Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to frequently asked questions about personal injury claims, clinical negligence compensation claims and the conveyancing process below, or call Liddy's Solicitors for more information.

What is clinical negligence?

Clinical negligence, or medical negligence as it is often referred to, occurs when medical professionals fail in their duty of care towards a patient. Examples of this include a surgical error, a misdiagnosis, the mishandling of a birth, drugs being incorrectly prescribed or administered, a fracture being missed, misleading a patient about their treatment or failure to take the right steps to combat the spread of infections in a hospital.

Deciding whether clinical negligence occurred is not always straightforward, as all treatments involve an element of risk and an adverse outcome is not necessarily evidence of a failure in care. If you believe you have grounds for a claim, one of Liddy’s Solicitors’ clinical negligence specialists will help establish whether or not doctors or other medical staff fulfilled their duty of care towards you.

To make a successful compensation claim, it is not enough to simply demonstrate that negligence occurred, there also needs to be evidence that it caused some kind of damage or injury. Examples of negligence that did not affect the outcome of treatment are likely to be a matter for the professional bodies of the staff involved, rather than the basis for a claim.

How do I make a clinical negligence claim?

The first step towards making a clinical negligence compensation claim is to arrange an initial consultation with a specialist solicitor. This is a complex area of law, but our expert team will explain everything in detail and make sure you understand what is involved.

They will also help you to establish whether you have grounds to proceed with a claim and assess your chances of success. This process is likely to involve obtaining your medical records and asking appropriate medical experts to examine them.

Is it possible to win a claim against the NHS?

In short, yes. NHS trusts pay out millions of pounds to victims of clinical negligence each year and, at any one time, there are thousands of ongoing claims against medical staff, hospitals and clinics in the public sector.

Claims are not restricted to the NHS. Private hospitals, cosmetic surgery clinics, dentists and other healthcare practitioners all have the same duty of care towards patients, and can be held legally responsible for injuries caused by negligence.

When should I begin a clinical negligence claim?

The general rule is that you have three years from either the date of the negligence or the date when you first became aware that the negligence caused your injury to issue proceedings. However, if you suffered the injury before your 18th birthday, you have three years from the date of your 18th birthday to begin your claim.

There are some circumstances in which different time limits may apply, but it is sensible to seek legal advice as soon as you realise you may have a claim. One of our clinical negligence specialists can assess your case and provide guidance on how to proceed within the time limits.

How long will a medical negligence claim take?

There is no simple answer to this, as the time taken depends on the complexity of the claim and the defendant’s attitude. Obtaining all the relevant medical records and having them examined by independent medical experts will take a number of months, so you should be prepared for a lengthy process.

If the evidence is clear and the defendant is keen to reach a settlement, the claim could be completed in 10-12 months. However, it is not unknown for a claim to take three years, particularly if it ends up in court.

Will I have to give evidence in court?

Only about two per cent of clinical negligence claims go to court. If the evidence we amass to support your claim is clear, the defendant will almost certainly choose to settle and agree a compensation payment without you having to give evidence in court.

How much does it cost to make a clinical negligence claim?

It is difficult to accurately predict the cost of legal fees for a clinical negligence claim, as every case is different. There are a number of options available for funding your claim, including some that will not involve you parting with any money. One of Liddy’s Solicitors’ specialists will explain the most suitable choices to you when you enquire about making a claim.

How much compensation will I receive?

The amount of compensation you will recover depends on the precise details of your case. The size of the damages paid will reflect the severity of the injury suffered, loss of earnings and the cost of ongoing care and private treatment related to the injury.

Our clinical negligence team will give you advice on what financial records you should keep to help calculate damages once the claim reaches the settlement stage.

What can I make a clinical negligence claim for?

If you can demonstrate the hospital or staff involved were negligent and that the failure in care caused an injury, you can make a claim.
Among the most common examples of clinical negligence claims are:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Birth trauma
  • Maternal injuries
  • Mismanagement of fractures
  • Surgical errors
  • Anaesthetic failure
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Spinal injuries
  • Hospital acquired infections, such as MRSA
  • Incorrectly prescribed medicines
  • Cosmetic surgery errors

If you believe you have reason to make a clinical negligence claim, call Liddy’s Solicitors on 01226 731314 (Barnsley) or 01924 780753 (Wakefield) to speak to one of our experts or email us on info@liddys-solicitors.co.uk.