What Is Clinical Negligence?

Published: 6th April 2017

Clinical negligence is also often called medical negligence. It is where a medical professional fails to use ‘reasonable skill and care’ when caring for a patient.

Doctors, nurses and carers have incredibly difficult and trying jobs. Even so, they are expected to carry out their job with reasonable skill and care. Though, ultimately, there are just people like the rest of us, therefore they make mistakes.

When these mistakes happen, and a person suffers as a consequence they may be entitled to compensation. Due to the nature of medical negligence cases they are often high value.

In general, the NHS is incredibly safe. It treats more than a million people every 36 hours and last year there was 15 million hospital admissions. Against that it receives less than 12,000 claims for damages a year. That said, there are 60,000 adverse incidents resulting in significant harm recorded every year so only 1 in 5 pursues a claim in damages.

At Liddy’s we understand that there may some hesitation when bringing a claim against the NHS. However, when something goes wrong in the NHS is nearly always due to under-training, under-staffing or under-resourcing. Your claim will not entail finger pointing of creating a blame culture.

Acting in high value claims is not the same as in low value claims. They are defended more vigorously and more often. A lot of time has to be put in to investigating all the issues of liability. For that reason we are often hesitant to act for a client whom we cannot see regularly.

We get to know the client well and get to know the circumstances of their accident inside out. These cases often take up to a couple of years to conclude. That may be because the case goes to trial, or it might be because we need to know the long-term implications of the injury. To make the case as strong as possible we need to know how it will affect the patient for the rest of their life, this may take a lot of treatments to ascertain.

The importance of getting the right evidence cannot be overstated. In about 25% of cases we are acting on behalf of a grieving partner.

putting a value to that claim is about pulling together lots of information. Such as what income the patient had before they died and what income the surviving spouse is left with, how their pension has been effected by that person’s death, what arrangements are in place to look after the surviving spouse, where they relied upon there partner, the life expectancy of the patient if they had not had their injury and of the surviving spouse now needing to cope alone for the rest of their life. These are the sort of questions which unless answered properly will leave the claimant undercompensated.

If you have any questions about medical negligence, or feel you have been the victim of it then just give us a call on 01226 731 314.