Medical negligence is a surprisingly common occurrence in the UK, while the figures seem to suggest that its frequency is increasing year-on-year.
Of course, this may have something to do with the chronic underfunding of the NHS on these shores, which has contributed to a scenario where the number of negligence claims reported in England alone increased to a five-year high of 11,682 at the end of 2019/20.
Ultimately, the impact of medical negligence can be far-reaching, and those who have suffered as a result deserve to be acknowledged and compensated. However, medical negligence claims can be complex, so what are the tell-tale signs that you have a viable case?
#1. If the Duty of Care has Been Breached
If you’ve engaged with a medical professional while seeking treatment or surgical intervention, that individual has a duty of care to provide expert guidance in line with your ailments and medical history.
So long as you’ve provided accurate information and the medical professional in question is licensed, your practitioner is duty-bound to act appropriately and in your best interests as a patient.
If they subsequently fall short of this standard and breach the duty of care (perhaps by failing to accurately diagnose a condition or making a prescription error), you may be entitled to bring a medical negligence claim and pursue financial compensation.
#2. If You’ve Been Offered a Formal Apology
In accordance with existing guidelines, hospitals and medical practices are required to offer their apologies in instances where clinical errors are made or an investigation has been carried out into a particular incident.
In some cases, you may even receive a formal apology and token offer of compensation, and there’s no doubt that any document stipulating that the practice is at fault for a clinical error is a clear indicator that you have a viable negligence claim.
Even if you’ve only been told verbally that the practice is at fault (or you’ve received a spoken apology), you could still have a viable claim and may want to discuss this directly with a personal injury solicitor.
#3. You Have Been Caused Unnecessary Harm
In order to bring any successful negligence claim, you’ll have to demonstrate that you’ve endured pain, harm or loss of earnings as a direct result of your interaction with a practitioner.
This is often known as ‘causation’, and you may even be able to claim in instances where you’ve suffered from a condition for longer than necessary or your symptoms have worsened due to delays that weren’t your fault.
While it may be easier to demonstrate causation in some instances than others, such signs are indicative of a viable claim and one that may have a good chance of success.