medical negligence claims can appear complicated at first glance. How long do you have to make a claim? What is the claims process? What kind of evidence do you need to provide?
We will now take a look at some of the more frequently asked questions regarding medical negligence claims and time limits.
- – Medical negligence in the NHS explained
- – The medical negligence claim process explained
- – NHS negligence payouts when a death is caused
- – Dental negligence explained
We update all our guides regularly. If you are researching the Medical Negligence and we haven’t got an exact guide that helps you, keep coming back as we update daily.
Is There a Time Limit on Pursuing Medical Negligence Compensation?
This is where it starts to get a little complicated because initially, there is a three-year window of opportunity in which to claim compensation. Normally with a medical procedure, the illness/injuries brought on are immediately visible, and the claim can be pursued from that day onwards.
However, there are medical procedures/examinations carried out where negligence is not proven until sometime down the line. So, the three-year window of opportunity begins on the date that you are diagnosed with an illness/injury, whenever that may be.
We have seen instances where, for example, those suffering lung damage as a consequence of working in coal mines have not been diagnosed until decades down the line. They were still able to pursue compensation within the three-year timescale from the date of diagnosis.
While we don’t have the exact figures, we know that in the tax year 2016/17 the NHS paid out £1.76 billion in compensation as a consequence of negligence. We also know that at the same time there were active claims/potential claims totalling a staggering £65 billion.
Many people are not aware that the NHS is a self-insured organisation with no third party able to offer traditional cover. As a consequence, the NHS is constantly changing and tweaking procedures to reduce the number of negligence claims going forward.
What Is the Claim Timescale for Minors?
Where the injured party is under 18 years, their parents or appointed representatives can pursue a compensation claim on their behalf. This would be done during the three-year window of opportunity from the date of diagnosis.
Alternatively, the injured party has the option of waiting until they are 18 before they pursue their own compensation claim. In that case, the window of opportunity would begin on their 18th birthday.
What Is the Claim Timescale for Those Who Are Mentally Incapacitated?
Where a claimant is temporarily incapacitated there may be the opportunity to extend the three-year timeframe. Alternatively, where there is little chance of recovery a representative such as a parent or legal guardian could pursue the claim on their behalf.
This would normally be during the three-year timescale immediately after the diagnosis. Again, this is another area of the personal injury claims market, which is a little more complex than it looks on the surface.
What Happens if I Miss the Three-Year Window of Opportunity to Stake a Claim?
Normally, if you didn’t stake a claim for compensation during the three-year period after your diagnosis, then you would not be able to pursue a claim. On occasion, the courts may extend the three-year period if there are extenuating circumstances, but this would be an exception to the general rule.
When Will I Receive My Compensation?
Assuming that you are successful in pursuing your medical negligence compensation claim, then you will be awarded two different elements of compensation. These are known as general damages, financial compensation for pain and suffering, and special damages, recompense for costs to date and any future expenses/loss of income going forward.
Traditionally compensation is paid immediately on an agreement between the claimant’s and defendant’s representatives – where negligence is not disputed. While nothing is set in stone, you tend to find that disputed medical negligence claims can drag on for many months.
Indeed, there have seen situations where cases have dragged on for a number of years before compensation has been received.
Do I Need to Take Professional Advice?
It is very important to be aware of the window of opportunity during which you can make a claim for personal injury compensation. As we touched on above, the situation can change where minors and those who are incapacitated are involved.
Therefore, many people believe it is sensible to take advice from a personal injury claims management company. They will be well aware of the deadlines, legal technicalities and the information required in pursuit of a successful medical negligence claim.
What Evidence Do I Require?
The more evidence you have to support your claim for compensation, the greater your chances of success. Typical evidence might include:-
- Timetable of events
- Details of your treatment
- After-effects, injury/illness
- Literature received
- Evidence of similar patterns of negligence
- Photographic evidence
- Witness statements
- Third-party medical opinion
This list is by no means exclusive, and different types of compensation claims will require different types of evidence. However, there is one goal in all compensation claims; to prove negligence which then opens the door for compensation.
How Much Does It Cost to Pursue Compensation?
Legal advice and third-party assistance can prove expensive when pursuing compensation claims. As a consequence, the vast majority of personal injury claims companies will offer a “no win no fee” arrangement. This effectively means that the claimant has no liability for legal expenses or additional charges relating to their case – they will be covered by the claims management company.
In the event of a successful claim, the claims management company will be able to purse costs from the defendant. There will also be what is known as a “success fee” which is a prearranged share of any compensation awarded. The traditional level tends to be around 25%, although it can vary for different types of compensation claims.
What Level of Compensation Could I Expect?
The level of compensation will depend upon the injury/illness caused by the treatment and the degree of negligence. There are two different types of compensation, known as general damages, financial compensation for pain and suffering, and special damages, which covers financial costs to date and any costs going forward – including loss of earnings.
While there is a traditional three-year window of opportunity in which to pursue compensation, it is worth remembering that this begins on the date of diagnosis. It can also be extended where the individual is a minor or mentally incapacitated at the time.
For those unable to pursue their own compensation claims, parents, legal guardians or parties appointed by the courts can act on their behalf. The situation can become very complicated very quickly, so it is important to take advice from a personal injury claims management company.
Quick Medical Negligence FAQs
Even the most straightforward personal injury compensation claims tend to be a little more difficult when you look under the surface, there is a relatively rigid window of opportunity in which to stake a claim, but this is based on the date of diagnosis, NOT the date of treatment.
There are many personal injury claims companies in the UK able to offer advice across the whole range of medical negligence matters. It is, therefore, advisable to contact one of these parties as soon as you consider pursuing a claim.
If you are a parent or an appointed representative of a claimant under 18 years of age, you may be able to make a claim on their behalf. Alternatively, they can wait until they are 18 before making their own claim at which point the three-year window of opportunity will start.
Claiming on behalf of a minor, or somebody incapacitated, can be a little more complex and it is important to take advice.
The Bolam test is unique to the medical profession and compares and contrasts the treatment given against that which you would reasonably expect from a medical professional in the same position with the same experience/level of training. If the treatment received was below this level then, assuming there are no mitigating circumstances, you should be able to pursue a compensation claim.
The Bolam test goes back to a 1957 case brought by a patient who agreed to undergo electroconvulsive therapy but was injured as a consequence of no restraints or muscle relaxants. The patient lost the claim because the use of restraints/muscle relaxants was not common practice at the time.
Traditionally, there is a three-year window of opportunity during which to stake your claim for compensation. It is important to note that this three-year timescale begins at the time of diagnosis as opposed to the date of the treatment.
For example, we saw many miners who received lung damage decades ago but were only diagnosed recently. They were still able to claim compensation as a consequence of their date of diagnosis.
There will be occasions where the claimant is under 18 years of age or mentally incapacitated where the window of opportunity will be extended.
The NHS is the envy of many around the world although unfortunately, we do see a number of common injuries relating to alleged negligence. These tend to revolve around:-
- Misdiagnosis of life-threatening conditions
- Administration of incorrect medication/incorrect dosage
- Substandard surgery
- Life-threatening delays in treatment
- Mishandling of test results
- Care home negligence
How Can Money Savings Advice Help You With Making a Medical Negligence Compensation Claim?
Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Medical Negligence Claims management companies. They have already helped thousands of people claim compensation for the negligence they have incurred, and they can do the same for you.
Choosing an independent claims management company means they won’t proceed with a claim unless they are sure it is in your best interests. They are also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.
If you would like to speak to one of these claim management companies who can help you make a compensation claim, then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.